Want to escape our troubled times? Immerse yourself in the emotional, life-enhancing pleasures of the musical.
BFI Player's blockbuster collection celebrates the film musical from the late 1920s to today, exploring the visionary work of the artists who transformed the musical into the most joyful and creative of film genres. Going beyond escapism, our global journey will see how the musical tackled the Depression, confronted racism and how it continues to reflect the contemporary world. But most of all we’ll be having fun.
Comedy1951103 minsDirector: Gene Kelly
Hollywood’s troubled transition from silent to talking pictures at the end of the 1920s provided the inspiration for this greatest of movie musicals.
Musical1971136 minsDirector: Ken Russell
A timid actress is forced to cover for the injured star and falls for the leading man, in Ken Russell's thoroughly British variant on the MGM musical.
Biopic1975103 minsDirector: Ken Russell
Ken Russell's characteristically spectacular biopic of Liszt, with Roger Daltrey portraying the composer as a rock god, is a heady brew complete with garish Freudian symbolism, Hitler, spaceships and Ringo Starr as the Pope.
Musical193398 minsDirector: Mervyn Leroy
This Depression-era story about four showgirls is an extraordinary mix of Busby Berkeley dance numbers, politics and pre-Code sex.
Musical1951113 minsDirector: Vincente Minnelli
Gene Kelly stars as a former GI turned bohemian artist, torn between two women in this exhilarating ride through the Gershwin songbook.
Comedy198694 minsDirector: Frank Oz
Frank Oz's vivid adaptation of the cult sci-fi musical, with Rick Moranis as a flower-shop assistant battling a 'Mean Green Mother from Outer Space'.
Musical200192 minsDirector: John Cameron Mitchell
The trailblazing cult musical about a transgender punk from East Germany who reinvents herself as a rock diva.
Musical2016128 minsDirector: Damien Chazelle
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone channel old-school Hollywood glamour in this bright and playful romantic musical from director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash).
Musical194399 minsDirector: Vincente Minnelli
Featuring an all-star, all-African-American cast, Cabin in the Sky plays like a gospel reworking of Faust and the Wizard of Oz.
Animation & Artists Moving Image199981 mins
In the outrageous spinoff from the animated series, Cartman and co. inadvertently instigate a war between the US and Canada.
Fantasy1978134 minsDirector: Sidney Lumet
NYC becomes Oz in the cult, urban reimagining of the family favourite, featuring an all-African American cast including Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.
Musical1969155 minsDirector: Herbert Ross
Petula Clark gives one her finest performances as a stage star who seduces a shy, stuffy school teacher, impeccably played by Peter O’Toole.
Musical1980134 minsDirector: Alan Parker
Alan Parker’s gritty take on the tough and competitive training within a New York performing arts school reveals all the vulnerability and attitude it takes to rise to the top.
Drama1981108 minsDirector: Herbert Ross
Steve Martin boldly takes centre stage in the acclaimed film adaptation of Dennis Potter's ground-breaking TV serial.
Musical1950109 minsDirector: Charles Walters
Gene Kelly and Judy Garland star in the charming musical about a theatre troupe that take over a barn for rehearsals.
Musical194399 minsDirector: Norman Taurog
Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney star in the second adaptation of George Gershwin's musical following a playboy's exploits in the wild West.
Musical201492 minsDirector: Rufus Norris
Daring, startling and wholly original: a musical based on the infamous Ipswich murders of 2006, adapted by National Theatre director Rufus Norris.
Comedy193692 minsDirector: Victor Saville
Sparkling musical comedy about a shop girl who pretends to be a boy in order to perform on stage as a female impersonator.
Comedy193569 minsDirector: Friedrich Zelnik
Jolly gender-swapped musical version of Cinderella, featuring a play within the film in which the characters star in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.
Musical199877 minsDirector: Julian Henriques
Neeta and her crew rise to dancehall fame in North West London's Caribbean community, in the first Black British musical.
Musical2004107 minsDirector: Gurinder Chadha
Gurinder Chadha’s Bollywood retelling of Austen’s classic romance is an all-round joy, adding colour and song to Austen’s evergreen wit.
Drama2015106 minsDirector: John Carney
The third in John Carney’s trilogy of musical films is the utterly charming story a boy who escapes his troubles through fronting a pop band.
Biopic1946135 minsDirector: Richard Whorf
Busby Berkeley and Vincente Minnelli are among creative team behind this fictionalised biopic of Broadway composer Jerome Kern, which includes several songs from Show Boat.
Musical193466 minsDirector: John Baxter
Rarely-seen 1930s British musical about two African American travelling minstrels in search of entertainment work.
Melodrama193075 minsDirector: Richard Eichberg
Chinese-American star Anna May Wong dazzles as a Chinese dancer forced to give herself to a Russian General in order to save her brother.
Musical195277 minsDirector: Don Weis
With charm and invention by the bucketload, Singin’ in the Rain’s Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor are reunited in the story of a chorus girl who dreams of becoming a star.
Horror201798 minsDirector: John McPhail
A Scottish schoolgirl has the ultimate weapon with which to quell the zombie apocalypse: showtunes.
Musical198590 minsDirector: Alan Clarke
Alan Clarke’s once derided feature is surely the only vampire snooker musical in cinema history and a genuine cult artefact ripe for rediscovery.