Any movies as good as or even better than the book?

Tons of threads about movies that sucked relative to the books, but I think this is the first of this type.

The only set I can think of is Fight Club. I thought the book wasn’t especially great - the ideas were interesting, but the actual implementation struck me as amateurish. The movie, however, expressed the ideas perfectly, and added it’s own visual style that just fit perfectly with the ideas being conveyed. It’s a much more powerful experience than the book was, while still being true to the ideas.

Thoughts? Other such sets of books and movies?

Oh my god. Fight Club was the first one that jumped to my mind. Actually, I’ve pondered this subject in the past and always concluded that Fight Club was a better movie than book. I also didn’t think the book was great. It had good ideas, but if I’d read the book on my own, without having seen the movie, I probably would have thought “boring” and have forgotten about it. It feels like Fight Club always manages to get a mention in a movie thread, though…you’ve gotta work fast.

I used to think the same thing about Shawshank Redemption (or should I say Rita Hayworth and…), but then I got tired of the movie, too.

But definitely Fight Club.

Godfather is an obvious example. The book seemed pretty ordinary though it’s a while since I read it.

The Godfather is the best example of several categories besides “movie as good as book”

The Godfather II is generally considered to be the best sequel [some say it was better than the original] ever made.

Don Vito Corleone is the only movie character played by two different Oscar winning actors. Supporting Actor Robert DeNiro as young Vito [GFII] and Actor Marlon Brando old Vito [GF I]

This post brought to you by “Ask the Godfather” geek.

Goldfinger (the movie) actually improved on Goldfinger (the novel). In the novel, the villian’s plan is to rob Fort Knox, while the movie dismisses this as stupid and suggests detonating an A-bomb in the gold repository would have equally valuable results.

Plus the novel had a bunch of crazy crap about lesbians that’s better forgotten.

Personally, I liked The Thirteenth Warrior better than Eaters of the Dead. I liked the premise of the book, but the main character went threw no personal developement, and that just annoyed me. For one thing, it just makes for a boring story when the main character’s only change is that he now starts sleeping with random women just because everyone else does. The other thing is, in the movie, he goes from being a prissy, stuck up whinny punk to a courageous, self sacrificing entry level badass. He goes threw some major developements in the book, and the friendships he makes are shown a lot more clearly. Plus, they explain the “evil” a lot better. In the book, there’s none of that, and that makes it rather dull.


The Andromeda Strain
Anatomy of a Murder
The Sand Pebbles

I know I’m going to get lambasted for this (except for Parrothead, who totally agrees with me), but here I go.

The Postman

OMG, was the book lame! Especially the last third of it, with the whole Wizard of Oz thing going on. The movie left all that crap out, and while it wasn’t great, it was a ton better than the book.

We’ve discussed this topic before – here’s some other examples.

The most glaring example to me is “Wild at Heart”. The Lynch movie is magnificant. The book is dull and deviod of any kind of tension.

'nother vote for the Godfather

And my fave - The English Patient

The Princess Bride gets my nomination for “as good as”. The book was amazing, and the movie was equally amazing; both were written by the same person, so the ideas translated quite smoothly.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? gets my nomination for “even better than.” Whatever you think of the movie, the book was just awful.

The Shawshank Redemption. The movie, IMO, was wonderful, the story it was based on was good. But the movie filled out some areas, developed others, and, on the whole, better than the story. I’ve reread the story since seeing the movie (for those who haven’t read it, the story is told from the perspective of Red, a little Irish guy in the book, Morgan Freeman in the movie), and I keep hearing Freeman’s voice doing the narrative. Gosh he has a great voice for stuff like that!

Forrest Gump. The book was awful.

“Babe” is a better story than “The Sheep Pig.”

“Olive, the Other Reindeer” is a totally different story as a (quasi-)movie than as a book. And it’s better.

I think the film “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” was much better than Gary Wolf’s original novel.

I may be alone in this, but I preferred the film The Heiress to Henry James’ Washington Square.

Oh, and the delightfully trashy but eerily on-target The Best of Everything to Rona Jaffe’s book of the same title!

Devil’s Advocate the movie was waaaaay better than the book, at least IMHO.

I also kind of liked the movie The Puppet Masters, while I though the Heinlein novel was kind of, um, not so good.

braces self


I don’t even understand why the movie was called Forest Gump anyway. The only thing it had in common with the book was the names of the characters.

I think The Client was the best adaptation of a Grisham novel by far.