17. “Singin in the Rain”, Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen (1952)

Part of The 100 Greatest Movies I’ve Ever Seen list.

Singin in the Rain

Singin in the Rain

dir. Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen scr. Betty Comden and Adolph Green cin. Harold Rosson with Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, and Jean Hagen

In 100 words: The greatest musical ever is also one of the most perfect and most delightful exercises in pure, blissful entertainment. Its spoof of Hollywood is right on the money, but it’s a gentle poke, never mean-spirited and does it in a clever, hilarious way. Visually stunning, with fantastic pops of color and design, while its edits are sharp and perfectly timed. All actors are charming and deliriously good, with Kelly, O’Connor, and Reynolds delivering exacting and mind-blowing dance choreography and singing without seemingly breaking a sweat. Plus, Lina Lamont is perhaps the greatest comedy punchline ever. Excellent from start to finish.

Other Movies for Context: Among musicals, this is the peak of the form, the kind that gets everything right. I can only think of maybe three other musicals that was built to be this fun: Mary Poppins (1964), Top Hat (1935), and Hairspray (2007): All great fun, some might be darker, but overall tone is magnificent. Nothing though tops this.

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