Best Movies Based on Plays – Part 6

Posted on 2 Apr 00:00

No doubt a lot goes into making a great movie but if there is one thing that has the most impact on a movie, that is its story. A good plot always makes a good movie. Some of the best storylines humanity has ever had are the plays written in the time when plays were the only source of public entertainment and movies were not a thing. The movies based on these plays are some of the best movies to ever be. We have made this list of the movies that are based on plays written by some of the most famous and the most successful play writers.

1.  Oleanna (1994)

This is a drama that was written and directed by David Mamet. The movie is adapted from Mamet’s play of the same name from 1992. The film got nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead. The lead role of this movie’s story is a flustered college student Carol (Debra Eisenstadt) who visits her professor John (William H. Macy) and asks him how she can secure a good grade. The narcissistic professor barely notices her presence and starts ranting about his personal theories and philosophies, not being able to give Carol an acceptable answer. After a while, Carol returns to her professor’s office, more composed and prepared this time. She accuses the professor of sexual assault. The professor is baffled at her accusation but Carol is prepared and is not going to step back from her claim.

2.  Hamlet (1996)

This movie is based on William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, written in 1623. It was adapted for a movie and directed by Kenneth Branagh. This is the only complete movie version of the original play, though it is updated to the 19th century. When Prince Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh) discovers that his father was killed by the present king Claudius (Derek Jacobi), with the help of Gertrude (Julie Christie) he is left traumatized. Prince Hamlet comes up with a fool-proof plan of revenge, but it goes wrong and he ends up killing the father of the love of his life Ophelia (Kate Winslet). This sets off a series of events that lead to the tragic end of the story.

3.  In the Company of Men (1997)

This is a Canadian-American black comedy film that was directed and written by Neil LaBute. The film was adapted from a play written by LaBute. This movie was the screenplay debut of LaBute and won Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. The story of the movie revolves around two junior executives Chad (Aaron Eckhart) and Howard (Matt Malloy) who are sent by their company in the Midwest to a six-week business trip with Howard in charge of the mission. Both of the men have recently broken up with their girlfriends and are still suffering. With twisted male-domination in their minds, the two men decide to romance a deaf secretary Christine (Stacy Edwards). They plan to break up with her at the same time to devastate her fragile self-esteem.

4.  Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

This is a British/American romantic comedy adapted from William Shakespeare's 'Much Ado About Nothing' written in 1623. The play was adapted for the screen and the movie was directed by Kenneth Branagh. In this movie, Kate Beckinsale in the lead role “Hero”, her groom-to-be, Claudio (Robert Sean Leonard), and Claudio’s commanding officer, Don Pedro (Denzel Washington), team up just a week ahead of Hero and Claudio’s wedding to come up with a matchmaking scheme. Their targets are extremely smart Benedick (Kenneth Branagh) and Beatrice (Emma Thompson), and the task they have undertaken is a difficult one considering the distaste of their targets for love as well as for each other. As they are trying to make this match, their own marriage is threatened by the actions of Don John (Keanu Reeves).

5.  Long Day's Journey Into Night (1996)

This is a film by Canadian director David Wellington that was released in 1996. The movie is an adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's 1956 play named 'Long Day's Journey into Night'. The play is a semi-autobiography of Eugene. The movie was produced as a part of Canada’s Stanford Festival. The movie tells the story of a dysfunctional family in the form of one typical day of their life at their vacation residence in Connecticut. The family is on the verge of collapsing. Father and head of the family (William Hutt) is an actor who has already lived his golden years. He tries to dominate his sons, consumptive Edmund (Tom McCamus) and alcoholic Jamie, and Edmund’s mother who is knee deep into morphine addiction.

6.  The Glass Menagerie (1950)

This is a drama that was directed by Irving Rapper. The screenplay was developed by Tennessee Williams and Peter Berneis. The movie is adapted from a play of the same title written by Tennessee Williams in 1944. The story line of this domestic movie, derived from the play of the same name, depicts the fatherless Wingfield Family. The leader of the family is Amanda (Gertrude Lawrence) who used to be a Southern Belle.  Amanda is determined to find an appropriate match for her shy and sickly daughter Laura (Jane Wyman). Laura’s daydreaming brother, Tom (Arthur Kennedy, invites his colleague Jim (Kirk Douglas) for dinner and Amanda is thrilled to have the chance of serving a bachelor who might turn out to be her groom. However, not everything goes as planned and the evening ends in a way no one had anticipated.

7.  Henry V (1989)

This is a British historical drama film that was adapted for the screen and directed by Kenneth Branagh. It is based on William Shakespeare's play named 'Henry V'  about the real-life story of King Henry V of England. In this epic adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, the heroic and ruthless King Henry V of England decides to lay claim on the crown of France. However, Henry is extremely self-doubting and his army has diminished morale and both these things stand in the way of conquering France. The conquest will unite the two countries increasing Henry’s wealth many times over and will also bring a queen (Emma Thompson) for him. Against all odds, the brave king's iron will, sheer determination and passionate speech make his troops ready for undertaking the task of conquering France.


If you ask for one best movie among these, there isn’t any as not one of these movies is less than perfection. All these movies are based on plays with the most interesting, engaging, and awesome stories. Not only that, but all these movies also have perfect direction, unmatched cinematography, and balanced dialogues. Movie buffs will certainly enjoy these movies.

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