TV

25 TV shows that were turned into movies

Written by:
June 29, 2021
Twentieth Century Fox

25 TV shows that were turned into movies

For decades, Hollywood has turned to the small screen, bringing the characters and plots of TV shows into the film format. Turning a seasons-long show into a two-hour film is no easy feat. Condensing the multiple storylines and characters a show can hold into the much shorter film format is difficult. Often, something (or lots of somethings) gets lost in the sauce.

Stacker surveyed film history and chose 25 movies across genres that were originally TV shows, ranging from the worst to the best to the unreleased. IMDb and Metacritic data is presented for reference, and the list is ordered by film title. Some of the films on our list act as epilogues to a TV show, while others are additional chapters or full-on conclusions to a series.

From “21 Jump Street” to “The X-Files,” read on to see how many of these TV shows turned movies you’ve seen.

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1 / 25
Columbia Pictures

21 Jump Street (2012)

- Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Metascore: 69
- Runtime: 109 minutes

A spin-off of a cop series of the same name, the “21 Jump Street'' movie was comedic whereas the series was dramatic. Set in the same world but featuring an entirely new cast of characters, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill star as undercover officers posing as high school students who are working on busting a local drug ring. Almost all of the actors from the TV series, including Johnny Depp, whose role cemented him as a teenage heartthrob, make cameo appearances, sometimes even reprising their original characters.

2 / 25
Orion Pictures

The Addams Family (1991)

- Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Metascore: 57
- Runtime: 99 minutes

The adventures of the ghoulish Addams family are revived in the 1991 film, which acts as a continuation of the original 1964 TV series. All-new actors, including Anjelica Houston, Christina Ricci, and Christopher Lloyd, play the monstrous clan who must outwit a loan shark in order to keep their family home and fortune. In 1993, a critically acclaimed sequel, called “Addams Family Values,” continued many of the plotlines that were begun in the first movie.

3 / 25
Everyman Pictures

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

- Director: Larry Charles
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: 89
- Runtime: 84 minutes

The Borat character was first introduced on Da Ali G Show, a satirical comedy that aired from 2000 to 2004. In 2006, Sacha Baron Cohen reprised his role as the brash, often-offensive TV journalist from Kazakhstan in the first of two feature-length films. In this movie, Borat journeys to America to make a documentary, only to see Pamela Anderson on TV, fall in love, and journey cross-country in order to persuade her to be his wife, interviewing unsuspecting nonactors along the way.

4 / 25
Columbia Pictures

Charlie's Angels (2000)

- Director: McG
- IMDb user rating: 5.6
- Metascore: 52
- Runtime: 98 minutes

Aaron Spelling produced the original “Charlie’s Angels” series, which starred Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith, and Kate Jackson as the three crime-fighting beauties. The first “Charlie’s Angels” film, which hit theaters in 2000, was a continuation of the original story (demonstrated by Charlie being voiced by the same actor), but with a new generation of Angels, played by Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu. While the original series was more dramatic in tone, the film and it's follow-up are light-hearted and comedic. 

5 / 25
HBO Films

Deadwood: The Movie (2019)

- Director: Daniel Minahan
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 110 minutes

“Deadwood” was one of HBO’s biggest hits, earning several Emmy Awards and Golden Globes. After being unceremoniously canceled right before the fourth season was set to begin filming, many of the Western’s storylines were left unresolved. So when HBO released a two-hour film in 2019, set 10 years after the series ended and reuniting much of the original ensemble cast, fans finally got to see how things turned out for the citizens of Deadwood, South Dakota.

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6 / 25
Netflix

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019)

- Director: Vince Gilligan
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: 72
- Runtime: 122 minutes

Acting as an epilogue to “Breaking Bad,” “El Camino” follows Jesse Pinkman as he runs from his past and attempts to start again, with a new life and new identity, in Alaska. The film featured many of the actors from the original series but was kept almost a total secret until its trailer was released on Netflix in early 2019. Generally speaking, the film won plenty of positive critical praise, though a few reviewers felt that it was an unnecessary addition to Vince Gilligan’s “all-time great show.”

7 / 25
Columbia Pictures

The Equalizer (2014)

- Director: Antoine Fuqua
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Metascore: 57
- Runtime: 132 minutes

“The Equalizer” is one of those concepts that keeps getting recycled over and over again. It first hit the scene in the mid-’80s, when Edward Woodward played a retired agent who uses his “special set of skills” to exact justice for innocent people. Then in 2014, Denzel Washington became the equalizer in two films that featured entirely new storylines. And in 2021, Queen Latifah became the first female agent to grant justice to those who need it most, when the story returned to CBS.

8 / 25
Warner Bros.

The Fugitive (1993)

- Director: Andrew Davis
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Metascore: 87
- Runtime: 130 minutes

In 120 minutes, Harrison Ford’s movie “The Fugitive” essentially retold the story of “The Fugitive” TV show, which ran for 120 episodes. Both iterations tell the same story of a man who, after being framed for the murder of his wife, escapes custody following a bus crash and hunts down the real killer (the one-armed man) all while evading capture by the police. The action movie was a huge critical and commercial success and was nominated for several Academy Awards.

9 / 25
Columbia Pictures

I Spy (2002)

- Director: Betty Thomas
- IMDb user rating: 5.4
- Metascore: 35
- Runtime: 97 minutes

Owen Wilson and Eddie Murphy star in this cop buddy comedy, which is a remake of the 1960s TV series of the same name. In the film, the duo play a civilian boxer and a well-known spy who go undercover to stop a gun runner, a plotline that was very similar to the premise of the show, which featured two cops posing as undercover athletes to solve crimes. In the long run, however, the series was much more popular and successful than its movie adaptation.

10 / 25
Paramount Pictures

Jackass: The Movie (2002)

- Director: Jeff Tremaine
- IMDb user rating: 6.6
- Metascore: 42
- Runtime: 87 minutes

To date, there are five “Jackass” films, all of which act as continuations or extensions of the original MTV series. The franchise follows a group of daredevils, including Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O, who perform stunts of varying degrees of difficulty, danger, and stupidity. While they’ve never been particularly award-worthy, the movies continue to attract sizable audiences who love the raunchiness and gross-out gags.

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11 / 25
Chase Films

The Many Saints of Newark (2021)

- Director: Alan Taylor
- Release date: Sept. 24, 2021

While not yet released, “The Many Saints of Newark” has the potential to be the most popular TV show-turned-movie on our list. A prequel to the HBO series “The Sopranos,” the film will star Michael Gandolfini, son of James Gandolfini, as a younger version of Tony Soprano, the character his father made famous. David Chase, the creator of the original show, will produce, making many fans hopeful that the movie will be as excellent as the series.

12 / 25
Universal Pictures

Miami Vice (2006)

- Director: Michael Mann
- IMDb user rating: 6.0
- Metascore: 65
- Runtime: 132 minutes

Sonny Crocket and Rico Tubbs finally hit the silver screen in this 2006 adaptation of the 1980s crime drama series “Miami Vice.” Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx star as the two Miami-Dade detectives who go undercover to fight a drug trafficking operation. Just like the TV show, the film won praise for its inventive visual style, which is avant-garde and experimental.

13 / 25
Paramount Pictures

Mission: Impossible (1996)

- Director: Brian De Palma
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Metascore: 59
- Runtime: 110 minutes

The Tom Cruise version of “Mission: Impossible” is a direct continuation of both “Mission: Impossible” TV series—the 1966 original and the 1988 reboot. Set six years after the finale of the second series, the movies introduce a new cast of characters and missions, which blend seamlessly with the series. Despite the films’ critical and cultural success, the show’s original cast has reportedly never been fans of the silver screen reboot.

14 / 25
Paramount Pictures

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

- Director: David Zucker
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Metascore: 76
- Runtime: 85 minutes

A rare instance of a film series far outshining the TV show from which it spawned is “Naked Gun.” Based on the comedy “Police Squad!,” which spoofed the various crime procedural shows that were on the air in the early ’80s, the movie franchise follows the inept police detective Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) as he works to foil various kidnapping and bombing plots. The films all grossed millions of dollars and developed a cult following, which is more than can be said for the six-episode run of “Police Squad!”

15 / 25
New Line Cinema

Sex and the City (2008)

- Director: Michael Patrick King
- IMDb user rating: 5.6
- Metascore: 53
- Runtime: 145 minutes

Another HBO series that moved from the small screen to the big screen is “Sex and the City.” The first movie features all of the members of the original cast, as well as a handful of new faces, and continues the storylines established by the show’s finale. Reviewers criticized both movies for being extended episodes of the show, but judging by how well they performed in the box office, it seems that that’s exactly what fans wanted to see.

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16 / 25
Twentieth Century Fox

The Simpsons Movie (2007)

- Director: David Silverman
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Metascore: 80
- Runtime: 87 minutes

Matt Groening, creator of “The Simpsons,” had wanted to turn his cartoon sitcom into a movie from very early on in the show’s run. It took 18 seasons, largely because of worker issues, to make that dream a reality. When the movie, which tells a story independent of any plotline on the show, finally hit the big screens, it was an instant success, grossing over $500 million at the box office.

17 / 25
Scott Rudin Productions

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)

- Director: Trey Parker
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Metascore: 73
- Runtime: 81 minutes

Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of “South Park,” believed that their 1999 film would serve as a finale to their animated satire series, which, at that point, had been on the air for two years. A musical comedy, the film follows the gang as they champion an R-rated film starring their idols, Terrance and Phillip. In actuality, it just helped to reignite interest in the series, which has now been on the air for 24 seasons, with another season promised.

18 / 25
Warner Bros. Family Entertainment

Space Jam (1996)

- Director: Joe Pytka
- IMDb user rating: 6.4
- Metascore: 59
- Runtime: 88 minutes

Over the years, several Disney characters have made the jump from the small screen to the big screen, but that wasn’t the case for Warner Bros. characters like the Looney Toons. Until, that is, “Space Jam” hit theaters in 1996. Many of the original Looney Toons characters joined Michael Jordan in this basketball-meets-aliens adventure that was a hit with audiences old and young.

19 / 25
Paramount Pictures

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

- Director: Robert Wise
- IMDb user rating: 6.4
- Metascore: 48
- Runtime: 132 minutes

Canceled after only three seasons in 1969, the original “Star Trek” series had developed a cult following by the mid-1970s when rumors of a reboot, or a full-length feature film, began to swirl. In the end, the movie treatment won out over a second series, and the original cast reunited under the leadership of Robert Wise to bring the world of the Enterprise back to life. The shoot was troubled, and many thought it would be the end of the franchise, but fans pushed for and got several more series and films.

20 / 25
Universal Pictures

State of Play (2009)

- Director: Kevin Macdonald
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Metascore: 64
- Runtime: 127 minutes

The “State of Play” TV show and film share very little in common aside from a storyline. The series, which aired in 2003, was a BBC production and is a slower-paced, more cerebral political thriller than the Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck film. However, both versions tell the same story of a journalist investigating the suspicious death of a well-connected woman in politics (a researcher in the show, and a mistress in the film).

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21 / 25
2929 Productions

Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie (2012)

- Directors: Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim
- IMDb user rating: 5.4
- Metascore: 40
- Runtime: 93 minutes

Perhaps the most obscure title on our list is “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie.”  It brings characters from “Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job!” and “Check it Out! With Dr. Steve Brule” together with a new and original plot. In the film, which was co-produced by Cartoon Network, comedy duo Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim play fictionalized versions of themselves who are forced to reopen an abandoned mall in order to pay back an extravagant loan.

22 / 25
Amblin Entertainment

Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)

- Directors: Joe Dante, John Landis, George Miller, Steven Spielberg
- IMDb user rating: 6.5
- Metascore: 44
- Runtime: 101 minutes

Just like the “Twilight Zone” TV series, the film is a horror and sci-fi anthology that features updated versions of three previously told stories and one original tale. Four directors—Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, John Landis, and George Miller—lent their talents to the film, each covering a different chapter. However, the film is largely remembered for the horrible on-set tragedy that killed Landis and two child actors, not its mind-bending storylines.

23 / 25
Paramount Pictures

The Untouchables (1987)

- Director: Brian De Palma
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Metascore: 79
- Runtime: 119 minutes

The story of “The Untouchables” was first brought into the world as a memoir from prohibition agent Elliot Ness, who really did bring down Al Capone, in 1957. The 1960s Desilu TV show, followed by the1987 film, which stars big names like Sean Connery, Robert De Niro, and Kevin Costner, brought the tale of crime-fighting agents in ’20s and ’30s Chicago to the small screen and big screen respectively. The gangster-filled, liquor-soaked certainly qualifies as a fan-favorite, judging by the film’s four Academy Award nominations.

24 / 25
Warner Bros. Digital Distribution

Veronica Mars (2014)

- Director: Rob Thomas
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Metascore: 62
- Runtime: 107 minutes

Set about a decade after the events of the “Veronica Mars” series finale, the “Veronica Mars” movie sees the young detective investigating yet another murder mystery in her hometown, this time involving her ex Logan Echolls. Most of the original cast reunited for the project, including Kristen Bell, who plays Mars, and creator Rob Thomas. The full-length film was a labor of love, as no major studio would back it and nearly all of the funding for the project came through a fan-supported Kickstarter campaign.

25 / 25
Twentieth Century Fox

The X-Files (1998)

- Director: Rob Bowman
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Metascore: 60
- Runtime: 121 minutes

The first “X-Files” movie came between seasons five and six of the beloved series about two FBI agents, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, who investigate unsolved cases that involve paranormal phenomena. A self-contained story, the film digs deeper into the mythology and universe of the series, in an attempt to appeal to an audience who had never seen an episode of the series or who had shown little interest in it up to that point. The second film, released almost a decade later, also functions as a stand-alone and features many of the show’s original cast members.

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