2022 is a big year for book-to-screen adaptations, with Delia Owen’s Where The Crawdads Sing getting the big-screen treatment and the announcement of a Hunger Games prequel based on Suzanne Collins’ The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Literature is undoubtedly one of the best ways to deliver a descriptive story and leave it to the power of imagination to fill in the blanks. However, one source of media that’s arguably even more magical than literature is cinema.
When popular novels are turned into movies, this creates a whole new world and an exciting opportunity for viewers to visually see the story play out. While there have been many book-to-movie adaptations over the years, there are quite a few that stand the test of time and have quite high IMDb scores.
10 The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (2012) – 8
A novel by Stephen Chbosky, the coming-of-age story The Perks of Being a Wallflower depicts life through the lens of an outcast, Charlie, trying to find his way through life. Featuring the main character’s personal thoughts through intimate letters, the novel stands the test of time, as the film was created nearly two decades after the book was first published in 1999.
The film quickly picked up a cult following, with the near-perfect casting of Logan Lerman as Charlie, and his best friends played by Emma Watson and Ezra Miller. Fans adore both the movie and the novel for their raw portrayal of the complicated and risky lives of teenagers. Though the novel depicted Charlie’s story through diary entries and the film showed more of a straightforward point-of-view, it’s undeniable that Perks of Being a Wallflower is full of memorable quotes and impactful life lessons in both iterations.
9 The Princess Bride (1987) – 8
The romantic yet comedic story of The Princess Bride is beloved by many. Between Rob Reiner’s film interpretation and the original novel, fans love the wholesome and classic story of adventure, love, and conquest.
Though it is unknown who the true author of the original novel was, fans were able to figure out that the alias of S. Morgenstern was all a lie, and rather purely William Goldman’s story. Regardless of who actually wrote the famous story, fans are grateful for the fun and well-thought-out lore behind the novel and thankful that the plot translated well to the movie, even down to the word-for-word quotes.
8 The Help (2011) – 8.1
Taking place in the 1960s Mississippi, The Help is about an aspiring writer who wants to make a societal shift by telling the stories of Black women who work as servants for white families. With Kathryn Stockett’s novel being published in 2009 and the film being made shortly after, it’s quite telling just how this story touched readers immediately.
Although the film received praise from critics, Viola Davis herself expressed concern about the film’s shift of focus to Skeeter and away from the important Black voices (per Harper’s Bazaar). However, due to the story’s impactful narrative as well as its focus on the topic of racism, there’s no doubt that fans love both the novel and the film for a reason.
7 Dune (2021) – 8.1
As one of the most successful stories to produce two different adaptations, one in 1984 and one in 2021, the action-packed novel by Frank Herbert has shaken up the world. At nearly 800 pages long, there were many details from the novel that were either left out or left to the film’s sequels, but the newest adaptation of Dune performed phenomenally among critics.
With the ’80s version ranking at 6.3 on IMDb and the newer version ranking significantly higher, fans of the book were thrilled that the epic story got a second chance to sweep the box office. Though it might take a few movies to fully fit in all the necessary plot points, fans are pleased thus far with its extremely accurate adaptation.
6 Slumdog Millionaire (2008) – 8
Earning a solid IMDb score of 8/10, this story gives the unique perspective of a teenager from Mumbai that is being accused of cheating during a game of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” Loosely based on Vikas Swarup’s novel “Q&A,” the movie was made only three years after the book was published.
After winning eight Oscars and receiving buzzing reviews from critics, the story is still praised by readers and viewers alike. Though there are some key differences between the book and the film, including the title name change itself, fans agree that the movie was accurate in all of the categories that mattered, and the additional fun spins on the imagery even added to the story, thanks to director Danny Boyle.
5 Gone With The Wind (1939) – 8.2
Gone With The Wind is a classic tale of drama, war, and turbulent love that still has fans talking even today. With Gone With The Wind being Margaret Munnerlyn Mitchell’s one and only novel, it’s quite telling just how talented of a writer she was to create such an iconic piece of literature.
Though the adaptation is one of the longest films in movie history, the iconic story is more than worth it, as it is still considered one of the best romance films of all time. Although the book goes more in-depth into Scarlett and Mitchell’s thoughts and innermost feelings, both versions resonate with fans, making it a clear success as far as adaptations go.
4 The Green Mile (1999) – 8.6
The Green Mile offers a unique perspective of the daily lives of Death Row guards as they meet charges that change their lives for both the worse and the better. In true Stephen King fashion, both the novel and the film translate the duality of bleakness and optimism in a new and intriguing way.
Although the movie omits a few devastating plot points from the book, fans don’t have too much of a problem with the changes, as the movie is a little less dark as a result. Additionally, with Tom Hanks as part of the cast, The Green Mile certainly did the novel justice, as it’s clear he was perfect for the role of Paul.
3 The Dark Knight (2008) – 9
Named one of the best Batman movies of all time, The Dark Knight is an iconic story that was perfectly cast, especially when it comes to Heath Ledger’s Joker. Though there wasn’t one sole novel that the film was based on, The Dark Knight is more so a compilation of major events in the comics.
Even among films that aren’t based on superheroes, The Dark Knight is a well-respected film in the cinematic world, largely due to its serious tone and deep understanding of Batman’s backstory and motivations. Though the film isn’t based on one particular comic, the movie does a great job of portraying the true characteristics of the heroes and villains, while putting an even darker and more realistic spin on things.
2 The Godfather (1972) – 9.2
The Godfather details the edgy lives of mafia members in New York City that end up passing down their legacy. Mario Puzo, the original author of the story, published the novel in the ’60s, which was quickly turned into a film in the mid-’70s.
Though fans love both the novel and the film, the endings are quite different, with Vito dying in the book rather than living to become the mob boss as he does in the film. However, considering the original story was able to produce multiple sequels and even a brand new series, there is no doubt that this iconic film and novel has made an impact, as it has become a household name due to its enthralling story.
1 The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – 9.3
Arguably one of Stephen King’s best stories, The Shawshank Redemption depicts the relationship between two prisoners as they embark on a journey of positive acts in an attempt to turn their lives around. Though the King novel was originally titled “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption,” his true legacy shines through in this dark, yet uplifting story brought to life on-screen.
Earning not only 7 Oscar nominations but the number one spot on IMDb’s “Top 250 Movies” list, there is no doubt that this story made an incredible impact on viewers. There are some notable differences between the Shawshank Redemption book and movie with many of the characters’ fates being altered in the movie. However, whether fans prefer the novel or the film, the emotional story is one that undoubtedly sticks with fans long after the story is done.
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