“Singin’ in the Rain” has been chosen as the most memorable of all movie musicals in a compilation of the top 25 by the American Film Institute:
1 SINGIN' IN THE RAIN 1952 MGM
2 WEST SIDE STORY 1961 United Artists
3 WIZARD OF OZ, THE 1939 MGM
4 SOUND OF MUSIC, THE 1965 Twentieth Century-Fox
5 CABARET 1972 Allied Artists
6 MARY POPPINS 1964 Disney
7 STAR IS BORN, A 1954 Warner Bros.
8 MY FAIR LADY 1964 Warner Bros.
9 AMERICAN IN PARIS, AN 1951 MGM
10 MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS 1944 MGM
11 KING AND I, THE 1956 Twentieth Century-Fox
12 CHICAGO 2002 Miramax
13 42ND STREET 1933 Warner Bros.
14 ALL THAT JAZZ 1979 Twentieth Century-Fox
15 TOP HAT 1935 RKO
16 FUNNY GIRL 1968 Columbia
17 BAND WAGON, THE 1953 MGM
18 YANKEE DOODLE DANDY 1942 Warner Bros.
19 ON THE TOWN 1949 MGM
20 GREASE 1978 Paramount
21 SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS 1954 MGM
22 BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 1991 Disney
23 GUYS AND DOLLS 1955 MGM
24 SHOW BOAT 1936 Universal
25 MOULIN ROUGE! 2001 Twentieth Century Fox
Lots to quibble about here, which of course makes these lists so much fun! In any case, if you look at the dates of these movies, it's clear that the Golden Age is long gone. And the average age equation skews even older if you remove "Moulin Rouge" from the list. And how the heck did it get there in the first place? Even mentioning it in the same breath with West Side Story seems a bit ridiculous…
Having been involved with community theater in years past, I couldn't help noticing that a good percentage of these shows are (or were) standard fare for those venues. Maybe for a lot of reasons: popularity of the movies, relatively simple plots, music, and stagings, and certainly because the publishers made them easily (and cheaply) available to small productions.
I think their ongoing popularity has to do with being part of the first real multimedia, multi-venue shows. They were on big and little stages, in movie theaters, on the radio, on TV... my heavens, the "collectibles" market for Wizard of Oz stuff must be huge!
Anyway, thanks for the list, and Moulin what?
One should also note that presumably the rating is a judgement on the quality of the *movie*, beyond the quality of the musical itself. For instance, I don't see "South Pacific" on the list. Great Broadway show, but the movie doesn't really do it justice (certainly not in the way that West Side Story succeeds on that count).