The Phantom of the Opera” is a haunting tale that has captivated audiences for over a century. The story follows a disfigured musical genius who lives in the depths of the Paris Opera House, where he becomes infatuated with a young soprano named Christine. With its eerie and atmospheric setting, the story has been adapted numerous times for the big screen, with 18 movies based on the Opera Ghost. From classic black-and-white films to modern retellings, each adaptation brings a unique twist to the timeless tale of love, obsession, and tragedy that continues to thrill audiences to this day.
The Opera Ghost has inspired many filmmakers and there have been numerous excellent film adaptations of The Phantom of the Opera.
Herewith NerdiPop’s 18 movies based on the Opera Ghost:
(1) Das Phantom der Oper (1916)
The earliest version of the Phantom of the Opera is a 1916 film with the title Das Gespenst im Opernhaus or Das Phantom der Oper. This film featured the Swedish actor Nils Olaf Chrisander (1884–1947) and the Norwegian actress Aud Egede-Nissen (1893–1974, aka Aud Egede Richter). Sadly this is now a lost film that is only known to exist because of references in other media.
(2) The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
The Phantom of the Opera (1925): Featuring Lon Chaney, Sr. and Mary Philbin. For this classic silent film Universal Studios created a faithful replica of the Paris Opera House as a setting. The film was reissued in 1929 with sound effects, music and some reshot dialogue sequences (but none with Chaney).
The scene in which Erik plays the organ and Christine creeps up behind him to snatch his mask off is often cited by critics and connoisseurs of film art as one of the most memorable moments in the history of film.
The makeup of Lon Chaney was so surprisingly disfiguring that the Camera operator actually lost focus while shooting the sequence. Indeed, theatres were urged to have smelling salts on hand in case ladies in the audience fainted in horror.
(3) Song at Midnight (1937) (Chinese: 夜半歌聲Ye ban ge sheng)
“Song at Midnight” is a classic Chinese film directed by Ma-Xu Weibang that was released in 1937. The film is regarded as a groundbreaking work in Chinese horror cinema and a masterpiece in Chinese cinema history. The plot follows a famous opera singer who returns to his former theater to exact revenge on those who wronged him in the 1920s. Huang Zi’s hauntingly beautiful music score, combined with Weibang’s expressionistic camera work, contributed to the film’s dreamlike atmosphere, which captured the essence of the story. Despite being released more than 80 years ago, “Song at Midnight” is still regarded as an influential work of Chinese cinema that has influenced generations of filmmakers.
(4) Phantom of the Opera (1943)
The Phantom of the Opera (1943) features Claude Rains as the Phantom and the singer Susanna Foster as Christine. This film reused the same Paris Opera studio set as the original silent film and once again features the spectacular scene in which the Phantom causes the chandelier to crash down on the heads of the audience. In this version, however, horror is mostly downplayed in favour of grand operatic spectacle. The Phantom’s anger was caused by the credit for his musical compositions being stolen by the opera’s conductor. The Phantom’s facial disfigurement is caused by him having acid thrown in his face rather than him being born disfigured as in Leroux’s original story. This accidental disfigurement became part of the Phantom legend, and was copied in later film versions.
(5) Phantom of the Opera (1962)
The classic horror film “The Phantom of the Opera” (1962) tells the story of a disfigured musician who haunts the Paris Opera House and falls in love with a young soprano. The film’s haunting musical score and dramatic set pieces transport viewers to the grandeur and romance of the Parisian opera scene. The film stars Herbert Lom as the titular character, as well as Heather Sears and Edward de Souza in lead roles. Fans of classic horror and romantic films will enjoy this film because it combines both genres in a unique and captivating way.
(6) Phantom of Paradise (1974)
The Phantom of the Paradise is a 1974 horror comedy musical film about Winslow Leach, a young and talented composer whose music is stolen by Swan, a ruthless record producer.
In his attempt to reclaim his music, Winslow is disfigured and transforms into the Phantom, a masked figure who terrorizes the Paradise, Swan’s rock palace. The film has catchy songs, colorful characters, and a distinct visual style that combines horror and humor. It has become a cult classic over the years and is considered one of the most underrated films of the 1970s.
(7) The Phantom of Hollywood (1974)
The Phantom of Hollywood is a 1974 mystery-thriller film starring Jack Cassidy as a disfigured former movie studio executive out for vengeance on the new studio bosses who have taken over his domain. The film is set in a now-defunct studio where strange accidents and murders begin to occur. The film is an intriguing blend of Hollywood history, thriller, and horror, with a healthy dose of campiness thrown in for good measure. While the plot and execution are a little cheesy, the film is a fun ride for fans of classic Hollywood and B-movies.
(8) The Phantom of the Opera (1983):
The Phantom of the Opera (1983) is a classic movie that tells the haunting tale of a disfigured composer who lives beneath the Paris Opera House. Starring Maximilian Schell as the Phantom and Jane Seymour as Christine, the film captures the beauty and tragedy of this timeless story. With breathtaking musical performances, stunning costumes, and a mesmerizing plot, The Phantom of the Opera is a must-see for any fan of romantic dramas. Schell and Seymour’s performances are both captivating and emotional, making this movie a masterpiece of its time. Overall, this film is a timeless classic that continues to captivate audiences to this day. The film is set in a now-defunct studio where strange accidents and murders begin to occur. The film is an intriguing blend of Hollywood history, thriller, and horror, with a healthy dose of campiness thrown in for good measure. While the plot and execution are a little cheesy, the film is a fun ride for fans of classic Hollywood and B-movies.
(9) The Phantom of the Opera (1987)
With stunning visuals and a stirring score, Gaston Leroux’s classic novel was faithfully adapted in the 1987 animated film The Phantom of the Opera. The film tells the story of the enigmatic Phantom, who dwells in the Paris Opera House’s shadow and falls in love with the young singer Christine. Fans of the novel and musical must watch it because of the stunning animation and compelling characters that bring the story to life. A true masterpiece, The Phantom of the Opera’s 1987 animated adaptation captures the essence of the original tale in a fresh and compelling way.
(10) The Phantom of the Opera (1989)
The Phantom of the Opera (1989) is a rather sadistic and gory version of the story, though in this respect it resembles the original novel more than some more romantic versions. There is a Faustian motif throughout and the film features extracts from Gounod’s opera Faust – as in the original novel. In this version, the Phantom was a handsome young man who sold his soul to the Devil in return for being loved for his music – his disfigurement is the Devil’s way of making sure he is loved for no other reason. An additional innovation is that, instead of putting on masks, the Phantom stitches his disguises with thread and needle into his skin. The standout performances by the lead actors, particularly Robert Englund as the Phantom, give the film a chilling and unforgettable edge.
(11) The Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge (1989)
The Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge is a horror movie released in 1989 that tells the story of a young man named Eric who died in a mall during a fire caused by the mall’s construction company. One year later, his ghost returns to seek revenge on the people responsible for his death. The movie features suspenseful scenes, haunting music, and a tense plot that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats. The Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge is a classic horror movie that has become a cult favorite over the years.
(12) The Phantom of the Opera (1990)
The Phantom of the Opera 1990 is a thrilling film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic musical. Charles Dance plays the titular Phantom, a disfigured musical genius who becomes obsessed with a young soprano named Christine. With stunning performances and incredible visuals, the film captures the tragedy and romance of the original story. Dance’s portrayal of the Phantom is haunting and unforgettable, making this film a must-watch for fans of the classic musical.
(13) The Phantom Of the Opera | O Fantasma da Ópera (1991 mini-series)
At the Theatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, a violent murder takes place during the current production of “Marilia De Dirceu.” When La Carlota Alencastro is replaced by Cristina Andreatti, the famous Brazilian musician Gasto Andreatti’s daughter, in the lead role, Cristina slips into the hands of a mysterious man wearing a half-white mask who claims to be Alfredo do Vale, a musician who perished in a horrifying accident years earlier. For Cristina, Alfredo must demonstrate that “Marilia De Dirceu” was actually written by him and that someone else has been terrorizing the opera. The mini-series explores the themes of love, obsession, and the consequences of giving in to our darkest desires. Overall, The Phantom Of the Opera (1991 Brazilian mini-series) is a must-watch for fans of the original novel, as well as for those who appreciate a good period drama with a touch of horror.
(14) The Phantom Lover (1995)
The Phantom Lover is a 1995 film that is directed by Ronny Yu. It is a tragic love story set in Shanghai in the 1930s. The film stars Leslie Cheung, Wu Junmei, and Li Xiaoran. The plot centers on a young singer, Song Danping, who falls in love with a mysterious and wealthy man, Yuddy. However, Yuddy is not what he seems, and the couple’s relationship is fraught with difficulties, leading to a heartbreaking and devastating conclusion. The Phantom Lover is a visually stunning and emotionally resonant film that is beloved by fans of Chinese cinema.
(15) The Phantom of the Opera | Il Fantasma dell’Opera (1998)
The Phantom of the Opera (1998) is a romantic musical drama film, based on the popular stage musical of the same name. Directed by Dario Argento, featuring Julian Sands and Asia Argento, in which Julian Sands is a good-looking man whose animus comes from being abandoned as a baby and raised by the numberless rats in the subterranean levels of the opera house; he also, somehow, has developed telephathic abilities. He kills off various people who, in his opinion, spoil the wonderfulness of the opera house.
(16) The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
The Phantom Of The Opera is a musical drama film that was released in 2004, directed By Joel Schumacher. It is an adaptation of the successful 1986 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical of the same name, which itself is based on Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel. The film follows the story of a mysterious masked man who haunts the Paris opera house and falls in love with a young soprano named Christine. It features Emmy Rossum as Christine, Gerard butler as the phantom, and Patrick Wilson as Raoul. The film received mixed reviews, but it was praised for its stunning visuals, impressive performances, and haunting soundtrack.
This version of the phantom of the opera keeps quite closely with the Broadway production. The phantom of the opera is a 2004 British film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1986 musical of the same name, which in turn is based on the French novel le Fantôme de l’Opéra by Gaston Leroux. In short – a young soprano becomes the obsession of a disfigured musical genius who lives beneath the Paris Opéra House.
Also see our fun facts about this movie here.
(17) The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall (2011)
A stunning live recording of the renowned Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, “The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall,” was made in 2011. This production, which stars Sierra Boggess as Christine and Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom, brilliantly captures the magic and romance of the well-loved show through breathtaking sets, elaborate costumes, and unforgettable performances. This musical is a must-see for any fan of musical theater thanks to its talented cast, full orchestra, and classic songs like “The Music of the Night” and “All I Ask of You.”
(18) Love Never Dies (2012)
The popular musical Phantom of the Opera has a sequel called Love Never Dies. Ten years after the original story’s events, the sequel follows the Phantom as he flees Paris and makes a new identity as Mr. Y in Coney Island. He finds out that Christine, his former love interest, is now a well-known soprano there. The plot follows the two as they deal with the other people in their lives as well as their complicated feelings for one another. Fans of the original musical must see Love Never Dies because of its gorgeous music and moving performances.