Watch: This 2-Minute Video Shows You Every Homage to Classic Musicals in 'La La Land'

"I guess I'll see you in the movies." —Sebastian (La La Land)

It's not every day that a classically brilliant musical hits the big screen, so when one does, it quickly becomes the cinematic darling that charms moviegoers across the spectrum. Damien Chazelle's La La Land, which received 14 Oscar nominations, is essentially the musical-lover's musical. As you can see in this video essay by Sara Preciado, La La Land pays homage to the many song and dance films that came before it, like Singin' in the RainGrease, and many more.

Preciado pinpoints 15 different homages to famous films in La La Land, two of which come from non-musicals (Boogie Nights and Le Ballon Rouge), and 13 of which come from some of the most famous musicals in history. In fact, if you're looking for a good musical to watch after being dazzled by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone's beautiful voices and skillful dancing, the film references in Chazelle's musical serve as the perfect must-watch list.

  • Les demoiselles de Rochefort (1967)
  • Grease (1978)
  • West Side Story (1961)
  • Sweet Charity (1969)
  • Singin' in the Rain (1952)
  • Shall We Dance (1937)
  • The Band Wagon (1953)
  • Moulin Rouge (2001)
  • Funny Face (1957)
  • An American in Paris (1951)
  • Les parapluies de cherbourg (1964)
  • On the Town (1949)
  • The Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940)

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Your Comment


I steal from every single movie ever made. I love it – if my work has anything it’s that I’m taking this from this and that from that and mixing them together. If people don’t like that, then tough titty, don’t go and see it, alright? I steal from everything. Great artists steal; they don’t do homages.

~ Quentin Tarantino ~

January 26, 2017 at 6:14AM

Sameir Ali
Director of Photography

Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery—celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from—it’s where you take them to.
~ Jim Jarmusch ~

January 26, 2017 at 7:05AM


Just to add to the references: the underwater shot from Boogie Nights is itself inspired by the opening 5 minutes of Mikhail Kalatozov's I Am Cuba, also a must see...

January 26, 2017 at 9:30AM


I wanna know where they got their copy of La La Land to make this :)

January 26, 2017 at 1:16PM

Marcelo Teson
Filmmaking Instructor/Sound Editor