A Little Song, A Little Dance: 10 Perfect Shots from Movie Musicals

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In honor of Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, in theaters now.

There’s something about a world in which people spontaneously break into song whenever the urge strikes them, something about the notion of dozens of citizens bustling down a city street on their individual ways stopping and forming a chorus or performing a unified dance routine that has always attracted filmgoers in droves. That kind of world is a near-mirror image to our own, but more expressive, more creative, and more dramatic, yes, but also seemingly nicer. It’s the kind of world in which we feel like we could be heard, we could be understood, and we could connect to others based on the purest chemistry known to man: emotional chemistry, the kinship of sharing a feeling, or a fear, or a hope.

This is the world of the musical, and though the form’s popularity waxes and wanes over time, right now the musical is back in the hearts of audiences worldwide thanks to Damien Chazelle’s La La Land starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, which is in theaters now. The whimsy, the charm, and the spectacle for which musicals are beloved are all present in spades in La La Land. Likely it will go down in film history as one of its genre’s crown jewels, and in part that’s owed to how Chazelle honors the legacy of the great movie musicals that came before, and their influence on his film.

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So then in honor of La La Land, movie musicals, and the fantasies they make seem possible to viewers everywhere, we tasked editor/filmmaker Fernando Andres with compiling a video featuring the 10 most perfect shots in musical history, and we think you’ll agree that the result is just as magical as the films it features. The accompaniment is courtesy of La La Land’s equally-acclaimed soundtrack, which is streaming now everywhere music streams. So check out the video, spread it around, then in between Rogue One screenings, give La La Land a watch to see where it fits in the canon of its iconic forebears.

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist