The 10 Best Musicals on Netflix Right Now

For when you just want to laugh, cry and/or sing

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The 10 Best Musicals on Netflix Right Now

Sometimes you just need a good musical. There are nights when a serious art film is a warranted choice for couch time; others, a horror flick or your favorite rom-com will do the trick. But every now and then, show tunes are calling your name—admit it! We took the liberty of gathering a few of our favorite movie musicals streaming on Netflix right now. This list contains only movies with actual songs sung by characters within the script—so movies with really great scores or soundtracks (like these), but no singing/dancing within the actual plot, don’t count. And if you’re looking for actual recorded performances of staged Broadway productions, you’ll find those here. We also excluded musical TV shows like Glee and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, as well as concert films and music documentaries, which are something else entirely. Now, without further ado, check out our full list of the best musical films on Netflix right now.

1. The Lonely Island Presents: The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience

bashbrothers_poster.jpg Year: 2019
Directors: Mike Diva, Akiva Schaffer
Stars: Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone
Rating: TV-MA
Runtime: 30 minutes

Watch on Netflix

The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience is a 27-minute series of music videos about a significant run of Bay-area baseball from the late ’80s. As the name implies, it’s loosely based on Mark McGwire and Jose Conseco’s late ’80s run as the Oakland A’s home running crushing superstars. While they call it a visual poem, this is a mini-album in music video form, like what Beyoncé did with Lemonade but with dick jokes instead of boundary-smashing music. And while the idea seems absurd, it’s still absolutely fucking brilliant. Enjoying The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience requires absolutely no knowledge of the game of baseball. Lonely Island throws in bits and pieces of fact between their sex jams and rapid-fire rap verses, but it’s hard to tell when it happens. The reality of McGwire and Conseco’s lives in that time feels right out of the hubris soaked parody of hyper-masculinity that Lonely Island excels at. —John-Michael Bond

2. Been So Long

beensolong_poster.jpg Year: 2018
Director: Tinge Krishnan
Stars: Michaela Coel, Mya Lewis, Arinzé Kene
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%
Rating: TV-MA
Runtime: 100 minutes

Watch on Netflix

Michaela Coel took the TV world by storm this year with her hit HBO series I May Destroy You. But you may not know Coel was a streaming starlet back in 2018, too, when she stared in the Netflix original movie Been So Long, which follows a single mom as she is swept off her feet by a mysterious stranger on a wild night out on the town in London. It’s one of the most underrated original musicals of the last few years and features a robust original soundtrack with rock, disco and gospel-inspired songs. Fans of dramatic British TV and campy musicals alike: You won’t want to miss this one. —Ellen Johnson

3. Burlesque

burlesque_poster.jpg Year: 2010
Director: Steve Antin
Stars: Cher, Christina Aguilera, Alan Cumming
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 37%
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 119 minutes

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Burlesque is kind of like Raise Your Voice but with a spoonful of Showgirls minus the NC-17 rating. Christina Aguilera plays Ali, a small-town girl with a big ambition who moves to Los Angeles to pursue her dream. She ends up working at a burlesque club managed by the no-B.S. Tess (Cher), a veteran performer who’s as classy as ever. After rising through the ranks and enduring a bit of guy trouble (don’t you hate it when that happens?), Ali becomes the star of the club. The end result is a fancy and feathered finale suitable for PG-13 audiences. —Dino-Ray Ramos

4. Fiddler on the Roof

fiddlerontheroof_poster.jpg Year: 1971
Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: Topol, Norma Crane, Leonard Frey
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%
Rating: G
Runtime: 181 minutes

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Though ostensibly about heterosexuality, Fiddler is obviously gay. It is a lavish musical dramedy with high highs and low lows, an adaptation of Sholom Aleichem’s Yiddish classics (as adapted onto Broadway), telling the story of a rural Jewish community in the violent waning days of the Russian Empire. Interestingly, Fiddler is told through a man’s POV, but the female characters—a mix of stereotype, comic parody, genuine warmth and nuance—are the drivers of the plot. As a queer film, Fiddler allows its audiences to seriously interrogate and make space for such big concepts as tradition, marriage, family and belonging. It makes space for complexity in dealing with the problems posed by changing times, offering parallels through which we might view better the changing sexual and political mores of our moment. Plus, I think Fiddler is honestly essential reading in understanding the subtextual Jewishness of so much of 20th century queer comedy. In that respect, it’s a classic that bears continual rewatching. —Alex Verman

5. Grease

grease.jpg Year: 1978
Director: Randal Kleiser
Stars: John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%
Rating: PG
Runtime: 110 minutes

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Okay, so the message Grease leaves us with as Sandy (Oilivia Newton-John) and Danny (John Travolta) head skyward in an unexplained flying convertible—that all you need to do to get boys to like you is dress sluttier and completely change your personality—is uh…not great. But Grease never tries to masquerade as high art or relay any kind of profound mission statement beyond “being a teenager and hanging out with your friends is awesome,” and as such, it’s incredibly easy to get sucked into its fun. Come for iconic song-and-dance numbers like “You’re the One That I Want” and “Summer Nights,” stay for goofy one-liners like “if you can’t be an athlete, be an athletic supporter,” and lament the fact that your high school never had an end-of-the-year carnival. —Bonnie Stiernberg

6. Jersey Boys

jerseyboys_poster.jpg Year: 2014
Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 51%
Rating: R
Runtime: 134 minutes

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The Clint Eastwood-directed Jersey Boys , which is based on the Broadway play of the same name, receives a lot of flak for its paint-by-numbers approach to a biopic. While that may be true, that doesn’t take away from the career of Franki Vallii and the Four Seasons. Despite their success in the early ’60s, the group is often overlooked and their story isn’t widely known. You’ve probably heard “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” but you most likely don’t know about the group’s ties to the mob and financial woes after their success waned. So, even though it’s plagued by cheesy songwriting scenes, big-scale musical numbers and unnecessary moments of breaking the third wall, Jersey Boys is an interesting look at one of pop’s lesser-known acts. —John Connor Coulston

7. Les Misérables

lesmisrables_poster.jpg Year: 2012
Director: Tom Hooper
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 158 minutes

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The first thing you notice is the breathing. Jean Valjean is standing atop a hill in the French mountains, contemplating his future after 19 years of prison, and you can hear the weariness in his singing, the gasps between words. Director Tom Hooper quickly makes clear that his film adaptation of the hit stage musical Les Misérables will not be a collection of technically perfect, glossy renditions of its songs. The film features excellent singing, for the most part, but it also emphasizes fragility in a work that’s largely defined by its grandiosity. —Jeremy Mathews

8. Mary Poppins Returns

mary-poppins-returns.jpg Year: 2018
Director: Rob Marshall
Stars: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%
Rating: PG
Runtime: 130 minutes

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More than a half-century after she first floated down from the sky with her umbrella, Mary Poppins is back in a sequel, which takes place during the Great Depression. Jane and Michael are all grown up, as is Bert’s young assistant Jack, a lamplighter who’s just as at ease with the inexplicable magic of Mary Poppins as the old chimney sweep was. Michael is a down-on-his luck widower whose three children have been forced to grow up too fast in the year since their mother’s death. When Mary Poppins shows up, having not aged a day, Michael begrudgingly hires her, though he can’t even afford to pay back the loan on his house. Mary Poppins Returns adheres to the Star Wars philosophy of recycling storylines and set pieces that worked the first time. The film is filled with nostalgic nods to the past, and unless that fact itself bothers you, the results are as light and warm-hearted as the original. Emily Blunt may not be Julie Andrews, but she does an admirable impression, and Lin-Manuel Miranda is a more charming cohort than the notoriously bad-accented Dick Van Dyke (who reprises one of his roles as the elderly banker Mr. Dawes, complete with an adorable little dance). Mary Poppins’ magic is the deus ex machina that keeps any real danger or possibility of failure at bay, but the songs and dancing and imaginative worlds to visit with everyone’s favorite nanny are the real point here, an opportunity to forget your worries and trip the light fantastic. —Josh Jackson

9. The Princess and the Frog

princessandthefrog.jpg Year: 2009
Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker
Stars: Anika Noni Rose, Keith David, Oprah Winfrey
Rating: G
Runtime: 97 minutes

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The classic fairytale about a princess who kisses a frog and becomes an amphibian herself gets a jazzy remake in this beloved 2009 Disney animated film. It still hasn’t made its way to Disney+, but that’s OK because it’s still streaming on Netflix right now. Anika Noni Rose voices the character of Princess Tiana, a struggling New Orleans waitress who vows to help a frog turn back into his rightful state as a human prince. However, she herself transforms into a frog, and the pair must tear through the Louisiana bayous as they try to become human again. This is the first Disney princess film that features a Black woman as the main character, and it has in the last decade solidified itself among the ranks of the Disney vaults as a classic musical romp. Ballads like “Almost There” and “When We’re Human” bring lots of color to the soundtrack, which also features an appearance by the late NOLA icon Dr. John. —Ellen Johnson

10. West Side Story

westsidestory_poster1961.jpg Year: 1961
Director: Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins
Stars: Natalie Wood, George Chakiris, Richard Beymer
Rating: Not Rated
Runtime: 153 minutes

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Another film that has some difficulty translating to the contemporary milieu. For the uneducated, the mere idea of street gangs dancing to show their toughness is a non-starter. But it’s actually no less of a leap to imagine characters opening their mouths to express themselves in song rather than in dialogue. And if you can get past that objection, you’ll be richly rewarded with one of the most unabashedly heartfelt romances in the history of cinema. And the pedigree is unassailable. This is a film that won TEN Academy Awards. Music By Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Directed by Broadway legend Jerome Robbins and two-time Oscar winner Robert Wise. Plus Rita Moreno in a performance that may literally make your TV screen sizzle. Get over your objections and just give in.—Michael Dunaway

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