Best Musical to Movie adaptations in Hollywood: Les Misérables Mamma Mia and more

Musicals are one of the most widely consumed forms of visual entertainment. Musicals appeal to a wide range of audiences, from small children who like the flashy costumes to full-grown adults who cry at the soul in the songs, thanks to elaborate sets and professional singing. Musicals can cover topics ranging from vengeance to love, in addition to being entertaining. Whatever the story, musicals tell it through music, which is one of the best mediums for portraying a deeper level of emotion and establishing a stronger connection with the audience.
Musicals are a unique and unforgettable experience. The orchestra and ambiance completely immerse you in the story, which is impossible to replicate. However, films have advantages that a stage performance does not have. As a result, numerous Broadway musicals have been adapted for film.
If you need a break from reality and want to see a world where emotions are abundant and people sing and dance their feelings, look no further. Every film on this list is an admirable attempt to capture the enchantment of a big, lavish Broadway musical.
Les Misérables (2012)

Ex-prisoner Jean Valjean is pursued by Javert for violating his 19-year sentence’s parole, but he manages to reinvent himself as Mayor of a small town. Meanwhile, the French Revolution is making its way through the streets in the background. Les Misérables won numerous awards for the performances and dedication of the actors to their roles, as Anne Hathaway lost a lot of weight and let the production team shave her head.
The film adaptation provides the opportunity to see some of the world’s most famous celebrities play classic roles; it also allows for greater cinematic effect because being on a closed set allows for the use of more risky props, such as the weapons used from the barricades.
Grease (1978)

Sandy and Danny, two teenagers who reunite at Rydell High School after a summer fling, are played by Olivia Newton-John and Jon Travolta in Grease. Danny is a greaser, whereas Sandy is a shy, stereotypical goody two-shoes. Their developing relationship is set to timeless songs like Hopelessly Devoted to You and You’re the One That I Want. It’s a fun musical with great lead characters, which is why it’s so popular even today. 
Mamma Mia! (2008)

Mamma Mia! is a story that you simply cannot go wrong with. Sophie, who is getting married, invites three potential fathers to her wedding in Greece, but she has no idea which one is her biological father. The premise alone is enough to make you laugh and cry as Sophie hides the truth from her mother, Donna — and Donna is panicking, seeing her past loves in Greece at the same time her daughter is getting married. The film adaptation depicts the true Greece because it was shot on the Greek islands. This is not possible with a stage performance because it is on a stage and is limited in how well it can recreate a setting. Mamma Mia! was so popular that it spawned many sequels even ages later.
Rent (2005)

Rent is set in New York and follows a group of young people, some of whom have AIDS, as they struggle to pay their rent and survive. Rent is one of the few shows on this list that features the majority of the original cast from the Broadway show in the film adaptation. It’s praised not only for its music and performances, but also for its nuanced portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters and narratives. Some even claim that it is what drew them to musicals in the first place. Because the camera allows for a closer look at the individuals’ physical and emotional suffering with clear views of their faces, the film adaptation of Rent is more intimate than the stage production. Furthermore, when the music plays, the film allows for clear sound, providing the audience with the best experience possible.
Hairspray (2007)

Hairspray, which follows Tracy, a plus-size teen who loves to dance, is about more than just a simple musical. Hairspray depicts 1960s segregation and focuses on racial integration, which is opposed by everyone except Tracy. Tracy is only accepted by Queen Latifah’s loving Motormouth Maybelle and her children, who appear only on Negro Day of the Corny Collins show. This classic musical is given a stellar cast in the film. This adaptation was a sure thing with stars like Zac Efron, Queen Latifah, Michelle Pfeiffer, John Travolta, and Christopher Walken. Motormouth led a march against segregation in the streets of Baltimore, and it was a real march that others joined, and soon the few became the many. This was quite difficult to recreate on stage but translated well on screen.

Annie (1982)

Orphan Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks adopts Annie in order to improve his image. Annie, as much as she enjoys her opulent surroundings, longs for the day when she will be reunited with her birth parents. Annie is a timeless classic with a heartwarming story and a memorable score. When watching Annie, it’s impossible not to feel something. Annie’s innocence and naivety are revealed in the film. As the little girl navigates her life, she still longs for something as simple as meeting her biological parents. We see her heart in its entirety on the silver screen and truly sympathise with Annie.

Tick, Tick…Boom! (2021)

Tick, Tick…Boom! is a biographical musical about composer Jonathan Larson, who wrote Rent before his tragic death. The film follows Jonathan, played by an outstanding Andrew Garfield, as he attempts to write a musical and break into the theatre scene. His artistic work is further hampered by his personal relationships and struggles. It’s an emotional look at Jonathan’s life as well as the life of an artist, filled with his beautiful music.

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Little Shop of Horrors is a hilarious musical about a plant named Audrey II who feeds on human flesh and blood to grow stronger and bigger. This classic has it all: a little gore, a little romance, and some classic songs like “Feed Me Seymour.” Audrey II comes to life in the film, and the close-ups that the stage cannot provide make it even more terrifying. The movie adaptation of Little Shop of Horrors is a gem of a musical and the only one of its kind, thanks to a hilarious cast led by Rick Moranis and Steve Martin.
West Side Story (1961 and 2021)

West Side Story has been compared to a modern-day Romeo and Juliet, but instead of two households, there are two gangs vying for territory. West Side Story, one of the most romantic stories ever told, brings out the romantic in all of us as two lovers, Tony and Maria, fight for their love. The film intensifies the love with close-ups that a stage performance cannot provide. Steven Spielberg will adapt West Side Story again in 2021, fifty years after the original. The new adaptation received praise for capturing the spirit of the original while introducing some significant changes that add depth to the story. It solidifies West Side Story’s legacy as a truly legendary musical.