Thursday, February 24, 2011

Best Movies Adapted From Books

Nathan Bransford started an interesting discussion yesterday with a post asking us what we thought were the best movie adaptions of books. I thought it would be fun to list my choices.

1. Blade Runner -- Hands down the best! The music alone is better than anything any other movie has come up with. I thought the original story by Phillip K. Dick, titled Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, was pretty decent, but I didn't love it. However, if I could only pick one movie to watch in my life it would be this one. The atmosphere, the soundtrack, the awesome casting, and the spot on perfect acting make this a movie to cherish. It was also the last great sci-fi movie to use no CGI.

2. The Princess Bride -- I have never met anyone who doesn't love this movie, and I am not sure I would want to know someone who doesn't like it. Great casting and a terrific, funny script make this one to watch again and again.

3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest -- I can't believe I was the only one to mention this one out of all those comments on Nathan's site! Ken Kesey's book is great, but Jack Nicholson and the amazing cast (check out how many of those bit actors went on to become famous) owned this story. It's sad, scary, and hilarious at the same time, and I never tire of seeing it.

4. The Lord of the Rings -- No one could possible adapt these novels perfectly, but Peter Jackson came as close as humanly possible (at least in the extended editions) with his films. The soundtrack can't quite measure up to Blade Runner, but Enya's Council of Elrond may be the single best soundtrack song ever.

There are loads of other great ones: The Godfather, Shawshank Redemption, Stand By Me, The Silence of the Lambs, Bridge to Terabithia, and many more. What are yours?


  1. LOTR is definitely the best! Princess Bride also. Have to add The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe as well.

  2. For me the Narnia movie was only okay. I didn't really like the books, though, either.

  3. Not gonna start a debate about how the LOTR movies are an abomination against nature and Peter Jackson is the Black Foe of the World himself. Nope. *whistles*

    My vote was for The Princess Bride. Hands down. Best adaptation ever.

  4. The Iron Giant was the first movie that I thought was better than the book. I would also say Interview with the Vampire.

  5. With the exception of Arwen being tied to the fate of the ring (incredibly lame), I actually liked the movies better than the books. I preferred the elves instead of the rangers coming to Helm's Deep. I preferred the character evolution of Faramir, the tragedy of gollum, and the survival of the shire.

    Now the Arwen/ring thing was a huge sour spot for me, but otherwise, the extended version (one movie 11 hours long is what I call it) is superior to the books.

  6. Hard to beat The Princess Bride and Blade Runner, but here are a few other speculative books to movies I particularly liked.

    The Andromeda Strain (original movie)
    Naked Lunch
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

    Better stop now ...
    One Writer's Mind

  7. Oh, I didn't even think of One Flew Over the Cuckoos nest, but I'd go along with that one, definitely. I love the movie, Blade Runner, but haven't read it, so it didn't occur to me for other reasons... I'd I definitely support Princess Bride (though I haven't read that one either). One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was filmed at Damasch, which was Oregon's very recently closed down state mental hospital... just a bit of trivia for you.

  8. Here's my two cents. Two of them have already been mentioned and the third is a bit out of the box.

    1. The Godfather.

    2. The Silence of the Lambs.

    3. Dracula (1932 American version)

  9. Budd, yours wouldn't let me respond by email the way I did with most others. I really loved the book for Interview With a Vampire, but the movie didn't do it for me.

  10. I agree with every one of these examples 100%.