Best Musical Movies From The 21st Century

July 26, 2021 | Benjamin Carpenter

It’s not surprising that music and film are two of the biggest industries alive today. The two industries are vastly different from each other but the artistic mediums have a powerful effect on their audiences. They both evoke emotion. Music appeals to your ears while films appeal to your eyes and when music and film come together, they can create experiences that are like no other. Of course, this isn’t new. Music videos are visual and sound plays an essential role in movies, but musical movies have a distinct style. Here are the 10 best musical movies released in the 21st century.


10 Best Musical Movies To Be Released In The 21st Century

10. Hairspray

Hairspray begins our list of best musical movies. The movie is a cheerful and campy musical that also deals with serious topics such as racism and the civil rights movement. Starring John Travolta, Nikki Blonsky, Zac Efron, Amanda Bynes, and Michelle Pfeiffer, Hairspray is good fun and the musical performances are lively. Lastly, John Travolta plays Edna Turnblad, the mother of the main character, and plays the role in a convincingly fun way.


Where To Watch Hairspray



9. High School Musical Series

If you are a millennial or a Gen Z-er, then the High School Musical series probably holds a special place in your heart. The stories of each movie are basic and the characters are simple but none of that stopped the High School Musical series from becoming an iconic cultural sensation. The director, Kenny Ortega, created memorable music and choreography that sticks with viewers to this day. The HSM franchise launched the careers of Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens.


Where To Watch High School Musical

Disney Plus


8. Enchanted

Enchanted is a movie musical that subverts the classic tropes we all expect from fairy tales. Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, and Idina Menzel star in this musical romance. Delightful is the best word to describe Enchanted. It has witty dialogue, sharp animation, and seamless casting. The music gives a tribute to a Disney era that is no more and brings that music into the modern era.


Where To Watch Enchanted

Disney Plus


7. Frozen

Frozen took the world by snowstorm. It transcended being just a movie and became a worldwide phenomenon. The song “Let it go” was played and sung by audiences everywhere. Frozen is an animation that appeals to both kids and adults. It has all of the elements of a Disney classic. Great music, story, and a quirky script.


Where To Watch Frozen

Disney Plus


6. Rent

Rent The Musical was created by the late Jonathan Larson. Larson was a playwright and composer who won several Tony Awards and Pulitzer Prizes for his work. He created Rent to loosely contain elements of his own experiences in New York City. Rent revolutionized the Broadway musical scene and is one of the longest-running shows on Broadway. Unfortunately, Larson would never see the legacy of his work as he died on the morning of Rent’s first premiere. Rent the movie is an adaptation that received mixed reviews by critics but was embraced by audiences all around the world, especially teenagers and young adults. Rent found its audience and is now cemented as one of the best musical movies.


Where To Watch Rent



5. Les Misérables

Epic and intimate. Les Misérables is a rollercoaster that will leave you emotionally drained at the end. It’s filled with breathtaking performances from Amanda Seyfried, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, and Russell Crowe. The music is emotionally raw and although Crowe isn’t as musically talented as his co-stars, his acting is still a cut above the rest. Anne Hathaway managed to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress even though she was only in the film for 15 minutes.


Where To Watch Les Misérables



4. In The Heights

In The Heights is one of the best musical movies to be released in recent years. This was the first original musical created by Lin-Manuel Miranda. In The Heights wasn’t as large of a phenomenon as Hamilton but the musical is a personal celebration of Latin American culture. In The Heights is a light-hearted story filled with vibrant music, romance, and a tribute to family.


Where To Watch In The Heights



3. Hamilton

Hamilton was one of the most-streamed movies of 2020. The movie musical was released in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic which may have added to its revolutionary effect on audiences. Like many other musicals on this list, Hamilton spread like wildfire on its release. Hamilton was created by Lin-Manuel Miranda who also stars as Alexander Hamilton. Although watching the Hamilton theatrical play on Disney plus loses some of its vigor, the music blends together hip hop, pop, and traditional show tunes into a joyful 160min experience.


Where To Watch Hamilton

Disney Plus


2. Dreamgirls

From the screenwriter of Chicago, Dreamgirls is energetic and filled with stellar musical numbers that capture the old-school glamour of Motown. The best aspect of Dreamgirls is the clever casting. As a newcomer to Hollywood, Jennifer Hudson stole the show with her powerful performance and even more powerful voice. The songs from Dreamgirls are guaranteed to stay in your head for at least a week.


Where To Watch Dreamgirls



1. Chicago

Chicago is a Broadway musical that opened in 1977. The musical was based on a 1926 play of the same name created by Maurine Dallas. Dallas was a reporter who based the play on actual crimes that she reported. The original play was a black comedy that played with the concept of a celebrity criminal. The 2002 movie is more of a drama but the themes about fame and the criminal justice system are still there. Starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, and Richard Gere, the movie adaptation won several Academy Awards including Best Picture.


Where To Watch Chicago

Prime Video
Apple TV
Google Play Movies & TV


The Musical Movies Trend Won’t Be Ending Soon

Every once in a while, a movie based on a Broadway musical steals the spotlight and takes audiences by surprise. Lin-Manuel Miranda is the recent architect of many of the best musical movies that have been well received by audiences and critics alike. He will be directing another musical movie set to be released later this year. The West Side Story remake, directed by Steven Spielberg, is also set to be released this year in December.

Published on July 26th, 2021, updated on March 23rd, 2022


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