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The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked 

Ranker Film
Updated June 12, 2020 5.6k votes 626 voters 16.5k views 35 items

List Rules Vote up the greatest musicals released before 1970.

Sometimes it's easier to say things in a song. At least, that's the case in classic musical movies. The best old musical movies are upbeat, colorful, and full of catchy songs that help express deep emotion and tell a timeless story. This is a list of the best classic musical movies including everything from The Sound of Music to Singin' in the Rain to Fiddler on the Roof.

What films will you find in this roundup of early classic movie musicals? Maybe you're a fan of the sweeping romance West Side Story. Inspired by William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, this musical finds a young couple from rival New York street gangs falling in love, despite their families' animosity. Mary Poppins is another popular movie musical that continues to connect with fans each generation. The Technicolor favorite The Wizard of Oz took home two Academy Awards for its iconic music. Other good movies featured on this list of top classic musical films include High Society, Bye Bye Birdie, and The King and I.

Which timeless movie musical do you think is the best? Give your favorites a thumbs up and please add any great musicals that are missing. And don't be shy about singing along!

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list ordered by
1
Singin' in the Rain is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly, Rita Moreno

Released: 1952

Directed by: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly

Singin' in the Rain is a 1952 American musical comedy film directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, starring Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds, and choreographed by Kelly and Donen. It ...more

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2
The Sound of Music is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker

Released: 1965

Directed by: Robert Wise

If you love this classic, be sure to check out our list of family musical movies.

The Sound of Music is a 1965 American musical drama film produced and directed by Robert Wise and starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The film is an adaptation of the 1959 Broadway ...more

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Every Song in The Sound of Music, Ranked by Singability #21 of 69 The Best Movies That Are Super Longlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
Mary Poppins is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Elsa Lanchester

Released: 1964

Directed by: Robert Stevenson

Mary Poppins is a 1964 American musical fantasy film directed by Robert Stevenson and produced by Walt Disney, with songs written and composed by the Sherman Brothers. The screenplay is by Bill ...more

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Behind The Scenes, The Making Of 'Mary Poppins' Was Not As Magical As You'd Think #64 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
The Music Man is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
JenME3 added Ron Howard, Shirley Jones, Buddy Hackett

Released: 1962

Directed by: Morton DaCosta

The Music Man is a 1962 musical film starring Robert Preston as Harold Hill and Shirley Jones as Marian Paroo. The film is based on the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name by Meredith ...more

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#31 of 194 Musical Movies With the Best Songs #12 of 124 The Most Rewatchable Movie Musicalslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
The Wizard of Oz is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Frank Morgan

Released: 1939

Directed by: Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, King Vidor, George Cukor, Victor Fleming

The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and the most well-known and commercially successful adaptation based on the 1900 novel The Wonderful ...more

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6
The King and I is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
Deborah Kerr, Yul Brynner, Rita Moreno

Released: 1956

Directed by: Walter Lang

The King and I is a 1956 musical film made by 20th Century Fox, directed by Walter Lang and produced by Charles Brackett and Darryl F. Zanuck. The screenplay by Ernest Lehman is based on the ...more

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#1,012 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #29 of 194 Musical Movies With the Best Songslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

7
West Side Story is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, John Astin

Released: 1961

Directed by: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise

West Side Story is a 1961 American romantic musical drama film directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. The film is an adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn ...more

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8
Seven Brides for Seven B... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
Julie Newmar, Jane Powell, Howard Keel

Released: 1954

Directed by: Stanley Donen

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, is a musical film, photographed in Ansco Color in the CinemaScope format. The film was directed by Stanley Donen, with music by Saul Chaplin and Gene de Paul and ...more

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9
Meet Me in St. Louis is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
Judy Garland, Mary Astor, Margaret O'Brien

Released: 1944

Directed by: Vincente Minnelli

Meet Me in St. Louis is a 1944 musical film from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer which tells the story of an American family living in St. Louis at the time of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition World's Fair ...more

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#1,217 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #300 of 693 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #37 of 194 Musical Movies With the Best Songs

10
Summer Stock is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
DeborahTragasz added Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Phil Silvers

Released: 1950

Directed by: Charles Walters

Summer Stock, known as If You Feel Like Singing in the UK, is a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical made in 1950. The film was directed by Charles Walters and stars Judy Garland and Gene Kelly and ...more

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11
Oklahoma! is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
Shirley Jones, Rod Steiger, Eddie Albert

Released: 1955

Directed by: Fred Zinnemann

Oklahoma! is a 1955 musical film based on the 1943 stage musical Oklahoma!, written by composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist/librettist Oscar Hammerstein II and starring Gordon MacRae, Shirley ...more

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#195 of 399 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #70 of 194 Musical Movies With the Best Songs #315 of 557 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

12
On the Town is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
OLDDAWG added Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Ann Miller

Released: 1949

Directed by: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly

On the Town is a 1949 musical film with music by Leonard Bernstein and Roger Edens and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. It is an adaptation of the Broadway stage musical of the ...more

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#87 of 194 Musical Movies With the Best Songs #56 of 94 The Best Dance Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

13
Yankee Doodle Dandy is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston

Released: 1942

Directed by: Michael Curtiz

Yankee Doodle Dandy is a 1942 American biographical musical film about George M. Cohan, known as "The Man Who Owned Broadway". It stars James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, and ...more

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#90 of 195 The Best Movies About Music #81 of 194 Musical Movies With the Best Songslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

14
Bye Bye Birdie is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
Janet Leigh, Dick Van Dyke, Ann-Margret

Released: 1963

Directed by: George Sidney

Bye Bye Birdie is a 1963 musical comedy film from Columbia Pictures. It is a film adaptation of the stage production of the same name. The screenplay was written by Michael Stewart and Irving ...more

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15
High Society is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby

Released: 1956

Directed by: Charles Walters

High Society is a 1956 American musical comedy film directed by Charles Walters and starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Frank Sinatra. The film was produced by Sol C. Siegel for ...more
16
Anchors Aweigh is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Dean Stockwell

Released: 1945

Directed by: George Sidney

Anchors Aweigh is a 1945 American Technicolor musical comedy film directed by George Sidney and starring Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, and Gene Kelly, in which two sailors go on a four-day ...more

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#104 of 194 Musical Movies With the Best Songs #64 of 372 The Best Musical Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

17
South Pacific is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
France Nuyen, Doug McClure, Mitzi Gaynor

Released: 1958

Directed by: Joshua Logan

South Pacific is a 1958 American romantic musical film adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, and based on James A. Michener's Tales of the South Pacific. The film, ...more

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#149 of 214 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time #103 of 194 Musical Movies With the Best Songslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

18
A Star Is Born is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
Judy Garland, Amanda Blake, Laurindo Almeida

Released: 1954

Directed by: George Cukor

A Star Is Born is a 1954 American musical film written by Moss Hart, starring Judy Garland and James Mason, and directed by George Cukor. Hart's screenplay was an adaptation of the original 1937 ...more

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19
Show Boat is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
Kathryn Grayson, Ava Gardner, Howard Keel

Released: 1918

Show Boat is a musical in two acts, with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, based on Edna Ferber's best-selling novel of the same name. The musical follows the ...more

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#56 of 194 Musical Movies With the Best Songs #83 of 197 The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked #28 of 49 The Best Grammy-Nominated Musical Theater Albums of the 1980s

20
Oliver! is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
Oliver Reed, Leonard Rossiter, Hugh Griffith

Released: 1968

Directed by: Carol Reed

Oliver! is a 1968 British musical drama film directed by Carol Reed and based on the stage musical of the same name, with book, music and lyrics written by Lionel Bart. The screenplay was ...more

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21
Guys and Dolls is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons

Released: 1955

Directed by: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Guys and Dolls is a 1955 musical film starring Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine. The film was made by Samuel Goldwyn Productions and distributed by MGM. It was ...more

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22
The Harvey Girls is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
OLDDAWG added Judy Garland, Angela Lansbury, Cyd Charisse

Released: 1946

Directed by: George Sidney, Robert Alton

The Harvey Girls is a 1946 American musical film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer based on the 1942 novel of the same name by Samuel Hopkins Adams, about Fred Harvey's famous Harvey House ...more
23
Lady and the Tramp is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
Nicholas Panagoplos added Peggy Lee, Stan Freberg, Dallas McKennon

Released: 1955

Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi

Lady and the Tramp is a 1955 American animated musical romance film directed by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, and Hamilton Luske. The romantic tale of a sheltered uptown Cocker Spaniel dog ...more

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24
Gigi is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
OLDDAWG added Eva Gabor, Leslie Caron, Louis Jourdan

Released: 1958

Directed by: Vincente Minnelli

Gigi is a 1958 American Metrocolor musical romantic comedy film directed by Vincente Minnelli. The screenplay by Alan Jay Lerner is based on the 1944 novella of the same name by Colette. The ...more

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#106 of 194 Musical Movies With the Best Songs #14 of 21 21 Movies With Surprising Guinness World Recordslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

25
Damn Yankees is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Very Best Classic Musical Movies, Ranked
Tab Hunter, Gwen Verdon

Released: 1950

Directed by: George Abbott, Stanley Donen

Damn Yankees is a musical comedy with a book by George Abbott and Douglass Wallop, music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. The story is a modern retelling of the Faust legend set ...more

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