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. Tick, Tick… Boom!

tick-tick.jpg Netflix Release Date: Nov. 19, 2021
Director: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Robin de Jesús, Alexandra Shipp, Joshua Henry, Judith Light, Vanessa Hudgens
Genre: Musical, Drama
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 115 minutes
Paste Review Score: 8.2

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When Jonathan Larson’s Rent debuted on Broadway in 1996, there was one thing all audiences could agree on: It was a totally unorthodox entry into the world of musical theater. Larson was anything but predictable. It’s only fair, then, that his biopic, tick, tick… BOOM! follows the same design. Perhaps the person best suited to tell Larson’s story is Broadway’s own Lin-Manuel Miranda. Creator of the strange, idiosyncratic, rebellious—and yet absolutely venerated—Hamilton, Miranda knows better than anyone what it’s like to permanently rupture theatrical convention. tick, tick… BOOM! is based around Larson’s one-man show of the same name, which he performed in 1990. It tells the story of his life, and what it’s like to be a struggling, aspiring composer in New York City. (Spoiler alert: It’s not easy). The film is structured around the show itself, performed by a disheveled and charismatic Andrew Garfield. From there, we weave between the show and vibrant flashbacks that illustrate exactly what Jonathan is talking (well, singing) about. Rent was successful largely because it is steeped so profoundly in real life. It’s a show about ordinary people struggling in New York, and Larson wasn’t afraid to depict subjects that were considered taboo in order to commit to that realism: Drug addiction, suicide, exotic dancing. He also didn’t shy away from showing the mundanity of real life. Miranda does justice to Larson’s life by mimicking that sensibility, particularly through the film’s performances. From the flitting, kinetic energy Andrew Garfield brings to his musical numbers to the surprising softness and watchfulness in every expression, this is the actor’s best performance since he smashed Mark Zuckerberg’s computer in The Social Network. Robin de Jesús, who plays Jonathan’s best friend, Michael, also stuns as he navigates the life of a struggling artist with much less intensity than Garfield. His performance breathes a pleasantly surprising air of subtlety into the role. And so we’ve got tick, tick… BOOM!, a film jam-packed with melancholy, powerhouse performances, and told with a somber, realistic storytelling structure that is at first jarring to the senses, but ultimately pays off. The joy of these musical ellipses is infectious, and that only makes it more tragic when real life comes crashing down. —Aurora Amidon


2. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

eurovision_netflix.jpg Year: 2020
Director: David Dobkins
Stars: Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Dan Stevens, Pierce Brosnan
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 121 minutes

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Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is—let’s be honest here—a bit on the thin side, and a little confusing. It’s got just enough sincerity to undermine its own satirical impulses and just enough pandering snark to undermine its own sincerity. It runs long, and it leans on a trope, Ferrell’s master trope and the common denominator in most of his best performances—the lovable but fundamentally clueless and self-absorbed man-baby who can’t get out of his own way. It’s a trope that, thanks to Ferrell himself, we have mined pretty thoroughly in comedy over the last few decades. And yet, even as Eurovision Song Contest makes a number of perplexing moves in its two-hour-plus runtime, you kind of can’t help rooting for it, and for its principal characters, because its refusal to be cynical operates as a vital, oxygenating escape hatch right now.—Amy Glynn


3. Lu Over the Wall

lu-over-wall-movie-poster.jpg Year: 2018
Director: Masaaki Yuasa
Stars: Kanon Tani, Shota Shimoda, Christine Marie Cabanos, Michael Sinterniklaas, Stephanie Sheh
Genre: Animated, Comedy, Kids & Family, Fantasy
Rating: G
Runtime: 107 minutes

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Distributor GKids sells Lu Over the Wall as “family friendly,” which it is, an innocuous, offbeat alternative to the conventional computer animated joints typically found in modern multiplexes. But there’s “whimsical” and there’s “weird,” and Lu Over the Wall ventures well past the former and into the latter before director Masaaki Yuasa gets through the opening credits. Barely a moment goes by where we come close to touching base with reality: Even its most human beats, those precious hints of relatable qualities that encourage our empathy, are elongated, distorted, rendered nigh unrecognizable by exaggeration. Lu Over the Wall isn’t a movie that takes itself seriously, and for the average moviegoer, that’s very much a trait worth embracing. The plot is both simple and not: Teenager Kai (voiced by Michael Sinterniklaas in the English dub), recently relocated from Tokyo to the quiet fishing village of Hinashi, spends his days doing what most teenage boys do, sullenly hunkering down in his room and shutting out the world. As Kai struggles with his self-imposed isolation, he befriends Lu (Christine Marie Cabanos), a manic pixie dream mermaid wrought in miniature. What’s a solitary emo boy to do in a literal and figurative fish-out-of-water plot that’s buttressed by xenophobic overtones? Lu Over the Wall blends joy with political allegory with vibrant color palettes with storytelling magic, plus some actual magic, plus too many upbeat musical interludes to count. Describing the film merely as “creative” feels like an insult to its inspired madness. —Andy Crump


4. 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

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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


5. Been So Long

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

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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


6. My Fair Ladymy-fair.jpg

Year: 1964
Director: George Cukor
Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway, Gladys Cooper, Wilfrid Hyde-White
Genre: Musical
Rating: G
Runtime: 173 minutes

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We love the opulent, two-story library in which Audrey Hepburn learned to lose that pesky Cockney accent, modeled after the Château de Groussay library in France. All the singing just makes it that much better. Directed by the legendary George Cukor and shot by 17-time Oscar nominated (and two-time winner) Harry Stradling, the recently restored 1964 musical based on George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play is a marvel to behold (and to hear). —Staff

7. Les Misérables

lesmisrables_poster.jpg Year: 2012
Director: Tom Hooper
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway
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. White Christmas

white-christmas.jpg Year: 1954
Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney
Rating: TV-G
Runtime: 120 minutes

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For generations, this movie has held a kind of Yuletide nostalgia rivaled maybe only by It’s a Wonderful Life. But the funny thing about this Bing Crosby musical is that the warm feelings it still evokes today are mirrored in its own narrative: The war is over, their commanding officer (a “four-star general unemployed”) can’t make a living at the ski lodge, because even snow doesn’t fall the way it used to. But when the stage doors open at the end to reveal the swirling flakes, all the soldiers salute, leaving even us southerners yearning for a snow-laden Christmas. —Mary Kate Varnau


9. Over the Moon

over-the-moon.jpg Year: 2020
Director: Glen Keane
Stars: Cathy Ang, Phillipa Soo, Ken Jeung
Genre: Adventure, Family
Rating: PG
Runtime: 100 minutes

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Over the Moon was Netflix’s first bold step into the realm of producing animated films to rival those of Disney. Directed by former Disney animator Glen Keane, who was responsible for bringing films such as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Tangled to life, and containing a collection of catchy and heartwarming songs, explosively colorful animation and a story immersed in Chinese culture, the film seems to have all the pieces of another animation classic. The film follows a 14-year-old Chinese girl named Fei Fei (Cathy Ang) living with her now-single father four years after the passing of her mother. Still grieving her loss, Fei Fei clings to her mother’s traditional stories of the goddess Chang’e (Phillipa Soo) living on the moon, awaiting her departed lover, and believes that if she can prove to her father that Chang’e exists, he will follow her example and stop trying to start a new family. Even if poorly contextualized, the beautiful animation sequences of Over the Moon can’t be ignored, and there are times when the colorful display is mesmerizing enough to distract from the plot confusion. There’s a good chance that very young kids will love the movie for its bright colors and cute animals alone, and its songs are catchy enough to not likely drive their parents up the wall upon the millionth time being played. —Joseph Stanichar


10. Vivo

vivo.jpg Year: 2021
Director: Kirk DeMicco, Brandon Jeffords
Stars: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ynairaly Simo, Zoe Saldaña, Juan de Marcos González, Brian Tyree Henry, Gloria Estefan, Nicole Byer, Michael Rooker, Leslie David Baker, Katie Lowes, Olivia Trujillo, Lidya Jewett
Genre: Animation, Comedy
Rating: PG

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Lin-Manuel Miranda’s gift with music is unparalleled. He has the unique ability to pair a rapid and clever turn of phrase with an infectious musical hook. The cadence of his voice conveys a longing and hopefulness which, it turns out, works if you are playing one of the founding fathers or an adorable animated animal. Miranda is the perfect choice to voice the title character in the new Netflix movie Vivo. Vivo is a kinkajou, also known as “honey bear,” a rainforest animal in the raccoon family (although Vivo, with his jaunty hat and stylish scarf, is a lot cuter than a raccoon). Vivo spends his days performing with his owner Andrés (Juan de Marcos González) in Havana, Cuba. Vivo thinks his life and its comfortable predictability is perfect. (Viewers can understand Vivo, but to Andrés and everyone else in the movie, Vivo speaks in adorable coos and gibberish.) One day Andrés gets a letter from his old love Marta Sandoval (Gloria Estefan) asking if he will perform with her one last time at her farewell performance in Miami. Andrés finds the love song he wrote for her years ago and decides he must get the song to her. Alas, a tragedy prevents Andrés from making this journey and Vivo decides he must leave the security of the world he knows to get this song to Marta. Vivo’s travels take him from Havana to Key West to the Everglades to Miami. Along the way he meets Gabi (Ynairaly Simo), a confident, purple-haired 10-year-old who is not in the mood to be like all the other girls. Vivo serves as a vibrant love letter to Cuba, Florida and the people who inhabit them. The more diversity shown in movies aimed at children, the better. Even if this version of Florida is nothing like what we are seeing in the news these days, I’m all for this aspirational Florida. Part adventure, part wistful romance—alongside some nice lessons imparted about friendship, family and taking risks—Vivo is enjoyable and familiar. It probably isn’t a children’s movie we will still be talking about years from now, but I will at least be singing “My Own Drum” for days. —Amy Amatangelo