Movies Based on Stage Plays

1) Trading Places. Pretty Woman, My Fair Lady all based on Pygmalion

myfairladyIf you’re at all paying attention to your film history, you probably already know that My Fair Lady (with Audrey Hepburn) is based on Pygmalion. But did you know Trading Places and Pretty Woman were as well?

Pygmalion was first a Greek Myth about a a sculptor who fell in love with is own his own creation. George Bernard Shaw adapted this myth to his famous stage play, Pygmalion. In it, Mr. Higgins makes a bet with a friend that he could take the worst woman he could find on the street, and transform her into a woman of class.

prettywomanIt’s not hard to see the similarities between Pretty Woman and Pygmalion. In My Fair Lady, Audrey Hepburn plays a woman from the streets form a lower, socio-economic background who has manners and an accent that “needs changing” to become a lady in. In Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts plays a prostitute who Richard Gere pays for an entire weekend with (in which she gives him a BJ and a fun time on a piano). She wants to become his girlfriend, but he doesn’t think that’ll work, but in the end it all turns out fine and they live happily ever after. Just like in real life.

tradingplacesAlthough the movie Trading Places (with Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd) borrows a plot element from The Prince and the Pauper, it has more similarities with Pygmalion.  If you recall, a bet is placed between Coleman and Randolph.  The bet is to prove the age old question of Nature vs. Nurture, if it’s genes or the upbringing that leads to a successful, smarmy rich dude. As the movie proves, nurture turned Eddie Murphy, a poor, street pan handler with a criminal record into a high class Wallstreet investment banker. In this version, however, they planned on kicked the black dude back out on the street, ‘cus you know, he’s black. 


2) 10 Things I hate about you


You might remember 10 Things I Hate About You for that one scene where the Joker, the bad boy teen heart throb, sings a song to his high school love interest, and Robin was just a little skinny teenager, and that one guy from Numbers, and oh yeah, Julie Styles?  Did you notice it was the exact plot of the classic Shakespear play The Taming of the Shrew? Yep, strait up. Now only if Batman was based on a

3) Bug (2007)

bugBug stared Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr. who were both drug addicts and both kinda go nuts and crazy, thinking they have bugs in side of them. But did you know it was based on a stage play by the same name? The movie seems to take some liberties and increases the gore/violence level, but I'd definately like to see this as a school play.

4) A Bronx Tale

A Bronx Tale is a classic Robert De Niro, mob movie about a boy with two father figures. abronxtaleOne his dad (De Niro) who is trying to protect him from a life of crime and the other the mob boss. If you’ve seen it, you probably enjoyed it. But did you know it was based on a stage play, but not only that, but a ONE MAN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL stage play?



5) Forbidden Planet

forbiddenplanetYou might not have seen this classic sci-fi flick. Or, if you have, you may have seen it while watching Mystery Science Theater 3000. But, if you did catch this classic, you may have realized that the entire plot is ripped right from the Shakespear play, The Tempest.



6) She's the Man based on 12th Night

shesthemanIn the movie, Amanda Bynes disguises herself as a dude in order to play soccer. Then, falls in love with one of her team mates. But HE falls in love with her AS a dude. Yeah, that's Shakespear.

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