Which author has had the most books turned into movies?

The first two authors that come to mind are Stephen King and Tom Clancy. Any others?


Stephen King?

John Grisham? (well, not that many, actually)

Agatha Christie?

I’d say Michael Crichton, if you are talking about non-repeat movies: Shakespeare has a lot, but they tend to be the same ones over and over again. And there are a bajillion versions of Dracula and Frankenstein. I’m also not counting made-for-TV things; only thater movies count in my opinion.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is possibly the most filmed writer of fiction. Although many of the Sherlock Holmes movies were not based directly on his stories or novels, so it’s a little confusing. There are also the numerous versions of The Lost World. The IMDb credits Conan Doyle with 153 films and TV shows from story or characters. It also lists 63 Holmes movies.

The Official Agatha Christie site lists 25 Christie movies, but lists nothing more recent than 1989. Here is a longer list, but it doesn’t distinguish TV shows from movies. IMDb lists 78 films and TV shows with her stories or characters.

Shakespeare on IMDb has 516 entries. Although he wrote plays rather than books, which is what the OP asked.

Hmmm…it looks like Shakespeare tops that list, but I’m sure the majority of those movies were of the same play (i.e. 100+ versions of Romeo and Juliet).

If the OP is refering to the number of books converted to movies, and not just movies based off of their works, what about Ian Flemming? There are, what, 25 Bond films out there? I know not all of them are based off of books, but from what I can recall, it’s really only been the past five or so, so that’s about 20 separate stories made into movies. If you start considering spoofs, rip offs, and that horrible James Bond Jr. cartoon from the early 90s, he’s pretty up there.

If we’re counting Shakespeare and looking for distinct works filmed, according to IMDb, 23 different Shakespeare plays have been filmed for theatrical release, together with parts from 2 more which were included in works that combine multiple plays: Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, King John, Richard III, Richard II, Henry V, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Comedy of Errors, Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, Love’s Labours Lost, Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, Cymbeline, As You Like It, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Much Ado About Nothing, plus extracts from Henry IV part I and II.

(Apologies if I duplicated any.)

I think that’s well ahead of anyone like Clancy or Crichton or even Stephen King.

If not Shakespeare for total movies, there’s also Dickens, who beats most of the other authors mentioned with “A Christmas Carol” alone.


James Bond Jr. chases,
James Bond Jr. chases S.C.Uuuuu.Mmmmm.
around the world.


I had forgotten about that. Thank you for reminding me.

Allan Dean Foster (I’m obsessed can’t you tell?) If I had a recent bibliography, there might be more.

Star Trek; The Motion Picture (Ghost Written and Credited to The Great Bird)
Alien & Aliens ( I don’t think he wrote the last few movies)
The Last Starfighter (?)
The Black Hole
The Dig (Renamed)

And Jed the Dead is in option now

Didn’t Hemmingway have several books made into movies?

TelcontarStorm, you’re going the wrong direction. Foster writes novelizations of movies, not novels that get made into movies.

El Elvis Rojo, there have been 20 Bond movies (I don’t know if Casino Royale is included in that), but most of them have not been based on novels. They stopped using anything but the title around the time they made Moonraker (the movie had almost nothing to do with the novel).

I’d say for the purpose of answering the OP, we have to discount multiple movies based off of one book. The OP said, “Which author has had the most books turned into movies?”; if somebody writes one novel and it gets made into 75 movies, that’s one book. How many movies gets made isn’t the point.

Also, movies. Not TV shows.

So, on the one hand, there were about 20 movies made from Shakespeare’s works. On the other hand, they were all made from plays, not books, so they don’t count.

Elmore Leonard, Zane Gray, Louie L’Amour, Donald Westlake, and Ed McBain (Evan Hunter) all have had a large number of movies made from their books. The western and mystery genres are good places to look for these authors. They are prolific without their individual titles being so well known that the public can tell when a book is being adapted into a movie.

In terms of percentages the winner may be Thomas Harris. His four novels (Black Sunday, Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs, and Hannibal), have been made into five movies (Red Dragon has been made into a movie twice, first as Manhunter, then again as Red Dragon).

He’s batting 1250 … .

So far it’s Arthur Conan Doyle in the lead…

Alistair Maclean has also had quite a few:

[ul][li]Guns Of Navarone[]Force 10 From Navarone[]Ice Station Zebra[]Breakheart Pass[]Where Eagles Dare[/ul][/li]
To name a few. IMDB lists total of 18, although some were “made for TV” movies.

Most important(to me), I really like his type of novel/book.

OOPS! “novel/book” should read as “novel/movie”. Even when I preview I can’t get it right.:smack:

Not all of those Sherlock Holmes movies are adaptations of Doyle books. (I’m pretty sure he never wrote anything featuring Abbott and Costello, for example.)

H.G. Wells comes up on 59 films at IMDB. Some of the more notable titles:

War of the Worlds
The Island of Dr. Moreau
The Time Machine
The Invisible Man
Food of the Gods
First Men in the Moon

I imagine Edgar Rice Burroughs and Jules Verne pop up quite a bit as well…