Fyodor Dostoyevsky played the postmaster Shpekin in a charity performance with proceeds going to the Society for Aid to Needy Writers and Scholars in April 1860.
The first film based on the play was actually made in German, by Gustaf Gründgens in 1932; the German title was Eine Stadt steht Kopf, or A City Stands on Its Head. In 1933, the Czech actor Vlasta Burian played the inspector in the film Revizor by Martin Frič.
In 1949, a Hollywood musical comedy version was released, starring Danny Kaye. The film bears only passing resemblance to the original play. Kaye's version sets the story in Napoleon's empire, instead of Russia, and the main character presented to be the ersatz inspector general is not a haughty young government bureaucrat, but a down-and-out illiterate, run out of a gypsy's travelling medicine show for not being greedy and deceptive enough. This effectively destroys much of the foundation of Gogol's work by changing the relationship between the false inspector general and members of the town's upper class. This film was neither a critical nor box office success.
The 1955 Indonesian film Tamu Agung (The Exalted Guest), directed by Usmar Ismail, is a loose adaptation of Gogol's play. The story is set in a small village in the island of Java, shortly after the nation's independence. While not strictly a musical like its Hollywood counterpart, there are several musical numbers in the film.
In 1958 the British comedian Tony Hancock appeared as Khlestakov in a live BBC Television version (which survives), one of his few performances outside situation comedy.
In Italy, in 1962 Luigi Zampa directed the film Anni ruggenti (Roaring Years), starring Nino Manfredi, a free adaptation of the play, in which the story is transposed to a small town in South Italy, during the years of Fascism.
An episode of Fawlty Towers has a similar story line about mistaken identity when a guest shows up at the hotel and is thought by Basil Fawlty to be a hotel inspector but who is in fact a spoon company manager. At the end of the episode Basil cream pies the spoon manger but unfortunately in front of the actual hotel inspectors.
In México, in 1974 Alfonso Arau directed and co-wrote an adaptation in film called Calzonzin Inspector, using the political cartoonist/writer Rius's characters.
The play was filmed in the Soviet Union and Russia by Leonid Gaidai under the title Incognito from Petersburg (1977) and as Revizor (1996) with Nikita Mikhalkov playing the Mayor. Neither adaptation was deemed a critical or box-office success.
In the Netherlands, a movie version was released in 1982, De Boezemvriend (The Bosomfriend) starring André van Duin. This was a musical comedy, in which an initerant dentist in the French-occupied Netherlands is taken for a French tax inspector.
The 1981 Taiwanese/Hong Kong movie If I Were For Real is an adaptation of the Government Inspector set in the Cultural Revolution.
In 1992, Tony-winning Broadway director Daniel Sullivan collaborated with the Seattle Repertory Company to write the Gogol-inspired "Inspecting Carol", which the Western Washington Center for the Arts described as "A Christmas Carol meets Noises Off meets Waiting for Guffman. A man auditioning at a small theatre is mistaken for an informer for the National Endowment for the Arts. As the cast and crew cater to his every whim, they also turn the traditional tale of A Christmas Carol on its head."
The PBS series Wishbone adapted the story for an episode.
In 2005, playwright David Farr wrote and directed a "freely adapted" version for London's National Theatre called The UN Inspector, which transposed the action to a modern-day ex-Soviet republic. Farr's adaptation has been translated into French by Nathalie Rivere de Carles and was performed in France in 2008.
In 2006, Greene Shoots Theatre performed an ensemble-style adaptation at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Directed by Steph Gunary (née Kirton), the acting used physical theatre, mime, and chorus work that underpinned the physical comedy. The application of Commedia dell'arte-style characterisation both heightened the grotesque and sharpened the satire.
In 2007, the integrated group of the Nottingham Youth Theatre presented a comedy version, in which there were modern songs, and the setting was Snottinggrad, a fictional Russian town. The show was revived for one night in May 2008.
In 2008, Jeffrey Hatcher adapted the play for a summer run at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. A slightly revised version of that adaptation plays at Milwaukee Repertory Theater in September 2009. St. Charles Preparatory School in Columbus, Ohio also staged a slightly revised version of Hatcher's adaptation in February 2010.
In 2010, Vivid Theatre Company performed a new adaptation of the play by Andrew Berriman and Colleen Campbell which toured the North East of England.
In 2011, London's Young Vic Theatre presents a new version adapted by David Harrower, directed by Richard Jones, starring The Mighty Boosh 's Julian Barratt and Smack the Pony 's Doon Mackichan and Kyle Soller.
In 2011 the Stockholm City Theatre staged the play in an adaptation set in the Soviet 1930s.
In 2011 the Abbey Theatre, Dublin performed an adaptation by Roddy Doyle.
In 2012 the Theatre @ Boston Court and Furious Theatre Company (Pasadena, California) performed an adaptation by Oded Gross.
Also in 2012 the Residenztheater (München) performed an adaptation by Herbert Fritsch with Sebastian Blomberg as Khlestakov
In 2013 Acropol Theatre, Athens, staged the play in Greek.
Currently at the Yermolovoi Theater in Moscow there is a staging by Sergei Zimliansky without words. The show is advertised as a comedy, in which music, costumes, dance, and movement by the actors tells the story in the absence of words.
The Government Inspector has been translated into many other languages. Abdulla Qahhor translated the play into Uzbek.