The Music Man (1962) Movie Review: Cheers to Great Music!

By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –

*Very Mild Spoilers Ahead*

One of the key components of a great musical is (obviously) great music. That is why Broadway classics like The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables have been part of Broadway history for more than a quarter of a century (as of 2019). One of the most famous and recent cinematic musicals that showcase great music is La La Land (2016), which infamously lost to Moonlight when they competed against each other during awards season (and who could forget the “Best Picture” announcement mix-up?!). Because of the power of music, it is not surprising that one of the greatest movie musicals of all time would obviously be titled The Music Man.

A Toast!

This is arguably one of the greatest musicals in cinematic history. It won the coveted “Best Picture-Musical” Golden Globe award and only one Academy Award for its adapted musical score. It might have lost the “Best Picture” Academy Award to the epic film Lawrence of Arabia, but that is partially because of the stiff competition for awards recognition that same year. 1962 really was a year filled with great films, including the seminal classic To Kill a Mockingbird, which many would consider to be one of the best films ever made.

Shirley Jones shines as Marion the Librarian, and the entire cast is filled with great talent that includes Robert Preston, Buddy Hackett, and a very young Ron Howard.  This film is also very gorgeous aesthetically, and received Academy Award nominations for its production design and costume design simply because it is so beautiful.  The Music Man is definitely a great film filled with music and splendor!

Beer Two

In spite of its acclaim and accolades, the “G” rating from the MPAA is a bit questionable.  That is because the film contains very subtle references to alcohol and some suggestive material (but there are no major spoilers in this review because the sensual content is somewhat romantic and adds to the overall plot).  The basic plot of this film is basically about a con artist named Harold Hill who pretends to be a boys’ band leader to fool everyone in a town in Iowa.  Coincidentally, Shirley Jones proudly won her first (and only) Oscar as of 2019 for her role as Lulu Bains in Elmer Gantry (1960), in which the title character in that film engages in religious hypocrisy.  According to IMDD, Shirley Jones will also appear in a film set for release in 2021 entitled Bruce the Challenge in which she will play “Grandma Lulu Bains.”  How does Shirley Jones keep landing roles like these?!


Never underestimate the power of music, nor the enduring legacy of The Music Man!

The Music Man (1962) Bonus Drinking Game

Take a Drink: during every musical number

Have a Cosmopolitan Cocktail: when the line, “I pray for Hester to win just one more A” is sung, which is supposed to be a reference to The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Drink a Shot: for each of the 76 trombones in this film (but not literally, of course!)

Have a Drink of Your Choice: for every alcoholic reference within the song “Ya Got Trouble”

And One Final Toast: to the power of music itself!

About Alex Phuong

Alex Andy Phuong earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University-Los Angeles in 2015. His love affair with cinema began after discovering Turner Classic Movies in the summer of 2004. His favorite film director is Woody Allen, and his favorite movie star is Kate Winslet.

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