The novella was loosely adapted into the 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany's starring Audrey Hepburn and directed by Blake Edwards. The movie was transposed to 1960 rather than the 1940s, the period of the novella. In addition to this, at the end of the film the protagonist and Holly fall in love and stay together, whereas in the novella there is no love affair whatsoever—Holly just leaves the United States and the narrator has no idea what happened to her since then, except for a photograph of a wood carving found years later in Africa which bears a striking resemblance to Holly. In addition, there are many other changes, including major omissions, to the plot and main character in the film from the novella. Capote originally envisioned Marilyn Monroe as Holly, and lobbied the studio for her, but the film was done at Paramount, and though Monroe did independent films, including for her own production company, she was still under contract with Twentieth Century Fox, and had just completed Let's Make Love with Yves Montand.
A musical version of Breakfast at Tiffany's (also known as Holly Golightly) premiered in 1966 in Boston. The initial performances were panned by the critics and despite a rewrite by Edward Albee, it closed after only four performances.
Three years after the musical adaptation, Stefanie Powers and Jack Kruschen starred in another adaptation, Holly Golightly (1969), an unsold ABC sitcom pilot. Kruschen's role was based on Joe Bell, a major character in Capote's novella who was omitted from the film version.
There have been two adaptations of the novella into stage plays, both directed by Sean Mathias. The first production was written by Samuel Adamson and was presented in 2009 at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London, starring Anna Friel as Holly Golightly and Joseph Cross as William 'Fred' Parsons. The second version was written by Richard Greenberg for a 2013 Broadway production at the Cort Theatre, starring Emilia Clarke as Holly Golightly, Cory Michael Smith as Fred, and George Wendt as Joe Bell. The Greenberg play was produced in the UK in 2016, called "a play with music". It ran at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in the West End in June to September 2016.