Favorite Book to Movie Adaptations

I just realized today that while I have been talking about book to movie adaptations in my Litflix posts it could be neat to look at some of my favorite book to movie adaptations. For the most part the book is usually better than the movie. There is so much more you can do with the book than you can with the movie. At the same time the movie can bring to life the visuals and while our imaginations can do amazing things, the movies can also do amazing things.

When creating a movie based on a book there is a delicate balance that needs be made between keeping the important parts of the book and telling the story. Some movies just keep the bare bones of the story and then change almost every other aspect. The movie might be good in and of itself (although not likely), but no matter what it destroys the source material. Then there are movies that almost try to stay so true to everything that happens in the book that the actual heart of the story gets lost.  Now none of these movies are absolutely perfect, but they took me into the story that I had remembered from the books.

The Client

This was one of my earlier experiences at comparing a book to a movie. I had watched the movie and really enjoyed it. Later I ended up reading the book and got to see how well they sticked to the source material, which really was not too bad from what I remember. There were some differences as there are with all the movies on this list, but I remember them getting the mystery and taking just the right amount of items from the book to make the movie. It has been a while since I have seen this movie, but I remember really enjoying it and not being too surprised when I read the book.

Warm Bodies

This is one that I did for one of my early Litflix and was a good adaptation of the book. The movie was a sweet little story and the movie did a really good job of bringing it to the screen. The place that it really succeeded is that songs and music are mentioned in the book, but in the movie they can really bring the music pieces to life. They did such a good job of tying the music to the story, you could really get the idea of the importance of music to the story. It is a simple story, but the way to visually show a story is different than telling a story.

Lord of the Rings Trilogy

This one would probably seem obvious, but there are some who will always complain and nitpick. At the same time the books are so complicated it would be difficult to be able to tell the whole story. The movie brought Middle Earth to life. Now the one thing I have to say is the extended editions were much more true to the books. I did have one complaint in the Two Towers and that was the characterization of Faramir, but that could be a whole different discussion. Other than that I thought they hit the perfect notes with the movie and sucked us in to the struggle of good and evil.

Harry Potter

Now there are 8 movies and 7 books, but the general thought is that they do a good job of bringing the world of Harry Potter to life. The last four books are so good and they bring the final struggle to the forefront. My favorite movie is Prisoner of Azkaban. It does such a beautiful job of telling that story and telling it right. The visuals of the animagus and werewolf as well as visually seeing the time travel events. That is one of the movies that I can watch over and over again, it just brings so much of the book to life.


So these are my favorite book to movie adaptations. They are not perfect, but they have done a pretty darn good job. We can get nitpicky, especially when it is a franchise that we love, but when the creators of the movie show respect for the source material it can work. There is also going the mini-series route, which tends to work better because you have more time to delve into the details. At the same time if you get too bogged down it can just feel like a slog. I love when they bring my favorite stories to life, but it sucks when they do not respect the heart of the story being told.


4 responses to “Favorite Book to Movie Adaptations

  1. It’s fairly late here, so I won’t go into too much detail, but I actually saw what I consider to be one of the best book to film adaptations I’ve ever seen last night. Filth, by Irvine Welsh, is a 1998 novel about a corrupt, drug addled and abusive Scottish Detective Sergeant by the name of Bruce Robertson. The film stars James McAvoy as Robertson, and was utterly amazing, though confronting. While it wasn’t a 100% faithful adaptation, it definitely kept the spirit and feel of the book, and the changes were made for the sake of helping the translation to film from book. I’ll be doing up a full review of it for my blog soon.

    Other favourites that come to mind are Trainspotting (also based on an Irvine Welsh novel) and Stardust (based on the novella by Neil Gaiman). For graphic novel to film adapations (not including the big name ones by Marvel and DC), I think 30 Days of Night is my favourite.


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  3. http://sourcererblog.wordpress.com/ as promised. No idea at all whether you will see an effect. 😉


  4. Pingback: S. Thomas Summers | Books vs. Movies

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