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6 Movies like Burlesque: Seeking Stardom

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Jane Howarth itcherFollow a new set of characters as they seek stardom, in these movies like Burlesque. I think you’ll love Chicago (2002), Sparkle (2012) and Cabaret (1972).
~ Jane Howarth

Other Movies like Burlesque…

I’m a huge fan of musicals, so I’ve seen plenty of recommendations online, but some of the suggestions felt like they were only on the list because they had a vague musical connection. So, this list is my chance to talk about the movies I think honestly come close to Burlesque.

Burlesque is definitely a huge treat for Cher and Christina Aguilera fans. Diane Warren, who wrote If I Could Turn Back Time, contributed a song for Cher, while Christina Aguilera co-wrote three of the tracks she performs in the musical.
These musicals about aspiring stars can all be proud of their strong casts, great music and enviable stage scenes.

Movies Similar to ‘Burlesque’…

‘Chicago’ (Rob Marshall, 2002)

Rob Marshall’s version of the Bob Fosse musical casts Renee Zellweger as Roxy, an aspiring singer, and Catherine Zeta Jones as fading star Velma.

Unfortunately, both are in jail for murder, but that little problem won’t stand in their way.

I love Chicago’s theatricality – like Burlesque, it slips seamlessly from dream sequence to real stage to plain old 1930s Chicago jail. And with every character earning a glittering turn in the spotlight, we’re treated to performances from Queen Latifah, John C. Reilly, Richard Gere, Christine Baranski and more.

Similarity Match: 90%
A strong cast, great routines and a rising star plot (oh alright, with a 1930s gangster edge) makes Chicago a great match.

‘Moulin Rouge!’ (Baz Luhrmann, 2001)

I think Baz Luhrmann and Rob Marshall share a talent for putting the stage onscreen, so the courtesan and writer’s love affair has to be next on my list.

This movie’s got plenty of star power, with Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor as the main couple, supported by John Leguizamo and Jim Broadbent, and a soundtrack full of classic and glam rock songs remixed with iconic movie soundtracks.

Moulin Rouge! and Burlesque each attempt their own interpretation of Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, so which is your favourite? Satine’s hard to beat, but I do like the Kristen Bell version. Let me know in the comments!

Similarity Match: 90%
The plot switches roles a little, with a writer coming to the city and finding himself in the middle of a world of sequins and feathers, but this movie definitely competes in the song and costume stakes.

‘Coyote Ugly’ (David McNally, 2000)

I don’t think we can go too wrong with this movie like ‘Burlesque’. A girl from New Jersey heads into the city, and though she’s the opposite of Christina Aguilera’s confident Ali, she finds work at a noisy bar where the waitresses are known for their table top routines.

The cast and track listing aren’t so dazzling, but with a Leann Rimes theme song and West End actor Adam Garcia as a bartender, it doesn’t come off too badly either.

Similarity Match: 80%
Like Burlesque, there’s a tough owner to contend with and a cute bartender to crush on, making this a brilliant alternative (even if the routines are lower-maintenance).

‘Sparkle’ (Salim Akil, 2012)

In Whitney Houston’s final movie appearance, she plays a former star and the mother of Jordin Sparks’ ambitious up and coming singer.

Along with her two music-loving sisters, Sparkle takes up the opportunity of a high profile career, but is soon torn between her traditional background and glamorous new life.

Whitney Houston, Jordin Sparks and Ceelo Green all add original songs to the soundtrack, making this another movie that doesn’t let talent go to waste.

Similarity Match: 70%
More about learning to balance your dreams with love for your family, this is a story that comes close to Burlesque in some ways while approaching it from a totally different angle.


If You like ‘Burlesque’, You Will like…

From the costumes to the routines, these classic musicals are perfect for Burlesque fans.

‘Cabaret’ (Bob Fosse, 1972)

Sally Bowles loves her life on a German cabaret stage, and dreams of stardom. The Weimar Republic is becoming increasingly dangerous, though, and her personal life is turbulent.

Winning eight Oscars and starring Liza Minnelli, this movie is a dramatic and musical accomplishment, but it’s also got the kind of musical numbers that you’ll be singing for days.

The drama knocks a little of Burlesque’s exuberance out of Cabaret, but it’s a fair exchange.

‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ (Howard Hawkes, 1953)

Marilyn Monroe stars in the movie that brought us the original pink dress and jewels routine, with Diamonds forming part of Lorelei’s showgirl routine. The movie is all about two best friends who aspire to high society courtesy of their admirers’ funds and status.

If you like this one, I think you’ll like the 1925 book by Anita Loos, too.

A little bit of a showbiz setting, lots of glamour and star power.


So Dazzling

What would you add to the list – another musical like Country Strong (Shana Feste, 2010) or 8 ½ (Federico Fellini, 1963), a documentary like Burlesque Undressed (Alison Grist, 2010), or something totally different?

Let us know your favourite films like ‘Burlesque’ in the comments!

Hi, I’m Jane, BA (Drama, Film and TV) and MA (Cultural and Creative Industries). When I’m not writing about creative things, I’m designing or planning them. If you’re brave enough to risk an avalanche, look behind the stacks of books and DVDs and you’ll find me balancing a cup of tea, a handful of knitting and a cupcake.
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