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The Best Movies Based on Plays

Updated July 8, 2020 3.9k votes 487 voters 37.8k views84 items

List RulesFilms 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.

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  • 1
    A Streetcar Named Desire
    132
    48

    A Streetcar Named Desire

    Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh

    Released1951

    Directed byElia Kazan

    Based on the Tennessee Williams play of the same name.
  • 2
    Amadeus
    108
    43

    Amadeus

    Jeffrey Jones, Cynthia Nixon

    Released1984

    Directed byMiloš Forman

    Based on Peter Shaffer's play of the same name.
  • 3
    Casablanca
    92
    34

    Casablanca

    Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart

    Released1942

    Directed byMichael Curtiz

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

  • 4
    Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
    106
    42

    Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

    Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton

    Released1966

    Directed byMike Nichols

    Based on the Edward Albee play of the same name.
  • 5
    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
    94
    51

    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

    Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman

    Released1958

    Directed byRichard Brooks

    Based on the Tennessee Williams play of the same name.

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  • 6
    The Odd Couple
    57
    17

    The Odd Couple

    Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau

    Released1968

    Directed byGene Saks

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

  • 7
    Fences
    70
    23

    Fences

    Denzel Washington, Viola Davis

    Released2016

    Directed byDenzel Washington

    Based on August wilson's play of the same name

  • 8
    Arsenic and Old Lace
    89
    36

    Arsenic and Old Lace

    Cary Grant, Peter Lorre

    Released1944

    Directed byFrank Capra

    Based on Joseph Kesselring's play of the same name.

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  • 9
    Death of a Salesman
    71
    31

    Death of a Salesman

    Dustin Hoffman, John Malkovich

    Released1985

    Directed byVolker Schlöndorff

    Based on Arthur Miller's play of the same name.

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  • 10
    A Raisin in the Sun
    54
    19

    A Raisin in the Sun

    Sidney Poitier, Louis Gossett

    Released1961

    Directed byDaniel Petrie

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

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  • 11
    Glengarry Glen Ross
    59
    30

    Glengarry Glen Ross

    Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin

    Released1992

    Directed byJames Foley

    Based on the David Mamet play of the same name.

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  • 12
    Driving Miss Daisy
    46
    16

    Driving Miss Daisy

    Morgan Freeman, Dan Aykroyd

    Released1989

    Directed byBruce Beresford

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

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  • 13
    My Fair Lady
    63
    28

    My Fair Lady

    Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison

    Released1964

    Directed byGeorge Cukor

    Based on George Bernard Shaw's play, Pygmalion.

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  • 14
    Dracula
    49
    24

    Dracula

    Bela Lugosi, Tod Browning

    Released1931

    Directed byTod Browning, Karl Freund

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

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  • 15
    Wait Until Dark
    36
    21

    Wait Until Dark

    Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin

    Released1967

    Directed byTerence Young

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

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  • 16
    A Few Good Men
    54
    23

    A Few Good Men

    Tom Cruise, Demi Moore

    Released1992

    Directed byRob Reiner

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

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  • 17
    Inherit the Wind
    45
    30

    Inherit the Wind

    Spencer Tracy, Gene Kelly

    Released1960

    Directed byStanley Kramer

    Based on Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee's play of the same name.

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  • 18
    A Bronx Tale
    38
    32

    A Bronx Tale

    Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci

    Released1993

    Directed byRobert De Niro

    Based on Chazz Palminteri's play of the same name.

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  • 19
    The Crucible
    19
    11

    The Crucible

    Winona Ryder, Daniel Day-Lewis

    Released1996

    Directed byNicholas Hytner

    The Crucible is a 1996 drama film written by Arthur Miller and based on his play of the same... more on Wikipedia
  • 20
    Closer
    28
    23

    Closer

    Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts

    Released2004

    Directed byMike Nichols

    Based on Patrick Marber's play of the same name.

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  • 21
    The Madness of King George
    32
    26

    The Madness of King George

    Helen Mirren, Ian Holm

    Released1994

    Directed byNicholas Hytner

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

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  • 22
    Romeo + Juliet
    43
    41

    Romeo + Juliet

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Paul Rudd

    Released1996

    Directed byBaz Luhrmann

    Romeo + Juliet is a 1996 American romantic drama film adaptation of William Shakespeare's... more on Wikipedia

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  • 23
    Frost/Nixon
    36
    32

    Frost/Nixon

    Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell

    Released2008

    Directed byRon Howard

    Based on Peter Morgan's play of the same name.

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  • 24
    August: Osage County
    33
    26

    August: Osage County

    Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep

    Released2013

    Directed byJohn Wells

    Based on Tracy Letts's play of the same name.
  • 25
    Angels in America
    28
    26

    Angels in America

    Mary-Louise Parker, Jeffrey Wright

    Released2003

    Directed byMike Nichols

    Based on Tony Kushner's play of the same name.

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