With the recent release of Elvis, Jukebox musicals have always been successful in getting audiences to hear previously released music interwoven into the narrative of the story. To be a jukebox musical, the music has to be part of the story and mostly non-diegetic, meaning it’s not part of the world, like a staged performance.
These films range from lively family comedies to romantic dramas that feature a variety of songs from pre-existing works. Often these films reinvent the songs to fit the story. According to Rotten Tomatoes scores, these are the highest-rated jukebox musicals of all time.
ten Sing (2016) – 71%
the anime To sing, produced by Illumination Minions hit, centers on Buster Moon, voiced by Matthew McConaughey, who rounds up a group of animals to put on a talent show in an effort to bring local theater back. The musical is filled with their own take on popular hits like Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”
The film, starring Jennifer Hudson, Scarlett Johannson and more, has been well received for its successful integration of popular music into a heartwarming yet hilarious film for the whole family. Although criticized for its script, fans and critics alike agreed that its infectious optimism was dampened by well-executed vocal performances by actors, like Jennifer Hudson, Scarlett Johannson, and more. An equally popular sequel, Sing 2, came out in 2021.
9 The Blues Brothers (1980) – 73%
The first spin-off of a Saturday Night Live sketch, The Blues Brothers featured John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd continuing the story from the sketches. In the film, Jake and Elwood Blues team up to raise money “on a mission from God” to save their old orphanage by playing music and having mishaps from time to time.
Created as a tribute to the rhythm and blues genre, the soundtrack features covers of a plethora of famous R&B songs like “Gimme Some Lovin'” and has been praised for its incorporation of R&B greats with memorable cameos from artists like Ray Charles, James Brown, and Aretha Franklin. Fans and critics alike felt that the film accurately captured the culture of the rhythm and blues genre and succeeded in paying homage.
8 Trolls (2016) – 75%
Based on the famous toy brand, the Dreamworks animated film Trolls, released in 2016, follows the cheerful and optimistic Poppy, voiced by Anna Kendrick, and the miserable anti-singing branch, voiced by Justin Timberlake. They must work together to save their friends from being eaten by the Bergens.
The film features a variety of hits that mostly cover reworked pop songs, including Anna Kendrick’s “The Sound of Silence” and the entire cast’s “September.” It was praised for its brightly colored animations, song choices both adult and child audiences could enjoy, and performances by artists like Zooey Deschanel, James Corden, and Gwen Stefani.
seven Red Mill! (2001) – 76%
More than twenty years before his Elvis musical will be released, Baz Luhrmann directed Red Mill! featuring reworked versions of popular songs from the second half of the 20th century. Starring Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman, the story follows young Christian who falls in love with famous club star Satine in a glamorous nightclub in Paris.
The film was considered a box office success and it received a Best Picture nomination. It is considered one of the best jukebox musicals of the 21st century for its inventive use of songs from various genres to suit its Parisian aesthetic production design that has hooked audiences past and present. today. Her reworked songs such as The Police’s “Roxeanne” to “El Tango De Roxanne” revealed the work that went into the overall production.
6 Mama Mia! : Here we go again (2018) – 79%
In a vibrant suite of Mama Mia!, one of the most popular jukebox musicals of the 21st century, Amanda Seyfried’s Sophia Sheridan works to open the hotel bought by her mother, Meryl Streep’s Donna Sheridan. Meanwhile, the film follows young Donna Sheridan, played by Lily James, who arrives on the island for the first time and meets three different men.
Like its predecessor, Mama Mia! Here we go again continues to use ABBA’s greatest hits to tell its story with songs like “Dancing Queen” and “Waterloo”, which is considered Here we go again’the best song. With a higher production budget and larger cast, the film received better reviews than the original for its creative storyline and inviting, euphoric songs, despite some criticism for its convoluted timeline and song-driven storylines that also plagued the original.
5 All That Jazz (1979) – 87%
By directing his semi-autobiographical film, considered his best film according to IMDb, Bob Fosse wanted to return to the sources of his childhood, especially in the first half of the 20th century before becoming the world-renowned choreographer and dancer of Broadway. The musical featured songs from other musicals, such as “There’s No Business Like Show Business” from the 1946 musical Annie take your gun.
Following Fosse Chicago success in 1975, the film received four Oscars and is preserved in the National Film Registry. The jukebox musical was divisive in its meta outlook which often relied on Fosse’s cynical outlook on the business and was seen as a self-indulgent project, but Fosse still received rave reviews for his performance. .
4 Rocket (2019) – 89%
Rocketman, released in 2019, is an Elton John biopic starring Taron Egerton, Bryce Dallas Howard and Kit Connor. Rather than going the conventional biographical route and including Elton’s songs as stage performances, the team made it a jukebox musical and integrated Elton’s music into the narrative as performances. characters to express their feelings.
Featuring Elton’s hits such as “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, the film produced by Elton John himself became a box office success and won Elton John the Oscar for Best Original Song. Egerton was praised for his performance as Elton John and the feel-good radiant performances of songs that were cemented in music history won over audiences and critics alike. It also received praise for its portrayal of John’s homosexuality and to reject any form of censorship.
3 Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) – 90%
Considered the oldest known musical jukebox from Hollywood’s Golden Age, Yankee Doodle Dandy was a biographical jukebox musical that followed George M. Cohan, considered one of the most famous music composers of the late 19th century. The film featured its own music, such as the titular song and “You’re A Grand Old Flag”.
The film received praise for its performances, especially James Cagney who played Cohan, and its well-written and delightful script. Additionally, it was considered a box office hit because most Americans had at least heard Cohan’s songs, even now, and received three Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. Its legacy as a jukebox biopic put it on American Film InstituteThe list of the 100 greatest films of the 20th century.
2 Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) – 100%
With one of the most prolific actresses of all time, Judy Garland, Meet me in St. Louis follows a year in the life of a family as they prepare for the 1904 World’s Fair. In order to set the story in 1904 as much as possible, the musical team used popular songs of the time, such as the title “Meet Me In St. Louis”, used at the 1904 World’s Fair.
Judy Garland was praised for her memorable and dynamic performance while the musical itself received rave reviews from audiences and fans alike for its charming look at family life that welcomed audiences of all kinds. While the film featured existing popular songs, three new songs were written for the film, including the famous “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”.
1 Let’s Sing in the Rain (1952) – 100%
Considered one of the highest rated films of all time with a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes, Sing in the rain was released in 1952 to rave reviews and starred Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor. The film features previously released music written by Arthur Freed for older extant musicals, particularly from 1929 to 1939.
The jukebox musical showed that reinventing music for new stories can ensure a more memorable soundtrack for audiences. His musical numbers energized audiences young and old in a display of dazzling colors and memorable dance numbers that cemented his position, not only in the musical history of cinema, but in the history of cinema in general.
NEXT: 10 Best Musicals Of All Time According To IMDb