The War of the Worlds has spawned seven films, as well as various radio dramas, comic-book adaptations, video games, a television series, and sequels or parallel stories by other authors.
Among the most famous, or infamous, adaptations is the 1938 radio broadcast that was narrated and directed by Orson Welles. The first two-thirds of the 60-minute broadcast were presented as a news bulletin and led to outrage and panic by some listeners who had believed the events described in the program were real.
In 1953 came the first War of the Worlds theatrical film produced by George Pal and directed by Byron Haskin, starring Gene Barry. Steven Spielberg directed a 2005 film adaptation starring Tom Cruise, which received generally positive reviews.
In the 1980s a joint American-Canadian venture produced the television series War of the Worlds that ran for two seasons and was a direct sequel to George Pal's 1953 feature film. Its premise was that the Martians had not died-off but were instead stored in suspension by the U.S. government, and that most people had just forgotten the previous invasion; the accidental awakening of the Martians results in another war.
In 1978 a best selling musical album of the story was produced by Jeff Wayne, with the voices of Richard Burton and David Essex.
A Hey Arnold Halloween special was aired to parody The War of the Worlds. The costumes that the main characters wore referenced a species from Star Trek.
The Great Martian War 1913–1917 is a 2013 made-for-television science fiction film docudrama that adapts War of the Worlds and unfolds in the style of an episode of the History TV Channel. The film is an alternate history of World War I in which Europe and its allies, including America, fight the Martian invaders instead of Germany and its allies. The docudrama includes both new and digitally altered film footage shot during the War to End All Wars to establish the scope of the interplanetary conflict. The film's original UK broadcast was during the first year of the World War I centennial.
In August 2014 the user Henry Legg on Twitter live tweeted a modern adaption of The War of The Worlds using the hashtag #WotW. The adaptation received around 500 retweets but did confuse some Twitter users who thought that the tweets were referring to real life events. Due to its success Henry Legg on Twitter suggested that The War of The Worlds Day might become an annual Twitter event.