Show Boat has been adapted for film three times, and for television once.
► 1929 Show Boat. Universal. Released in silent and partial sound versions. Not a film version of the musical; its plot is based on the original Edna Ferber novel. Immediately after the silent film was completed, a prologue with some music from the show was filmed and added to a part-talkie version of the same film, which was released with two sound sequences.
► 1936 Show Boat. Universal. Directed by James Whale. A mostly faithful film version of the show, considered by many critics to be one of the great film musicals, and featuring four members of the original Broadway cast.
► 1946 Till the Clouds Roll By. MGM. In this fictionalized film biography of composer Jerome Kern (played by Robert Walker), Show Boat's 1927 opening night on Broadway is depicted in a lavishly staged fifteen-minute medley of six of the show's songs. The number features Kathryn Grayson, Tony Martin, Lena Horne, Virginia O'Brien, Caleb Peterson, and William Halligan as, respectively, Magnolia, Ravenal, Julie, Ellie, Joe, and Cap'n Andy.
► 1951 Show Boat. MGM. Somewhat revised Technicolor film version. Follows the basic storyline and contains many songs from the show, but makes many changes in the details of plot and character. The most financially successful and frequently revived of the three film versions, but looked down on by some critics.
► 1989 A live performance by the Paper Mill Playhouse was videotaped for television and shown on Great Performances on PBS. It contains more of the songs (and fewer cuts) than any of the film versions. It includes the choral number "Let's Start the New Year", which was dropped from the show before its Broadway opening, and "Ah Still Suits Me", a song written by Kern and Hammerstein for the 1936 film version of the show.