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The Best Musicals Based on Movies

Updated April 6, 2020 9.4k votes 764 voters 25.9k views71 items

List RulesOnly 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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  • 1
    The Lion King (1997)
    269
    102

    The Lion King (1997)

    Mark Mancina , Elton John

    CharactersScar, Simba, Mufasa, Pumbaa, Nala

    The Lion King (1994)
  • 2
    Heathers (2010)
    237
    89

    Heathers (2010)

    Heathers (1988)
  • 3
    Newsies (2011)
    223
    86

    Newsies (2011)

    Newsies (1992)
  • 4
    Beauty and the Beast (1993)
    230
    99

    Beauty and the Beast (1993)

    Alan Menken , Linda Woolverton

    CharactersBelle, Gaston, Beast, Babette, Wardrobe

    Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  • 5
    Hairspray (2002)
    210
    91

    Hairspray (2002)

    Scott Wittman , Marc Shaiman

    CharactersVelma 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
  • 6
    Legally Blonde: The Musical (2007)
    201
    87

    Legally Blonde: The Musical (2007)

    Heather Hach , Laurence O'Keefe

    CharactersElle Woods, Professor Callahan, Serena McGuire, Paulette Bonafonté, Margot

    Legally Blonde (2001) and the novel by Amanda Brown
  • 7
    Little Shop of Horrors (1982)
    202
    89

    Little Shop of Horrors (1982)

    Alan Menken , Howard Ashman

    CharactersOrin Scrivello, DDS, Seymour Krelborn, Audrey II, Crystal

    Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

    More Little Shop of Horrors 

    #11 of 49 The Best Grammy-Nominated Musical Theater Albums of the 1980s#2 of 45 The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway

  • 8
    Chicago
    190
    84

    Chicago

    Bob Fosse , Fred Ebb

    CharactersVelma Kelly, Billy Flynn, Roxie Hart, Amos Hart, Matron "Mama" Morton

    Chicago (Chicago: A Musical Vaudeville) is an American musical with music by John Kander,... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    Mary Poppins (2004)
    188
    93

    Mary Poppins (2004)

    Richard M. Sherman , Robert B. Sherman

    CharactersMary Poppins, Michael Banks, Jane Banks, Bert, George Banks

    Mary Poppins (1964) and the book series by P.L. Travers
  • 10
    The Little Mermaid (2007)
    175
    85

    The Little Mermaid (2007)

    Alan Menken , Howard Ashman

    CharactersAriel, Ursula, Prince Eric, Flounder, Sebastian

    The Little Mermaid (1989)
  • 11
    Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular (2003)
    153
    78

    Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular (2003)

    Aladdin (1992)
  • 12
    Singin' in the Rain (1983)
    141
    79

    Singin' in the Rain (1983)

    Singin in the Rain (1952)
  • 13
    Shrek: The Musical (2008)
    152
    101

    Shrek: The Musical (2008)

    Shrek (2001), which was based on the book Shrek! (1991) by William Steig
  • 14
    School of Rock
    School of Rock is a rock musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater and... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    Footloose (1998)
    99
    69

    Footloose (1998)

    Eric Carmen , Sammy Hagar

    CharactersRusty Rodriguez, Ariel Moore, Ren McCormack, Chuck Cranston, Vi Moore

    Footloose (1984)
  • 16
    Billy Elliot: The Musical (2005)
    97
    69

    CharactersBilly Elliot, Debbie Wilkinson, Tony Elliot, Mr. Braithwaite, George Watson

    Billy Elliot (2000)
  • 17
    Kinky Boots (2012)
    87
    60

    Kinky Boots (2012)

    Kinky Boots (2005)
  • 18
    The Producers (2001)
    93
    72

    The Producers (2001)

    Mel Brooks , Thomas Meehan

    CharactersCarmen Ghia, Roger De Bris, Leo Bloom, Franz Liebkind, Max Bialystock

    The Producers (1968), dir. by Mel Brooks
  • 19
    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (2002)
    82
    61

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (2002)

    Richard M. Sherman , Robert B. Sherman
    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
  • 20
    Spamalot (2004)
    100
    81

    Spamalot (2004)

    Neil Innes , John Du Prez

    CharactersPatsy, Sir Bors, Brother Maynard, Sir Bedevere, The Strangely Flatulent

    Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

    More 

    Every Song in Spamalot, Ranked by Singability#45 of 87 The Most Popular Broadway Musicals of All Time

  • 21
    Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002)
    78
    61

    Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002)

    Jeanine Tesori , Richard Morris

    CharactersMiss Dorothy Brown, Mrs. Meers, Oriental #2, Millie Dillmount, Jimmy Smith

    Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)
  • 22
    A Very Potter Musical
    58
    42

    A Very Potter Musical

    StarKid Productions

    CharactersHarry Potter, Ron Weasly, Ginny Weasly, Severus Snape, Professor Dumbledore

  • 23
    Sister Act: The Musical (2009)
    75
    64

    Sister Act: The Musical (2009)

    Alan Menken , Glenn Slater

    CharactersDeloris Van Cartier, Mother Superior, Sister Mary Robert, Sister Mary Patrick, Sister Mary Lazarus

    Sister Act (1992)
  • 24
    Carrie (1988)
    66
    57

    Carrie (1988)

    Dean Pitchford , Lawrence D. Cohen

    CharactersCarrie White, Margaret White, Chris Hargensen, Sue Snell, Tommy Ross

     Carrie (1976)
  • 25
    Once (2011)
    68
    60

    Once (2011)

    Once (2006)