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Differences Between The Movie and Book: The Hunger Games

Updated on April 20, 2014

The Hunger Games

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Book vs Movie

It's a tragic realization that many people would rather watch the movie than read the book. Yes I do see how seeing the movie is more enjoyable for people who just hate reading or it's not their thing, but you miss out on so many things.

So I've decided to start a series of informing the public on what they're missing out on when they refuse to read the book and only want to watch the movies. I know I'll do The Hunger Games Series and Harry Potter, and I've had half of a mind to do Lord of the Rings, but I believe in being very detailed so it might take me a while to knock all of that out. lol

The Hunger Games

The first book I've decided to tackle in this book versus movie series is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It was published in 2008 and the first movie was released in 2012. I made a point of reading the book and making my brother read the book before going to see the movie because we both like to compare and contrast the two.

I'll start from the beginning and cover the relevant differences, there are some misleading things that I thought they should have added to the movie but it may have been considered too scary otherwise.

I'm not perfect and I may miss some things, so if I do please add them in the comments section and I'll credit you when I come around to editing. =)

The Hunger Games: Book vs. Movie

Part I: The Tributes

In the movie Caesar Flickerman is interviewing Seneca Crane, The Head Gamemaker and that never happens in the book.

In the movie Katniss is hunting a deer and Gale interrupts her and scares it off.

  • In the book Katniss is meeting up with Gale and he already has bread that he shares with her and Katniss shares some goat cheese that Prim had made for her. They go fishing and bring back some product to sell and trade at the Hob.

In the movie Katniss is given her Mockingjay pin from a lady at the Hob.

  • In the book, there is a Mayor and his daughter, Madge, (the Mayor and his family have yet to appear in any of the movies) gives Katniss the pin after she has volunteered as tribute.

In the movie there is a short filmed being played to explain why The Hunger Games is such a great historical event to happen every year.

  • In the book the Mayor makes the speech saying why The Hunger Games is such a great historical event to happen every year.

In the movie at the reaping, Effie is wearing a magenta outfit with white hair.

  • In the book Effie is wearing a green outfit with pinkish hair.

In the movie we don't see Haymitch until Katniss and Peeta are on the train.

  • In the book Haymitch is drunk on stage making a fool of himself.

In the movie after the reaping Katniss is only visited by her mother, sister and Gale.

  • In the book Katniss is visited by her mother, sister, Gale, Peeta's father who brings her cookies and Madge who then gives her the Mockingjay pin.

In the movie we really know nothing about Katniss's father other than he died in a mining accident.

  • In the book Katniss has flashbacks to spending time with him and learning a lot of survival things from him such as hunting and about plants.

In the movie we come across Haymitch on the train and he explains how the games really works.

  • In the book he's still drunk as a skunk, puking and Effie is the one to explain how Haymitch is their key to survival.

In the movie they really don't make a big deal out of all of the food that they can eat.

  • In the book it's a huge deal because the majority of District 12 is starved and Suzanne Collins goes into immense depth about the food, with texture, color and flavor and how they feel so spoiled but guilty because everyone at home has barely enough to scrape by.

In the movie Katniss almost stabs Haymitch's hand with a knife.

  • In the book Peeta gets pissed off that Haymitch is being rude and knocks a glass out of his hand, Haymitch in turn punches Peeta in the face and then Katniss almost stabs Haymitch in the hand with the knife. Katniss then throws the knife into the wall to show she knows how to use knives. Sadly Effie does not say, "That is Mahogany!"

In the movie the Stylists are dressed eccentrically, but none of them are dressed or look like how they're described in the book. Cinna's character is portrayed perfectly on the other hand from book to movie.

In the movie Peeta appears to be the one to suggest the hand holding as they ride out together.

  • In the book it's Cinna who tells them to hold hands.

In the movie Katniss is stone faced and awkward as she rides out in the chariot with Peeta.

  • In the book Katniss is blowing kisses and catching roses to smell.

In the movie you only really see them in the background but the servants in the rooms dressed in red or black outfits with red hair are called Avoxes

  • In the book they go into more depth about the Avoxes. They are people who are considered traitors and they have their tongues cut out and are forced to serve the people in the Capitol. Nobody is supposed to speak to them unless they're giving them an order. They wear white outfits and have red hair Katniss recognizes an Avox girl who was helping serve her dinner as a girl who had escaped from her district with a boy and were running through the woods Katniss hunts in and she was captured by the Capitol hovercraft and the boy was killed.

In the movie during the training center, everyone is dressed the same.

  • In the book Katniss and Peeta are the only ones dressed the same.

In the movie the training center scenes are so extravagant and drawn out. We see all of the other tributes training and showing off.

  • In the book there is no conflicts in the training center and Peeta does not show off his strength in order to prove to the other tributes that he's not weak because Haymitch and them agreed to only show their skills during private lessons. None of the tributes' skills are discussed in the book during the training center parts.

In the movie Katniss goes first for the private session.

  • In the book Peeta goes first.

In the movie Katniss only shoots a total of three areas during his private session.

  • In the book Katniss does more intricate shooting with shoulder rolls and hits other targets apart from the human silhouette. The shooting of the apple is the same.

In the movie almost all of the commentary done by Caesar Flickerman.

  • In the book is does not specify who is doing the commentary.

In the movie there is no indication of prepping for the interviews.

  • Both Effie and Haymitch prep Katniss and Peeta, but we only read about Katniss getting prepped. Haymitch gets frustrated with Katniss and starts drinking halfway through the prepping and Katniss eats dinner alone that night, completely trashing her room with her dinner plates and such. The Avox girl comes and tries to help but Katniss yells at her and the Avox girl helps clean her up and Katniss is finally able to apologize for not helping her.

In the movie all of the tributes are dressed to impress.

  • For the tributes that have their clothing described, none of them match up, including the dress Katniss wears apart from the flames that appear when she twirls.

In the movie Caesar Flickerman is super tan and wears a dark blue suit.

  • In the book he is supposed to have a white face with blue lips and blue eyeshadow to match his hair and his suit is supposed to have tiny lightbulbs on them to light up.

The Hunger Games: Book vs. Movie

Part II: The Games

In the movie Katniss immediately confronts Peeta after he leaves the stage after his interview where he confesses his love for her.

  • In the book Katniss avoids him at all costs and only confronts him after they're up on their floor.

In the movie, because neither of them can sleep, Katniss and Peeta have a conversation the night before the games and seem to have a heart to heart.

  • In the book it is their second time hanging out on top of the roof where they go because they can't sleep and Peeta makes a rude comment to her and she gets mad and leaves him alone.

In the movie is appears that Haymitch and Cinna are the only people to see Katniss off before the Games start.

  • In the book Cinna is the only person to be with Katniss all of the way up to the games starting.

In the move is appears that Cinna smuggled her Mockingjay pin onto her outfit.

  • In the book is states that it was cleared by the review board and Glimmer from District One had a ring with a poisonous spike on it if you twisted off the gem. Obviously her token was eliminated.

In the movie there is a whole scene showing the process of how the Gamemakers affect the Games and how they can make things happen.

  • None of this is described in the book.

In the movie the Cornucopia is silver.

  • In the book the Cornucopia is golden.

In the movie we only see Katniss pick up a backpack that she uses to block a knife from being thrown at her by the girl from District 2.

  • In the book she is picking up things that are close to her and she struggles with a boy who also wants the backpack she's trying to get and he ends up getting killed with a knife in his back thrown by the girl from District 2. Blood gets splattered on her face from the boy.

In the movie she runs into Foxface soon after she leaves the clearing.

  • In the book she doesn't run into anybody as she makes her way into the woods.

In the movie it's not clear who kills the idiot girl who builds a fire the first night of the Games because it's someone from the Career pack.

  • In the book the Careers make a remark that they haven't heard the cannon go off yet, and Peeta volunteers to go back and finish the job. That's when we hear the cannon. From the movies it makes it out to seem that Peeta hasn't killed anybody during the Games, but that girl was his first victim.

In the movie Peeta doesn't appear to be badly hurt when we first see him with the Careers.

  • In the book he is walking with a limp and has an arm injury.

In the movie the Career pack seems to be made up of Cato, Marvel, Peeta, Glimmer and Clove.

  • In the book it's comprised of Cato, Marvel, Peeta, Glimmer, Clove and the girl Tribute from District 4.

In the movie we never see the dead Tributes get taken away.

  • In the book there are hovercrafts that come to collect the bodies using large metal teeth that picks them up.

In the movie we see Katniss set a single trap and eventually cook a meal from her catch.

  • In the book she retrieves the rabbit after the Careers leave the area and she uses the dead Tribute's fire to cook it.

In the movie Katniss appears to have easily found water and stocks up her supply.

  • In the book she has a much harder time finding it and it takes her several days to find water. Once she finally finds water she must add iodine to help purify it and must wait an additional half hour before it's safe to drink.

In the movie that fireballs creating the forest fire seem to be the size of huge beach balls or maybe a pro basketball.

  • In the book the fireballs are described as the size of apples.

In the movie only seems to sustain an injury to her thigh.

  • In the book she loses 6 inches of hair to the fire and injuries her hand and calf.

In the movie she just dives into the water to help ease herself from the fire and barely any time lapses before the Careers find her.

  • In the book she has much more downtime to analyze her injuries and ease herself into the water before the Careers find her and chase her.

In the movie Haymitch's first gift appears to her at night after she's been in her tree for a little bit.

  • In the book Rue appears to her first as twilight breaks and Katniss starts to cut the branch down that has the tracker jackers on it. Katniss stops once the anthem stops playing and goes back to her gear to see the gift there. She applies the medicine to her wounds and goes back to sleep.

In the movie Glimmer receives the most stings from the tracker jackers and is killed by them. Katniss climbs down and takes the bow and arrows away from her dead body immediately.

  • In the book, after Katniss finishes cutting off the branch and getting stung herself, makes her way to her pool of water that she used to refill her canteen and takes her time to make her way over the Glimmer's dead body to remove the bow and arrows from her. The tracker jacker stings explode and release a green liquid.
  • The girl from District 4 with the Careers dies from the tracker jackers stings.
  • Any hallucinations with Caesar Flickerman is only in the movie.

In the movie Katniss wakes up from after passing out and sees Rue almost immediately.

  • In the book Katniss wakes up alone. She test fires some arrows from her new bow, cleans herself up, replenishes her water supply, catches some game to eat, and then she runs into Rue where they form an alliance. This is when Rue treats Katniss's stings with the leaves.

In the movie Katniss appears to have only suffered some bruising from the mine explosion.

  • In the book her left ear is gone deaf due to the explosion. She cleans herself up to not attract any predators from the blood coming out of her ear and spends the night alone in a hollow under some bushes.

In the movie Katniss runs from the base camp to Rue and cuts her out of the net to free her.

  • In the book Katniss spends several days waiting for Rue to appear and hears her cries after she does the Mockingjay song. Katniss doesn't even get to Rue in time before she is pierced with the spear from the boy from District 1 as he's standing over her.

In the movie Katniss shoots the Marvel in the chest with an arrow after he throws the spear at Rue.

  • In the book Katniss shoots Marvel in the neck, he pulls the arrow out and he drowns in his own blood.

In the movie Katniss appears to leave with no new gear after she puts Rue's body to rest.

  • In the book she takes the gear from both Rue's and Marvel's backpacks.

In the movie after Katniss puts Rue's body to rest, there are riots breaking out in District 11.

  • In the book Katniss wanders aimlessly for a few hours after putting Rue's body to rest and receives a loaf of bread from District 11 as a sign of thank you for being Rue's ally and treating her death with respect and care.

In the movie there's lots of back and forth with footage from the Capital and Haymitch talking with people and the Gamemaker's control center as well as scenes with President Snow in the garden with Seneca Crane.

  • This never happens in the book.

The Hunger Games: Book vs. Movie

Part III: The Victor

In the movie after the announcement that there can be two victors from the same District, Katniss immediately goes off in search of Peeta.

  • She waits a day before spending hours searching for him.

In the movie, once Katniss finds Peeta, she pulls him out of his hiding place and hugs him and then jumps to the majority of his face cleaned off from the camouflage.

  • In the book Katniss careful peels off all of his clothes and sees to his wounds and cleans him up the best she can with the new equipment from Rue's and Marvel's backpacks. She also cleans all of his clothes for him.

In the movie the playful banter between the two is very limited and there's barely any kissing between the two of them.

  • In the book the dialogue is much more adorable and they kiss each other a lot to play it up for the cameras.

In the movie the sword wound in Peeta's leg doesn't look extremely horrible.

  • In the book Peeta can barely walk and the sword cut all of the way down to the bone.

In the movie Katniss and Peeta get a parachute of broth in an attempt from Haymitch to show more romance.

  • In the book Katniss has already kissed Peeta for the first time in order to shut him up about him potentially dying. The parachute comes afterwards and Katniss puts it together that kisses means gifts.

In the movie they never reveal how bad Peeta is getting.

  • In the book it is revealed that Peeta has blood poisoning and his fever won't break.
  • In the book Katniss tells the story of how Prim got her goat, Lady.

In the movie Katniss leaves for the feast due to Peeta falling asleep on his own accord.

  • In the book Peeta doesn't want her to leave at all, so Haymitch sends another parachute of a vial of sleep syrup to knock him out. The syrup is a very common thing in District 12. Katniss mixes the syrup up with some berries and mint to try to hide the sweet taste of the syrup and only after the last spoonful does Peeta realize what it is, but Katniss forces it down, blocking him from throwing it up and he soon passes out.

In the movie for the feast there are 4 packs lined up all of the same size with the number for the district on them.

  • In the book there are two big black backpacks for Districts 2 and 11, a medium green one for District 5 and then a tiny orange one for District 12.

In the movie Katniss doesn't hit Clove at all with any arrows.

  • In the book Katniss hits Clove in the left upper arm with an arrow, but since she throws knives with her right, it's a bit of wasted effort.

In the movie Thresh picks Clove up off of Katniss and slams her several times against the Cornucopia and kills instantly.

  • In the book Thresh picks Clove off of Katniss, throws her to the ground and smashes her head in with a big rock and she slowly dies from the trauma to her head.

In the movie when Katniss gets back to the cave Peeta is awake and she treats his wound with a cream or gel that Peeta also puts on Katniss's head wound from Clove's knife.

  • In the book Peeta is still asleep and there's a needle in the bag that she injects into him and Katniss falls asleep for a day and when she wakes up Peeta is awake, has eaten almost all of the rest of the food and the swelling in his leg has gone down tremendously.

In the movie Katniss and Peeta don't get anymore parachutes after the broth.

  • In the book after having a very tender moment together, they get rewarded with a parachute containing fresh rolls, goat cheese, apples and lamb stew with wild rice along with silverware and plates.

In the movie we assume that Thresh was killed after the muttations attacked.

  • In the book Thresh is killed the same night Katniss and Peeta get the generous parachute, assumingly by Cato.

In the movie the cannon goes off to indicate Foxface's death before Katniss goes looking for Peeta thinking the cannon went off for him.

  • In the book they split up to do some hunting and gathering and because Peeta doesn't reply back with the call to say he's okay, Katniss goes looking for him. Once she does find him she notices that some of the goat cheese is missing and then the cannon goes off.

In the movie they meet up with Cato at the Cornucopia to evade the muttations.

  • In the book Cato comes barreling at them, Katniss tries to shoot him but her arrow deflects due to a mesh flesh colored full body armor he has on and run right past them because he's being chased by muttations.

In the movie the muttations are made out to be ugly cross breeds of a dog mixed with a giant boar, only hairless (it seems).

  • In the book they can stand on their hind legs and have the characteristics of the Tributes that have died during those Games. For example, there's a blonde muttation with green eyes and a jewel encrusted collar with a 1 on it to indicate that that muttation represents Glimmer. The mutts are much more organized in the book. It's not clear if the Gamemakers have used the actual remains of the Tributes to make the mutts or just their likeness.

In the movie Cato falls off of the Cornucopia and Katniss puts him out of his misery as the muttations attack him.

  • In the book after Cato falls of he keeps fighting and after an hour of fighting, Katniss and Peeta hear and thud and a dragging sound, but still no cannon.

In the movie Peeta doesn't appear to be hurt anymore.

  • In the book Peeta is bitten in the leg where his wound is and starts to bleed profusely again.

In the movie they speed up day and night.

  • This does not happen in the book and after waiting all through the night for the cannon fire, Katniss goes to look at Cato to see if he's dead yet, he's not. He mouths the word please and she sends an arrow through his head in an act of pity.

In the movie after a hovercraft is above them it cuts Haymitch talking to Katniss.

  • In the book Katniss and Peeta are taken up in a hovercraft and are immediately separated so the doctors can work on Peeta to save his leg. Once they land Katniss is drugged and when she wakes up she's in a hospital bed with tubes sticking out of her. She is completely clean, her scars barely show and she can hear in her left ear again. The Capitol gave her a mechanical ear that essentially gives her super hearing.

In the movie during the after Games interview with Caesar Flickerman it's very minimal.

  • In the book there is a three hour long process where they show the highlights of the games and then they go to President Snow's mansion for the Victory Banquet. And then the next day is the interviews with Flickerman. During this interview we find out that the doctors couldn't save Peeta's leg and he now has a plastic and metal leg.

In the movie Seneca Crane is led to a room that has a glass bowl full of nightlock berries and the welcoming home scene in District 12 as Katniss and Peeta get off of the train.

  • This does not happen in the book.

Actual Kill Count In The Hunger Games

Katniss Everdeen: Glimmer from District 1, Girl Tribute from District 4, Marvel from District 1, and Cato from District 2.

Peeta Mellark: Girl Tribute from District 8, and Foxface from District 5.

The Hunger Games Movie Trailer


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    • floridacupcake profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      I thought they rushed through the filming of the first movie to be honest. But they did an amazing job for the second movie.

    • BNadyn profile image


      5 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida

      Great job covering the differences. It's been so long since I've read these books but I did enjoy them and am a fan of this series. I always prefer the books to the movies. You are right in that in most cases, it is hard to get all the details and full story from watching the movie if you never read the book. I did like the second movie more than the first for this.


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