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Top 10 Movies Based on TV Shows

We all know many TV series that were based on movies, but the situation is also turned around a number of times. This Buzzle article lists some of the best movies that were based on a TV series.
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Animated TV shows such as Doraemon, Crayon Shin-chan, Pokémon, and Looney Tunes have been made into more films than most regular TV series (all except Star Trek and Saturday Night Live).
The adaptation and interrelation of the same subject into various media is common in the modern world. Popular books are almost always made into movies, movies are converted into TV shows, radio shows are converted into books, and every permutation thereof.

These adaptations use the subject's existing fan base to rake in the moolah, as well as drawing in new audience that is attracted to that particular medium.

TV shows have served as inspiration for numerous movies. Here is a list of the best of the lot.

The inclusion and ranking of the movies is completely the writer's personal choice―opinions may differ.

10 Movies Based on TV Shows

1. Life of Brian (1979)

Based On: Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969-74)

It's Christmas, and it's raining messiahs!

Monty Python's Flying Circus was already a TV hit when the inventive makers, Monty Python, ventured into movies. Their Life of Brian and The Holy Grail are among the best comedies ever, and the former was even ranked as the best in various polls and compilations. The 1979 movie, which satirically depicted the life of a neighbor of Jesus Christ born on the same day as the messiah, drew flak from Christian groups all over the world, and was even banned in some countries! Typically, the makers used the bans to humorously advertize their film, claiming it was "so funny it was banned in Norway". Even 30 years after its release, the movie's underlying message still rings true, and the laughs just don't dry up!

2. Star Trek (2009)

Based On: Star Trek: The Original Series (1966-69), Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-94)

The 2009 movie is selected as a representative of the 12 Star Trek movies that have been made. And yeah, I know Wrath of Khan was more important to the franchise, I know it helped the franchise stay alive, but the rebooted films just work. The casting is excellent (if you keep a clean slate about it), it doesn't radically change stuff from the original shows, and can anyone point to a franchise with better villains than Eric Bana and Benedict Cumberbatch?

Star Trek is a comparatively rare franchise, as it has not really suffered a dip in popularity at any point (though the first movie definitely brought it to the edge). It has been popular ever since the 1966 Original Series was rebooted in epic proportions by the Patrick Stewart-led New Generation, and Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto look set to extend the popularity of the franchise among a younger audience.

3. The Holy Grail (1975)

Based On: Monty Python's Flying Circus

Monty Python make a second appearance on the list with their hilarious Arthurian epic about the quest for the Holy Grail. Replete with a sword fight with a limbless knight, a rabid rabbit, and the daring deliverance of a male damsel in distress, this movie is one of the best and most relentless laugh-fests ever.

The Holy Grail is considered Monty Python's first feature film, since their debut film was just a compilation of sketches from their TV series. Even 40 years after the TV series' broadcast, Monty Python are still irresistibly funny.

4. Mission Impossible (1996)

Based On: Mission Impossible (1966-73)

Tom Cruise may have made Ethan Hunt a household name, but the epic line "This tape will self-destruct in five... four... three... two... one..." was first shown in the original TV series. Cruise and Brian De Palma reinvigorated the 1970s plotlines with modern gadgets and a much more confusing storyline.

The movie series has become increasingly cliched and convoluted (seriously, did anybody count the sheer number of face masks in this franchise?), but the first film is without doubt the one to watch.

5. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)

Based On: Police Squad! (1982)

Centered on the inimitable Leslie Nielsen, Police Squad proved very popular with TV audiences, before being prematurely shut down. The show itself is consistently ranked among the best shows that were shut down too soon, with the notable example being it claiming the 7th spot in TV Guide's 2013 list of such shows.

Moving onto the movies, Nielsen again steals the show with his impeccable comic timing and delivery. The other two films in the Naked Gun series are best forgotten, but the first one is truly captivating.

6. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)

Based On: Da ALi G Show (2000, 2003-04)

British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's hilarious but controversial show, Da Ali G Show, spawned 3 feature-length movies, but Borat definitely steals the show. The journey of the culturally-handicapped Kazakh journalist, Borat Sagdiyev, was controversial from the start. All Middle Eastern countries except Lebanon banned it, and it was heavily discouraged in various countries, including Russia.

It is stinging, and it is brilliantly cringe-worthy!

7. Serenity (2005)

Based On: Firefly (2002)

Like Police Squad, Firefly is one of those shows that really, really should not have been canceled so early on. The brilliant space-western was popular with viewers, and the decision to can it, led to a significant backlash.

The producers responded by creating Serenity, which, while not quite as good as the TV series, still manages to fascinate old fans and also captivated new ones.

8. Wayne's World (1992)

Based On: Saturday Night Live (1975-present)

There is, of course, no need to introduce Saturday Night Live to anybody; the show has been a fascinating staple for almost 40 years now!

Various sketches from SNL were made into feature films. Wayne's World is undoubtedly the best of the lot, something that can be credited as much to the brilliance of Wayne's World as the sheer lack of spark in the rest of SNL-inspired films.

This flick was the debut of famous actor Michael Myers, and was crucial in introducing various phrases in pop culture.

9. Mr. Bean's Holiday (2007)

Based On: Mr. Bean (1989-1995)

I'll be honest, Mr. Bean isn't really cut out to star in movies. But whatever the deficiencies, you just can't leave the delightful Rowan Atkinson out!

The TV series Mr. Bean is a global favorite, and cemented Atkinson's place among the best comedians of the era. Though the first Mr. Bean movie didn't set the records alight, the second one was much more successful (and, on a personal note, much better).

10. Charlie's Angels (2000)

Based On: Charlie's Angels (1976-81)

The original TV series Charlie's Angels was one of the most successful TV shows of the 1970s, its theme of pitching female lead actors in otherwise male-dominated roles caught on with TV audiences.

The 2000 movie, relying mainly on its incredibly beautiful star cast getting physical at the first opportunity, was critically and commercially successful, though its sequel failed to live up to the hype.

When it comes to movies based on TV series, there is always the risk of alienating the existing fanbase in the quest to seek new ones. But many movies, in fact, go on to be bigger hits than the original TV series. Franchises such as Star Trek and Monty Python are all-time favorites, their fame only enhanced by their classic movies and TV shows.
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Published: September 25, 2013
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