Directed by Jon M. Chu and based on the Broadway musical of the same name by Lin-Manuel Miranda, In the heights It was arguably one of the most anticipated movies of 2021. And as is evident from its overwhelmingly positive response, it definitely lives up to the hype.

RELATED: 10 Best Characters From The Heights, Ranked

Essentially a musical, the film is set in New York’s Washington Heights, a predominantly Dominican neighborhood where every young member harbors dreams of a better chance at living. Unsurprisingly, the film garnered rave reviews for its vibrant and upbeat soundtrack, while also putting the spotlight on rising stars like Anthony Ramos and Melissa Barrera.

10 Step Up 3D (2010) – Available on Hulu

A dance team prepares for a dance battle in a 3D Step Up frame

Although the first installment of the Increase the franchise might be the most iconic, 3D magnification is a close competitor. Aside from some of the best dance routines in the Increase franchise, the film joins Adam G Sevani’s Moose character arc, who would go on to become a fan-favorite character of the franchise.

It also shows the evolution of director Jon M. Chu, whose appointment with music and dance began with Increasesecond and third films, which eventually culminated in In the heights. While the latter shows his artistic maturity on the musical genre, 3D magnification offered a look at his first highly successful experiments.

9 Newsies (1992) – Available on Disney +

Newsies it’s one of those historical musicals that carries a good dose of social commentary. Set in New York, the film touches on the newsboy strike of 1899, during which several newsboys came together to fight exploitation under their bosses.

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The New York environment and socio-political aspects make it an interesting watch for those who loved In the heights. Furthermore, the underlying message of freedom is not presented in a sermonizing way, but is aptly conveyed through a series of snappy songs.

8 West Side Story (1961) – Available on Prime Video

Sharks and Jets face off on the basketball court in West Side Story

When it comes to musicals set in New York, West Side Story It is a classic par excellence. An adaptation of Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, the musical takes the route of a gangster drama. Two lovers strike up a forbidden bond despite facing opposition from their respective criminal families. The story that follows unfolds with classic 1960s-era melodrama and songs that have aged greatly over the years.

As Steven Spielberg West Side Story The remake is bound to hit theaters later this year, it’s bound to give some competition to In the heights during an awards season with lots of music. So before the remake comes out, it only makes sense to get acquainted with the original.

7 Hamilton (2020) – Available on Disney +

Daveed Diggs as Marquis de Lafayette in Hamilton

An obvious recommendation later In the heights it would be Lin-Manuel Miranda’s masterpiece. After creating history on Broadway, the musical Hamilton was released as an original Disney + movie.

RELATED: Hamilton’s Top 10 Songs From The Broadway Play (Ranked By Spotify Listens)

The plot is about the life of Alexander Hamilton and his relationship with the other Founding Fathers of America. However, the subversion of the history of this period takes place with a conscious choice to cast non-white actors, coupled with a heavy reliance on hip-hop-influenced songs.

6 Rent (2005) – Available on Prime Video

The main cast of Rent

Based on the musical of the same name, Chris Columbus’s film version of Rental It may not match the original, but it is still a very attractive watch. The best part is that six of the original Broadway cast reprise their roles in this story of sexuality, drugs and the AIDS epidemic, as some New Yorkers try to find their life’s purpose.

While fans of the Broadway version can enjoy watching the fusion of its best moments, Rental It can also be seen by beginners in the modern music genre. Once again, the social nuances and the description of city life are what will attract fans of In the heights toward Rental. Ultimately, both films are about celebrating who you are, through thick and thin.

5 Hairspray (2007) – Available on HBO Max

Hair spray is a light-hearted, high school musical comedy with wholesome performances by Christoph Waltz, Queen Latifah, and John Travolta. Nikki Blonsky’s protagonist is a teenage girl who rises above the stigma of bodily shame to sing and dance how she wants. And since the movie is set in the 1960s, Hair spray it also incorporates issues from the politics of the age of segregation and the need for affirmative action.

So underneath the musical joy is a call to a greater good, emphasizing the need for social acceptance. In this regard, In the heights has a similar tone of offering hope and solidarity through instantly catchy sung melodies.

4 Do the Right Thing (1989) – Available at Peacock

Do the right thing

With a focus on the Puerto Rican and Dominican communities in Washington Heights, In the heights shows how cities like New York are a melting pot of diverse cultures. One of Spike Lee’s first movies, Do the right thing, tries to show the nuances of such diversity in Brooklyn.

Revolving around the tensions between the black community and the Italian-American inhabitants of the neighborhood, the film is a study of how racial inequality leads to intercommunity conflict. Three decades have passed since its launch, but Do the right thing is still relevant.

3 Crazy Rich Asians (2018) – Available on HBO Max

Wedding in crazy rich Asians

Based on Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel, Crazy Rich Asians focuses on the romance between Rachel, a Chinese-American teacher, and Nick, a very wealthy Singaporean businessman. Eager to marry, the latter’s family serves as an obstacle, due to their reservations about the class difference between the two lovers.

Weather In the heights Director Jon M. Chu has been behind Hollywood blockbusters for quite some time, it’s Crazy Rich Asians that proved he could direct critically acclaimed award-winning films as well. Along with the performances and big-budget scale of it all, the film was also praised for its positive Asian-American portrayal.

2 La La Land (2016) – Available at Cinemax

Mia and Seb dance

La La Land is a love letter to dreamers and the “city of dreamers”. As Ryan Gosling’s Seb and Emma Stone’s Mia roam Los Angeles, the city itself becomes an integral character, much like New York’s role in In the heights.

RELATED: Damien Chazelle – 5 Ways La La Land Is Better Than Whiplash (& 5 Why Whiplash Is Better)

While she also explores her own creative pursuits, her romance has its ups and downs, eventually giving way to a realistic ending rather than a perfect Hollywood ending. On the surface La La Land It may seem like a musical love story, but Damien Chazelle’s masterpiece is so much more. It’s a human story of ambition and how it could get in the way of the purest romantic relationships.

1 I’m Not Here Anymore (2019) – Available on Netflix

A man dancing outdoors in a frame from I'm No Longer Here

Originally released as I’m not here anymore, I’m not here anymore is a great non-linear film that incorporates musical elements to tell the story of the migration of a young Mexican to New York after an altercation with the local drug cartel. On this unexpected journey, he tries to start a new life and faces a cultural change.

I’m not here anymore It can also be classified as a coming-of-age story or a life movie. So while, In the heights Focusing on the trials and tribulations among Latinos in the Big Apple, this Netflix original offers a different perspective on the experiences of immigrants in the same city.

NEXT: In The Heights: The 10 Best Musical Numbers From The Movie


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