10 Film Adaptations of Musicals That Are Worth Watching

Anthony J. Piccione

The movie musical. It’s been a topic that’s been revisited by the writers on this blog quite a few times before, including a few weeks ago, when I wrote an article entitled 10 Reasons Why Film Adaptations of Musicals Tend to Fail. In the comments section for that article, I got an interesting request for a future article: To do a list of film adaptations of musicals that I actual thought were good, rather than focusing on the negatives of such adaptations. I thought it was a good idea, hence why this week, I’ve decided to take the time to come up with such a list. For this list, I collected a bunch of films that are adapted from musical theatre, and even if many of them do not live up to the original stage version, are still worth watching for different reasons.

So without further adieu, here is my list of 10 Film Adaptations of Musicals That Are Worth Watching:

 10.    The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) – A bit cheesy, I know. But if you ask me, it’s still one of the better movie musicals to originate from a theatrical production out there, even if it belongs near the bottom of this list. 

9.    Hairspray (2007) – Not exactly one of my favorites. Some people love it a LOT more than I do. Nonetheless, it’s still a fun movie, based off of an even more fun musical. 

8.    Annie (1999) – Perhaps the best adaptation of this musical overall. Even if the 1982 version had better acting, this was able to stay the most true to the original musical while also remaining an entertaining film. 

7.    Chicago (2002) – Like the original musical, the film adaptation is also very musically entertaining, visually stunning…and all that jazz.

6.    Rent (2005) – This is still one of my favorite musicals of all time, even if it is a bit overproduced. If you ask me, the film version does a near perfect job of adapting it for the silver screen, which can’t be said of all other such adaptations. 

5.    The Sound of Music (1965) – Just as much of a classic as the original musical, if you ask me. I couldn’t possibly do a list like this without including it somewhere on here. 

4.    Les Miserables (2012) – I know this will be a controversial pick, and I agree it doesn’t quite live up to the original Broadway show. But on its own, I still say it is a film of high-quality. It didn’t get an Oscar nomination for nothing. 

3.    Into the Woods (2014) – While still fairly recent, I don’t think it’s too soon to say that this is one of the best film adaptations of a musical ever made, and I think we will all remember it as such for years to come. 

2.    West Side Story (1961) – Some people might say that this is the best adaptation of a musical of all time, and I agree that it is truly both a musical and cinematic masterpiece. However, there is still one more I can think of that has a special place in my heart. 

1.    Sweeney Todd (2007) – From casting to directing to visuals to soundtrack, nearly everything about this adaptation is perfect, and is as every bit of a dark treasure as the original musical. I have nothing but nice things to say about this adaptation, and it just so happens to be my personal favorite of all time. 

What do you think? Do you agree with this list? Are there any musicals that you think should be on this list that aren’t? Any on the list that you think shouldn’t be? Be sure to let us know in the comments!