Friday Favorites: Modern Movie Musicals

Music has always been a pretty big part of my life. I was in band. And choir. And took piano lessons for years and years. Near the end of high school and on into college, I also got into theater. These two interests met and merged and a love of dramatic musicals was born. The boy may wish it otherwise, but I have no problem sitting down to watch a movie where people randomly break into song or dance. Or one where it’s completely song and dance. He’s just lucky we don’t live near NYC, or I’d be dragging him to Broadway all the time.

So for today’s Friday Favorites, I thought I’d share some of my favorite musicals in movie form, in case you should also want to enjoy one of these from the comfort of your non-NYC couch. Some are based on stage shows, but a few are only in movie form. And I focused on more modern movies, rather than classics like My Fair Lady or the Sound of Music or otherwise this list would just go on and on. ๐Ÿ™‚

Les Miserables

Les Miserables
Yes, the release of this version so recently may have been what inspired this post. Because musicals like this that are intense and emotional and have just devastatingly beautiful music are what I love best about this genre. Go see the movie (there are some great performances and you will probably cry if you have a heart), or if you’re able, the live show.

Phantom of the Opera

Phantom of the Opera
Another great movie version based off a stage show. This came out a few years after I had read the book and seen the Broadway version, so I was already excited about it. And it will forever hold a special place in my heart for introducing me to the delectable existence of Gerard Butler (yes, he plays the Phantom!). It is visually stunning, and I was impressed with the vocals from a then mostly-unknown cast.

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge
Baz Luhrmann’s medley musical can be a bit much to take in, but if you pay attention the first 20 minutes or so, the rest makes sense. And you already know all the songs, since they’re pulled from pop culture (though there is an original song in there, which is quite beautiful). And it’s funny and strange and beautiful and heart-wrenching all at once. Plus Ewan McGregor.

Apparently I have a thing for musicals set in Paris, as all of the above three take place there. *shrug*


Slightly similar in flavor to the above is this movie, Burlesque. The similar part being the burlesque aka. women dancing and singing in scanty costumes. Plus Christina Aguilera sang a radio version of the Lady Marmalade song from Moulin Rouge, and is the star in this, so it works as a segue. Right? Right. This is a much lighter movie, in that it won’t make you cry or anything, but that girl has a voice and it’s a fun little romance. Plus Cher, which isn’t as weird as you’d think. Plus Stanley Tucci, who is always fabulous in his supporting roles.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
A musical for geeks and bloggers/vloggers. It’s hilarious in parts (Dr. Horrible is a wannabe supervillain in love with the girl next door), and also has some surprisingly great music. Plus Neil Patrick Harris. Plus Nathan Fillion. And if that doesn’t make you want to watch it, I’m not sure we can be friends, because those two actors are awesome.

How about you? What are some of your favorite movie musicals from more recent years?


  1. i just saw Les Mis last night, I lost track of how many times I cried. I loved it, I also loved that they had enough nods to the live show that it made the musical theater kid in my happy.

    1. I’m pretty sure I cried at least 5 different times. And I’m with you on movie vs. live show, it definitely kept the faith. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Dr. Horrible’s!!! Woot! Woot! I can’t wait for the next one to come out!! I was stoked when they announced that there will be another!

    Love Les Mis and my husband loves Phantom of the Opera. I saw Phantom of the Opera on Broadway in NYC and can’t for the life of me remember what it was about. I just remember enjoying it. It was for a school field trip, so I tend to put anything high school out of my mind. Hehe

    1. I saw Phantom on Broadway, too! Years and years ago. Definitely pick up the movie if you need a refresh, it’s gorgeous.

      I’m excited about the next Dr. Horrible, too!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Well, the good news is you now have a 5-movie-long list of where to start. ๐Ÿ˜€ Haha. Les Mis is still in theaters, I think, and is pretty amazing on the big screen.

  3. Ahhhh! I’m a huge movie musical fan – – always have been. Les Mis rocked my socks off when I saw it over Christmas…I think it might be one of the best movies I have ever seen. Moulin Rouge and Dr. Horrible are also faves of ours. I also enjoy Rent, Grease, Across the Universe…I could keep going for days!

    1. I enjoy Grease, too, though I consider that a classic more than a modern musical. I actually have not seen Rent or Across the Universe. Re: Rent, a lot of my theater major friends in college loved it and played the soundtrack relentlessly and I kind of got sick of it, so never really gave it a chance. Worth doing so?

      1. Yes, I think it’s worth it! I had a similar experience of knowing a lot of the music, but not being overly interested in seeing the movie. But my husband added it to our Netflix queue, and we both really loved the story. The music took on new meaning in context. It’s now a fave of both of ours.

  4. Believe it or not, my husband is actually the one that got me into musical theater! He’s an actor and did a few shows when we lived in SC, and he showed me Phantom and Moulin Rouge for the first time. It’s all because of him ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, I cry at Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. Every. Time.

    1. Haha, not the usual way of things, but whatever works! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Dr. Horrible. Man. I cry, too. Because it’s mostly so funny (the hammer is my…), the end is kind of like a sucker punch.

  5. Omg Dr Horrible!! YESSSSS. I haven’t watched that in like a year. I think I need to watch it tomorrow ๐Ÿ˜€ Moulin Rouge makes me cry every time I watch it. And you know, I’ve actually never seen Phantom of the Opera before. I should get on that. I’ve added it to my netflix queue!

    I really enjoyed Hairspray and Rent. Is it sad that some of my favorite musicals are actually Disney movies? Lion King, Hercules, Little Mermaid, and Pocahontas have some of my favorite songs

    1. Moulin Rouge makes me cry every time, too. Ewan McGregor crying, I can’t handle it. Also, yes, see Phantom ASAP!

      Hairspray is on my to-watch list, just haven’t gotten to it. I love all the Disney movies, too, but for some reason in my head they don’t go in the musicals category simply because they’re cartoons. Not logical, but there you have it. haha. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Hells yes to Dr Horrible! I love it so much. I’m a big musical fan too. My all time favourite musical is Cats (although it hasn’t been made into a film). If I had to choose my favourite film-based-on-a-musical, I think I’d pick either Hairspray or Cabaret.

    1. I’ve never seen a performance of Cats, though I’ve listened to some of the music. I also haven’t seen Hairspray or Cabaret, though Hairspray is on my to-see list. ๐Ÿ™‚