Sweeney Todd

Director:Tim Burton
Written by:John Logan (Screenplay)

Script Synopsis:The infamous story of Benjamin Barker, a.k.a Sweeney Todd, who sets up a barber shop down in London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett. Based on the hit Broadway musical.

Film Scripts Adapted from Stage Plays

A stage play is very difficult to convert into a film script and requires great finesse and understanding in order to pull it off. Stage plays are written, obviously, for the stage; and because of that, they are compromised in order to make use of stage space and other physical restrictions. Films, on the other hand, can make use of many different dimensions that are untouchable by stage performers; and would appear dry if they didn’t make use of that ability.

The most important thing a screenwriter must do when converting a play, is to understand two things. The first thing is the playwright’s intent. Although a playwright may have been happy with the original script, there is always something that he or she would’ve done differently if given freedom. Knowing that a film breaks many physical boundaries, the screenwriter must try to understand what the original playwright would’ve done given that much freedom.

In addition to the original playwright, screenwriters must cater to the perceived desires of the audience. There are going to be audience members who have seen the original play and have expected to get the same emotional reaction they got when watching the play. In addition, there will be a new group of people who have never seen the play, and expect something different. In this situation, a screenwriter must do his or her research and become part psychologist in addition to his writing job.

Below is a list of films that have been somewhat successful in translation from play script to screenplay.  By reading these along with the original plays, you will be able to understand how play translation is becoming an art form all of its own.


  1. (1951) A Streetcar Named Desire ($)
  2. (1953) Kiss Me Kate [Transcript]
  3. (1955) Guys and Dolls [Transcript]
  4. (1957) 12 Angry Men Script
  5. (1961) A Raisin in the Sun [Transcript]
  6. (1964) My Fair Lady [Transcript]
  7. (1973) Jesus Christ Superstar [Transcript]
  8. (1984) Amadeus Script
  9. (1986) Little Shop of Horrors [Transcript]
  10. (1992) Glengarry Glen Ross [Transcript]
  11. (1996) Suburbia Script
  12. (2004) Alfie [Transcript]
  13. (2005) Rent Script
  14. (2007) Sweeney Todd [Transcript]
  15. (2008) Mama Mia [Transcript]

Tim Burton Scripts

Tim Burton, eccentric extraordinaire, has personally directed the following 16 films to date:

  1. Luau Script (1982) – let us know if you can find this!
  2. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure Script ($) (1985)
  3. Beetlejuice Script (1988)
  4. Batman Script (1989)
  5. Edward Scissorhands Script (1990)
  6. Batman Returns Script (1992)
  7. The Nightmare Before Christmas Script (PDF) (1993)
  8. Ed Wood Script (1994)
  9. Mars Attacks Script (1996) – let us know if you can find this!
  10. Sleepy Hollow Script (1999)
  11. Planet of the Apes Script (2001)
  12. Big Fish Script (2003)
  13. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Script (2005)
  14. Corpse Bride Script ($) (2005)
  15. Sweeney Todd Script (2007)
  16. Alice in Wonderland Script (2010)


Top 5 Musicals Movie Scripts

Musical theater has always been a great source of inspiration for cinema. And although musicals have never been a favorite amongst movie goers since the days of Singing in the Rain (1952), Hollywood has recently seen a renaissance of singer actors.

Whether it’s Broadway renditions original musical mash ups, it looks like musical cinema is here to stay.

Check out our list of top 5 musical movie scripts.

1. Moulin Rouge Script (Dialogue Transcript)
2. Chicago Script (Dialogue Transcript)
3. Sweeney Todd Script
4. Hairspray Script (Dialogue Transcript)
5. Phantom of the Opera (Dialogue Transcript)