Best film adaptations of a book

What is your favorite film adapted from a book? Just so this doesn’t turn into a LOTR gush-fest, if a movie has already been listed post your second favorite.

I’m going to have to choose Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It’s remarkably faithful to the source material without overly inhibiting artistic freedom. The visuals are incredible, Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro are inspired as Hunter and Dr. Gonzo, and the soundtrack is pitch perfect. There’s virtually nothing about this movie that doesn’t do the book justice.

Silence of the Lambs was astonishingly scene-for-scene.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: the movie was spectacular, the book was spectacular, the movie was faithful to the book, and yet since the book was all about the Chief and the movie all about McMurphy (they were both all about the nurse) they complimented each other beautifully.

Not only my favourite movie-from-a-book, but one of my favourite books, and movies, of all time.

“All Quiet On The Western Front,” the 1930ish movie followed the book, even using a lot of the same dialogue. Great movie, great book.

The Shawshank Redemption.

It’s from a Stephen King short story (published in the same set as “The Body”, a.k.a. “Stand By Me”)

The movie was quite faithful to the book, with a few modifications that were doubtless necessary to fit the story into a reasonable amount of time.

“Misery”, from the Stephen King novel of the same name. Kathy Bates…::shudder::

“The Last Detail” from the novel of the same name by Darryl Ponicsan. Jack Nicholson brought Billy Buddusky to life. In fact, the movie was better than the book, IMO.

I actually think The Heiress is a better film than Henry James’ Washington Square is a book . . . And Now, Voyager is a brillant page-by-page adaptation of Olive Higginsrouty’s book.

Roger Ebert claims that if you have seen Rosemary’s Baby, you don’t have to read the book, and if you have read the book you don’t have to see the movie.

He also claims that The Godfather contains pretty much everything in the novel, except the gynecological repair job.

Well, it isn’t High Art, but I thought they did a good job with Matilda. It was very much like I imagined it when I read the book as a kid.

This is really better suited to Cafe Society. I’ll move it on over for you.

IMHO mod

I thought that Fight Club was not only a great film but a great adaptation - it’s incredibly faithful to the book. Conversely, I thought The Shining was a great film despite being pretty different to the book.

To Kill a Mockingbird. When I first saw the movie after reading the book, I was only thirteen and had never seen Gregory Peck before. But he was EXACTLY how I pictured Atticus Finch.

I disagree. There are major differences in dialogue, (IIRC) and many scenes (f.ex. naarator and tyler’s first meeting) are completely different. The biggest difference is the ending.


The book’s ending in the hospital, “we’ll bring you back sir” was very unsatisfying. The movie’s ending was brilliant. You’re so enthralled with the final conversation between naarator and tyler, and shocked by the gunshot that you forget that the financial records are going back to zero in T minus whatever. Then it happens, enter the pixies, AWESOME ENDING.

I found the movie much more enjoyable than the book.

I like my favourite adaptation for the opposite reason to that most quoted. Fever Pitch from the Nick Hornby book doesn’t follow the story in the book because ther isn’t one.

The book is essentially a memoir of Hornby’s life from 11-25 told by way of an account of his growing obsession with Arsenal FC. It’s a very funny reflection on fandom and includes Hornby’s musing on many subjects.

The movie however is the story of the growing affection between 2 teachers. Paul is obsessed with Arsenal but Sarah thinks football is silly. While telling a traditional story it manages to be “about” the same things as the book.

The book and movie end up as complements for one another and viewing/reading one makes me eager to revisit the other.

I have to disagree with you there quite strongly, when I saw the movie I thought it was made by people who just didn’t understand the spirit of the book. Most imoportantly, the central character turned into a very very very minor character. Cheif Bromden’s naration is what makes the book interesting part and thats just gone. The nurse’s character is completely different, as is the character of the doctor.

Yea, me too. I love the way Chuck Palahniuk writes, have read all his stuff, but the movie ending to Fight Club is not only better than the book, but cemented Fight Club as one of my top 5 movies of all time.
Other good book to movie adaptations.
The Virgin Suicides- Excellent book by Jeffrey Eugenides, made into an excellent movie by Sophia Coppola (who has, by all accounts, made a fairly excellent second film)

Ghost World. Even though the film didn’t follow the scattered plot of Daniel Clowes’ comic, it managed to convey most of the ideas/ spirt/ thinie of the comic. (one exception being the shift of Rebecca’s character from equally confused and aimless (in the comic), to a fairly focused one.)

I just finisher re-reading The Maltese Falcon and was reminded again how much I liked the 1941 movie. (IMDB says the 1931 version was also good, but I haven’t seen it.) It’s another close adaptation of the book. Bogart makes a perfect Sam Spade (although he doesn’t look at all like Spade in the book), and the rest of the cast is equally great.

When I finally got around to reading “A Clockwork Orange”, I was floored by how exact of an adaptation the movie was. Never in my life have I found any one story told in two different mediums to be more alike. The only thing in the book that wasn’t in the movie was the glossary in the back that translated all the slang. Real horrorshow that.

Though strictly both mini-series the BBC adapations of the John le Carré books **Tinker Tailor and Smiley’s People ** stick very close to the originals. The only major change I could see was Lisbon was substituted for Hong Kong near the start of Tinker

Yay, I’m the first to get to mention Greed, Von Stroheim’s ultra faithful take on McTeague. We’re talking filming the full stops there.

I’m not sure how faithful it was, but it felt like they included every damn thing from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

The Green Mile felt faithful to the book despite them thankfully removing the middle nursing home scenes, which were a seemingly endless repetition of events we’d just seen. (It being originally written in serial form didn’t help, of course.)

Can I vote for Stephen King’s Lawnmower Man as the least faithful adaptation?