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The Best Movies based on Books

Updated on August 2, 2017

Some of the Best Movies based on Books

If you're anything like me, you read a lot. I have read so many books, I could probably not even come close to naming all of them but when I see a title of a movie, my memory gets jogged. If I've read the book, it's a must to see the movie. Most of the time, I'm a bit disappointed because the screen adaptation just didn't do what the words did for me in terms of entertainment. Sometimes they change too much or try to make it too 'artistic' and totally miss the point, they kill off characters in different ways than the books did and this can become a bit annoying at times. However, there are some movies that did a good job with the material and made it translate well on screen. Nothing is quite as brilliant as our own imaginations, but here are some movies that did it right:

Gone Girl (2014)

I love Gillian Flynn as a writer and have read all of her books so far. They are always suspenseful and incredibly well-written. I read the book before I went to theaters to see "Gone Girl". My main critique of the film as opposed to the book is simply that the main character, Amy Dunn, is a lot cooler in the books. With that being said, they did a great job of leaving the final shocker hanging there. The cast was great and the lighting and tone of the movie went well with the plot. Rosamund Pike made a fantastic 'Amazing Amy' and Ben Affleck was a great, (yet clueless), Nick Dunn. It was a great book-to-screen adaptation and a good watch for anyone who likes suspenseful films.

Carrie (1976)

Based on a book by Stephan King of the same title; this story centers around a social outcast named 'Carrie'. She has a crazy, devoutly religious mother who locks her in a closet to pray. If things weren't bad enough at home, poor Carrie has to deal with a bunch of girls in high school who bully her endlessly. When she starts her first period while in the locker room showers, she has no idea what it is. That causes the mob of bullies to terrorize her further. That particular part was well done in the film as it was it in the books. Carrie isn't just a social outcast though, there's something special about her - she's telekinetic. As her power progresses, she gets the ultimate revenge on the bullies in the end. The 'Prom Scene' is super awesome, even though a lot of people die.

Fight Club (1999)

The book by Chuck Plahniuk was fantastic and the movie lived up to its standards. It didn't hurt that the cast was incredible, feature both Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. The main dude, (unnamed), goes to a support group and eventually meets the iconic Tyler Durden. Together the two realize that they can take out their aggression and find relief by beating the living shit out of each other an invent 'Fight Club'. The film did a really good job of bringing the raw fight scenes to life and the twist ending, (if you hadn't read the book), was a true shocker.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

The movie was based on the 1st book of 'The Millennium series' by
Stieg Larsson. This movie was exceptional in almost every way. The brutal scenes were raw, believable and left you feeling pretty gross after watching them - as, I'm sure, was the director's intention. It follows a girl with a very troubled life who also happens to be brilliant. She teams up with a guy who's name I'm not going to attempt to spell out to solve a missing person's case. This movie is intense and, like the books, surprising at every turn. Staying true to the book, the movie is dark, dreary and tells a fantastic story of two completely different people teaming up to find the identity of a serial killer.

The Notebook (2004)

I'm not one for romantic movies or books but "The Notebook" can warm even the coldest of hearts. The book, written by Nicholas Sparks, is a true love story. Rachael McAdams and Ryan Gosling really bring the characters to life on screen. An elderly man visits a woman at a nursing home everyday to read her a story - their story. Allie and Noah are the epitome of romance as their lives take separate turns while always leading them back to each other. I'm not a cryer but this movie did bring some tears. And, it was a great way to show the story on the big screen using a fantastic cast and some of the same dialogue that truly bends the heart.

Scarface (1983)

Okay, I saw the movie before I read the book but I have to say, they were both entertaining as hell. Armitage Trail wrote the book all the way back in the 20's but after watching the movie, I had to give the book a read. Tony Montana, played by Al Pacino is probably one of the most notorious characters of all time. The book was very different from the movie but there are many similarities. This one though, I would say the movie takes the gold. It's action packed, has an awesome cast and some of the best lines ever.

Red Dragon (2002)

Thomas Harris wrote this novel incorporating our favorite psycho psychiatrist Hannibal Lector. The movie was very well done and stayed true to a lot of the themes in the book. What's the best way to find a serial killer? Talk to another one. It's a brilliantly done film that showcases the acting talents of Anthony Hopkins and Edward Norton. It's edgy, a bit gory but also shows a human side to a psychopath in a very unique way.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Written by Thomas Harris as the sequel to "Red Dragon", we get to see Hannibal Lector again. This time an FBI agent enlists his help to track down "Buffalo Bill". This is when we first get to meet Clarice, who quickly becomes an obsession for Dr. Lector. The dialogue in this movie is off-the-charts and so is the acting. It's so well done, it may be one of my all-time favorite thrillers.

I ate his liver with some fava beans.

— Dr. Hannibal Lecter

A clip from "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

Other Notable Book-to-Movie Films

Here are some other book to movie adaptations that are worth noting:

  • The Godfather (1972) novel by Mario Puzo
  • American Psycho (2000) novel by Bret Easton Ellis
  • Goodfellas (1990) novel by Nicolas Pileggi
  • The Shining (1980) novel by Stephen King
  • Requiem for a Dream (2000) novel by Hubert Selby Jr.
  • Brokeback Mountain (2005) short story by Ann Proulx
  • Jurassic Park (1993) novel by Michael Crichton

I wrote you 365 letters. I wrote you every day for a year. It wasn't over… it still isn't over

— Noah, "The Notebook"


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    • KrissyCross profile imageAUTHOR

      Krissy Cross 

      15 months ago

      I agree. 9 times out of 10, the books are way better.

    • priya pp profile image

      priya pp 

      15 months ago from India

      Doing justice to books is a tough task to do.. I feel movies can only narrate the story but you can't match the portray of words!!!!!


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