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45 voters

The Best Movies Based on Poems

Updated May 20, 2019 520 votes 45 voters 1.9k views35 items

List RulesVote up the best movies based on or inspired by poems.

From epic tales of war and romance to beloved animated musicals, this list includes information about the best movies based on poems. Some movies based on poems stay true to the source material while other films adapted from poems create new storylines. Some of the best movies based on poems have even won Academy Awards.

What films will you find on this best movies based on poems list? Braveheart has to be near the top. This 1995 film – directed, produced, and starring Mel Gibson – was based on the poem The Wallace by Blind Harry. Braveheart won the Academy Award for Best Picture as well as several other honors. O Brother, Where Art Thou? is another great movie inspired by a poem.

Nightmare Before Christmas was based on a poem written by Tim Burton in 1982. Other good films based on poems include Troy, Beowulf, and Horton Hears a Who.

Which movies based on a poem do you think are the best? Give your favorites a vote up and and add any good options we may have missed.

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  • 1
    Paul Reubens, Catherine O'Hara
    41
    10

    Released1993

    Directed byHenry Selick

    Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D is a 2006 3D version of the 1993 film of the same title directed by Henry Selick and written by Caroline Thompson....  more
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  • 2
    George Clooney, John Goodman
    21
    4

    Released2000

    Directed byEthan Coen, Joel Coen

    O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a 2000 adventure comedy film written, produced, edited, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, and starring George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson, with John...  more
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  • 3
    Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins
    22
    9

    Released2007

    Directed byRobert Zemeckis

    Beowulf is a 2007 American motion capture computer-animated fantasy film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary, inspired by the Old English epic poem of the same...  more
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  • 4
    James Franco, Jon Hamm
    15
    7

    Released2010

    Directed byRob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman

    Howl is a 2010 American experimental film which explores both the Six Gallery debut and the 1957 obscenity trial of 20th-century American poet Allen Ginsberg's noted poem Howl. The film is written...  more
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  • 5
    Brad Pitt, Eric Bana
    22
    16

    Released2004

    Directed byWolfgang Petersen

    Troy is a 2004 epic period war film directed by Wolfgang Petersen, loosely based on Homer's Iliad. After Paris smuggles Queen Helen to Troy, Achilles leads his Myrmidons along with the rest of the...  more
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  • 6
    Alice Eve, John Cusack
    15
    7

    Released2012

    Directed byJames McTeigue

    The Raven is a 2012 American mystery thriller film directed by James McTeigue and based on a screenplay by Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare. It stars John Cusack, Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson and...  more
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  • 7
    Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau
    15
    12

    Released1995

    Directed byMel Gibson

    Braveheart is a 1995 epic historical medieval war drama film directed by and starring Mel Gibson. Gibson portrays William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First War...  more
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  • 8
    Eddie Murphy, Ming-Na Wen
    13
    10

    Released1998

    Directed byTony Bancroft, Barry Cook

    Mulan is a 1998 American animated musical action-comedy-drama film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan. The 36th animated feature in the Walt Disney...  more
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  • 9
    13
    11

    Released2000

    Directed byRon Howard

    This film is a 2000 American musical fantasy comedy Christmas film from Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment, based on the 1957 story of the same name by Dr. Seuss. It was the first Dr. Seuss...  more
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  • 10
    Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin
    10
    7

    Released1977

    Directed byTerry Gilliam

    Jabberwocky is a 1977 British fantasy film co-written and directed by Terry Gilliam. The name is taken from the nonsense poem "Jabberwocky" in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass. The film,...  more
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  • 11
    Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine
    7
    4

    Released1939

    Directed byGeorge Stevens

    Gunga Din is a 1939 RKO adventure film directed by George Stevens and starring Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., loosely based on the poem of the same name by Rudyard Kipling...  more
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  • 12
    Robert Ryan, Wallace Ford
    10
    9

    Released1949

    Directed byRobert Wise

    The Set-Up is a 1949 American film noir boxing drama directed by Robert Wise and featuring Robert Ryan and Audrey Totter. The screenplay was adapted by Art Cohn from a 1928 poem written by Joseph...  more
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  • 13
    Robert Downey Jr., Julianne Moore
    10
    12

    Released1993

    Directed byRobert Altman

    Short Cuts is a 1993 American drama film directed by Robert Altman. Filmed from a screenplay by Altman and Frank Barhydt, it is inspired by nine short stories and a poem by Raymond Carver....  more
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  • 14
    Janet Jackson, Kerry Washington
    8
    10

    Released2010

    Directed byTyler Perry

    For Colored Girls is a drama film to be released on 14 January 2011, directed by Tyler Perry....  more
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  • 15
    Sofiko Chiaureli, Vilen Galstyan
    7
    10

    Released1968

    Directed bySergei Parajanov

    The Color of Pomegranates is a 1969 Soviet film written and directed by Sergei Parajanov. It made the Top 10 list in Cahiers du cinéma in 1982 and Top 100 in Time Out....  more
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  • 16
    Abbie Cornish, Ben Whishaw
    7
    12

    Released2009

    Directed byJane Campion

    Bright Star is a 2009 film based on the last three years of the life of poet John Keats and his romantic relationship. A British/Australian co-production, it was directed by Jane Campion, who wrote...  more
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  • 17
    Selena Gomez, Jim Carrey
    5
    10

    Released2008

    Directed bySteve Martino, Jimmy Hayward

    Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! is a 2008 American computer-animated adventure comedy film based on the Dr. Seuss' book of the same name. The film was directed by Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino, and...  more
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  • 18
    Pano Masti, Samantha E. Hunt
    5
    2

    Released2007

    Directed byJohn La Bouchardière

    The Full Monteverdi is a 2007 British film written and directed by John La Bouchardière and based on his live production of the same name, itself based on Claudio Monteverdi's fourth book of...  more
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  • 19
    Brigitte Bardot, Stanley Baker
    5
    2

    Released1956

    Directed byRobert Wise

    Helen of Troy is a 1956 Warner Bros. epic film, based on Homer's Illiad and Odyssey. It was directed by Robert Wise, from a screenplay by Hugh Gray and John Twist, adapted by Hugh Gray and N. Richard...  more
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  • 20
    Jack Nicholson, Vincent Price
    5
    2

    Released1963

    Directed byRoger Corman

    The Raven is a 1963 American independent B movie/horror-comedy film produced and directed by Roger Corman. The film stars Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, and Boris Karloff as a trio of rival...  more
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  • 21
    Wallace Beery, Sterling Holloway
    5
    2

    Released1927

    Directed byMonte Brice

    Casey at the Bat is a 1927 silent film, directed by Monte Brice, written by Ernest Thayer, based on the baseball poem of the same name and starred Wallace Beery, Ford Sterling, Zasu Pitts and...  more
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  • 22
    Tom Burlinson, Sigrid Thornton
    5
    2

    Released1988

    Directed byGeoff Burrowes

    Return to Snowy River (a.k.a. The Man from Snowy River II and The Untamed) is a 1988 Australian drama film directed by Geoff Burrowes, it is a sequel to The Man from Snowy River....  more
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  • 23
    Mayim Bialik, Lance Henriksen
    5
    10

    Released1989

    Directed byStan Winston

    Pumpkinhead is a 1988 American supernatural horror film. It was the directorial debut of special effects artist Stan Winston. While Pumpkinhead received mixed reviews, the film has built up a cult...  more
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  • 24
    Kirk Douglas, Jack Thompson
    3
    2

    Released1982

    Directed byGeorge T. Miller

    The Man from Snowy River is a 1982 Australian drama film based on the Banjo Paterson poem The Man from Snowy River. The film had a cast including Kirk Douglas in a dual role as the brothers Harrison...  more
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  • 25
    The Tale of Tsar Saltan is a 1984 Soviet traditionally animated feature film directed by Lev Milchin and Ivan Ivanov-Vano and produced at the Soyuzmultfilm studio. It is an adaptation of the poem of...  more
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