Best movies based on novels

The latter argue that while reading takes hours and even days, a movie lasts just a couple of hours, so you can get the same pleasure spending much less time.

Both books and movies have their pros:


  • Allow a reader to imagine the scene, characters’ appearances, their voices, and other traits.
  • Can be read everywhere: while commuting, for example, or in public places.
  • Usually have an intricately woven plot with lots of parallel strands and storylines, which are often cut off in films.
Books turned into movies


  • Significantly save time.
  • Sometimes offer an alternative ending or interpretation, so may be considered a separate piece of art, not just a book-to-film adaptation.
  • Help to visualize a plot, sometimes in a manner a reader would never think of.

Here is our humble list of great movies that were originally books.

The Shining (1980)

That’s just a classical example of a great adaptation. The original novel is written by “the king of horrors’, Stephen King, so it’s undoubtedly brilliant. But the film is directed by the genius Stanley Kubrick and the main character was acted by another genius, Jack Nicholson. There are lots of unique findings and impeccable visual effects created long before the era of computer SFX or modern video editing tools.

The Mist (2007)

Another masterpiece by Stephen King turned into a horror movie. The plot is quite close to the original, so no big surprises are expected, but the ending is just mind-blowing (no spoilers!), it changes everything.

Book to film adaptations example

Gone with the Wind (1939)

One of the best-known books turned into movies. The original story is much more complicated than the adaptation, with more insights, flashbacks, and sidelines. But! The brilliant acting of Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable, as well as the magnificent settings and camerawork, make this film really outstanding. It’s enough to say, it won 8 Oscars in 1940!

The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003)

We know, it may be a subjective opinion. There are lots of the original’s traits lost in the adaptation: for example, a unique and elaborated language system, created by the ingenious linguist Tolkien.

On the other hand, the book takes three thick volumes, and the plot is quite monotonous. The film is much more vivid and full of action. Moreover, let’s be honest: fantasy books are destined to be turned into films.

It’s all also true about The Hobbit (2012-2014).

Example of movies based on novels

Pride & Prejudice (2005)

18-19 century novels may seem quite boring for a modern reader: they are monotonous, full of silly (in our opinion) talks and social rituals. The main characters do nothing but pay visits, gossip, send letters, and speculate over “what did s/he mean when s/he said the following”.

But this exact genre makes perfect period movies that can become a great excursion to the past.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Another example is when the actors make the adaptation a real masterpiece — and another role of Jack Nicholson!

The Princess Bride (1987)

The original novel is a joke, a mystification, an attempt to persuade a reader that the author is not a real author but just an interpreter, who happened to find a fairy tale written by someone else.

It’s totally lost in the adaptation. But the rest is still there: subtle humor, giants, fights, noble heroes, wicked villains, and, of course, true love, which always wins.

So, what is better, a movie or a film? The answer is still the same: sometimes both!