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Stacker compiled a list of the 100 best movie musicals of all time based on IMDb user ratings. Films had to be listed as a musical on IMDb and have 2,500 votes.
Whether it's an adapted Broadway show, an animated feature, or a campy parody, movie musicals hold a special place in the hearts of fans. But what makes a musical film great? Maybe it's the memorable tunes and expressive voices. Perhaps it's the impromptu dance numbers. Or it could just be the combination of a well-written storyline and Oscar-worthy musical score that lands it high on the list. Whatever their criteria, plenty of cinephiles have shown immense adoration for movie musicals.
Stacker compiled a list of the 100 best movie musicals of all time based on IMDb user ratings. To qualify, the film had to be listed as musical on IMDb, have a Metascore, and have at least 2,500 votes. Ties were broken by Metascore and further ties were broken by the number of IMDb user votes. Movies of all languages were eligible, and data was collected in October 2022. Every film on the list represents a part of the cinematic history and development of movie musicals.
Here are the 100 top vote-getting musicals of all time, complete with IMDb ratings, Metascores, directors, and stars—plus selections of the tunes that made them famous, when available. Feel free to sing along.
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- Directors: Wolfgang Reitherman, Clyde Geronimi, David Hand
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Metascore: 61
- Runtime: 79 minutes
Loosely based on T.H. White's novel of the same name, "The Sword in the Stone" follows the journey of a poor English boy named Arthur (Rickie Sorensen), who becomes a beloved king thanks to the help of the wizard Merlin (Karl Swenson). The film was the last Walt Disney Animation Studios film released before Walt Disney's death in 1966. It was also the first Disney film featuring music by the Sherman Brothers, who later worked on music for films like "Mary Poppins" and "The Aristocats."
- Directors: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman
- Runtime: 94 minutes
Although "Anastasia" is often confused as a Disney Princess film, it was actually released by 20th Century Fox (long before the studio was acquired by Disney). The animated film stars Meg Ryan as the titular Romanov princess, who hopes to reconnect with her lost family and rediscover her forgotten origins after the Romanovs were torn apart by evil sorcerer Grigori Rasputin (Christopher Lloyd) at the start of the Russian Revolution. Featuring memorable songs like the Oscar-nominated "Journey to the Past" and the haunting ballad "Once Upon a December," the film's success led to a 2016 stage musical of the same name.
- Directors: Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner, Simon Wells
- Metascore: 64
- Runtime: 99 minutes
Inspired by the Book of Exodus, "The Prince of Egypt" tells the story of Moses (Val Kilmer, who also voices God), from his upbringing as an adopted prince to his plight to lead enslaved Hebrews out of Egypt. The movie received mainstream popularity aided by a pop version of the song "When You Believe," performed by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. The track won Best Original Song at the Oscars, making it the first animated film not released by Disney to win the category.
- Director: Bill Condon
- Metascore: 65
- Runtime: 129 minutes
A selfish prince (Dan Stevens) is cursed to be a monster and must learn to fall in love with and be loved by the beautiful young woman he holds prisoner, Belle (Emma Watson), if he's to be freed from the curse. For this live-action adaptation of the animated classic, Belle's ballroom gown required 3,000 feet of thread and 2,160 crystals. Its songs include "Evermore," written especially for the 2017 version, as well as tunes from the original film like"Gaston" and "Be Our Guest."
- Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
- Metascore: 66
- Runtime: 78 minutes
In this beloved, Paris-set Disney musical, a family of aristocratic cats' lives are turned upside down after a butler kidnaps them in an attempt to steal their owner's fortune. "The Aristocrats" was the Sherman Brothers' last time working on the music for a Disney film. It's best known for the jazzy number "Ev'rybody Wants to Be a Cat."
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- Director: Wilford Leach
- Runtime: 112 minutes
"The Pirates of Penzance" tracks the journey of the young pirate Frederic (Rex Smith), who fights to escape from under the thumb of the Pirate King (Kevin Kline) and win the maiden Mabel's (Linda Ronstadt) hand. The film was based on the 1980 Broadway musical and featured many returning Broadway cast members. Although "Pirates" was a box office bomb, it received critical acclaim (Variety called it "a delight").
- Director: Valeriy Todorovskiy
- Metascore: 67
- Runtime: 130 minutes
"Hipsters" unfolds in 1950s Moscow, following the rise of the Soviet "stilyagi" rock subculture. Although the movie takes place in the '50s, its score mainly consists of covers from '80s and '90s Soviet bands like Bravo, the Red Elvises, and Kino. Because of its nostalgic jukebox appeal, it has become a Russian cult hit.
- Director: Jim Henson
- Metascore: 70
- Runtime: 97 minutes
Muppets Kermit, Gonzo, and Fozzie are reporters traveling to London to interview a fashion designer whose priceless diamond necklace was stolen by jewel thieves. While there, Kermit falls in love with her secretary, Miss Piggy. But the thieves strike again, framing Piggy, so Kermit and his colleagues decide to find the real culprits. Songs include "Couldn't We Ride" and "Hey a Movie!"
- Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker
- Metascore: 73
"The Princess and the Frog" transplants the Brothers Grimm story "The Frog Prince" to 1920s New Orleans, where ambitious waitress Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) dreams of opening her own restaurant. However, her life changes forever when she kisses a prince (Bruno Campos) who has been transformed into a frog by the Voodoo witch doctor Facilier (Keith David), turning Tiana into a frog herself. "The Princess and the Frog" was the first Disney film to feature traditional animation since 2004's "Home on the Range," and received three Academy Award nominations (including two Best Original Song nods for the tracks "Almost There" and "Down in New Orleans").
- Directors: Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall
- Metascore: 74
- Runtime: 63 minutes
Winnie the Pooh's insatiable appetite for honey helps motivate him, as he and his friends seek Eeyore's missing tail and rescue Christopher Robin from the Backson. "It's Gonna be Great" and "Hundred Acre Spy Game" are among the original songs by married couple Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, as well as Henry Jackson. The Lopezes also contributed voice acting to the film.
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- Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
- Metascore: 77
- Runtime: 150 minutes
A gambler in New York (Marlon Brando) is challenged by another (Frank Sinatra) to take a female missionary (Jean Simmons) to Havana on a date, but the bet's motive is to finance a crap game. Naturally, the pair ends up falling for each other. Music and lyrics were penned by Frank Loesser; the soundtrack includes "Luck Be a Lady" and "Adelaide's Lament." The two leading men were rivals off-screen as well—Brando and Sinatra reportedly detested each other.
- Director: Frank Oz
- Metascore: 81
In this remake of the off-Broadway musical and 1960 film of the same name, Rick Moranis plays shy florist Seymour, who gets a second chance at life and love when a bloodthirsty plant named Audrey II comes into his possession. Things take a turn when the plant racks up a body count. The film's song "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space" became the first Oscar-nominated song to ever contain profane lyrics.
- Director: Mamoru Hosoda
- Metascore: 83
- Runtime: 121 minutes
This Japanese animated film reimagines "Beauty and the Beast" in the internet era, following a shy teenage girl named Suzu (Kaho Nakamura) who cultivates a digital persona as an internationally famous pop singer. This is where the musical element of the story comes in, as Nakamura performs Suzu's songs. While immersing herself in the virtual world known as "U," the heroine becomes enamored with an anonymous beast who's being hunted by vigilantes.
- Director: Joel Schumacher
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Metascore: 40
- Runtime: 143 minutes
The Phantom, a disfigured musical genius (Gerard Butler) who lives beneath the Paris Opera House, is obsessed with Christine (Emmy Rossum), a young soprano singer. The Phantom secretly tutors the soprano and forces the owners of the venue to give her lead roles. His obsession with Christine builds, and he kidnaps the singer to force her to stay with him. But she falls for Raoul (Patrick Wilson), who tries to foil the scheme. Based on an Andrew Lloyd Webber stage classic, the musical features unforgettable tunes like "All I Ask of You" and "Think of Me."
- Director: David Byrne
- Runtime: 89 minutes
Talking Heads frontman David Byrne stars and directs this strange, surreal tale of fictional Virgil, Texas, as its equally eccentric residents prepare for the state's 150th anniversary. Most of the film's music comes from the Talking Heads, who released a soundtrack album accompanying its release entitled "Sounds From True Stories." This film followed the release of their smash-hit 1984 concert film "Stop Making Sense."
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- Director: Jorge R. Gutiérrez
- Runtime: 95 minutes
In this animated comedy, Young Manolo (voice of Diego Luna) must choose between his family's expectations and following his heart. Before choosing, he embarks on an adventure through three fantastic worlds, in which he must face his greatest fears. Fresh takes on pop favorites abound, with songs including "Ecstasy of Gold," "Cielito Lindo," and "I Will Wait."
- Director: Randal Kleiser
- Runtime: 110 minutes
Tough-guy Danny (John Travolta) and sweet Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) fall in love over the summer and later learn they're students at the same high school in this 1950s-era musical. Its famous songs include the title song and karaoke staple "You're the One that I Want." Elvis Presley famously turned down the role of The Guardian Angel in the "Beauty School Drop-Out" scene; he died the same day "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" was filmed and the lyrics were adapted in his honor.
- Directors: Jared Bush, Byron Howard, Charise Castro Smith
- Metascore: 75
- Runtime: 102 minutes
"Encanto" centers on Colombian teenager Mirabel Madrigal (Stephanie Beatriz), the only member of her family without magical powers. When the house from which the Madrigals derive their power starts to deteriorate, Mirabel sets out to find the source of the problem and discovers family secrets that seemingly only she can fix. Featuring original songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda, the "Encanto" soundtrack managed to hit #1 on both the U.S. and U.K. Billboard 200 charts (especially for the hit song "We Don't Talk About Bruno").
- Director: Rob Marshall
- Runtime: 113 minutes
Femmes fatales Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Roxie Hart (Renée Zellweger) are on death row for murder in 1920s Chicago, leading both to seek fame in order to avoid the gallows. Richard Gere took tap-dancing lessons for three months for his part as Billy Flynn. Popular tunes include "All That Jazz" and "When You're Good to Mama."
- Director: Vincente Minnelli
- Runtime: 114 minutes
Romantic complications abound when ex-GI and struggling artist Jerry Mulligan (Gene Kelly) remains in Paris after World War II to sell his art. Discovered by wealthy Milo Roberts (Nina Foch), who has an interest in him that goes beyond art, Mulligan falls for a young French woman (Leslie Caron) already being courted by his friend Henri (Georges Guétary). Favorite tunes from the film include "I Got Rhythm" and "Love is Here to Stay." The final 17-minute dance took a month to film and cost $500,000.
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- Directors: Les Clark, Clyde Geronimi, Eric Larson, Wolfgang Reitherman, Hamilton Luske
- Metascore: 85
- Runtime: 75 minutes
An evil fairy puts a curse on Princess Aurora after being snubbed by the royal family in this animated Disney fantasy. Only a prince—with the assistance of three good fairies—can break the spell. The film's most popular songs include romantic waltz "Once Upon a Dream" and the wistful "I Wonder."
- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Runtime: 156 minutes
Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler (in her debut film role) starred in Steven Spielberg's adaptation of the 1957 stage musical, which was previously adapted into the now-iconic Oscar-winning film from 1961. Resembling the love story of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," the film follows the romance between Tony and Maria, two young New Yorkers from rival gangs in the 1950s, which ultimately ends in tragedy. In this version, the song "Somewhere"—sung as a duet by Tony and Maria in the original movie—was sung by Valentina, a new character played Rita Moreno, who won an Oscar for playing Anita in the 1961 film.
- Directors: Samuel Armstrong, Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen, John Elliotte
- Metascore: 96
- Runtime: 64 minutes
Disney's animated classic "Dumbo" tells the story of a young circus elephant, Jumbo Jr., who is relentlessly bullied, and given his nickname, because of his oversized ears. But he becomes the star of the show when he discovers his big ears allow him to fly, with the help of Timothy Q. Mouse (voice by Edward Brophy). Though the entire cast was uncredited, Sterling Holloway, known as the original voice of Winnie the Pooh, performed as Mr. Stork.
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: 50
- Runtime: 101 minutes
The Goblin King grants teenager Sarah's misguided wish to have her baby brother taken away—she's then given 13 hours to solve a labyrinth and rescue him. David Bowie is the Goblin King Jareth, with Jennifer Connelly as Sarah and Toby Froud as baby Toby. Its Bowie-penned songs include "As the World Falls Down" and "Magic Dance." The late Muppet master Jim Henson directed the film, which features many creatures from his workshop.
- Director: Julie Taymor
- Metascore: 56
- Runtime: 133 minutes
In "Across the Universe," a poor British boy and a wealthy American girl fall in love in the '60s, with the Vietnam War and the music of The Beatles serving as the backdrop. The lead characters' names are inspired by the Fab Four as well—Jim Sturgess plays Jude and Evan Rachel Wood is Lucy. The Beatles-penned soundtrack includes performances by Wood and Sturgess, as well as U2's Bono ("I Am the Walrus") and Eddie Izzard ("Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!").
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- Director: Norman Jewison
- Runtime: 106 minutes
Adapted from the stage play, "Jesus Christ Superstar" presents the last days of Christ's life as a rock opera, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. Ted Neeley appears as Jesus, Carl Anderson as Judas Iscariot, Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene, and Barry Dennen as Pontius Pilate. Told from the perspective of Judas, the rock opera is one of the most frequently staged productions in history.
- Director: Tony Gatlif
- Runtime: 90 minutes
"Vengo" centers on two Andalusian Romani families clamoring for power in Spain. Famous Flamenco dancer Antonio Canales stars as Caco, who fights to protect his family from their rivals, the Caravaca clan. The film draws from Spanish music and flamenco and also stars flamenco singer Maria del Carmen Salazar.
- Director: Dexter Fletcher
- Metascore: 69
Starring Taron Egerton as Elton John, "Rocketman" tells the story of the famous singer, from his English childhood to stardom to struggles with addiction and lasting musical legacy. The film is named after John's hit 1972 song of the same name. Egerton and John also performed the new track "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again" for the film, which John co-wrote with his longtime collaborator and lyricist Bernie Taupin (played by Jamie Bell in the film). The song won Best Original Song at the 2020 Oscars.
- Directors: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
- Metascore: 71
- Runtime: 98 minutes
Three sailors on shore leave have 24 hours to find fun and romance in "On the Town." Co-director Gene Kelly stars as Gabey, with Frank Sinatra as Chip, and Jules Munshin as Ozzie. The three sailors become infatuated with Ivy Smith, June's "Miss Turnstiles." Songs include "New York, New York," but not the version Sinatra made famous.
- Runtime: 93 minutes
Hercules, son of Greek gods Zeus and Hera, loses his immortality as an infant and must become a real hero to reclaim it. Tate Donovan voices the title role, while Charlton Heston narrates this Disney flick that takes some liberties in its retelling of the original myth. Songs include "Zero to Hero" and opener "The Gospel Truth."
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- Director: Stanley Donen
Set in 1850 Oregon, a backwoodsman brings home a wife, prompting his six brothers to get married as well. With tunes including "Bless Your Beautiful Hide," "When You're in Love," and "Sobbin' Women," the film was well-received despite its latent misogyny.
- Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Jack Kinney
- Metascore: 76
- Runtime: 77 minutes
Bobby Driscoll voices the animated Peter Pan, who whisks the Darling children—Wendy, John, and Michael—off to Neverland. But his nemesis, Captain Hook (voiced by Hans Conreid), is waiting for him. Songs include "You Can Fly!" and "The Second Star to the Right."
- Director: Lloyd Bacon
In 42nd Street, a director puts on what could be his last Broadway show, and a newcomer has to replace the star at the last moment. It's packed with popular tunes including the title song, "Dames," "Shuffle off to Buffalo," and "We're in the Money." The musical was so successful it saved Warner Bros. from bankruptcy.
- Directors: Tim Burton, Mike Johnson
In a 19th-century European village, young Victor is practicing his wedding vows—unaware that he's just promised himself to a corpse bride. He's whisked away into the underworld, leaving his real bride bereft in the land of the living. The animated drama features the voices of Johnny Depp as Victor Van Dort, Helena Bonham Carter as the Corpse Bride, and Emily Watson as Victoria Everglot. Its songs include the bony "Remains of the Day."
- Director: Tim Burton
- Runtime: 116 minutes
Benjamin Barker, aka Sweeney Todd, seeks revenge for being imprisoned unjustly by a corrupt judge who abuses his wife, Lucy, and has custody of his daughter, Johanna. He sets up a barbershop in London with fellow tenant Mrs. Lovett, who makes meat pies from the bodies of the men whose throats he's sliced. Johnny Depp is the demon barber himself, with Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett and Alan Rickman as the evil Judge Turpin. Songs include "Johanna," "The Worst Pies in London," and "Pretty Women." Burton insisted on the film's bloodiness as it added to the film's campy melodrama.
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- Director: Jon M. Chu
- Metascore: 84
Thirteen years after Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical "In the Heights" won Best Musical at the Tony Awards, the show was finally put to screen with Jon M. Chu's 2021 film adaptation. The energetic musical tells the story of bodega owner Usnavi (Anthony Ramos) and his community members in the largely Dominican neighborhood of Washington Heights, Manhattan. Two new songs created for the film, while not on the soundtrack, can be heard playing in the background of the movie: "Always" by Broadway star Mandy Gonzalez, and "Cuándo Llega El Tren" by Flaco Navaja.
- Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske
- Runtime: 74 minutes
An evil stepmother (voiced by Eleanor Audley) and two stepsisters (Rhoda Williams, Lucille Bliss) prevent Cinderella (Ilene Woods) from attending a royal event. But her fairy godmother (Verna Felton) turns her into the belle of the ball, where she enchants Prince Charming. The spell wears off at midnight, and she loses her glass slipper in her haste—but the prince uses the shoe to find his mystery date.
- Director: William Wyler
- Metascore: 89
- Runtime: 151 minutes
"Funny Girl" is a biopic of Fanny Brice, the early 1900s comedienne and entertainer. Barbra Streisand won an Oscar for depicting Brice's vibrancy and determination, from her beginnings as a Ziegfeld girl through her subsequent career and relationship with Nick Arnstein (Omar Sharif). Its songs include "Don't Rain on My Parade," "I'm the Greatest Star," and "His Love Makes Me Beautiful." Producer Ray Stark was Brice's son-in-law.
- Directors: Garth Jennings, Christophe Lourdelet
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: 49
"Sing 2" continues the story of the original 2016 film, as koala singer Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) and his fellow performers attempt to convince retired rockstar Clay Calloway (Bono) to join them for a new show. The movie features a new original song from U2, titled "Your Song Saved My Life." The rest of the soundtrack features covers of songs from popular musicians like Elton John, Billie Eilish, and more.
- Director: Jim Sharman
- Runtime: 100 minutes
Innocent couple Janet and Brad stumble upon the castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a cross-dresser hosting visitors from the planet Transsexual in Transylvania as he unveils his creation, Rocky Horror (Peter Hinwood). Tim Curry plays Frank-N-Furter, with Susan Sarandon as Janet Weiss and Barry Bostwick as Brad Majors. With a glam-rock soundtrack that includes hits like "The Time Warp" and "Sweet Transvestite," the cult film is known for its live experience—which involves props and audience callbacks.
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- Metascore: 68
With memorable tunes including "I'm Late," "The Unbirthday Song," and "Very Good Advice," "Alice in Wonderland" follows the adventures of the title character into the world of Wonderland, where the Queen of Hearts threatens to keep her from getting back home. The film features the voices of Kathryn Beaumont as Alice, Ed Wynn as the Mad Hatter, and Sterling Holloway as the Cheshire Cat. Although largely beloved today, both British and American audiences heaped criticism on the film.
- Director: Walter Lang
- Metascore: 72
Rodgers and Hammerstein's unforgettable score for "The King and I" includes "Getting to Know You," "Shall We Dance," and "I Whistle a Happy Tune." Yul Brynner is King Mongkut of Siam, Deborah Kerr plays Anna Leonowens (the British governess with whom he clashes), and Rita Moreno plays Tuptim, one of the king's young wives. The film won five Oscars—including Best Actor for Brynner—out of nine nominations overall.
- Director: Norman Z. McLeod
The first Hollywood film for the Marx Brothers, "Monkey Business" showcases the brothers' hilarious antics on a transatlantic crossing, starting with them as stowaways in barrels harmonizing to "Sweet Adeline." In the movie, the brothers have no names.
- Director: Carol Reed
- Runtime: 153 minutes
Adapted from Charles Dickens's classic novel "Oliver Twist" and Lionel Bart's 1960 musical of the same name, "Oliver" follows young orphan Oliver (Mark Lester), who's taken in by his pickpocket target, Mr. Brownlow, much to the chagrin of his criminal overlords. The film won big at the Oscars, taking home awards like Best Picture and Best Director. Songs include "Food, Glorious Food," "As Long as He Needs Me," and "You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two."
- Directors: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Princess Anna sets off with mountain man Kristoff and his reindeer Sven to find her sister Elsa—whose power over ice has frozen the kingdom of Arendelle in winter forever. This animated adventure comedy features the voices of Kristen Bell as Anna, Jonathan Groff as Kristoff, and Idina Menzel as Elsa. Its breakout song, "Let it Go," has a sing-along version with nearly 3 billion views on YouTube.
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- Director: Victor Heerman
In "Animal Crackers," a valuable painting goes missing during a party honoring African explorer Capt. Geoffrey Spaulding (Groucho Marx). Tunes include "Hooray for Captain Spaulding," "My Old Kentucky Home," and "Why Am I So Romantic?" Margaret Dumont, playing society matron Mrs. Rittenhouse, appeared with the brothers in the theater version for 191 performances.
- Director: George Dunning
- Metascore: 79
- Runtime: 85 minutes
The Beatles perform the soundtrack of an animated adventure, in which the foursome joins Captain Fred (Lance Percival) in his yellow watercraft—with the goal of going to Pepperland to free the music from the Blue Meanies. The title song and "All You Need is Love" are among the celebrated tunes in this fourth of five movies starring The Beatles.
- Director: Mark Sandrich
- Metascore: 80
- Runtime: 107 minutes
"The Gay Divorcee" features Ginger Rogers as an American woman named Mimi Glossop who travels to England to seek a divorce from her husband—where she falls for dashing performer Guy Holden (Fred Astaire). "The Continental" was the first to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
- Director: James Whale
- Metascore: 88
Based on the Broadway musical of the same name, "Show Boat" spans four decades and follows Magnolia Hawks (Irene Dunne) a sheltered woman who takes over as the lead performer of her father's showboat. Along the way, she falls for Gaylord Ravenal (Allan Jones), a charismatic gambler whose habit threatens their long-term happiness. The movie features three new songs: "I Have the Room Above Her," "Gallivantin' Aroun'" (a controversial blackface number), and "Ah Still Suits Me."
- Director: Mike Leigh
- Metascore: 90
- Runtime: 160 minutes
Gilbert and Sullivan (Jim Broadbent and Allan Corduner) reach an impasse over Gilbert's idea for a piece, as Sullivan rejects it as "Topsy-Turvy." But when Gilbert's wife Lucy (Lesley Manville) takes him along to a Japanese exhibition, inspiration kicks in for the production of "The Mikado."
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- Metascore: 93
Fred Astaire stars as Tony Hunter and Cyd Charisse is Gabrielle Gerard in "The Band Wagon." It's the story of a pretentious art director hired for a new Broadway musical, who turns it into something unrecognizable. Songs include "A Shine on Your Shoes" and the elaborate "Dancing in the Dark," with Astaire and Charisse showing off their dancing chops.
- Director: Michael Gracey
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Metascore: 48
- Runtime: 105 minutes
Hugh Jackman portrays P.T. Barnum in the musical biopic "The Greatest Showman," which celebrates the birth of show business and a visionary who created a worldwide spectacle. Songs include "The Greatest Show," "A Million Dreams," and "Never Enough." Detractors claimed the real Barnum was a racist swindler who made his fortune by exploiting others, particularly African Americans.
- Director: Michael Curtiz
- Runtime: 120 minutes
Successful song-and-dance duo Wallace and Davis (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye) becomes romantically involved with the talented Haynes sisters (Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen), and they all work together to bring a show to the failing Vermont inn of an aging WWII general. Considered a nostalgic holiday film and one of the greatest of musicals, "White Christmas" tunes include the title song, "Sisters," and "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep."
- Director: Tom Hooper
- Metascore: 63
- Runtime: 158 minutes
Hunted for decades by the ruthless cop Javert (Russell Crowe), ex-convict Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) takes in the daughter of a dying factory worker (Anne Hathaway), in the 2012 film version of Broadway phenomenon. The libretto includes the unforgettable "Do You Hear the People Sing" as well as "Red and Black." Hathaway won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress; the film also picked up Academy Awards for sound mixing as well as makeup and hairstyling in addition to a Best Picture nomination.
- Director: Milos Forman
In "Hair," Claude Bukowski (John Savage) leaves the family ranch in Oklahoma and is welcomed into a hippie group led by George Berger (Treat Williams)—but he's already been drafted to serve in Vietnam. He falls in love with a rich but rebellious girl, Sheila Franklin, who is played by Beverly D'Angelo. Songs include "Aquarius" and "Good Morning Starshine." Over 20,000 extras and background artists were used in some of the tunes.
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- Directors: Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam
"The Meaning of Life" marked British comedy troupe Monty Python's final film featuring all six original members, as Graham Chapman died in 1989. The movie tells the stages of life through various songs and sketches, from birth to death and the afterlife. Film critic Robert Osborne of The Hollywood Reporter called the film "Unbelievably crass. And extremely funny."
- Director: Lin-Manuel Miranda
"Hamilton" and "In the Heights" multi-hyphenate Lin-Manuel Miranda made his feature film directorial debut with "tick, tick… BOOM!" Based on "Rent" writer Jonathan Larson's semi-autobiographical musical of the same name, the movie stars Andrew Garfield as Larson. As he nears his 30th birthday, the main character reflects on life as an artist in New York City and his attempts to leave behind a legacy. Two songs were cut from the original stage musical: "Sugar" and "See Her Smile."
- Runtime: 104 minutes
This early movie musical follows Broadway director Chester Kent (James Cagney), who has struggled to find work since motion picture "talkies" were invented. However, he finds a new career producing musical sequences for movies … until a competitor starts stealing his ideas. Songs include "Honeymoon Hotel," "By a Waterfall," and "Shanghai Lil."
- Runtime: 68 minutes
The zany Marx Brothers star in "Horse Feathers," in which the new president of a university, Quincy Adams Wagstaff (Groucho Marx) hires Baravelli (Chico Marx) and Pinky (Harpo Marx) to help his team win the big football game against Darwin. The film includes the classic "Everyone Says I Love You" and "I'm Against It." Some have seen the film as a subversive attack on society and authority.
- Director: George Cukor
- Runtime: 154 minutes
Norman Maine (James Mason), a failing star with a drinking problem, marries newcomer Esther Blodgett—who saves him from disgrace and who he's helping reach the top. Music includes "The Man That Got Away" and "Gotta Have Me Go With You." The remake of this 1932 original was considered the definitive moment of Garland's adult career.
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- Director: George Stevens
- Metascore: 91
- Runtime: 103 minutes
In "Swing Time," Fred Astaire plays a performer and gambler who goes to New York to make it big and raise money to marry his fiancée. His plans are altered when he becomes entangled with an aspiring dancer, played by his dance partner Ginger Rogers. The film's music highlights include "The Way You Look Tonight" and "Pick Yourself Up."
- Metascore: 94
The Smith sisters learn about life and love leading up to the St. Louis World's Fair while their parents prepare to move to New York. Starring Judy Garland as Esther, Margaret O'Brien as Tootie, Mary Astor as Mrs. Anna Smith, and Lucille Bremer as Rose Smith, the film's soundtrack includes the title tune, "The Trolley Song," and famously, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." The movie was based on the real-life experiences of writer Sally Benson, who was called Tootie as a little girl.
- Director: Richard Lester
- Runtime: 87 minutes
"A Hard Day's Night" stars the Beatles as slapstick versions of themselves during the height of Beatlemania. In the film, they must deal with madcap misadventures while preparing for an important live television performance. The movie has been cited as one of the most influential musical films ever made, and Criterion notes that it also "exerted an incalculable influence on the music video."
- Directors: Norman Ferguson, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen
- Metascore: 99
- Runtime: 88 minutes
A childless woodcarver named Geppetto creates a wooden marionette named Pinocchio, wishing he could become a real boy. When a fairy grants his wish, Jiminy Cricket is assigned to act as Pinocchio's conscience and keep him out of trouble. But the boy gets into plenty of trouble, and with every lie his nose grows longer. The film features the voices of Dickie Jones as the title character, Cliff Edwards as Jiminy Cricket, and Christian Rub as Geppetto, and its songs include "When You Wish Upon a Star" and "I've Got No Strings."
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
In this animated musical adventure, a panther and a bear try to convince a young boy named Mowgli, who was raised by wolves, to find a home among humans. Popular songs from the Disney film include "The Bare Necessities" and "I Wanna Be Like You."
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- Director: Baz Luhrmann
- Runtime: 127 minutes
In 1899 Paris, a young poet named Christian joins the fantastic Bohemian underworld of the city's legendary Moulin Rouge. Christian (Ewan McGregor) falls for a beautiful courtesan, Satine (Nicole Kidman), who is desired by a jealous duke. Its robust soundtrack includes reimaginings of pop songs like "Lady Marmalade" and Elton John's "Your Song," as well as the original composition "Come What May." Kidman broke two ribs and injured a knee while rehearsing a dance number for the film.
- Directors: Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook
In this animated musical, a young woman secretly takes her father's place in the army to save him from death and becomes one of China's greatest heroines. The film features the voices of Ming-Na Wen as heroine Fa Mulan (singing by Lea Salonga), Eddie Murphy as Mushu the dragon, and BD Wong as Captain Li Shang, with songs like "I'll Make a Man Out of You" and "Reflection." The story is based on Hua Mulan, a legendary figure from ancient China.
- Director: James Frawley
In Jim Henson's The Muppet Movie, Kermit the Frog and friends travel across America looking for success in Hollywood. But a frog leg merchant has other ideas. Henson is the voice of seven characters (including Kermit), while Oz provides the voice for nine Muppets including Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear. Songs include "The Rainbow Connection" and "Never Before, Never Again!"
- Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker, Don Hall, Chris Williams
With catchy songs including "How Far I'll Go" and "You're Welcome," this animated musical set in Ancient Polynesia follows Moana, who heeds the call of the ocean as she strives to end a terrible curse brought about the demigod Maui and enlists his help to set things right. Although the film is computer animated, Maui's tattoos are hand-drawn.
- Directors: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise
- Metascore: 86
A young couple aligned with two different rival New York gangs falls in love, but the tensions between their friends leads to tragedy. Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer star as Maria and Tony; George Chakiris is Bernardo, and Rita Moreno appears as Anita. The musical's unforgettable tunes include "Tonight," "Maria," and "America." The musical won 10 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Music Scoring of a Musical Picture.
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- Runtime: 83 minutes
Red-headed teenage mermaid Ariel (played by Jodi Benson) isn't satisfied with her life "Under the Sea," and makes a bargain with Ursula, the sea witch (Pat Carroll) to become human. This Oscar-winning Disney smash includes memorable songs like "Part of Your World" and "Kiss the Girl."
- Runtime: 126 minutes
The biopic "Yankee Doodle Dandy" looks at the life of George M. Cohan: singer, dancer, composer, actor, and playwright, who received the Congressional Gold Medal for lifetime achievement in 1936. Its music offerings draw from Cohan's songbook and include "Give My Regards to Broadway," "Harrigan," "Over There," and the title song. James Cagney, as Cohan, became the first actor to win the Best Actor Academy Award for a musical performance.
- Director: Nina Paley
- Runtime: 82 minutes
"Sita Sings the Blues" ambitiously interweaves the events of the Indian Sanskrit epic known as the Ramayana with events from director Nina Paley's own life, telling tales of life and love throughout the centuries. Certain scenes are set to jazz songs performed by singer Annette Hanshaw, who was prolific in the 1920s. However, the film faced some controversy for using Hanshaw recordings that weren't covered by copyright law, and for its relation to Hinduism.
- Directors: William Cottrell, David Hand, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, Ben Sharpsteen
- Metascore: 95
Based on the fairy tale, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" recounts the story of a jealous queen who wants to rid herself of her beautiful stepdaughter Snow White, who is taken in by a band of dwarfs in their forest home. The queen becomes a witch and gives Snow White a poisoned apple, which puts her to sleep. Only true love's kiss can save her. The film's soundtrack features upbeat tunes such as "Whistle While You Work" and "Heigh Ho."
- Director: Brian Henson
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
With tunes including "It Feels Like Christmas," "Scrooge," and "Thankful Heart," the Muppets retell Charles Dickens' classic story of an old, bitter miser who is given a chance at redemption on Christmas Eve. Sir Michael Caine is Scrooge while the rest of the stars listed cover a range of Muppet voices. Caine considered his role to be one of his most memorable.
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- Directors: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard
In "Tangled," a runaway thief stumbles upon Rapunzel, who has spent her entire life in a tower, but is about to discover the world—and who she really is. Featuring the voices of Mandy Moore as Rapunzel, Zachary Levi as Flynn Rider, and Donna Murphy as Mother Gothel, this was Disney's most expensive animated film at the time, costing $260 million.
- Director: Trey Parker
- Runtime: 81 minutes
Not for the prim and proper, "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" holds the 2001 Guinness Book of World Records for Most Swearing in an Animated Movie, with 399 swear words, 128 offensive gestures, and 221 violent acts. The foul-mouthed third graders of South Park watch a vulgar Canadian TV show, and their parents are horrified by the new language they've picked up—which leads to the U.S. declaring war on Canada. Music includes the Oscar-nominated "Blame Canada" as well as "Mountain Town."
- Director: Morton DaCosta
In "The Music Man," conman Harold Hill (Robert Preston) poses as a boys' bandleader to convince Iowa townsfolk that the best way to keep wayward youth out of trouble is through a marching band. It's a ploy to drum up cash for band uniforms and musical instruments so he can abscond with the money. Shirley Jones is Marian Paroo and Buddy Hackett stars as Hill's assistant. Its memorable tunes include "76 Trombones," "Ya Got Trouble," and "Till There Was You."
- Director: John Cameron Mitchell
Adapted from the off-Broadway rock-theater hit, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" follows a transgender punk-rock woman touring the U.S. with her band, telling her life story and following her former bandmate and lover who stole her songs. Featured tunes include "The Origin of Love" and "Wicked Little Town." Writer/director John Cameron Mitchell stars as Hedwig/Hansel Schmidt, with Miriam Shor as Yitzhak and Stephen Trask as Skszp. Trask, who wrote the songs and score for the movie, was the singing voice for Tommy.
- Metascore: 92
Jerry Travers, an American dancer (Fred Astaire) goes to Britain and falls for model Dale Tremont (Ginger Rogers), who is annoyed with him until she mistakenly believes he's her producer. The film's music and lyrics, penned by Irving Berlin, include "Puttin' on the Ritz" and "Cheek to Cheek." The latter features an elaborate dance between the famous dance duo; this was the first screenplay written specifically for them.
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- Directors: James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford Beebe Jr., Norman Ferguson, David Hand, Jim Handley, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Ben Sharpsteen
- Runtime: 125 minutes
"Fantasia" marked the third-ever Disney animated film, after "Snow White" and "Pinocchio." It set eight animated shorts to classical music, from a scene of Mickey Mouse training as a sorcerer set to Paul Dukas' "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" to a sequence of Earth's origins set to Igor Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring." Although it initially suffered at the box office due to World War II restrictions, it's since become renowned as one of the greatest animated films and sparked a 1999 sequel called "Fantasia 2000."
- Director: Mel Stuart
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
Poor but hopeful, a boy named Charlie (Peter Ostrum) seeks one of the five golden tickets that will send him on a tour of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, where he'll learn the sweetest secret of all: a generous, loving heart. Some of its famous tunes include "The Candy Man" and "Oompa Loompa." Wilder's acting during the boat ride sequence frightened some of the actors and actresses.
- Director: Bob Fosse
- Runtime: 123 minutes
Director/choreographer Bob Fosse tells his own life story through the sordid life of Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider), a drug-using, womanizing dancer. It features George Benson's version of "On Broadway" in a dance-tryout scene, Fosse's "Who's Sorry Now?" and "Bye Bye Life" as the film's final number. Scheider said keeping up with trained dancers in the last piece was the hardest physical effort he made in a film.
- Runtime: 124 minutes
Liza Minnelli plays Sally Bowles, a girlie club entertainer romancing two men as the Nazi Party rises to power during Berlin's Weimar Republic era. Famous songs from the musical include "Cabaret," "Willkommen," and "Money, Money." The film won eight Oscars, with Minnelli winning Best Actress and Joel Grey getting Best Supporting Actor while Fosse won Best Director.
- Director: Jacques Demy
- Runtime: 91 minutes
"The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" unfolds during the Algerian War, as young lovers Geneviève (Catherine Deneuve) and Guy (Nino Castelnuovo) are torn apart and must navigate life away from each other when Guy is drafted. Every single line in the film is sung, much like an opera. It's considered part of Demy's "romantic trilogy," which also includes the movies "Lola" and "The Young Girls of Rochefort." The music and lyrics were composed and written by Michel Legrand.
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- Director: Robert Stevenson
- Runtime: 139 minutes
A magical nanny (Julie Andrews) uses music and adventure with her Cockney friend Bert (Dick Van Dyke) to help the two young Banks children get closer to their father: the irascible and businesslike George Banks (David Tomlinson). The film won Andrews an Oscar for Best Actress, and the movie picked up four other Oscars, including Best Original Song for "Chim Chim Cher-ee."
- Director: Leo McCarey
- Runtime: 69 minutes
When he's named dictator of Freedonia, con artist Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) declares war on Sylvania over the love of Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont). "Duck Soup" is considered a classic of political satire; it was influenced by a political play that used satire regarding French and U.S. relations. Songs include "Hail, Hail, Freedonia." Italian dictator Benito Mussolini banned the film from Italy because he thought it was a direct attack on him.
- Runtime: 170 minutes
Arrogant phonetics professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) makes a bet with his colleague Colonel Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White) that he can take a flower girl, Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn), and present her to high society. Doolittle undergoes speech training at the hands of Higgins, who wins the bet, but realizes he's becoming fond of her. Hits from the musical include "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," "I Could Have Danced All Night," and "The Rain in Spain." The film won eight Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Harrison.
- Director: John Landis
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Metascore: 60
Fresh from prison, Jake Blues (John Belushi) reassembles his old band, which tours to raise $5,000 to save the Catholic children's home where he and brother Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) were raised. While on the road, they wreak havoc on Chicago. "The Blues Brothers" cover many rock standards including "Gimme Some Lovin," Aretha Franklin as Mrs. Murphy belts out "Think," and Ray Charles joins the brothers to perform "Shake a Tail Feather." A world record of 103 cars were wrecked during filming the movie's infamous chase scenes.
- Director: Lars von Trier
- Runtime: 140 minutes
With songs including "I've Seen it All" and "Cvalda," "Dancer in the Dark" is a dramatic musical following Selma (Björk), a Czech single mother working in rural America, whose passion for Hollywood musicals keeps her going through her mundane manufacturing job. She imagines that she and her co-workers are in a musical that's punctuated by the humming and clanking of the factory's machines. But a neighbor falsely accuses her of stealing and things take a tragic turn. Catherine Deneuve plays Selma's best friend, Kathy; Björk composed and sings the music in addition to her starring role.
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- Director: Henry Selick
- Metascore: 82
- Runtime: 76 minutes
Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween, discovers Christmas Town, but creates confusion trying to bring Christmas to his home. Composer Danny Elfman provides the singing voice for Jack and speaking parts for other characters, with Chris Sarandon doing Jack's speaking voice. Catherine O'Hara voices Sally and Shock. Songs include "This is Halloween" and "What's This." The movie is based on a poem producer Tim Burton wrote and illustrated.
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 181 minutes
Topol plays Tevye, a Jewish man attempting to marry off his three daughters while anti-Semitism threatens his village in pre-revolution Russia. Unforgettable tunes include "Tradition," "Matchmaker," "Sunrise, Sunset," "If I Were a Rich Man," "To Life," and many more. The musical won three Oscars and two Golden Globes, the latter including Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) and Best Actor for Topol.
- IMDb user rating: 8
In "Aladdin," the title character is a street kid who courts a beautiful princess after a genie grants his wish to be a prince. Its acclaimed soundtrack includes "A Whole New World" and the opening, "Arabian Nights." The former won an Oscar for Best Original Song, and the film itself also won for Best Original Score. The first verse of the latter tune was edited to remove the lyric, "where they cut off your ear if they don't like your face," due to its perpetuation of Arab stereotypes. Scott Weinger voices the title role, while the late Robin Williams—in a largely ad-libbed performance—provided the voice of the Genie.
- Director: Damien Chazelle
- Runtime: 128 minutes
Actress Mia (Emma Stone) and jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) struggle to make it through their careers and their relationship while chasing their dreams in "La La Land," a modern film musical with original songs including "Another Day of Sun," "City of Stars," and "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)." Gosling took piano lessons and, by the time filming had begun, was able to play all the piano sequences in the film.
- Directors: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
- Runtime: 84 minutes
In this animated version of "Beauty and the Beast," a selfish prince under a curse to become a monster for the rest of his life must fall in love with the beautiful woman he holds prisoner to break the spell. Featuring the voices of Robby Benson as the Beast and Paige O'Hara as Belle, the movie's music includes the title song, which won an Oscar for Best Original Song, as well as "Be Our Guest" and "Something There."
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- Director: Robert Wise
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 172 minutes
Winner of five Oscars including Best Picture, "The Sound of Music" was inspired by the historical escape of the von Trapp family from the Nazis in Austria. Maria (Julie Andrews), a nun sent to care for the seven children of Captain von Trapp (Christopher Plummer), teaches the children to sing and brings music back into the family's home. Complications arise when Maria and the already engaged captain fall in love. Enduring songs include "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" and "My Favorite Things."
- Director: Ashutosh Gowariker
- Runtime: 224 minutes
"Lagaan" takes place in 1893, when India was still under British occupation. When Captain Russell (Paul Blackthorne) imposes a cruel land tax on the local citizens of a small village, farmer Bhuvan (Aamir Khan) takes on Russell, who challenges them to a game of cricket. If the locals can beat the British at their native sport, the tax will be repealed. Featuring a soundtrack by Javed Akhtar, "Lagaan" became the third Indian film to be nominated at the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film (now called Best International Feature Film) category.
- Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, Richard Thorpe, King Vidor
Dorothy (Judy Garland) is swept up by a tornado to the magical land of Oz, where she—joined by the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion—must seek the Wizard (Frank Morgan) to help her get home. But first, she must battle with the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton). Memorable, enduring songs from "The Wizard of Oz" include "Over the Rainbow," "Follow the Yellow Brick Road," and "We're Off to See the Wizard." Many of the Wicked Witch's scenes were deleted or trimmed because Hamilton's performance was thought to be too frightening.
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
Director Gene Kelly stars as Don Lockwood, a silent-screen star who finds love while adjusting to the coming of the sound era of movies. Inimitable song and dance star Kelly performs the title tune to the happy and lighthearted "Singin' in the Rain." Donald O'Connor, as best friend Cosmo Brown, performs the acrobatic "Make 'em Laugh." Debbie Reynolds is Kathy, who becomes Kelly's co-star in the fictional musical of the same name.
- Directors: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
"The Lion King" tells the story of Simba, a lion cub prince who is betrayed by his uncle Scar into believing he caused his father's death. Simba goes into exile, but grows up to learn the truth about his identity and his destiny to be king. Matthew Broderick voices Simba, Jeremy Irons is the voice of Scar, and James Earl Jones is the voice of Mufasa. Favorite songs in this beloved Disney classic include "Hakuna Matata," "The Circle of Life," and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight"—the latter won an Oscar for Best Original Song.
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Originally published on stacker.com, part of the TownNews Content Exchange.
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