The Best Musicals Based on Movies

List Rules
Only stage musicals that cite films as their original source material - no adaptations directly from other mediums

List of musicals based on movies, ranked by fans and casual critics. Stage theatre has been a primary form of entertainment for thousands of years, in the forms of plays, operas, and musicals. Around the world, dozens of theatrical performances are brought to life on stages big and small. Most notably, the theatre districts of Broadway in Manhattan and the West End in London are home to the catchiest, most elaborate, most memorable musicals. Nothing is more inspirational than experiencing the art of actors who can also sing and dance with grace and style in front of a large audience of people. It’s no wonder that plays and musicals have remained so popular throughout the years! What are the best musicals based on films?

This list includes the greatest plays and musicals that were inspired by movies, ranked according to the opinions of voters. Which soundtracks have you played nonstop? Which lyrics have you memorized? Some of these plays on this list were smash hit successful Broadway productions that scored several awards and made the actors instant successes. Others are newer shows that are still in trial runs for smaller audiences in cities like Chicago and Los Angeles.

In addition to direct adaptations from film to stage, this list includes musicals inspired by movies that weren't musicals to begin with. Wondering why you don't remember the songs from Billy Elliott or Sunset Boulevard? That's because there weren't any. 
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Ranked by
  • The Lion King (1997)
    1
    Mark Mancina , Elton John, Jay Rifkin
    442 votes
    • Characters: Scar, Simba, Mufasa, Pumbaa, Nala
    The Lion King (1994)
    The Lion King is a musical based on the 1994 Walt Disney Animation Studios' animated feature film of the same name with music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, and book by Roger Allers and Irene ...more
  • Beauty and the Beast (1993)
    2
    Alan Menken , Linda Woolverton, Howard Ashman
    356 votes
    • Characters: Belle, Gaston, Beast, Babette, Wardrobe
    Beauty and the Beast (1991)
    Beauty and the Beast is a musical with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton. Adapted from Walt Disney Pictures' Academy Award-winning 1991 animated ...more
  • Chicago
    3
    Bob Fosse , Fred Ebb, John Kander
    324 votes
    • Characters: Velma Kelly, Billy Flynn, Roxie Hart, Amos Hart, Matron "Mama" Morton
    Chicago (Chicago: A Musical Vaudeville) is an American musical with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Ebb and Bob Fosse. Set in Jazz-age Chicago, the musical is based on a 1926 ...more
  • Mary Poppins (2004)
    4
    Richard M. Sherman , Robert B. Sherman, George Stiles
    315 votes
    • Characters: Mary Poppins, Michael Banks, Jane Banks, Bert, George Banks
    Mary Poppins (1964) and the book series by P.L. Travers
    Mary Poppins is a musical with music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman (the Sherman Brothers) and additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, and a script by ...more
  • Little Shop of Horrors (1982)
    5
    Alan Menken , Howard Ashman
    327 votes
    • Characters: Orin Scrivello, DDS, Seymour Krelborn, Audrey II, Crystal
    Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
    Little Shop of Horrors is a comedy horror rock musical, by composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman, about a hapless florist shop worker who raises a plant that feeds on human blood and flesh. ...more
  • Hairspray (2002)
    6
    Scott Wittman , Marc Shaiman, Thomas Meehan
    338 votes
    • Characters: Velma Von Tussle, Edna Turnblad, Little Inez, Seaweed J Stupps, Motormouth Maybelle
    Hairspray (2007), which was based on the movie Hairspray (1988), dir. by John Waters
    Hairspray is an American musical with music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman and a book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, based on John Waters’s 1988 film of the same name. The ...more