After watching Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in A Star Is Born you may be tempted to go back and watch all the other versions from 1937, 1954, and 1976. If that’s not enough for you, check out these 10 movies like A Star Is Born to help get your fix of awesome movie musicals.
When answering the question, “Is A Star Is Born a musical?” you’re likely to get a wide variety of answers. See, A Star Is Born walks a fine line between a movie about music and a conventional musical. There are those people who are resistant to calling movies like A Star Is Born a musical since it doesn’t fit the more traditional mold for a musical.
Classic Hollywood films like Singing in the Rain and West Side Story tend to define what we consider a musical; performances with professional choreography, settings and blocking meant to mimic a stage, and big cast performances. However, movies like A Star Is Born have helped to expand the definition of what makes a musical. Check out our list of 10 movies like A Star Is Born to help fill the void left behind after Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper ripped your heart out.
Like A Star Is Born, Robert Altman’s Nashville walks a fine line between a drama that uses musical performances versus a more traditional musical. At 2 hours and 41 minutes, the movie is a sweeping epic that depicts the country music scene in Nashville in 1975. It follows several different musicians with a variety of skill, talent, and fame as they struggle to make their voice heard at a time of great change and political unrest.
‘The Umbrellas of Cherbourg’ (1964)
Dazzling with beautiful colors and heartwarming romance, Jacques Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is one of the best movie musicals of all time. Like A Star Is Born, the movie is centered on a romance between two people who find their relationship threatened by circumstances out of their control. It’s a French movie where every single line of dialogue is sung, so it may not be for everyone, but if you can deal with that, you’re in for a treat.
‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ (2013)
A Star Is Born may follow two successful musicians struggling with the effects of fame, but the Coen brothers’ movie Inside Llweyn Davis is about the exact opposite: the film follows a talented musician that just cannot breakthrough. The film features moving performances, original songs, and the Coen brothers’ patent charm and wit.
Adapted from a Broadway musical of the same name, Dreamgirls is based on the true story of the rise of The Supremes. Starring Jennifer Hudson and Beyoncé, the movie is overflowing with star power and immense talent, making it worth watching for the performances alone. Like A Star Is Born, the movie depicts the struggles that come with fame and tackles what it was like to be a black woman in the music industry in the 1960s and ’70s.
‘That Thing You Do!’ (1996)
Just for a moment, imagine if A Star Is Born was about a boy band with Tom Hanks as their high powered band manager. Now imagine if “Shallow” were a catchy pop song…I give you, That Thing You Do!” While not nearly as popular or well-regarded as some of the movies on this list, That Thing You Do! is a feel-good gem with songs that you won’t be able to stop listening to.
‘La La Land’ (2016)
By now, I’m not sure there’s anyone that hasn’t seen Damien Chazelle’s record-breaking film La La Land. Especially after the best picture debacle of 2017, it seems everyone has seen and has an opinion on La La Land, but it’s worth revisiting! Influenced by other movies on this list (including The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and That Thing You Do!), La La Land digs into the the intersection of aspiring fame, talent, and romance. Although less tragic than A Star Is Born, it still packs a huge emotional punch.
‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ (1980)
Sissy Spacek shines in Coal Miner’s Daughter, the Loretta Lynn biopic that follows her rise to fame. Although she started singing in small backwoods bars, Loretta would later get signed to a record label and go on sold-out national tours. Like A Star Is Born, the movie doesn’t shy away from the negative impact Lorette’s fame has on her personal life.
‘All That Jazz’ (1979)
Bob Fosse’s Palme D’or and Oscar winner All That Jazz is not just one of the best movie musicals of all time, but one of the best movies of all time period. Roy Scheider plays Joe Gideon, a director and choreographer whose perfectionist tendencies combined with substance abuse and addiction, make him a fascinating anti-hero not unlike Jackson Maine. The movie centers on Joe as he works to put on the biggest show of his life as his personal relationships with his wife and daughter suffer. Like A Star Is Born, All That Jazz focuses on the personal sacrifices that come with fame and the pursuit of artistic perfection.
Director John Carney’s indie film Once had a production budget of only $150,000 yet it grossed over 20 million dollars worldwide; if that’s not a sure sign of capturing something special, I don’t know what is. Telling the story of two aspiring musician, one a street musician and the other an immigrant singer-songwriter, Once is a heartwarming tale of how music can bring two people together. Like A Star Is Born, Once is a first and foremost a romance that uses music to create an intimate dialogue between two strangers.
‘Beyond the Lights’ (2014)
Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Noni as a British pop-singer in the midst of her own star-is-born-moment, Beyond the Lights is not so much a music, but still an essential movie in the oeuvre of movies about aspiring musicians. Noni, struggling with pressure from her helicopter stage mom and from the press, finds solace in Kaz — the police officer assigned to be her bodyguard. The movie is a fascinating portrait of the pressures of fame and how the music industry can warp an artist’s integrity. If you loved A Star Is Born, you shouldn’t miss this.
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