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Top 16 All-Time Favorite Movies Based On Books

Movies that come from books take stories we love and show them on the screen. It's like bringing the words to life. In this article about the best movies based on books, we'll talk about some of these amazing movies.

Cecilia Jones
Oct 27, 20233793 Shares79031 Views
Movies that come from books take stories we love and show them on the screen. It's like bringing the words to life. In this article about the best movies based on books, we'll talk about some of these amazing movies.
Some are old, but people still love them. Others are new, and they are still making people happy. These movies show that stories can be great whether we read them or watch them. So, let's explore the world of movies and books coming together.

Little Women (2019)

The banner of the movie Little Women
The banner of the movie Little Women
Louisa May Alcott's classic novel "Little Women" has been adapted into multiple movies over the years, each one surpassing the last in its own unique way. The most recent incarnation, directed by Greta Gerwig and released in 2019, received widespread critical acclaim and became a favorite among audiences. This marks the seventh adaptation of the 1868 novel, and it stands out as a significant departure from previous versions in terms of its plot and dialogue.
Despite the changes made for the modern audience, the heart of the story remains true. It continues to follow the journey of four young women as they come of age in a world undergoing profound transformations, set against the backdrop of the Civil War's conclusion. The film also boasts a cast of remarkable star power, featuring household names such as Meryl Streep, Laura Dern, and Emma Watson in prominent roles.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

The banner of The Devil Wears Prada
The banner of The Devil Wears Prada
"The Devil Wears Prada" undoubtedly deserves a place on any list of the best movies adapted from books, and if you've seen it, you'll surely appreciate the reference. Lauren Weisberger's 2003 novel of the same name created quite a sensation, with swirling rumors suggesting that the iconic antagonist, Miranda Priestley, might be inspired by Weisberger's former boss, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
When the movie adaptation hit theaters, Wintour, to her credit, graced the front row at the premiere and even commented to Barbara Walters that she found it "truly entertaining." The film boasts an ensemble cast of beloved actors, including Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, and Stanley Tucci. Not to mention, the mid-2000s fashion showcased in the film is absolutely captivating!

The Color Purple (1985)

Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg in the movie The Color Purple
Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg in the movie The Color Purple
While Oprah Winfrey is widely recognized as the iconic Queen of Daytime Television, she has also made a significant mark as a talented actress. Her most notable and critically acclaimed performance came in the role of Sofia in the film adaptation of "The Color Purple," an emotionally powerful and unforgettable book-to-movie transition.
Based on Alice Walker's beloved novel, both the book and the film capture a heart-wrenching narrative that celebrates the incredible strength and resilience of black women. In addition to Winfrey's portrayal of the formidable character Sofia, the movie features Whoopi Goldberg in a breakout role as the central character and narrator, Celie, and Danny Glover as her abusive husband. These remarkable actors were expertly directed by the renowned filmmaker Steven Spielberg, resulting in a cinematic masterpiece.

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

The banner of the movie Bridget Jones’s Diary
The banner of the movie Bridget Jones’s Diary
Movies based on books that are themselves inspired by other books are indeed intriguing. One such example is "Bridget Jones's Diary," originally a 1996 epistolary novel that drew loose inspiration from Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." It later transformed into a beloved British romantic comedy film starring Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant, and Colin Firth, with Firth playing the iconic character Mark Darcy.
While the connection to Austen's original work may be somewhat tenuous (and she might find it bewildering to see the evolution of her story), both narratives manage to tug at the same heartstrings. Bridget's pursuit of love and self-discovery is as captivating as Elizabeth Bennet's, albeit set in the more relatable backdrop of 1990s London.

Room (2015)

The banner of the movie Room
The banner of the movie Room
"Room" is undeniably one of the most haunting film adaptations of a book you'll ever encounter. This gripping movie is based on Emma Donoghue's 2010 novel of the same title, which, in turn, draws inspiration from the real-life crimes committed by Josef Fritzl. For those unfamiliar with the case, Fritzl imprisoned his daughter for more than two decades, subjecting her to unspeakable horrors, during which she gave birth to seven children, with three of them remaining captive with her.
In "Room," the film portrays a fictionalized account of this grim narrative, where a young woman raises her son, born to her anonymous captor, in a confined 11 ft. x 11 ft. room. The story unfolds as they manage to escape, but their journey to adapt to life beyond the room is nothing short of harrowing. Brie Larson delivers a captivating performance as the mother, and Jacob Tremblay shines as her five-year-old son.

Hidden Figures (2016)

The banner of the movie Hidden Figures
The banner of the movie Hidden Figures
It's truly unfortunate that the remarkable contributions of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, three exceptional black female mathematicians who played pivotal roles in NASA's Space Race, went largely unrecognized for so many years. Margot Lee Shetterly, whose father had the privilege of working alongside these extraordinary women, brought their inspiring story to the world through her book "Hidden Figures."
This incredible narrative reached an even broader audience when it was adapted into a movie in 2016. Featuring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe in leading roles, the film not only earned the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture but also grossed an impressive $236 million, making it one of the most financially successful movies of the year.

Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

The banner of Crazy Rich Asians
The banner of Crazy Rich Asians
Kevin Kwan's satirical romance novel, "Crazy Rich Asians," made an enormous impact, becoming a prominent success story within the #Bookstagram community. In 2018, the film adaptation of this novel took the world by storm, achieving both critical acclaim and substantial commercial success, amassing over $238 million in global box office earnings.
This cinematic journey was five years in the making, with the rights secured shortly after the book's initial release in 2013. The entire all-Asian cast embarked on a filming journey spanning New York City, Malaysia, and Singapore. The result is nothing short of magnificent: a joyous and visually stunning film filled with laughter and an essential level of representation that had not been seen since "The Joy Luck Club."

The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)

The banner of the movie The Other Boleyn Girl
The banner of the movie The Other Boleyn Girl
"Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson vying for the attention of Eric Bana, all dressed in enticing Tudor period costumes? Count me in! "The Other Boleyn Girl" stands out among the plethora of historical romance drama films adapted from books, thanks to its outstanding cast and palpable sexual tension.
Based on Philippa Gregory's series delving into the intricate romantic entanglements and intrigues of Henry VIII and his court, the movie takes some creative liberties with history, which did raise eyebrows among critics. But in the realm of historical romance dramas, accuracy often takes a backseat. If you're going into historical romance dramas in search of historical precision, you might be approaching them with the wrong expectations."

The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)

The banner of The Time Traveler’s Wife
The banner of The Time Traveler’s Wife
In the 2009 film adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger's best-selling novel, "The Time Traveler's Wife," Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana deliver a mesmerizing on-screen chemistry. McAdams portrays the eponymous wife, a woman destined to fall in love with a man (Bana) who experiences abrupt time-traveling episodes.
Naturally, these temporal escapades bring several challenges to their relationship, not the least of which is a genetic anomaly he involuntarily passes on when they attempt to start a family. This story, whether experienced through the book or the movie, is guaranteed to evoke heartfelt emotions and leave you teary-eyed.

The Hate U Give (2018)

The banner of The Hate U Give
The banner of The Hate U Give
Not all young adult books adapted into films fall into the category of lighthearted rom-com or dystopian adventures. Some tackle profound social justice themes, exemplified by "The Hate U Give."
Based on Angie Thomas' 2017 novel of the same name, the movie revolves around the experiences of 16-year-old Starr Carter. Starr becomes a witness to the tragic shooting death of her black male friend at the hands of a police officer.
Despite its release preceding the global #BlackLivesMatter protests in 2020, the film's narrative has only gained more resonance with time. In a world where the issues of police violence and racial justice are at the forefront of societal discussions, this movie is a compelling and essential watch, just as the book it stems from is a crucial read.

Gone Girl (2014)

The banner of the movie Gone Girl
The banner of the movie Gone Girl
Maintaining the suspense and tension of a major twist ending can be an enormous challenge for writers and directors adapting books into movies. However, the team behind "Gone Girl" managed to execute this flawlessly, and perhaps their secret weapon was having Gillian Flynn, the author of the source novel, write the screenplay herself and collaborate closely with the production crew.
Additionally, the cast, featuring the acclaimed actor Ben Affleck, brought a level of authenticity to their otherwise unlikable and unreliable main characters, drawing from their own experiences with media scrutiny. During production, an interesting anecdote emerged: the filming process had to pause for four days when Affleck, a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan, refused to wear a New York Yankees cap for a crucial scene.

The Shining (1980)

A banner of the movie The Shining
A banner of the movie The Shining
"The Shining" stands as one of those rare instances where it's nearly impossible to determine whether the book or the film adaptation holds greater popularity. Stephen King's novel catapulted him to the title of the "King of Horror" with its spine-tingling and shudder-inducing narrative. It tells the chilling tale of a tormented alcoholic writer who takes on the role of an off-season caretaker at a foreboding, desolate hotel.
Stanley Kubrick, a titan in his own right within the world of filmmaking, recognized the story's immense potential and made some adjustments to bring it to the silver screen, much to King's thinly veiled discontent. In the film, Jack Nicholson's portrayal of Jack Torrance, the story's central character and antagonist, is executed with unparalleled perfection.

American Psycho (2000)

The banner of the movie American Psycho
The banner of the movie American Psycho
Movies adapted from books can often introduce intriguing dimensions to the source material, as exemplified by "American Psycho." Bret Easton Ellis's transgressive and surreal novel serves as a sharp satire of the hyper-masculine Yuppie culture prevalent in early 1990s New York. The first-person narration in the book intentionally leaves many interpretations to the readers' discretion.
In the cinematic realm, director Mary Harron seized the opportunity to provide viewers with a more defined perspective on the protagonist's reality. This shift from text to a visual medium allowed for a more guided exploration of the story. The film features Christian Bale in one of his most iconic roles, including the unforgettable business card scene, and also showcases a young Reese Witherspoon in her early career.

Pride And Prejudice (2005)

The banner of the movie Pride And Prejudice
The banner of the movie Pride And Prejudice
Among the myriad movies adapted from books, perhaps none are as contentious as adaptations of "Pride and Prejudice." Jane Austen's timeless classic novel sets an exceptionally high bar, often regarded as the most beloved work in English literature. Any production team daring to tackle this literary gem must rise to a formidable challenge.
While the 1995 BBC miniseries featuring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth tends to be favored by purists and those who appreciate men in drenched white shirts, the 2005 film starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen offers a more accessible and broadly appealing interpretation. In this adaptation, the on-screen chemistry between the two leads radiates with as much intensity as the sparks that fly between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy on the written page.

The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013)

The banner of the movie The Wolf Of Wall Street
The banner of the movie The Wolf Of Wall Street
The renowned director Martin Scorsese has adapted several books into movies, but one of his standout works is undoubtedly "The Wolf of Wall Street." In this film, he skillfully transformed the memoir of the disgraced former stockbroker Jordan Belfort into a cinematic masterpiece that grossed an impressive $392 million. Notably, it even secured the Guinness World Record for the most profanity in a motion picture.
"The Wolf of Wall Street" is a high-octane black comedy that leaves its viewers feeling somewhat intoxicated and bewildered by the time the credits roll. It delves into the themes of narcissism and greed that drove Belfort and his collaborators to deceive countless unsuspecting investors while luxuriating in an extravagant lifestyle.

Adaptation (2002)

The banner of the movie Adaptation
The banner of the movie Adaptation
While movies based on books are common, "Adaptation" takes a unique and meta approach, demonstrating that films centered on the struggle to adapt a book into a movie can be just as engaging. Directed by Spike Jonze, this very meta-comedy is based on his own challenges in adapting Susan Orlean's 1998 best-seller, "The Orchid Thief."
The storyline revolves around a screenwriter grappling with severe writer's block, contending with a freeloading twin brother, and dealing with a lengthy list of mental health issues. Amidst these struggles, he embarks on increasingly absurd attempts to craft a film script that captures the essence of the book.
Meryl Streep's commitment to the film was so strong that she willingly accepted a significant salary reduction to be a part of it. Susan Orlean herself praised Streep's performance, considering it one of her favorites by the acclaimed actress, and despite her initial reservations, she grew to love the film.

Conclusion

These best movies based on books show how stories can come to life on screen, giving us a chance to enjoy our favorite tales in a new way. Whether it's a classic story or something more recent, these movies make our love for books even stronger. They remind us that good stories are precious, whether we read them or watch them in a film. So, let's celebrate how books and movies come together to create something wonderful.
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