The best musicals you can stream in Australia

When it comes to feel-good movies, nothing beats a solid musical.

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There's something comforting about seeing characters break into song at the most unexpected times. Add in the dance numbers, the fantastical elements and the charming singalongs associated with musicals and it's easy to understand why the genre has such a broad appeal. The best musicals feature songs that become expressions of pure character emotion. As a result, the tunes end up being just as iconic as the movies themselves.

While to the untrained eye musicals may seem like relics from old Hollywood, the genre is coming back in style. Musicals are going through a renaissance, with titles like La La Land, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman and A Star Is Born killing it at the box office in the last few years.

For those new to the genre, we've got the goods. Here are the best musicals available on streaming services in Australia.

Hamilton


  • Year of release: 2020
  • Cast: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Renée Elise Goldsberry, Daveed Diggs

Filmed live on Broadway, Hamilton tells the real-life story of one of America's founding fathers and the first secretary of the treasury, Alexander Hamilton. The performance features the original cast led by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also wrote, produced and composed the musical.

The film is a great way to experience the story, especially if you didn't get a chance to see Hamilton on stage. With brilliant performances and a quick pace, it's an intoxicating experience. We mean that in the best possible way.

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The Greatest Showman


  • Year of release: 2017
  • Cast: Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya

P.T. Barnum displays a natural talent for publicity from an early age. Soon, he turns his attention to business, creating a spectacle that will go on to become a worldwide sensation.

Featuring 9 original songs, The Greatest Showman is a lot of fun to watch. The musical has a stellar cast and enough energy to put a big smile on any viewer's face.

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Cinderella


  • Year of release: 2021
  • Cast: Camila Cabello, Idina Menzel, Nicholas Galitzine, Billy Porter

A highly entertaining jukebox musical, Cinderella tells the story of Ella, a young woman with big dreams. She wants to become a dressmaker, but no one takes her ambition seriously due to her gender. Still, Ella doesn't give up and with a little help from a fabulous godparent gets a chance to showcase her skills when she attends a royal ball.

Cinderella doesn't take itself too seriously, which makes it even more appealing. Offering a feminist twist on the classic fairytale, it has enough fetching song and dance numbers to satisfy viewers of all ages.

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Moulin Rouge!


  • Year of release: 2001
  • Cast: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent

An over-the-top spectacle from start to finish, Moulin Rouge! draws you in from the very first scene. The story follows a young English poet who falls in love with the star of the Moulin Rouge cabaret, the seductive Satine.

Moulin Rouge! is quirky and decadent, with mesmerising song numbers and great production value. Add an appealing cast into the mix and you've got yourself a winner.

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Pitch Perfect


  • Year of release: 2012
  • Cast: Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow

In Pitch Perfect, Anna Kendrick plays Beca, a college freshman who joins an all-girls a cappella group, The Barden Bellas. Reluctant at first, she slowly warms up to the others in the group and together they take on a male a cappella group from their college, hoping to win a national competition.

With a solid dose of humour, a sprinkle of romance and a healthy helping of catchy songs, Pitch Perfect is an absolute delight. If you enjoy it, 2 sequels are calling your name.

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Everybody's Talking about Jamie


  • Year of release: 2021
  • Cast: Max Harwood, Sarah Lancashire, Lauren Patel, Shobna Gulati, Ralph Ineson

A coming-of-age musical, Everybody's Talking about Jamie is inspired by true events. The story follows Jamie, a teenager who doesn't quite fit in. He dreams of a life on stage, hoping to become a fierce and proud drag queen. But while some of the people closest to him are supportive, others aren't.

Anchored by a powerful lead performance from newcomer Max Harwood, the movie is vibrant and uplifting. It also sends an important message about acceptance. All in all, it's a charming treat.

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Rocketman


  • Year of release: 2019
  • Cast: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard

A biographical musical, Rocketman is based on the life of Elton John. The film chronicles his early days as a prodigy at the Royal Academy of Music, his romantic relationships and his downward spiral fueled by alcohol and drugs.

The movie does a great job at capturing both the highs and the lows of John's impressive career. It boasts a sensational performance from Taron Egerton and dazzling fantasy sequences. As for the music, you already know it's good.

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A Star Is Born


  • Year of release: 2018
  • Cast: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott

This modern version of the classic story was a hit upon release, gathering praise from both fans and critics. The plot revolves around Ally and Jackson, 2 musicians who fall in love and embark on a rocky relationship. While Ally's career takes off, Jackson has to battle alcoholism and his personal demons.

Thanks to amazing songs and 2 pitch-perfect performances from Cooper and Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born became a prime example for a remake done right. The movie tackles important themes like addiction, the pitfalls of fame and love. It's touching and full of heart, proving that melodrama still works as long as it’s done tastefully.

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Grease


  • Year of release: 1978
  • Cast: John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, Jeff Conaway

One of the most successful movie musicals of all time, Grease stars John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John as 1950s teens Danny and Sandy. The 2 fall in love over the summer, but by autumn their relationship is tested as they return to the cliquey world of high school. They split, reconcile then split again, all amid dances and drag races. Will they end up together? You'll have to tune in to find out.

Look, there's no way around it, Grease is a cheesy flick, boasting silly dance numbers and a predictable plot, as you can probably gather from the synopsis. But it's so joyful and energetic that you can't help but forgive its flaws. Plus, the movie never takes itself too seriously and the visuals are marvellous. If you're down, it will make you feel better.

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West Side Story


  • Year of release: 1961
  • Cast: Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno

This romantic musical is one of the best Shakespeare adaptations to ever grace our screens. West Side Story centres on a turf war between rival teenage gangs in Manhattan, focusing on 2 lovers eager to cross battle lines. It's the modern update on Romeo and Juliet you didn't know you needed, complete with captivating song and dance numbers.

If you need an extra incentive to tune in, the movie won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. As expected, West Side Story dazzles with a wonderful score, stand-outs including I Feel Pretty, America and Something's Coming.

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Mary Poppins Returns


  • Year of release: 2018
  • Cast: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer

Michael Banks is now an adult with 3 children, desperate to pay back a loan. Just when everything seems lost, he and his sister receive the surprise of a lifetime when Mary Poppins, beloved nanny from their childhood, pays them a visit and takes the entire family on a wonderful adventure. Who knows? She might even save the day in the process.

Mary Poppins Returns is a heartwarming film that manages to capture the magic of the original. It boasts a superb performance from Emily Blunt who shines in the lead role, as well as plenty of songs that audiences of all ages can enjoy. If you were looking for the perfect movie for family night, you can't go wrong with this one.

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Hairspray


  • Year of release: 2007
  • Cast: Nikki Blonsky, John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron

Energetic and highly entertaining, Hairspray is a musical rom-com that centres on Tracy, a dance-loving teen who joins a local TV show and becomes an overnight celebrity. She uses her new status to rally against racial segregation and hopefully, finally win the affections of her crush.

Hairspray is a big-budget and star-studded production, starring Nikki Blonsky, John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Amanda Bynes, Queen Latifah, James Marsden, Zac Efron, Brittany Snow, Elijah Kelley and Allison Janney. Yet, the movie is sweet and campy, infecting viewers with joy from the very first scene. You'll be compelled to sing along to tunes like You Can't Stop the Beat.

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Mamma Mia!


  • Year of release: 2008
  • Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth

Mamma Mia! focuses on Sophie, a young bride who invites 3 men from her mother's past to her wedding hoping to figure out who her father is. Meanwhile, her mother Donna isn't particularly delighted to see her former flames, especially since she hasn't talked to any of them since a memorable summer long ago. This movie stars Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård, Julie Walters and Christine Baranski.

Mamma Mia! may not be a masterpiece, but it's sweet, fun and inventive. Plus, despite the wacky premise, the movie packs quite the emotional punch mainly thanks to the great performances by the 3 possible fathers. As for the soundtrack, it features all of ABBA's biggest hits. If you enjoy it, make sure to check out the 2018 sequel as well.

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The Sound of Music


  • Year of release: 1965
  • Cast: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Richard Haydn, Eleanor Parker

One of the most well-known musicals of all time, The Sound of Music is based on the true story of the Trapp Family Singers. It revolves around a young Austrian woman sent to the villa of a retired naval officer and widower to be governess to his 7 children. She brings love and music into the house, eventually helping the family find a way to survive the loss of their homeland to the Nazis.

If you're worried that The Sound of Music will prove too corny for modern viewers, rest assured the movie has so much heart that it's easy to forgive its overly sentimental moments. The performances are joyful, the songs became classics and the talent of Julie Andrews is undeniable.

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Chicago


  • Year of release: 2002
  • Cast: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renée Zellweger, Richard Gere

Chicago follows nightclub sensation Velma who murders her husband and gets one of Chicago's best lawyers to defend her. There's 1 problem – when another woman winds up in prison, the lawyer takes on her case as well, pitting the 2 against each other in a fight for fame. After all, there's no such thing as bad publicity, especially if it might keep them from the gallows. The movie stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere and Renée Zellweger.

Winner of 6 Academy Awards, Chicago is pure spectacle, boasting lavish costumes, a serious dose of wit and plenty of humour. As for the musical numbers, who can resist gems like Razzle Dazzle or Funny Honey?

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Les Misérables


  • Year of release: 2012
  • Cast: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway

Taking place in 19th century France, Les Misérables follows Jean Valjean, an ex-prisoner who has been hunted for decades by a ruthless policeman because he broke parole. When Valjean agrees to care for a factory worker's young daughter, both their lives change forever. It's a tale of unrequited love, broken dreams and survival, one that never gets old.

Victor Hugo's epic is beautifully brought to the screen, with the cast including Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried. As for the tunes, you might already be familiar with I Dreamed a Dream or Do You Hear the People Sing?

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Dreamgirls


  • Year of release: 2006
  • Cast: Jennifer Hudson, Beyoncé Knowles, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Anika Noni Rose

Set in the 60s, Dreamgirls follows 3 singers who are discovered at a local talent show by an ambitious manager. They are offered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of opening for a popular star and soon find themselves propelled into the spotlight. However, the small-town girls eventually discover that the true cost of fame may be higher than they anticipated.

The movie that propelled Jennifer Hudson to worldwide fame, Dreamgirls is full of energy and glamour. This is perfect for when you're looking for something colourful and dazzling to help you escape from real life, at least for a couple of hours.

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Fiddler on the Roof


  • Year of release: 1971
  • Cast: Chaim Topol, Norma Crane, Leonard Frey

Released in 1971, this classic musical depicts life among the Jewish community of a pre-revolutionary Russian village. Fiddler on the Roof centres on a father determined to find suitable husbands for his 5 daughters. To make sure he will be successful, he enlists the help of a traditional matchmaker and carries on lengthy conversations with God.

Sentimental and romantic, Fiddler on the Roof is a joyous celebration of life, featuring strong performances from the entire cast and some endearing musical numbers. Highlights include Do You Love Me? and If I Were a Rich Man.

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Aladdin


  • Year of release: 2019
  • Cast: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari

The classic animated story, now in all the live-action glory. Aladdin is a loveable street urchin who stumbles upon a magic oil lamp that unleashes a powerful genie. As the 2 become friends, they have to embark on a mission to stop an evil sorcerer from overthrowing young Princess Jasmine's kingdom.

Aladdin is fast-moving and entertaining, with great performances from everyone involved. It may not reach the magical heights of the animated original, but it ensures a good time for kids and adults alike. As for the music, it's just as phenomenal as you remember.

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High School Musical


  • Year of release: 2006
  • Cast: Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel

What were you doing in 2006? That's when the first High School Musical came out, spanning an entire franchise and more recently, a mockumentary series on Disney+. The movie revolves around 2 high school students from rival cliques, Troy and Gabriella, who try out for the lead parts in their high school musical. The rest, as they say, is history.

Energetic choreography and crowd-pleasing tunes help High School Musical stand the test of time, with the appealing cast a nice bonus. Whether you're looking to bask in nostalgia or give the franchise a try for the first time, you'll be in for a treat.

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