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
    • Characters: Scar, Simba, Mufasa, Pumbaa, Nala
    The Lion King (1994)
  • Little Shop of Horrors (1982)
    2
    Alan Menken , Howard Ashman
    • Characters: Orin Scrivello, DDS, Seymour Krelborn, Audrey II, Crystal
    Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
  • Chicago
    3
    Bob Fosse , Fred Ebb, John Kander
    • Characters: Velma Kelly, Billy Flynn, Roxie Hart, Amos Hart, Matron "Mama" Morton
  • Hairspray (2002)
    4
    Scott Wittman , Marc Shaiman, Thomas Meehan
    • 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
  • Newsies (2011)
    5

    Newsies (2011)

    Newsies (1992)
  • Beauty and the Beast (1993)
    6
    Alan Menken , Linda Woolverton, Howard Ashman
    • Characters: Belle, Gaston, Beast, Babette, Wardrobe
    Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  • Mary Poppins (2004)
    7
    Richard M. Sherman , Robert B. Sherman, George Stiles
    • Characters: Mary Poppins, Michael Banks, Jane Banks, Bert, George Banks
    Mary Poppins (1964) and the book series by P.L. Travers
  • Singin' in the Rain (1983)
    8

    Singin' in the Rain (1983)

    Singin in the Rain (1952)
  • Legally Blonde: The Musical (2007)
    9
    Heather Hach , Laurence O'Keefe, Nell Benjamin
    • Characters: Elle Woods, Professor Callahan, Serena McGuire, Paulette Bonafonté, Margot
    Legally Blonde (2001) and the novel by Amanda Brown
  • Heathers (2010)
    10

    Heathers (2010)

    Heathers (1988)
  • The Little Mermaid (2007)
    12
    Alan Menken , Howard Ashman, Doug Wright
    • Characters: Ariel, Ursula, Prince Eric, Flounder, Sebastian
    The Little Mermaid (1989)
  • Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular (2003)
    13

    Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular (2003)

    Aladdin (1992)
  • The Producers (2001)
    14
    Mel Brooks , Thomas Meehan
    • Characters: Carmen Ghia, Roger De Bris, Leo Bloom, Franz Liebkind, Max Bialystock
    The Producers (1968), dir. by Mel Brooks
  • Billy Elliot: The Musical (2005)
    15
    • Characters: Billy Elliot, Debbie Wilkinson, Tony Elliot, Mr. Braithwaite, George Watson
    Billy Elliot (2000)
  • Shrek: The Musical (2008)
    16

    Shrek: The Musical (2008)

    Shrek (2001), which was based on the book Shrek! (1991) by William Steig
  • Spamalot (2004)
    17
    Neil Innes , John Du Prez, Eric Idle
    • Characters: Patsy, Sir Bors, Brother Maynard, Sir Bedevere, The Strangely Flatulent
    Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
  • Kinky Boots (2012)
    18

    Kinky Boots (2012)

    Kinky Boots (2005)
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (2002)
    19
    Richard M. Sherman , Robert B. Sherman, Jeremy Sams
      Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
    • Sister Act: The Musical (2009)
      20
      Alan Menken , Glenn Slater, Cherie Steinkellner
      • Characters: Deloris Van Cartier, Mother Superior, Sister Mary Robert, Sister Mary Patrick, Sister Mary Lazarus
      Sister Act (1992)
    • Footloose (1998)
      21
      Eric Carmen , Sammy Hagar, Tom Snow
      • Characters: Rusty Rodriguez, Ariel Moore, Ren McCormack, Chuck Cranston, Vi Moore
      Footloose (1984)
    • 42nd Street (1980)
      22
      Mark Bramble , Al Dubin, Harry Warren
      • Characters: Pat Denning, Billy Lawlor, Julian Marsh, Abner Dillon, Mac
      42nd Street (1933), which was based on the novel (1932) by Bradford Ropes
    • Young Frankenstein (2007)
      23
      Irving Berlin , Mel Brooks, Thomas Meehan
      • Characters: Frankenstein's monster, Victor Frankenstein, Igor, Frau Blücher, Inga
      Young Frankenstein (1974), dir. by Mel Brooks
    • Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002)
      24
      Jeanine Tesori , Richard Morris, Dick Scanlan
      • Characters: Miss Dorothy Brown, Mrs. Meers, Oriental #2, Millie Dillmount, Jimmy Smith
      Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)
    • Sunset Boulevard (1991)
      25
      Christopher Hampton , Don Black, Andrew Lloyd Webber
      • Characters: Norma Desmond, Joe Gillis, Betty Schaefer, Artie Green, Max Von Mayerling
      Sunset Boulevard (1950)