Good Books Which Became Good Movies

I posted a reply to the “What movie was disappointing?” thread, and suddenly got the idea to start a new thread. The purpose of this one is to ask which books, in your humble opinion, were made into good movies (a.k.a. “films”). A few of my examples are:

Turn of the Screw (Henry James)
The Age of Innocence (Edith Wharton)
A Room With a View (E.M. Forster)
A Passage to India (E.M. Forster)
The Shawshank Redemption (Steven King? A short story?)
Emma (Jane Austen) – loosely adapted into “Clueless”
The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)

Can anyone share some others?

Yup, Stephen King, from his book Different Seasons. The short story’s full title is “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption”. It was a good movie because storyline deviations were few and far between.

I really, really, want to say The Princess Bride, by William Goldman, but darn it, I just barely cracked the book open before I had to return it.

The Right Stuff (Tom Wolfe)

I would strongly recommend the Shawshank Redemption, though I haven’t read the original story.

The Princess Bride is one of the finest fluff movies ever made. It also surprisingly follows the book, using the “previous book” conceit. (You’d know if you read the book.) In the same vein, the first half of the Neverending Story was made into one fine movie.

A Simple Plan was also made into a pretty good, and pretty faithful, film. The original book was more harrowing though.

I liked the 80’s version of Lord of the Flies, but I realize that is up for debate. (“Yes, Piggy. Give us the glasses.”)

I also don’t know if these count, but the Anime versions of Akira and Ghost in the Shell are some of the finest movies I’ve ever seen.

The Godfather
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

I really like the version of The Secret Garden which came out in the early 1990’s (1993?). Although it inevitably changed a few details.

Stephen King was lucky that The Shawshank Redemption turned out to be a good movie. Many of his books don’t fare so well. Anyone ever read The Dark Half? Think back to that movie, it was the only movie I have ever walked out of.
I do have to say the movie folks, did a pretty job on Firestarter. It pretty much followed the book and wasn’t a disappointment.

Apollo 13

HBO series “From the Earth to the Moon”

Silence of the Lambs

The Hunt for Red October

Well, while we’re talking about Stephen King, The Green Mile turned out quite well.

True, few movies are as good as the book, but it is often hard to compare these two different art forms.
One that comes to mind that worked very well for me was the French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles. The book used devices that can only be done in print. Chapters within the story that look back at the time period with a statistical view and chapters where the novelist speaks to the reader as the creator of these characters and three different endings. Impossible to translate this to the screen I thought. But in the film they used the device of making a film from the book and got the viewpoint of modern commentary on the Victorian period as well as the actors creating the characters just as the novelist had done. One of my favorite good books made into a good movie.

“Fight Club.”

The book itself is like a vicarious experience. Also, i am yet to see a movie where even the book’s style of narration is captured so dead-on perfectly.

A Clockwork Orange
Solaris
Slaughterhouse 5
American Psycho
Space Odessy 2001
Salem’s Lot

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh.

Catch-22
After reading the book I was curious as to how the movie could do the stream of conciousness narrative but it captured it near perfectly.

The Last Picture Show
The Maltese Falcon

I read the book in English - it was really good. :slight_smile:

When I saw the thread title, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption was the first to come to mind.

I’d also like to add To Kill a Mockingbird.

2001: A Space Odyssey?
Though I’m a big fan of both the movie and the novel, this entry doesn’t qualify.

The screenplay was written first as a collaboration between Clarke and Kubrick, based very loosely on concepts from two short stories, “The Sentinel” and “Encounter at Dawn.” Then Clarke rewrote the “2001” screenplay in novel form.

“Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” Philip K. Dick. Made as “Blade Runner”. Make sure you watch the director’s cut.
“Mother Night” Kurt Vonnegut.
“Fahrenheit 451” Ray Bradbury.
“Starship Troopers” Robert Heinlein.

No offense, but if that’s the case I won’t be getting the book any time real soon.