You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

'Downton Abbey' isn't the only TV series to get turned into a movie. Here's 15 others we love

Chicago Tribune logo Chicago Tribune 9/19/2019 By Lauren Hill, Chicago Tribune

Sep. 19--Way back in 2011, PBS Masterpiece Classic brought us into the Crawley household and into world of "Downton Abbey" -- filled with curtseys, endless lines of servants and the always meme-able Lady Violet, a.k.a. Maggie Smith. On Thursday, the drama of the Downton halls will make its way to the big screen for a full-length feature film.

But this is not the only well-known TV series to jump from the small screen. From the sexy running in slow-motion scenes of "Baywatch" to the blue "Smurfs," here is a list of 16 movies based on well-known TV shows.

"Downton Abbey"

TV show air date: 2011-2015, with six seasons

Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Maggie Smith, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern and Phyllis Logan

Plot: The series chronicles the lives of the British aristocratic Crawley family and all of those who live at Downton Abbey.

Movie release date: Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019

Starring: The original cast

Plot: The Crawley family return during the early 20th century. This time, with a visit from royalty.

"21 Jump Street"

TV show air date: 1987-1991, with five seasons

Starring: Holly Robinson Peete, Steven Williams, Peter DeLuise, Johnny Depp and Dustin Nguyen

Plot: A police squad of young-looking officers go undercover to investigate drug trafficking, abuse and other crimes at high schools, colleges and other "youth" hangouts.

Movie release date: March 16, 2012 (with a sequel "22 Jump Street" released in 2014)

Starring: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Dave Franco, and Brie Larson

Plot: This comedy centers around cops Jenko (Tatum) and Schmidt (Hill) who are assigned to go undercover at a local high school to investigate a synthetic drug ring. The sequel takes the pair to college complete with frat houses and roommates.

"Sex and the City"

TV show air date: 1998-2004, with six seasons

Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon

Plot: Four BFFs find their way in life, love and sex in New York City. The show centers around Carrie Bradshaw (Parker) and her love advice column.

Movie release date: May 30, 2008 (with a sequel in 2010)

Starring: All of the original cast returns

Plot: The first film continues the series where each woman left off. Most notably, Carrie is getting married to her on-again-off-again love interest Mr. Big (Chris Noth). The sequel is set two years after the events of the first film. The girls get away from their hectic lives by going on a trip to Abu Dhabi where -- of course -- Carrie runs into her ex.

"Inspector Gadget"

TV show air date: 1983-1986, with two seasons

Starring: Don Adams, Frank Welker, Dan Hennessey and Cree Summer

Plot: This cartoon series is about a bionic police officer (Adams) who, with the help of his niece Penny (Summer) and her dog Brain (Welker), tries to solves cases, which are usually the evil plans of Dr. Claw (Welker).

Movie release date: July 23, 1999 (with a sequel in 2003)

Starring: Matthew Broderick, Michelle Trachtenberg, Rupert Everett, Joely Fisher and Dabney Coleman

Plot: Treated as a prequel to the original series, this live-action film looks at how ordinary police officer John Brown (Broderick) became the bionic Inspector Gadget and how he met his nemesis, Dr. Claw. The direct-to-video sequel begins with Dr. Claw escaping from prison, which prompts the creation of a new female version of Inspector Gadget. The film has an entirely different cast.

"Starksy & Hutch"

TV show air date: 1975-1979, with four seasons

Starring: David Soul, Paul Michael Glaser, Antonio Fargas and Bernie Hamilton

Plot: These street-smart buddy cops (Sol, Glaser) protect the streets of Bay City, Calif., with the help of their informant Huggy Bear (Fargas) and their red Gran Torino.

Movie release date: March 5, 2004

Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Snoop Dogg and Fred Williamson

Plot: With cameos from the original TV cast, this version sticks to the original plot line with a new cast.

"Veronica Mars"

TV show air date: 2004-2007, 2019-present, with four seasons

Starring: Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Enrico Colantoni, Percy Daggs III and Francis Capra

Plot: Student Veronica Mars (Bell) moonlights as a private investigator solving the mysteries of Neptune, Calif.

After airing for three seasons on UPN and The CW, the show made a comeback as a film, and the feedback was so positive, the show returned on Hulu.

Movie release date: March 13, 2014

Starring: The original cast returns

Plot: Veronica Mars returns to her hometown to help her old love interest Logan clear his name after he gets mixed-up in a murder case. Of course, she arrives in town just in time for her high school reunion.

"The Fugitive"

TV show air date: 1963-1967, with four seasons

Starring: David Janssen, William Conrad and Barry Morse

Plot: Dr. Richard Kimble (Janssen) is wrongfully convicted of his wife's murder. After he escapes from police, he begins the cross-country journey to find the real killer while evading capture by Lt. Philip Gerard (Morse) at every turn.

Movie release date: Aug. 6, 1993

Starring: Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones

Plot: Arguably more famous than the original series, the film takes the same story and speeds it up to fit inside a two-hour timeframe instead of several seasons.


TV show air date: 1989-2001, with 11 seasons

Starring: David Hasselhoff, Jeremy Jackson, Michael Newman and Pamela Anderson

Plot: A team of L.A. lifeguards, led by Mitch Buchannon (Hasselhoff), saves lives, fights crime and handles drama all while wearing bathing suits.

Movie release date: May 25, 2017

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario and Kelly Rohrbach

Plot: A comedy version of the series centers on Mitch Buchannon (Johnson), who must restore the Baywatch name when he hires a new recruit (Efron).

"Mission: Impossible"

TV show air date: 1966-1973, with seven seasons

Starring: Greg Morris, Peter Lupus and Peter Graves

Plot: A unit of covert ops are tasked with highly sensitive missions that are ... pause ... wait for it ... "impossible." The show started the familiar theme song with fuse lighting sequence, catchphrases ("your mission, should you choose to accept it") and self-destructing secret messages.

Movie release date: May 22, 1996

Starring: Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Béart, Jean Reno and Henry Czerny

Plot: The same unit of covert operatives takes on secret missions with Ethan Hunt (Cruise) as one of their star members. But this time, Hunt is accused of being disloyal to the organization. He must find out who is behind this plot.

The film sparked a franchise with Tom Cruise at the helm with release dates in 2000, 2006, 2011, 2015 and 2018.

"The Smurfs"

TV show air date: 1981-1990, with nine seasons

Starring: Don Messick, Danny Goldman, Lucille Bliss, Frank Welker, Michael Bell and Paul Winchell

Plot: The adorable singing blue creatures called Smurfs live in a hidden village and must do everything they can to avoid the evil, murderous Gargamel and his cat Azrael.

Movie release date: July 29, 2011

Starring: Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, Jonathan Winters, Alan Cumming, Katy Perry, Fred Armisen and George Lopez

Plot: In their escape from Gargamel (Azaria), the Smurfs find themselves in New York City. With the help of some humans, they must stay safe and find a way back home. The movie spawned sequels: "The Smurfs 2" (2013) and "Smurfs: The Lost Village" (2017).

"The Addams Family"

TV show air date: 1964-1966, with two seasons

Starring: Carolyn Jones, John Astin, Jackie Coogan, Ted Cassidy, Marie Blake, Lisa Loring and Ken Weatherwax

Plot: The Addams' are macabre aristocrats who don't care that the rest of the world finds their obsession with death, poisonous plants, torture and all things spooky a bit strange.

Movie release date: Nov. 22, 1991

Starring: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Judith Malina, Carel Struycken, Christina Ricci and Jimmy Workman

Plot: Con artists want to rob the Addams' so they convince them that Gomez's long-lost brother has returned from the Bermuda Triangle.

Although, this was the first film, it wasn't the last. Two sequels followed : "Addams Family Values" (1993), a TV-movie "Addams Family Reunion" (1998) as well as the upcoming release of an animated version in October.

"Charlie's Angels"

TV show air date: 1976-1981, with five seasons

Starring: Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and David Doyle

Plot: A mysterious man named Charlie runs a detective agency employed by assistant John Bosley (Doyle) and three female detectives, formerly from the police academy, called "angels."

Movie release date: Nov. 3, 2000

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Bill Murray

Plot: An all-new set of "angels" solve crimes with Charlie's assistant Bosley (Murray).

The film had a sequel, "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" (2003), and now is getting a remake with a female Bosley, scheduled for release in November.

"Dark Shadows"

TV show air date: 1966-1971, with six seasons

Starring: Jonathan Frid, Grayson Hall, Alexandra Isles, Nancy Barrett and Joan Bennett

Plot: This gothic soap opera depicts the lives of the wealthy Collins family of Collinsport, Maine. Things start to get strange when Barnabas Collins knocks on the door of the family mansion -- after he had been dead for many years.

Movie release date: May 11, 2012

Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Bella Heathcote, Chloë Grace Moretz and Gulliver McGrath

Plot: The story begins with Victoria (Heathcote), a haunted young woman, who comes to watch over the Collins children. Shortly after, Barnabas Collins (Depp), a vampire, returns to the family house.

"The Simpsons"

TV show air date: 1989-present, with 32 seasons

Starring: Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Harry Shearer, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith and Hank Azaria

Plot: This animated series is about the crazy antics of the Simpsons, a working-class family from Springfield.

Movie release date: July 27, 2007

Starring: All of the original cast!

Plot: Homer Simpson accidentally pollutes Springfield's water supply. To keep the pollution contained, the town is encased in a giant glass dome. The Simpsons escape but have to find a way to save their town.

"Land of the Lost"

TV show air date: 1974-1977, with three seasons

Starring: Wesley Eure, Kathy Coleman, Spencer Milligan and Phillip Paley

Plot: The Marshalls are on an expedition when an earthquake opens a chasm to the Land of the Lost, a place with dinosaurs, primate-type people and lizard creatures. The family must try to find a way home.

Movie release date: June 5, 2009

Starring: Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride and Jorma Taccone

Plot: This time -- no kids! Dr. Rick Marshall, his research assistant and a survivalist get sucked in an alternate universe.


(c)2019 the Chicago Tribune

Visit the Chicago Tribune at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


More from Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon