The Best Plays Based on Books

By 277 votes 66 voters 9.5k views 38 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Vote up the best stage plays that were originally based on a book.

There are a lot of famous movies that were made from plays, but there are a lot of amazing plays that have been based on books. These days, everything seems to be based (even loosely) on something else. But this isn't always a bad thing. Many books lend themselves well to the stage, as evidence by the plays on this list. What are the best plays based on books?
 
The plays on this list span genres and production styles. They include dramas, comedies, and romances. Did you know that some of the most famous plays in history were based on novels, autobiographies, or other books? It’s no wonder they're on this list since they’re based on stories we all know and love – stories that have actually made a significant impact on the literary world as well as the world of the stage.

The plays listed here have been ranked by the community as the best. This list features the best plays based on books including, Les Miserables, Ben Hur, A Christmas Carol, Young Frankenstein, Kite Runner, Albert Speer, and War Horse. Vote up the best plays based on books below and see where the plays you think are the best rank!
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  1. 1
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    Claude-Michel Schönberg, Jean-Marc Natel, Herbert Kretzmer Based on the book of the same name by Victor Hugo.

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  2. 2
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    Crime and Punishment is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books

    Crime and Punishment Marilyn Campbell, Curt Columbus Based on the book of the same name by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

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    added by Tom Islava
    Sheldon Harnick, Jerry Bock, Joseph Stein Based on the tales by Sholem Aleichem

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  4. 4
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    A Christmas Carol is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books

    A Christmas Carol Patrick Stewart Based on the book of the same name by Charles Dickens.

  5. 5
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    Patrick Barlow Based on the book of the same name by John Buchan

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    Adrian Sutton, Nick Stafford, John Tams Based on the book of the same name by Michael Morpurgo.

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    Irving Berlin ^! Mel Brooks ^! Thomas Meehan Loosely based on the book Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

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  8. 8
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    Frank Galati Based on the book of the same name by John Steinbeck.

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  9. 9
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    Educating Rita is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books

    Educating Rita Willy Russell Loosely based on Greek myth and Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw.

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  10. 10
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    added by Tom Islava
    Hugh Wheeler ^! Stephen Sondheim Based on the penny dreadful "The String of Pearls: A Romance" by James Malcolm Rymer and Thomas Peckett Prest

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    added by AmyMaloney
    Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

  12. 12
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    added by Tom Islava
    Mitch Leigh ^! Joe Darion ^! Dale Wasserman Based on the book "Don Quixote" by Miguel de Cervantes

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  13. 13
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    Lew Wallace Based on the book Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace.

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  14. 14
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    Frederic Loewe ^! Alan Jay Lerner Based on the book of the same name by Colette.

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  15. 15
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    Kite Runner is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books

    Kite Runner Matthew Spangler Based on the book The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

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    added by Tom Islava
    Fred Ebb, John Kander, Joe Masteroff Based on the novel "Goodbye to Berlin" by Christopher Isherwood

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  17. 17
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    added by Tom Islava
    James Lapine ^! Stephen Sondheim Based on the fairy tales of the Brother's Grimm

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    new! & added by Tom Islava
    James Lapine ^! Alan Menken ^! Stephen Schwartz Based on the book The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

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  19. 19
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    The Masquerader is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books

    The Masquerader John Hunter Booth Based on the book of the same name by Katherine Cecil Thurston.

  20. 20
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    Christopher Hampton, Don Black, Frank Wildhorn Based on the book Dracula by Bram Stoker.

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  21. 21
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    Love, Loss, and What I Wore is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books

    Love, Loss, and What I Wore Delia Ephron, Nora Ephron Based on the 

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    The Affair is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books

    The Affair Ronald Millar Based on the book of the same name by C.P Snow.

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    Girl With a Pearl Earring is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books

    Girl With a Pearl Earring Tracy Chevalier Based on the book of the same name by Tracy Chevalier

  24. 24
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    The Life and Adventures of Nic... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books

    The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby David Edgar Based on the book of the same name by Charles Dickens.

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    Travels With My Aunt is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books

    Travels With My Aunt Giles Havergal Based on the book of the same name by Graham Greene.

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    A Round-Heeled Woman is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books

    A Round-Heeled Woman Jane Prowse Based on the book A Round-Heeled Woman: My Late-life Adventures in Sex and Romance by Jane Juska.

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    Jeanie Deans is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books

    Jeanie Deans Dion Boucicault Based on the book The Heart of Midlothian by Sir Walter Scott.

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  28. 28
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    I Am My Own Wife is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books

    I Am My Own Wife Doug Wright Based on I Am My Own Wife by Charlotte von Mahlsdorf

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  29. 29
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    Based on the  book of the same name by Joanne Greenberg.

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  30. 30
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    The Singular Life of Albert No... is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books

    The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs Simone Benmussa Based on the book of the same name by George Moore

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    Albert Speer is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books

    Albert Speer David Edgar Based on the book Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth by Gitta Sereny.

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  32. 32
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    The Secret River is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books

    The Secret River Andrew Bovell Based on the book of the same name by Kate Grenville

  33. 33
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    The Pitmen Painters is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books

    The Pitmen Painters Lee Hall Based on the book Pitmen Painters: The Ashington Group 1934-1984 by William Feaver.

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  34. 34
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    Aristo is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books

    Aristo Martin Sherman Based on the book Nemesis by Peter Evans

  35. 35
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    My Life As a 10-Year-Old Boy is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books

    My Life As a 10-Year-Old Boy Nancy Cartwright, Rose Goss Based on the book of the same name by Nancy Cartwright.

  36. 36
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    Ben Elton Based on the book of the same name by Ben Elton.

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  37. 37
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    Lombardi is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Plays Based on Books

    Lombardi Eric Simonson Based on the book When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi by David Maraniss.

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  38. 38
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    Marc Connelly Based on the book Ol' Man Adam an' His Chillun by Roark Bradford.

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