Being one of the most acclaimed American novels of all time, it is no surprise that ''Moby-Dick'' has been adapted to screen several times. The most famous adaptation is probably the 1956 version starring Creator/GregoryPeck as Ahab and directed by the legendary Creator/JohnHuston, with the screenplay written by Creator/RayBradbury. There are also two acclaimed mini-series, one from 1998 starring Creator/PatrickStewart and the other from 2011 starring Creator/WilliamHurt (both playing Ahab).
!Tropes featured in these three versions, and common to others:
* BillingDisplacement: In the 2011 version, Ethan Hawke was billed over William Hurt for playing Starbuck.
* CastingGag[=/=]RemakeCameo: In the 1998 mini-series, Gregory Peck played Father Mapple.
* CompositeCharacter: In the 1956 and 2011 versions, Fedallah's part is filled early on by Elijah.
* CompressedAdaptation: The even-numbered chapters (the "whaling encyclopedia") is usually omitted.
* HeyItsThatGuy: In the 1998 version, Ishmael is played by [[Film/ETTheExtraTerrestrial Elliot]]!
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: While the earlier versions kept Ahab accidentally getting tangled in the rope of the harpoon he uses, in the 2011 version, he inexplicably wraps as much rope as he can around his own body, leaving little tension to his inevitable demise.
* TheMockbuster: TheAsylum released their own version, with Barry Bostwick '''([[TheRockyHorrorPictureShow ASSHOLE!]])''' as Ahab, a Navy Captain who reappropriates his submarine to take his revenge on the white whale, here a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Livyatan_melvillei prehistoric whale]] that had crippled him decades earlier. Here, his desire for revenge was his motivating factor for working his way up from ensign for the opportunity to one day take his revenge. Surprisingly contained a lot of references to the novel. Renee O'Connor [[GenderFlip played]] Dr. Ishmael, a marine biologist[[note]]For some reason, Hollywood marine biologists are almost exclusively female[[/note]] whom Ahab shanghais into helping him.
** ChewingTheScenery / HamAndCheese: Bostwick knows ''exactly'' what kind of movie he's in, and acts accordingly.
* PlayingAgainstType: The primary reason that the 1956 version wasn't well-receieved initially was that audiences weren't comfortable seeing Gregory Peck as a villainous character (albeit an AntiVillain). Patrick Stewart and William Hurt faced no such problems.
* PlayingHamlet: In the 1956 version, Richard Basehart, who played Ishmael, was actually ''older'' than Gregory Peck.
* PoliticallyCorrectHistory: The 2011 version. While the MultiNationalCrew was not commented upon in the early versions, here there exists a new character whose sole purpose is to belittle the minorities, only to be told off by all the white characters.
* RaceLift: In the 1998 version, Fedallah (a Persian) is portrayed by an Indonesian actor.
* SettingUpdate: The Bedford Incident, a cold war thriller, has a Soviet sub taking the place of a giant whale. The parallels to Moby Dick are even stronger in the novel.
* SkunkStripe: In the 1956 version, Ahab has a white line going through his hair, tracing the scar left by a lightning bolt.
* TheSmurfettePrinciple: In the 2011 version, Ahab's wife (Gillian Anderson) is given a small part early on -- even though in the book, Ahab hasn't seen his family in years.