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Rock vs Musical

How did music cinema evolve?

There's less money for musicals later on. Also, the tastes of the viewer have changed. They are made in less quantity but more specialized, and they are sought to be successful so that they are self-financed.

For the first time in decades, music films are no longer the majority choice. However, they are improving in quality, such as West Side Story, The Sound of Music or Mary Poppins, the latter starring Julie Andrews.

Rita Moreno and George Charikis – America (1961)

This is a song from the soundtrack of the film West Side Story composed by Leonard Berstein (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics). It stars Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer.

West Side Story was a drama in musical key with a great success, both in the theater and in the cinema. Its plot is based on William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, but adapted to modern times. The action takes place in New York City and tells the conflict that the love story creates between rival youth gang members, the Jets (Irish Americans) and the Sharks (Puerto Rican immigrants). The film won ten Oscars, including one for best music.

How did rock influence music cinema?

This stage coincides with the sounds of rock. The directors of the cinema get older and do not evolve with the market. They don't know what to do with the rock stars, who don't quite fit in with the cinema.

First they try to integrate Elvis Presley into the traditional Hollywood scheme. Later, Richard Lester will prefer to show The Beatles with naturalness and humour. There will also be documentaries like Woodstock.

Julie Andrews – Do, Re, Mi (1965)

Song with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II It belongs to the soundtrack of the film The Sound of Music, an example of a musical that competes with rock.


The Sound of Music (Sonrisas y Lágrimas in Spain and La Novicia Rebelde in South America) is a musical film directed by Robert Wise. It is based on the Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn originated from the book The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria von Trapp. The film was shot in Salzburg (Austria), Bavaria (Southern Germany) and at the 20th Century Fox studios in California, USA. It won the Oscar for best film and is one of the most successful musicals ever produced.

Are there musicals in other countries?

During the 1930s, there was a tradition in Spain of musical films that were made without the influence of Hollywood. Also at that time they were made in the Soviet Union, most of them with Stalin's approval.

Especially striking is the case of Indian cinema, where the Bollywood film industry stands out. Based in Bombay, it has been very active since the 1930s and has never suffered from the decline of musical films.

Tanvi Shah and Sukhvinder Singh – Jai Ho (2008)

Theme composed by AR Rahman and performed by Sukhvinder Singh and Tanvi Shah. It closes the film Slumdog Millionaire by British director Danny Boyle, who pays tribute to Bollywood.


Spanish musical cinema flourished with sound cinema during the Second Republic. It focused on archetypes of romantic Spain such as Andalusian landscapes, gypsies, bandits, coplas and other popular songs. Outstanding were the director Florián Rey and the actress Imperio Argentina. In the USSR, the cinema was used as a means of government propaganda. In 1934, Grigori Aleksandrovel, who had studied in Hollywood, directed The Jolly Fellows. This first Soviet musical was followed by others such as Circus (1936) and The Bright Path (1940).