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15 Movies like La La Land for Those Nostalgic about Old Hollywood and Musicals

movies like la la land

If you close your eyes and imagine the heyday of Old Hollywood, you can’t help but remember the days of starry-eyed lovers, colorful dresses, and flashy musicals. One movie that tried to tap into the style of that era is La La Land. It reminded us how much fun and moving this genre can be, and that is why we have curated this list of 15 movies like La La Land.  

La La Land, released in 2016, is a romantic musical drama written and directed by Damien Chazelle. The movie features Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, who play the roles of Sebastian “Seb” Wilder and Amelia “Mia” Dolan respectively. Seb is a jazz pianist who has been down on his luck lately while Mia is an up and coming actress. They both meet and fall in love with each other, but soon their dreams and aspirations begin to get in the way of their relationship.

The movie was critically acclaimed, and especially praised for breathing life into a previously neglected romantic musical genre. It bagged a hoard of award nominations and win, bringing about a mini-resurgence of musicals on the market, as The Greatest Showman was released the following year to similar fanfare. If you’re looking for more movies like this then here are 15 movies like La La Land.

List of Movies like La La Land

A Star is Born was one of the musicals borne out of the success of La La Land. And just as in movies similar to La La Land, A Star is Born is a musical romantic drama which follows a duo who are dealing with the pitfalls of striving for fame and being at the top of their craft.

This movie follows Bradley Cooper’s Jackson “Jack” Maine, an alcoholic musician past his prime who discovers a young singer named Ally Maine, who he develops a relationship with, with both ending up getting married to each other. A Star is Born released to critical acclaim due to its grounded storyline and themes.

2. Singin’ In The Rain (1952)

From a modern classic, we have Singin’ in the Rain, an American musical romantic comedy released in the 50s. It is a lighthearted story similar to films like La La Land, and follows the story of three Hollywood stars who are transitioning between silent films and the era of movies with sound.  

The movie has been praised for its pace, humor and breezy nature. It plays into the satirical nature of late twenties Hollywood, and has been named as a must watch for lovers of Hollywood, its history, and films in general. If you want a classic to keep you busy one of these days, then this is the film for you.

3. West Side Story (2021)

This time we have a remake of a 50s musical in West Side Story. Directed by Steven Spielberg, West Side Story is a modern day Romeo and Juliet story about two youngsters from rival New York City gangs who fall in love, but have to keep it at risk of inflaming relations further between both gangs.

West Side Story is a great adaptation of a classic to modern times, and some have even said that it had surpassed its predecessor. Spielberg showcases his directorial chops once again, and if you’re looking for a musical of great quality similar to movies like La La Land, then you might have one on your hand here.

Also Read: Movies like Decision To Leave

4. Grease (1978)

Grease shot John Travolta into the limelight in the 70s, as Danny alongside his love interest, Sandy, played by Olivia Newton-John. This movie follows the adventures of a group of teenage friends in high school in the 50s, with well-defined cliques which start to become blurred as the movie goes on.

It’s one of the movies similar to La La Land, in terms of its glamorous style, and playful tone.  Even back then it served as a throwback to old 50s and 60s movies like Don’t Knock The Rock and Beach Party. Grease has been recognized by many publications as the most successful musical of all time, so if you’re looking for one of the movies which definitely influenced movies like La La Land, then look no further.

5. Cabaret (1972)

Cabaret is set in Berlin, in 1931, and the plot follows the story of Sally Bowles, played by Liza Minelli, who falls in love with an academic from England, before a new complication in the name of Maximilian von Heune threatens to come between the both of them.

The movie debuted to glowing reviews, winning 8 Oscars, and was selected by the Library of Congress as only the 12th live-action musical to be inducted to the United States National Film Registry. If you’re a fan of the sensual tendencies and sophistication of films like La La Land, you should give Cabaret a watch, it is well worth it.

6. Once (2007)  

As in a lot of movies like La La Land, we are presented with the artistic protagonist trying to make their big break in their respective industries. This time it’s vacuum repairman Glen Hansard who works on the side as a musician, who is hoping for that big break to come his way.

He happens upon a lady called Marketa, she is a florist who had emigrated from the Czech Republic. He discovers a talent that she is also musically gifted, and both of them decide to partner up artistically, a partnership which soon develops into strong romantic feelings between the both of them.

7. In the Heights (2021)

In the Heights is based on music written by prolific songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda, and a book authored by Quiara Alegria Hudes. It follows the story of a set of characters living in a Dominican American neighborhood called Washington Heights in New York City.

This movie is split into three acts, and tries to teach viewers a lesson about our decisions and the consequences borne out of those decisions. In the Heights is a musical with depth similar to movies like La La Land. It’s highly recommended for its portrayal of serious themes through a more light hearted manner.

8. Rebel Without A Cause (1955)

James Dean’s posthumous performance on Rebel Without A Cause blew audiences away, setting a benchmark for actors to aspire towards. It has all the tropes of romantic coming-of-age movies like La La Land. This movie however shows no hesitation in providing social commentary on the times and place in which it is set in.

Rebel Without A Cause is centered on James Dean’s Jim Stark, a rascally teen who is new in town, and is trying to turn away from his rebellious ways. But after gaining a friend and new love interest, Judy, played by Natalie Wood, he soon is thrust back into the life of trouble which he had been trying his best to avoid.

Also Read: Movies like The Grand Budapest Hotel

9. Hairspray (2007)

Hairspray is a musical romantic comedy in a similar vein with movies like La La Land. The movie is an adaptation of the 1988 comedy of the same name and follows the story of a high schooler who is trying to get into the spotlight as a dancer on a local television dance show.

Set in 1962, the movie showcases the political and cultural climate of the time, especially with regard to racial relations. It’s an entertaining movie from start to finish, infused with a lot of heart, and garnered a lot of critical acclaim, ending up on many 2007 year-end lists.

10. The Greatest Showman (2017)

A lot of movies similar to La La Land, are all centered on a protagonist… or protagonists aiming to reach the very top of their craft. The Greatest Showman is another one of such, and follows the story of P.T Barnum, played by Hugh Jackman, a man who had always had the dreamof putting on the greatest show on Earth. 

The Greatest Showman is a dazzling spectacle of a movie, with a strong ensemble cast, really great music, and memorable choreographed routines. It’s simply a feel good movie to kick your legs up to and enjoy in your spare time.

10. All That Jazz (1979)

All That Jazz is a musical drama directed by Bob Fosse. The screenplay is also co-written by Fosse, alongside Robert Alan Aurthur, and is based on snippets from Fosse’s life as a dancer and his subsequent move into directing movies.It follows the story of Joe Gideon, who like Fosse is a director and choreographer who is trying to balance his two passions.

This movie is a wonderfully choreographed film on the same pedestal as films like La La Land. It was regarded as so much of a classic that it was also selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry, and is regularly named among the Greatest Movie Musicals of all time.

12. The Artist (2011)

The next movie is a real throwback to the Hollywood movies of old. The Artist is a black and white silent film written and directed by Michael Hazanavicus, featuring Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo, an accomplished film star and upcoming young starlet respectively. 

The Artist debuted to widespread acclaim, winning 6 Golden Globes, 7 BAFTAs and 5 Academy Awards. It was among the most celebrated movies of its year, similar to movies like La La Land, and was praised as “a crowd-pleasing tribute to the magic of silent cinema”, and rightfully so.

13. Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003)

Hollywood and L.A have existed for so long now that there is a certain veneer of mystery that is wrapped around it. A veneer that is showcased in similar movies to La La Land as well as this video essay by Thom Andersen named Los Angeles Plays Itself. The video essay is a documentary about the essence of Los Angeles and its relation with the behemoth called Hollywood.  

Los Angeles Plays Itself was released to rave reviews, especially for the way in which it peeled back the layers of why Los Angeles is depicted the way it is in movies and the intense fascination with Hollywood. The whole film is as informative as it is entertaining. Give this a watch if you want the best of both worlds.

14. Whiplash (2014)

We couldn’t let this list reach its conclusion without mentioning another one of Damien Chazelle’s movies in Whiplash. With similar aesthetic styles to movies like La La Land, Whiplash  follows the story of Andrew Neimann, played by Miles Teller and his toxic working relationship with his teacher Terence Fletcher, played by the ever menacing J.K Simmons.

Apart from the frantic dialogue and stylized view of Hollywood which we are shown, it also shines in respect to its music, infusing a lot of jazz into its scenes. Almost driving the entirety of the movie along with music heard in each scene. It was particularly praised for its sound editing and great performances from Teller and Simmons, the latter of which won him a clean sweep of Academy, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, Golden Globe and SAG awards.

15. Burlesque (2010)

Burlesque is a story about Ali, played by Christina Aguilera, a girl who leaves the small town to make it big in the city of LA. It clearly mirrors the story of the archetypal protagonist in films like La La Land. And in true fashion, she lands a job waitressing at the Burlesque Lounge, where she begins to realize her artistic dreams.

It’s a movie with all the usual cliches seen in movies like these, but is still an enjoyable watch. It has been praised for the performances by Cher and Christina Aguilera, especially on stage. And it just might be worth the entry free (or subscription fee) just to see that.

Honorable Mentions

Here are a list of movies like La La Land that didn’t make it, which you can also check out:

  1. Les Misérables (2012)
  2. Tangled (2010)3.Anchors Aweigh (1945)
  3. Anchors Aweigh (1945)

When Lost aired over a decade ago, its successful narrative created a pop culture impact and changed the landscape of television. If you are a fan and want to watch shows like Lost then you can have a look at this list we made just for you.


The hugely successful television series Lost aired in 2004. The premise, as we know, deals with a group of people surviving a commercial passenger plane crash on a remote island. The show masterfully explores supernatural and sci-fi elements on this mysterious south Pacific island.

The use of cliffhangers at the end of each episode of Lost kept the viewers on the edge of their seats, desperately craving for the next episode to come. Even though it's a large ensemble cast, most of the characters receive a justifiable personal arch. Lost was inspired by the movie Castaway and became one of the most expensive pilots to be shot at the time! Lost continues to be appreciated for its originality in storytelling and dynamic character arcs. 

List of TV Shows Like Lost

  1. The Leftovers
  2. Manifest
  3. Lost Room
  4. Twin Peaks
  5. The Prisoners
  6. Battlestar Galactica
  7. The New People
  8. Flight 29 Down
  9. Fringe
  10. Alcatraz
  11. Under the Dome
  12. Dark

1. The Leftovers (2014)

IMDB ratings: 8.3/10

Cast: Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Margaret Qualley

Creator: Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta

The director of Lost, Damon Lindel also created a supernatural drama series called The Leftovers. The show begins 3 years after an unexplainable global event called ‘Sudden Departure’  where almost 2 per cent of the population, nearly 140 million people, disappear. The Leftovers isn't about WHY people are gone, it's about how the ones who remain dealt with their loss, people often try to comfort themselves with dreams, angels, gods, or even death.

The Leftovers will leave you with so many questions but beyond words, you have to feel it and savour its unanswered questions to find peace. The Leftovers is an incredible television series that starts incredibly well but loses its way by the series's end. I have to say though, Carrie Coon has brilliant moments in the end. The Leftovers is so weird, fragmented and nonsensical at times that it reminds me of Lost. If you are looking for shows like Lost, I recommend that you give The Leftovers a try.

2. Manifest  (2018) 

IMDB ratings: 7.1/10

Cast: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas and J.R. Ramirez 

Creator: Jeff Rake

The Manifest is a supernatural drama show about a bunch of people who discover that they lost 5 years of their lives when they landed in New York after their aeroplane faced severe turbulence. All the people on the plane were presumed to be dead. Now, these people have to find a way to adjust themselves to a new life around their loved ones. Mild spoiler! They learn their loved ones and the rest of society is not as they left it.

I found that the show’s premise was very intriguing and the actors give a very convincing performance. The narrative details of the show, however, in my opinion, are a bit sloppy and inconsistent. The writers surely have room for improvement but their concept is incredibly thrilling. Every episode of Manifest keeps you on your toes. Manifest has completed 3 seasons up until now and continues to be on air. Manifest is a pretty good choice if you want to watch TV shows like Lost.

3. Lost Room (2006)

IMDB ratings: 8.1/10

Cast: Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies and Peter Jacobson

Creator: Christopher Leone, Laura Harkcom

This lesser-known show The Lost Room is an American Sci-fi television miniseries which only had 3 episodes of 90 mins each and no follow-up seasons. The show was based on a very unique idea where the room in question (known as the ‘Lost Room’) and the objects in the said room had supernatural powers. This strange room is set in a 1960s motel along the iconic U.S. Route 66.

One day the protagonist (Peter Krause) Joe Miller’s daughter disappears inside the room. Joe, with the help of objects present in the room, tries to find his daughter Anna (Elle Fanning). The story of Lost Room was intensely engaging. I found the direction and the actor’s performances to be absolutely brilliant. It baffles me that the creators did not return to make another short season within the same concept. If you have been searching for TV series like Lost then I can assure you that Lost Room will be worth a watch.

4. Twins Peaks (1990) 

IMDB ratings: 8.8/10

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn and David Lynch

Creator: David Lynch

David Lynch, the well-known director of weird and captivating films such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet created an iconic show called Twin Peaks. It is a hauntingly eccentric show about the investigation of the mysterious murder of a small-town homecoming queen named Laura Palmer. Believe me, as odd as the show may seem at first, you will grow to love it, after all, it is considered to be one of the best mystery shows ever created.

With the mysteries, the supernatural elements and the list of bizarre characters, Twin Peaks has it all. In my opinion, the cinematography of the show was truly ahead of its time. Kyle’s Dale Cooper was especially entertaining. Twin Peaks’ experimental formula of the satirical soap opera is extremely unsettling yet rewarding to watch, I must warn you, it’s not for the faint-hearted!  If you are in search of TV shows like Lost then Twin Peaks won’t disappoint you.

The Prisoners (1967)

IMDB ratings: 8.5/10

Cast: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat and Geroge Markstien

Creator: Patrick McGoohan

The Prisoner centres around an unnamed British agent (Patrick McGoohan) who tries to flee his country after abruptly quitting his high-ranking government job. He is abducted and held captive in a strange ‘sea-side’ village that is isolated from the rest of the world. This village is a highly secure and monitored place filled with weird technology. There are only 17 episodes to this late 60s show but it manages to bring up such surreal surprises, it's sure to leave a great impact on the viewer.

The Prisoner’s unique concept influenced many popular shows including Lost. The creators of Lost even cited the show. I was very impressed by how ahead of its time The Prisoners proves to be. If you want to watch more shows similar to Lost the Prisoners should definitely be on your list.

6. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Katee Sackhoff, Edward James Olmos and Tricia Helfer 

Creator: Glen A. Larson

The 2004 Battlestar Galactica is a reboot of the original 1978 miniseries of the same name. Do not be mistaken by the title, the show is not related to Star Trek.  Battlestar Galactica is set in the 7th millennium AD and follows Cylons, the robot enemy of humanity that resurfaces to destroy the 12 colonies of Mankind. Only a few survive and are able to escape on ships led by a powerful warship called Battlestar Galactica. Mankind struggles to fight the Cylons and work their own political agendas and disputes while finding their long-lost 13th colony Earth.

The show is a dark, intense and gritty socio-political commentary with EPIC cinematic value. The script is especially clever and as a huge fan of sci-fi shows, this show ticks the boxes in all the right categories. When the show was released, it blew the viewers and critics away. As far as an obsessive and gripping story goes, Battlestar Galactica is one of the most similar to shows like Lost. 

7. The New People (1969)

IMDB ratings: 7.3/10

Cast: David Moses, Zooey hall and Tiffany Boiling

Creator: Larry Gordon Aaron Spelling

The New People is an American Tv series that aired only for 1 season and is focused on a couple of college students who survive a plane crash. The incident takes place while they were returning from a trip to Southeast Asia, their plane crashes on an island in the south of the Pacific ocean. 

By now this show must already be sounding a lot like Lost to you, and it surely is. The remaining group of people discover an unusual truth about the island: there’s an above-ground unused nuclear test site filled with supplies for the survivors. If you want to see more plane survival stories like Lost then The New People should definitely be on your list.

8. Flight 29 Down (2005)

IMDB ratings: 7.2/10

Cast: Allen Alvarado, Halle Hirsh and Corbin Bleu

Creator:  Stan Rowgow D. J. MacHale

The show Flight 29 Down is a drama series about a group of pre-teens/teens who are stranded on a South Pacific island after their plane crashes in a tropical storm while they were flying from an eco-adventure camping trip in Palau. The show is in many ways a younger version of the Adult-centred show Lost but sans the supernatural elements. I’d say that the show draws inspiration from the show The New People.

Flight 29 Down uses the technique of a video diary as a plot device for the viewers to keep up with the story of these children. It was very engaging to watch young intelligent characters finding their way on the island. The first two seasons of the show are quite engaging but I seemed to lose interest in its 3rd and final season. Regardless, Flight 29 Down is a really good series to watch if you want to see TV shows like Lost.

9. Fringe (2008)

IMDB ratings: 8.4/10

Cast: Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson

Creator: J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci

Fringe is a popular Sci-fi crime drama television series. It may seem like a standard procedural drama at first, but the show actually explores the parallel universe, alternate versions of people filled with crazy scientific experiments. I personally had a great time watching this show.

Fringe is actually inspired by shows like Lost, The X-files and The Twilight Zone. The 3 main characters of the show work with a special division called Fringe. There are so many brilliant twists and turns in Fringe that in my opinion, the show is at the top of its category. If you are searching for TV series like Lost, I strongly recommend you watch Fringe

10. Alcatraz (2012)

IMDB ratings: 6.9/10

Cast: Sarah Jones, George Garcia and Jonny Coyne 

Creator: Elizabeth Sarnoff, Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt

This American fiction show is based on the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary built on Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay. The prison is now closed but once kept some of the most dangerous criminals of America. The show takes the liberty to make a show around the conspiracies of the place.

In the interesting premise we see that under unknown circumstances, 256 inmates and 46 guards of the prison disappear without a trace. Later the disappeared ones start to appear one by one without ageing a day and resume their criminal activities with no realisation of disappearance. A special government unit is dedicated to finding and putting those criminals back in prison. If you are looking for mystery shows similar to Lost, try watching Alcatraz. 

11. Under the Dome (2013)

IMDB ratings: 6.5/10

Cast: Alexander Koch and Rachelle Lefevre

Creator: Stephen King

Based on a novel written by the sci-fi legend Stephen King, Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the fictional small town called Chester's Mill, when a huge, transparent and indestructible dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world.

Now the trapped residents try to find a way to discover the truth, origin and purpose of these domes. This journey forces them into situations where they learn more about each other than they ever knew. Under the Dome may not be on the top of this list but it’s quite a decent watch if you’re looking for mystery shows similar to Lost

12. Dark (2017)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Louis Hofmann, Lisa Vicari and Gina Stiebitz

Creator: Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese

The German-language Netflix series Dark is an interesting blend of Science fiction and Mystery. Truly a compelling and mind-bending story to watch. At the beginning of Dark, many children suspiciously start disappearing in the German town of Winden. The dark past of generational mysteries of 4 families living in the town namely, Kahnwald, Nielsen, Doppler, and Tiedemann is brought to light.

After the discovery of a wormhole, the lives of the families intertwine more than one can imagine. I believe every element of the show is top-notch, especially Dark’s cinematography, which is a TRUE masterpiece. If you are looking for TV series similar to Lost then the intense and gripping story of Dark is sure to keep you engrossed.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few TV shows like Lost that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Carnivale
  2. Yellowjackets
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. Black Mirror
  5. Flashforward
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