Barbra Streisand Movies: My Six Favorites

Categories: Film

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Sorry, I'm leaving out the pretentious stuff and/or the stuff with one-word titles, like Yentl or Nuts (though the former certainly had its merits).

I'm even leaving out such worthy entries as The Way We Were and The Prince of Tides because they don't happen to be among my six favorites.

I'm going with my down-to-the-gut faves.

Here goes. So nu?


6) Hello, Dolly!, 1969

Yes, it's a mess -- awkwardly directed, with Barbra way too young for the part of the wacky widow -- but I love the material, and happen to be a sucker for a big, splashy musical (even the botched On a Clear Day ...).

This one's worth putting on your Sunday clothes for.


5) Meet the Fockers, 2004

This raucous comedy meant a lot to me because it signaled Barbra's return to film and a sense that she was finally willing to be playful again. Is it Citizen Kane? No. But she and Dustin Hoffman made me laugh more than anything else that year. So sue me.


4) Funny Lady, 1975

Far different in tone than its predecessor, this one's more languid and moody, with flashy costumes and weird numbers. I like it because it has the courage of its convictions and doesn't go for an easy retread. And Barbra's Fanny, as it were, is riveting.


3) The Owl and the Pussycat, 1970

I love a sassy Broadway comedy adapted with style, and this one delivered, with Babs as a not-bright prostie coming up against George Segal as a stuffy intellectual.

The dark patch seems to be aiming for profundity, and the reflections of the era's homophobia come off disturbing now, but the hard-boiled-egg jokes are a riot and everything else is a breeze.


2) What's Up, Doc?, 1972

This is an even better comedy -- a screwball affair filled with chase scenes, genius character actors, yummy romance, and lots of yuks throughout. Barbra on the piano singing "As Time Goes By" is a classic moment. In fact, if she played Judy Maxwell in every movie from now on, I'd die happy.


And ...

1) Funny Girl, 1968

Do I need to explain this? It's everything a movie musical should be -- hilarious, heart-wrenching, revealing, and glossy -- with Barbra giving a tour de force that proved she's truly "the greatest star." I defy you to name a more powerful, magnetic, and complete performance in a musical -- or anywhere.


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26 comments
Douglas
Douglas

Too bad the "Gypsy" project seems to have been scrapped. That could have been something special.

Kevin
Kevin

"On A Clear Day You Can See Forever" is one of my guilty pleasures -- movies I know are not all that good, but if I come across them on TV I stop everything and watch them to the end.  I wish someone would restore the cut footage from it.   But, then, I'm a sucker for musicals about reincarnation.

Actually "Hello Dolly!" is a pretty good film for a '60s musical (I plead guilty once again to loving a much maligned genre) and has some incredible choreography.

I also vote for "Nuts", but mainly because of Leslie Nielsen doing the complete murder scene in  a tiny pair of underwear.

John Graham-King
John Graham-King

Thanks for mentioning On A Clear Day Kevin. For sheer hysterics, who could forget Barbra lassoing the girls' school's headmistress over the wall while trying to escape. Or her first reincarnation: "...my name is Melinda! Melinda Wayne Wenefried Moorpark Tentries...and I am appalled...at this OUTRAGEOUS inquisition"!

Janice M
Janice M

In April of 1964, I saw Funny Girl, the musical/play, at the Wintergarden Theater in NYC.  Box seats were $9.00!  From the moment Barbra Streisand stepped onto the stage until the last curtain call, I was transfixed with wonder.  For a woman just turned 22, she had so much confidence and so much stage presence.  Oh what's the Question?    Funny Girl, of course.

peter
peter

Barb's sex appeal in the Owl and the Pussycat was a revelation.

Duckbill2
Duckbill2

I think Hello, Dolly! is the one true classic film of Barbra.

Barkley
Barkley

"The Main Event" - love the song.

BaggyJeansBoy
BaggyJeansBoy

Oh Michael - you get a Gold Star for this list today.  If you're going to make a list about something important, of course if MUST be about Miss Streisand.

Elvis67
Elvis67

For sheer hilarity, nothing beats the overwrought THE PRINCE OF TIDES. Nick Nolte's closing muttering of "Lowenstein, Lowenstein..." lingers in the mind and inspires chuckles years after watching it...

Muscato
Muscato

"Eunice?  That's a person named Eunice?"

Greatest throwaway line ever...

Maria Reine
Maria Reine

I still remember my boyfriend dumped me after we watched a showing of "A Star is Born" at one of our local art house theatres.  As we were leaving the theatre, he said he met a girl the night before at Bible Study and he knew he was meant to marry her.  Of course, my reaction was two fold:  "Bible Study?  When did you start going to Bible Study?"  And, this moment will be forever associated with Barbra.  So I have not watched one of her movies since. 

Rogie
Rogie

Don't you realize you were the lucky one? Not only did you see the Barbra, but your beau abandoned you right at the moment when he turned proto-Tea Party scary!

Matt Howe
Matt Howe

Barbra's upcoming dramedy/road movie with Seth Rogen, MY MOTHER'S CURSE looks like it might be an "add" to your list!  It comes out November 2012 from Paramount.

billyjoe
billyjoe

"I defy you to name a more powerful, magnetic, and complete performance in a musical--or anywhere."

Unless youre limiting nominations to gay icons, I'd suggest Al Jolson in the Jazz Singer.

Vodkastinger
Vodkastinger

Babs list of her 6 favorite movies starts with Yentl, ends with Yentl, and theres a lot of Yentl inbetween.  Its funny I don't even think of What's up Doc as her movie (though she is very good) That movie belongs to Madeline Kahn.  Hello Dolly deserves the list just to hear her belting "ALL ABORAD" During Put on Your Sunday Clothes.

gcndc
gcndc

What's interesting is that when you look at her IMDB page, you realize that she didn't make that many movies.  And in the last 30 years, she's only made about half a dozen.  Wish she would have done more off-beat/indie movies.  Up The Sandbox is a great film.

Troofire
Troofire

Hermione Gingold in Gigi

James
James

What's Up, Doc ?  is on my list of favorite movies of all time. It gets better and better with each viewing, perfectly cast, great writing, and directing  from beginning to end with Ryan O'Neal at his peak hunkiness and "new comer" Madeline Kahn. I love the end with Barbra chatting to Ryan's real life mother on the plane about Dr. Howard Banister "as in sliding down the".I would certainly include The Way We Were and The Mirror Has Two Faces.

Natali
Natali

Ah, "The Mirror Has Two Faces"...

"This thing that we call a wedding ceremony is really the final scene of the fairy tale. They never tell you what happens after. They never tell you that Cinderella drove the Prince crazy with her obsessive need to clean the castle, cause she missed her day job, right?"

Natali
Natali

 It's easier for me to make a list of the ones that aren't my faves like "All Night Long". Everything else I love except what's weird is that even non-Barbra fans like "What's Up Doc" more than me. I don't know what's wrong with me that I never loved it. Liked it, but never loved it and you know how much I love Barbra Joan.

Speckledband
Speckledband

I like For Pete's Sake but it's sort of a second-rate What's Up Doc?

Quills
Quills

I agree with Funny Girl at #1 but my #2 is Up The Sandbox and my #3 is On A Clear Day. Different strokes.

Randa
Randa

No Way We Were??? I hope that's your seventh choice at least.

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