The earliest film on AFI’s 100 years of Musicals list is 1933’s 42nd Street. Directed by Lloyd Bacon, with choreography by Busby Berkeley, this movie was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar and shows up at #13 on AFI’s list.
While 42nd Street depicts the backstage antics surrounding the production of a Broadway musical, I question whether the film itself should be considered a musical. For over an hour of its running time, the only song-and-dance numbers are a couple of brief rehearsals for the show within the show. Only in its last 20 minutes does the film launch into a full-blown musical number, and that’s the one taking place on the Broadway stage.