Best Movies Adapted From Musicals

How do franchises like Harry Potter and Hunger Games gain worldwide popularity and recognition (for their authors) these days? Through adaptation, of course. The same goes for playrights and their plays. How well were musicals adapted into films?

The Top Ten

1 Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Luke Evans and Dan Stevens can both belt out a song. Judas Priest I didn't expect that! "I'm especially good at expectorating".

Defining lyrics: No-one's gloomy or complaining while the flatware's entertaining.

Technically yes.

This does for French castles what Sunshine on Leith did for Scottish suburbs.

2 Mamma Mia

All that romantic Greek island paradise...I dream of going to a Greek island one day. I also dream of what it would be like to be Sophie and live on one with your mother. See the beach everyday, ride your own boat; without a doubt, one of the best all-time musicals. - Ph03b3

3 Sunshine On Leith

Les Miserables wished it had the homely charm that Sunshine on Leith has in spades. The sweeping shots of Scottish landmarks are bigger in scope than the entire length of Les Miserables

For those who don't know, Sunshine on Leith is based on a Dundee Reps (the Scottish equivilant to Broadway or the West End) stage production of the same name. Like Mamma Mia!, Sunshine on Leith is a jukebox musical in which the songs being used were pre-existiing (Mamma Mia! Is of course based around ABBA songs while Sunshine on Leith is based around the songs of The Proclaimers).

There's a fleeting gag about Trainspotting in this musical. Unlike most grimey Scotland set movies, the upbeat Sunshine on Leith has the luxury of getting away with Trainspotting jokes.

Unlike the other adaptations on this list, Sunshine on Leith is subtle.

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4 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Sacha Baron Cohen does fake Italian pretty well. And who would have thought that Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter can belt out a few tunes?

Defining lyrics: How gratifying for one to know that those above will serve those down below.

Worst pies in London? That's debateble these days considering a certain horse meat scandal.

But surely The most annoying nun in Salzburg has nothing on this deranged barber from London. Sacha Baron Cohen is the real scene stealer.

5 Grease

Honestly, who doesn't love Grease? The times when you'd go to a soda fountain with friends, own Eldorados and Mustangs, wear poodle skirts or leather jackets, watch movies at drive-in theatres with your date; Grease lets you imagine yourself at that time and enjoy it, at the same time, keeping you on your dancing shoes. - Ph03b3

The 50s wasn't exactly a brilliant time. Rationing was still at large and people were still grieving about lost loved ones.

Not exactly subtle is it? Grease wished it was as subtle as Sunshine on Leith.

6 Les Misérables

Definitely my favourite on this list. I love this because the content of the film doesn't differ at all from the stage. An excellent cast, top director and a wonderful, uplifting score. - Britgirl

I loved Emma Watson in Beauty and the Beast, but this movie deserves to be higher on the list. This is one of my favorite movies.

Blew my mind when I went to see it.

Better than most modern movie musicals. I adored Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Samantha Barks as Eponine, Eddie Redmayne as Marius, Hugh Jackman as Valjean, Aaron Tveit as Enjolras, Helena Carter as Madam T, both of the major kids, and Amanda Seyfreid as Cosette. The only mistakes were Russel Crowe as Javert and Sacha Baron Cohen as Thenardier (personally I think David Tennant would have been better if they wanted big names) but overall amazing!

7 Hairspray
8 The Sound of Music
9 Chicago

I'd argue that Chicago has a more interesting setting than Grease.

The times when gangsters would hide out in speakeasies, jazz would be played 24/7, mobsters would do drive-bys with 50 round Tommy Guns, people would wear zoot suits or fishnets and suspenders and crime & corruption were all part of the show. Chicago lets you imagine yourself at that time.

Never before has Prohibition-Era Chicago looked so glamorous. To quote Richard Gere, "Though you are stiffer than a girder, they'll let get away with murder"

Chicago should be at least top five. It is so amazing. The movie is so clever. It is literally a filmed stage show but better

Defining lyrics: Razzle dazzle them, and they'll never catch wise.

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10 Funny Girl

The Contenders

11 West Side Story
12 The Phantom of the Opera
13 Hello, Dolly!

Amazing film. Did it for my school musical and absolutely loved it

14 The Rocky Horror Picture Show


15 Oliver!

Based more from the West End production of Lionel Bart than Dickens.

16 Rock of Ages

Tom Cruise's singing is so good he could take up a rock career if he wanted.

17 Annie
18 Guys and Dolls
19 My Fair Lady
20 The Producers

Will Ferrell is funny as Franz Liebkind.

Der Guten Tag Hop Clop is a highlight

21 Cabaret
22 Rent
23 Fiddler on the Roof
24 Jersey Boys
25 Into the Woods
26 Jesus Christ Superstar
27 The King and I
28 1776
29 Hedwig and the Angry Inch
30 Little Shop of Horrors
31 Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Better than the first (and I totally loved the first). Funny; sentimental; heartwarming and so feel-good. And (obviously) because it's based around ABBA songs, it also has a tremendous score. Would I watch it again? Ha! What do you think? ;D - Britgirl

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List Stats

200 votes
31 listings
5 years, 87 days old

Top Remixes (6)

1. Sunshine On Leith
2. The Producers
3. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
1. Sunshine On Leith
2. The Producers
3. Into the Woods
1. Grease
2. Mamma Mia
3. The Sound of Music

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