Adaptations The Best Movies Based on Plays  

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2.8k votes 348 voters 25.9k views 58 items

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
1
97 29
Ranker Video
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
2
85 29
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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.
3
72 26
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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
4
76 34
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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
5
48 16
Casablanca is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies Based on Plays
but chickens double d added 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
6
66 32
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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
7
37 10
Ranker Video
but chickens double d added 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
8
56 25
Ranker Video
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
9
52 25
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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
10
35 11
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jonathan-guerra added 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
11
43 19
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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
12
40 19
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but chickens double d added 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
13
25 7
Ranker Video
but chickens double d added Grace Kelly, Alfred Hitchcock, Ray Milland

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

This film is a 1954 3-D American thriller film in Warnercolor directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, and Robert Cummings. The screenplay and the successful stage play ...more
14
28 11
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Tom Islava added Fences Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson

Based on August wilson's play of the same name

15
29 12
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but chickens double d added 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
16
27 15
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but chickens double d added 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
17
23 10
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but chickens double d added 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
18
18 6
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Chris Langham added 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
19
23 11
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but chickens double d added 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
20
23 12
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but chickens double d added 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
21
18 8
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JoséValente added 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
22
25 18
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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
23
18 9
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Lisa Finlinson added 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
24
25 17
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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
25
20 15
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Garvin added 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