film The Best Movies Based on Plays  

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List Rules Films that were based on a play, but NO musicals. Vote up the best movies that were originally stage / theatre productions.

There are tons of famous plays, and the glitz and glamour of attending the theatre is a truly unique experience. While few things are more powerful than the excitement of live theatre, many plays were just so good, they were begging to be turning into a movie. Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire were both made into successful film adaptations, and Glengarry Glen Ross was originally based on a David Mamet play. What are the best movies based on plays? Vote up the best films below and see where your favorites rank.
 
This movies on this list were all based on plays and have been ranked by users as the best. They span many genres as well, including films adapted from Shakespeare plays. Whether you like drama, thrillers, hilarious comedy, or even musicals, there is certainly a movie here that you will enjoy.
 
Vote up the best films below, that started life as a play for the stage, or add one you love that isn't already on the list.

list ordered by

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A Streetcar Named Desire Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh, Karl Malden Based on the Tennessee Williams play of the same name. A Streetcar Named Desire is a 1951 American drama film adaptation of Tennessee Williams's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1947 play of the same name. It is the story of a southern lady, Blanche Dubois, ...more

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55 18
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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Burl Ives Based on the Tennessee Williams play of the same name. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a 1958 American drama film directed by Richard Brooks. It is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name by Tennessee Williams adapted by Richard Brooks ...more

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52 19
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Amadeus Jeffrey Jones, Cynthia Nixon, Christine Ebersole Based on Peter Shaffer's play of the same name. Amadeus - Directors Cut is a 1984 biography drama film written by Peter Shaffer and directed by Milos Forman.

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41 16
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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal Based on the Edward Albee play of the same name. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a 1966 American black comedy-drama film directed by Mike Nichols. The screenplay by Ernest Lehman is an adaptation of the play of the same title by Edward ...more

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43 19
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Arsenic and Old Lace Cary Grant, Peter Lorre, Raymond Massey Based on Joseph Kesselring's play of the same name. Arsenic and Old Lace is a 1944 American dark comedy film directed by Frank Capra, starring Cary Grant, and based on Joseph Kesselring's play Arsenic and Old Lace. The script adaptation was by ...more

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34 14
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Death of a Salesman Dustin Hoffman, John Malkovich, Charles Durning Based on Arthur Miller's play of the same name. Death of a Salesman is a 1985 CBS made for television film directed by Volker Schlöndorff, based on the 1949 play of the same name by Arthur Miller. It stars Dustin Hoffman, Kate Reid, John ...more

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26 10
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Inherit the Wind Spencer Tracy, Gene Kelly, Harry Morgan Based on Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee's play of the same name. Inherit the Wind is a 1960 Hollywood film adaptation of the play of the same name, written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee, directed by Stanley Kramer. It stars Spencer Tracy as lawyer ...more

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33 16
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Glengarry Glen Ross Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Spacey Based on the David Mamet play of the same name. Glengarry Glen Ross is a 1992 American drama, adapted by David Mamet from his 1984 Pulitzer Prize- and Tony-winning play of the same name, and directed by James Foley. The film depicts two days ...more

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18 3
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but chickens double d added Dracula Bela Lugosi, Tod Browning, Carla Laemmle

Based on Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston's play of the same name.

Dracula is a 1931 vampire-horror film directed by Tod Browning and starring Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula. The film was produced by Universal and is based on the 1924 stage play Dracula by ...more

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19 4
Casablanca is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies Based on Plays
but chickens double d added Casablanca Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre

Based on Murray Burnett and Joan Alison's play, Everybody Comes to Rick's.

Casablanca is a 1942 American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and based on Murray Burnett and Joan Alison's unproduced stage play Everybody Comes to Rick's. The film stars ...more

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18 5
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jonathan-guerra added The Odd Couple Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Herb Edelman

Based on Neil Simon's play of the same name.

The Odd Couple is a 1968 American black comedy film written by Neil Simon, based on his play The Odd Couple, directed by Gene Saks, and starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. It is the story ...more

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13 2
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but chickens double d added Dial M for Murder Grace Kelly, Alfred Hitchcock, Ray Milland

Based on Frederick Knott's play of the same name.

Dial M for Murder is a 1954 3-D American crime thriller film in Warnercolor directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, and Robert Cummings. The screenplay and the ...more

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11 3
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but chickens double d added A Few Good Men Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Jack Nicholson

Based on Aaron Sorkin's play of the same name.

A Few Good Men is a 1992 American legal drama film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, and Demi Moore, with Kevin Bacon, Kevin Pollak, James Marshall, J. T. Walsh, ...more

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24 19
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A Bronx Tale Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Chazz Palminteri Based on Chazz Palminteri's play of the same name. A Bronx Tale is a 1993 American crime drama film set in the Bronx during the turbulent era of the 1960s. It was the directorial debut of Robert De Niro that follows a young Italian-American ...more

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8 3
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but chickens double d added On Golden Pond Jane Fonda, Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda

Based on Ernest Thompson's play of the same name.

On Golden Pond is a 1981 American drama film directed by Mark Rydell. The screenplay by Ernest Thompson was adapted from his 1979 play of the same title. Henry Fonda won the Academy Award for ...more

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Frost/Nixon Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell, Michael Sheen Based on Peter Morgan's play of the same name. Frost/Nixon is a 2008 British-American historical drama film based on the 2006 play of the same name by Peter Morgan, who also adapted the screenplay. The film tells the story behind the ...more

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11 5
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but chickens double d added The Lion in Winter Anthony Hopkins, Katharine Hepburn, Peter O'Toole

Based on James Goldman's play of the same name.

The Lion in Winter is a 1968 historical drama film made by Avco Embassy Pictures, based on the Broadway play by James Goldman. It was directed by Anthony Harvey and produced by Joseph E. Levine ...more

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The Madness of King George Helen Mirren, Ian Holm, Rupert Everett

Based on Alan Bennett's play, The Madness of George III.

The Madness of King George is a 1994 film directed by Nicholas Hytner and adapted by Alan Bennett from his own play, The Madness of George III. It tells the true story of George III's ...more

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26 21
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Hamlet Mel Gibson, Helena Bonham Carter, Glenn Close Based on the William Shakespeare play of the same name. Hamlet is a 1990 drama film based on the Shakespearean tragedy of the same name directed by Franco Zeffirelli and starring Mel Gibson as the eponymous character. The film also features Glenn ...more

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9 4
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but chickens double d added Wait Until Dark Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Robby Benson

Based on Frederick Knott's play of the same name.

Wait Until Dark is a suspense-thriller film directed by Terence Young and produced by Mel Ferrer. It stars Audrey Hepburn as a young blind woman, Alan Arkin as a violent criminal searching for ...more

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11 6
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but chickens double d added A Raisin in the Sun Sidney Poitier, Louis Gossett, Jr.

Based on Lorraine Hansberry's play of the same name.

A Raisin in the Sun is a 1961 drama film, starring Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Claudia McNeil, Diana Sands, Roy Glenn, and Louis Gossett, and adapted from the play of the same name by Lorraine ...more

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6 1
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Tom Islava added Fences Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson

Based on August wilson's play of the same name

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12 10
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Garvin added Suddenly, Last Summer Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, Montgomery Clift

Based on Tennessee Williams's play of the same name.

Suddenly, Last Summer is a 1959 American Southern Gothic mystery film based on the play of the same title by Tennessee Williams. The film was directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and produced by Sam ...more

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15 12
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August: Osage County Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Ewan McGregor Based on Tracy Letts's play of the same name. August: Osage County is a 2013 American drama film written by Tracy Letts and based on his Pulitzer Prize–winning play of the same name, and directed by John Wells. It is produced by George ...more

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6 3
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JoséValente added Long Day's Journey Into Night Katharine Hepburn, Jason Robards Jr., Dean Stockwell

Based on Eugene O'Neill's play of the same name.

Long Day's Journey into Night is a film by Canadian director David Wellington, released in 1996. An adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's play Long Day's Journey into Night, the film starred William ...more

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13 12
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Angels in America Mary-Louise Parker, Jeffrey Wright, Justin Kirk Based on Tony Kushner's play of the same name. Angels in America is a 2003 HBO miniseries adapted from the play of the same name by Tony Kushner. Kushner adapted his original text for the screen, and Mike Nichols directed. Set in 1985, the ...more

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5 3
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but chickens double d added The Glass Menagerie Kirk Douglas, Jane Wyman, Arthur Kennedy

Based on Tennessee Williams's play of the same name.

The Glass Menagerie is a 1950 American drama film directed by Irving Rapper. The screenplay by Tennessee Williams and Peter Berneis is based on the 1944 Williams play of the same title. It was ...more

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Chris Langham added Hamlet Kate Winslet, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal Hamlet is a 1996 Shakespearean tragedy film adaptation of William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, adapted for the screen and directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also stars in the titular role as Prince ...more

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10 9
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but chickens double d added My Fair Lady Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Jeremy Brett

Based on George Bernard Shaw's play, Pygmalion.

My Fair Lady is a 1964 American musical film adaptation of the Lerner and Loewe stage musical of the same name based on the 1938 film adaptation of the original 1913 stage play Pygmalion by ...more

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but chickens double d added The Philadelphia Story Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart

Based on Philip Barry's play of the same name.

The Philadelphia Story is a 1940 American romantic comedy film directed by George Cukor, starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and James Stewart and featuring Ruth Hussey. Based on the ...more

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3 2
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Lisa Finlinson added Driving Miss Daisy Morgan Freeman, Dan Aykroyd, Jessica Tandy

Based on Alfred Uhry's play of the same name.

Driving Miss Daisy is a 1989 American comedy-drama film adapted from the Alfred Uhry play of the same name. The film was directed by Bruce Beresford, with Morgan Freeman reprising his role as ...more

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5 5
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but chickens double d added No Time for Sergeants Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Nick Adams

Based on Mac Hyman's play of the same name.

No Time for Sergeants is a 1958 American comedy film directed by Mervyn LeRoy starring Andy Griffith and featuring Myron McCormick, Don Knotts and most of the original Broadway cast. Warner ...more

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Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead Gary Oldman, Tim Roth, Richard Dreyfuss Based on Tom Stoppard's play of the same name, which was based on William Shakespeare's Hamlet. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead is a 1990 comedy-drama film written and directed by Tom Stoppard based on his play of the same name. Like the play, the film depicts two minor characters ...more

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5 6
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but chickens double d added A Shot in the Dark Peter Sellers, Elke Sommer, George Sanders

Based on Marcel Achard's play, L'Idiote.

A Shot in the Dark is a 1964 comedy film directed by Blake Edwards and is the second installment in The Pink Panther series. Peter Sellers is featured again as Inspector Jacques Clouseau of the ...more

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4 5
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but chickens double d added Henry V Laurence Olivier, Robert Newton, Leslie Banks Henry V is a 1944 British Technicolor film adaptation of William Shakespeare's play of the same name. The on-screen title is The Chronicle History of King Henry the Fift with His Battell Fought ...more

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9 11
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Throne of Blood Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Isuzu Yamada

Based on William Shakespeare's play, Macbeth.

Throne of Blood is a 1957 Japanese film directed by Akira Kurosawa. The film transposes the plot of William Shakespeare's play Macbeth to feudal Japan, with stylistic elements drawn from Noh

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9 13
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In the Company of Men Aaron Eckhart, Matt Malloy, Stacy Edwards Based on Neil LaBute's play of the same name. In the Company of Men is a 1997 Canadian/American black comedy written and directed by Neil LaBute and starring Aaron Eckhart, Matt Malloy, and Stacy Edwards. The film, which was adapted from a ...more

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but chickens double d added Henry V (1989) Christian Bale, Emma Thompson, Judi Dench Henry V is a 1989 British drama film adapted for the screen and directed by Kenneth Branagh, based on William Shakespeare's play of the same name about King Henry V of England. The film stars ...more

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3 6
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but chickens double d added Romeo and Juliet (1936) Norma Shearer, Basil Rathbone, John Barrymore Romeo and Juliet is a 1936 American film adapted from the play by Shakespeare, directed by George Cukor from a screenplay by Talbot Jennings. The film stars Leslie Howard as Romeo and Norma ...more

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Vanya on 42nd Street Julianne Moore, Wallace Shawn, Brooke Smith Based on Anton Chekhov's play, Uncle Vanya. Vanya on 42nd Street is a 1994 film by Louis Malle and Andre Gregory. The film is an intimate, interpretive performance of the play Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov as adapted by David Mamet. The ...more

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2 6
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but chickens double d added A Midsummer Night's Dream Mickey Rooney, Olivia de Havilland, James Cagney A Midsummer Night's Dream is a 1935 American romance fantasy film of William Shakespeare's play, directed by Max Reinhardt and William Dieterle, and starring Ian Hunter, James Cagney, Mickey ...more

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but chickens double d added Romeo and Juliet (1954) John Gielgud, Laurence Harvey, Flora Robson Romeo and Juliet is a 1954 film adaptation of William Shakespeare's play of the same title. It was directed by Renato Castellani and stars Laurence Harvey as Romeo, Susan Shentall as Juliet, ...more

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The Winslow Boy Nigel Hawthorne, Jeremy Northam, Rebecca Pidgeon Based on Terence Rattigan's play of the same name. The Winslow Boy is a 1999 period drama film directed by David Mamet. Starring Nigel Hawthorne, Rebecca Pidgeon, Jeremy Northam and Gemma Jones. Set in London before World War I, it depicts a ...more

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The Ruling Class Peter O'Toole, Harry Andrews, Alastair Sim Based on Peter Barnes's play of the same name. The Ruling Class is a 1972 British black comedy film. It is an adaptation of Peter Barnes' satirical stage play of the same title which tells the story of a paranoid schizophrenic British ...more

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7 14
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Six Degrees of Separation Will Smith, Heather Graham, Ian McKellen Based on John Guare's play of the same name. Six Degrees of Separation is a 1993 American comedy-drama film directed by Fred Schepisi. It serves as a film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated John Guare play of the same title, which ...more

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Closer Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, Jude Law Based on Patrick Marber's play of the same name. Closer is a 2004 romantic drama film written by Patrick Marber, based on his award-winning 1997 play of the same name. The movie was produced and directed by Mike Nichols and stars Julia ...more

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6 14
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Equus Richard Burton, Jenny Agutter, Joan Plowright Based on Peter Shaffer's play of the same name. Equus is a 1977 British-American drama film directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Richard Burton. Peter Shaffer wrote the screenplay based on his play Equus. The film also featured Peter Firth, ...more

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5 13
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but chickens double d added Romeo + Juliet Leonardo DiCaprio, Paul Rudd, Brian Dennehy Romeo + Juliet is a 1996 American romantic drama film adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. It was directed by Baz Luhrmann. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in ...more

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4 13
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Incendies Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, Lubna Azabal, Rémy Girard Based on Wajdi Mouawad's play of the same name. Incendies is a 2010 drama film written and directed by Denis Villeneuve.

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4 13
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Monsieur Lazhar Sophie Nélisse, Mohamed Fellag, Évelyne de la Chenelière Based on Évelyne de la Chenelière's play, Bashir Lazhar. Monsieur Lazhar is a 2011 Canadian French-language drama film directed by Philippe Falardeau. The screenplay was developed from Bashir Lazhar, a one-character play by Évelyne de la ...more