While the Oscars will soon be a hundred years old, this is a truly surprising anecdote: there are only seven works awarded the Oscar for Best Film that have been adapted into series. Like “Casablanca”, absolute classic. And even twice!

Entering American homes massively in the 1950s to the point of experiencing a true golden age, television – and the series which largely irrigated the small screen – caused a general panic within the film studios, which logically saw d This new head-on competition looks very bad.

To the point of forcing them to deploy treasures of imagination to win back spectators, with great reinforcement of technical innovations and films of XXL duration. An old observation which still remains relevant, with fierce competition from streaming platforms.

The relationships between cinema and series are a mixture of symbiosis and rivalry. There are a number of films, often big hits in theaters or anchored in pop culture, which have been adapted into series: Karate Kid, the film MASH, the cult horror film The Exorcist, Westworld, The Crow, Fargo. ..

The opposite is just as true: many TV series have been adapted for the cinema: The Addams Family, 21 Jump Street, Charlie and His Odd Ladies, The Equalizer, The Fugitive… To name just one tiny handle.

What is quite astonishing, when the Oscars will soon be a hundred years old, is that there are currently only seven works having won the Oscar for Best Film which have been adapted into series. And, among them, works that we didn't really imagine would make the switch to the TV series format. Because no, this will not be about the Lord of the Rings series! Here are three examples.

Casablanca

Winner of three Oscars and directed by veteran Michael Curtiz, Casablanca is an absolute classic of American cinema. So much so that it appears in second place in the AFI (American Film Institute) ranking of the greatest American films.

This story of thwarted love between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman against the backdrop of the Second World War was a real springboard for the actor, propelling him to the rank of international star, even if he had already achieved success in 1941 thanks to his role as detective in the fabulous Maltese Falcon.

Casablanca was thus the very first film to win the Oscar for Best Film to be adapted into a TV series. In 1955, it will be unveiled as part of the program called Warner Bros. Presents. Ten one-hour episodes were thus designed, around a plot which saw Rick Blaine, played by Bogart in the film, continuing his activities as manager of the Night Club in the 1950s, while being involved in a spy intrigue. during this period of the Cold War.

Bogart not returning to service (he died in 1957), it was the actor Charles McGraw who took over his role, after the refusal of Jack L. Warner, the boss of the studio, to hire Anthony Quinn. The actor Clarence Muse, who we saw notably with Hitchcock, was hired to play Sam, the famous pianist of Rick's Night Club.


Warner Bros.

Charles McGraw and Anita Ekberg on the series “Casablanca”.

27 years after the broadcast of the last episode of this series in April 1956, Warner ordered a new Casablanca series! There were therefore not one but two series embroidered around the film. Broadcast on NBC in 1983, it was in fact five episodes of a plot still taking place during the Second World War, but thought of as a Prequel, since it took place a year before the events described in the film by Curtiz.

A real curiosity, especially since the casting was rather astonishing. It is David Soul, unforgettable Hutch in the series Starsky & Hutch and who died on January 4, 2024, who takes over the role of Rick Blaine. he is supported by Hector Helizondo, Ray Liotta and Scatman Crothers, who plays the pianist Sam.

What does it look like ? Here is the credits of this series, to the tune of the famous song from the film, As Time Goes by

In the heat of the Night

Directed by the late Norman Jewison who died on January 20 at the very venerable age of 97, In the Heat of the Night, released in 1967, is a classic of American cinema. It is by addressing the issue of racial discrimination at a time when it is still commonplace that the filmmaker obtains recognition from his peers.

This thriller, directed by Sidney Poitier, was crowned with five Oscars, including those for Best Picture and Best Actor for Rod Steiger, who plays in the film a bigoted local sheriff, forced to work with Poitier to solve a murder in a small racist town. of Mississippi.

The success of the film was such that two sequels were released, again with Sidney Poitier reprising his role as police lieutenant Virgil Tibbs: Call Me Mr. Tibbs! in 1970 and The Organization in 1971.


NBC

Howard E. Rollins Jr. in the role formerly played by Sidney Poitier.

In 1988, NBC ordered a series adapted from Norman Jewison's film. In this series created by John Ball, Howard E. Rollins Jr, who was the extraordinary headliner of Milos Forman's Ragtime, took over the role of Sidney Poitier. While Caroll O'Connor endorsed the one held at the cinema by Rod Steiger. A performance which was also praised by a Emmy Award.

Of the seven works that won the Oscar for Best Film adapted into a series, In the Heat of the Night is the one that lasted the longest. A very long time indeed: from 1988 to 1995, over seven seasons, totaling 144 episodes. The first five seasons were broadcast on NBC, and the last two on CBS.

Many actors and actresses came to play guests throughout the episodes, not the least of which: Walton Goggins, Mariska Hargitay, Peter Fonda, Tippi Hedren, George C. Scott, and even OJ Simpson.

Here is the opening credits of the series…

Collision

Two car thieves. A Mexican locksmith. Two police inspectors. A housewife and her husband, district attorney. They all live in Los Angeles and don't know each other. In the next 36 hours, their destinies will cross…

This was the pitch of the film Collision by Paul Haggis, released in 2005 here. Supported by a rather solid cast (Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Matt Dillon, Thandiwe Newton in particular), the film was crowned with three Oscars: Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, and above all, Best Film. Without forgetting around forty international awards. This is a real achievement for Haggis, who made his first film as a director.

A series adapted from the film was therefore started, under the pen of Glen Mazzara who had written the script for several episodes over six seasons of The Shield, and who would be at the helm of The Walking Dead a few years later.

Broadcast in October 2008 on the Starz channel and consisting of 13 episodes, its audience success was sufficient for the channel orders a second season in February 2009.

Here is the credits again…

Like the film, the series is set in Los Angeles and tells a series of intertwined stories around characters whose paths will eventually cross. One of the stars of the series was Dennis Hopper, who plays a music producer who is worn down by excesses, sometimes giving in to violent bouts of madness.

By Vanniyar Adrian

Vanniyar Adrian is a seasoned journalist with a passion for uncovering stories that resonate with readers worldwide. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to journalistic integrity, Ganesan has contributed to the media landscape for over a decade, covering a diverse range of topics including politics, technology, culture, and human interest stories.