Movie Musicals of the 1960s

The 1960s was the major decade for successful movie musicals, especially movies based on hit Broadway musicals. Three of the films won Academy Awards for best picture: "West Side Story" in 1961, "My Fair Lady" in 1964 and "The Sound of Music" in 1965. The number of musical movies began to drop by the end of the decade and the films produced in the last years of the 1960s were not of the high caliber and quality of the earlier films.

Movie musicals based on plays by Rodgers and Hammerstein and Lerner and Loewe saw the end of their reign by the mid-1960s. Newer composers emerged, including Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim and Jerry Herman.

The 1960s saw the release of the first of the Disney non-animated movie musicals, including "Mary Poppins" and "Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang."

A noticeable change in movie musicals of the 1960s was the length of the films. Except for a few Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, most of the movie musicals prior to 1960 were two hours or less, but the movie musicals of the 1960s started a trend of 2-1/2 to 3 hour movies.

The 1960s was also the major era of Elvis Presley movies and Elvis dominated the movie musical field with 25 films.