OK, I confess. What I really, really, really wanted to ask was what was your favorite musical, but I can't. I mean the genre has so many variations that it's really not fair to try to compare one to another. For instance my favorite strictly dance musical is a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers one, Swing Time. If I was stranded on a deserted island (and for some really weird reason had some sort of bizarre access to electrical power, a DVD player (or a VCR.....I'm old) and a TV and could only choose one musical) I'd pick Swing Time. Then again, that depends on what you think of as a musical.
On my home page one of my most recommended films is a musical, Paint Your Wagon, which there is no way could be compared to Swing Time in any way, shape or form. While both are musicals, they're both so different it would be like comparing apples to rocks. I mean I also love Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, but can anyone really set it side by side with West Side Story and make an honest choice between the two? If they say that they can, then I would suspect they know nothing about musicals. Then there's Oklahoma (way over-rated) and South Pacific (pretty good...check out Mr. Hand from Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Ray Walston) singing and dancing (as he also did in Paint Your Wagon)) and The Wizard of OZ and Oliver and I defy anyone to be able to really compare them to each other fairly.
Then there are other musicals that don't really seem to fit anywhere else, like Buddy Ebsen (yes, Jed Clampett of The Beverly Hillbillies) singing and dancing in Banjo on my Knee from 1936 and the famous (and really mawkish and overdone musicals like) The Golden Girl of the West (with it's famous song, When I'm Calling You by Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald). Singin' in the Rain is a musical, but would you set it next to Bye Bye Birdie or Please Don't Eat the Daisies and hope to come up with which one is better then the other? If so, how?
To me one of the greatest musicals of all time is Jesus Christ Superstar (and I'm an atheist), but where do you put it? How can you classify it? Can you set it next to Godspell (over-rated) and say one is better then the other because one (Godspell) had every line sung (and was word for word from the bible), whereas Jesus Christ Superstar didn't and took many liberties with the story (remember the guards with machine guns and the tanks)?
So here's the conundrum. I can either post a question that asks which, in your opinion, is the greatest musical of all time and have to endure all of the brick bats (are there really things that are "brick bats"?) or I can ask you a much more narrowly phrased question, like which is the greatest Fred Astaire musical and hope you'll wander off topic and tell me what you think is the best musical of all time, without throwing rocks at me for asking a question that can't be answered because there are too many variations of musicals for it to be answered. So please, along with answering the main question (which BTW, his greatest one was Swing Time), please feel free to express your opinion and to wander off topic, as long as you stick with musicals.
Oh and where in the hell does Donald O'Connor fit in?