Year released: 1968
How it fared back then: The famous musical dramedy, which introduced the non-theatre-going public to the ever-amazing Barbra Streisand, pretty much got a standing O from critics and audiences. It was a major hit, inspired a sequel (Funny Lady) and earned eight Oscar noms, including Best Picture, Score and Song. Even those who weren’t so sold on the script loved it for Streisand’s legendary lead performance. Ebert said the film was “the ultimate example of the roadshow musical gone overboard…over-produced, over-photographed and over-long,” but praised Babs to the heavens, saying she was “magnificent” and “more fun to watch than anyone since the young Katharine Hepburn.” Later that year, she’d to share the Best Actress statue with Miss Hepburn for the performance. There hasn’t been another tie for the title since. She’s that good.
Why it’s lasted: The songs – “People,””You Are Woman, I Am Man,””Sadie, Sadie” (Married lady!), my mom’s all-time favourite song (she’s a lifetime Babs enthusiast), “My Man,” and of course, “Funny Girl,” just to name a few – are memorable as hell. The story, which follows charmingly self-deprecating young comedienne Fanny Bryce as she tries to make sense of herself, her career and her shameless attraction to an older man and gambling addict, named Nicky Arnstein (Omar Sharif, also known as Dr. Zhivago) in WWI era NYC, remains remarkably relateable. (At least for us sarcastic, non-self-assured underdogs.) The costumes, including the famous leopard print ensemble shown above (and recently recreated by Jen Aniston for Harper’s Bazaar’s Barbra-inspired shoot) and what may be the most perfect collection hats in the world, are spectacular. And did I mention BARBRA STREISAND? (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, OOH!)
Classic moment: Ever heard of a little ditty called “Don’t Rain on My Parade?” Yeah, it’s from this. And Babs’ big-screen take (she also played Fanny in the original Broadway production), which culminates with her singing her lungs off on the back of a tugboat, remains the absolute best version ever. Sorry, Rachel Berry.
Does it still hold up? Well, hello (gorgeous)! Fanny may be (Spoiler alert!) all wrong for the guy, but she’ll always be good for a laugh, cry and quality basement belting session. I actually will be shocked if they don’t try to do a remake (or at least actually kick start this Broadway revival) soon. I mean, Glee has started to play like Lea Michele’s audition tape for it (although there are rumours otherwise). Let’s just hope if it does happen, they make like Barbra and her nose, and refuse to change a thing.