Best/Worst book to movie adaptations

Dontazemebro

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Rolling through the "what are you currently reading" thread got me thinking of some of the best & worst books to movie adaptations. I probably have quite a few to list on the best side, but right off the top that I can think of are probably LOTR and the Shining.

Possibly the worst was John Carter of Mars. Having Pixar completely butcher Edgar Rice Burroughs' tales of swordsmanship and planetary romance was unbearable. It could have been much better in the hands of Sin City's Robert Rodriguez, but instead it was a laughable hug fest that missed poorly at the box office.

What are some that most of you remember.
 

MasterHowl

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Worst, Harry Potter.

The books are just absolutely fantastic, and contain some really deep and meaningful messages to say they're often branded as "children books".

The films however... badly produced, with poor scripting and important moments in the story ruined with poor throwaway one line jokes.

Best, Lord of The Rings. I needn't say more :p
 

AustinIllini

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I'm wondering if people realize how many movies are based on books.

I can name multiple better movie adaptations of books than LOTR.

The best is absolutely the Godfather. There is no close second.

The worst is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

In a twist, the best movie that is a terrible adaptation of the book is probably Jurassic Park.

Oh wait! Also Goodfellas
 

roadbloc

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I felt hitchhikers guide to the galaxy was a terrible movie in comparison to the book.
 

Mousse

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I felt hitchhikers guide to the galaxy was a terrible movie in comparison to the book.
That's because the F/X of the time could not do it justice. And a few of the jokes just cannot be translated to the visual format without losing a lot of it's meaning.


Children of Men. I wasn't bad as a movie. In fact, if I had watched the movie first or had never read the book, I would have considered it a pretty good movie, well worth the ticket price. It's just the book is infinitely better.
 

Dontazemebro

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Best/Worst book to movie adaptations

I'm wondering if people realize how many movies are based on books.

I can name multiple better movie adaptations of books than LOTR.

The best is absolutely the Godfather. There is no close second.

The worst is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

In a twist, the best movie that is a terrible adaptation of the book is probably Jurassic Park.

Oh wait! Also Goodfellas

Never read the books but I have to believe Godfather III went against that grain :D
 

Scepticalscribe

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I felt hitchhikers guide to the galaxy was a terrible movie in comparison to the book.
Agreed. A far better screen adaptation was the British TV series from the 80s, which, despite the limited budget (which meant dated special effects) captured the tone of the book extremely well.

Apart from the books, (which I loved), I also have a double album (in vinyl...) of the soundtrack of the BBC radio series from which the Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy book, in turn, derived.

Great idea for a thread, by the way.

My list of rotten, awful, wince inducing and cringeworthy adaptations will require a separate post.

However, a few which I rather liked (and I normally cringe when I hear that I book I loved is about to undergo a movie adaptation), are, in no particular order:

Rebecca: A terrific adaptation by Alfred Hitchcock of Daphne du Maurier's brilliant but brooding book.

The Name of the Rose: Umberto Eco's medieval thriller and exploration of theological and philosophical differences translated surprisingly well to the screen; granted, much of the philosophical debate (which was important as the motivation for the murders, the investigation of which drove the book's plot), was skipped in the movie adaptation, but it was unexpectedly good.

The Third Man: Here, I cheat a little, as the book was actually written after the superlative movie was made; both, of course, written by the gifted Graham Greene. Unmissable.

The Godfather I & II: A very rare example of a movie adaptation (by Francis Ford Coppola) actually being an awful lot better than the original by Mario Puzo, which was basically, a bit of a pot boiler, but a rollicking read.

David Copperfield: Strange to relate, the 1935 movie version stands the test of time. Of course, with such superb source material, one would think it is difficult to make a mess of things.

Shawshank Redemptation: An excellent adaptation, based on a 'long' short story by Stephen King with a slightly different title 'Rita Hayworth And The Shawshank Redemption'.

'The Assault': A superb and thought-provoking Dutch movie, based on the excellent book of the same name by the Dutch writer, Harry Mulisch.

'The Wizard of Oz': A superb adaptation of an utterly delightful and charming book by L. F. Baum.

Doubtless, more will occur to me. However, re-reading that list, I am struck by the fact - with the possible exception of 'The Godfather', - all of the other books would be regarded as excellent novels, which, in turn, had the luck of being handled with intelligence and sensitivity by those who adapted them as movies.





 
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Moyank24

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Shawshank Redemptation: An excellent adaptation, based on a 'long' short story by Stephen King with a slightly different title 'Rita Hayworth And The Shawshank Redemption'.


I've never been a Stephen King fan, but I was tricked into reading the short story, "The Body" because of a few Yankees references when I was a kid. The movie adaptation, Stand By Me, as an excellent adaptation as well.
 

MacCruiskeen

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I'm wondering if people realize how many movies are based on books.
Oh, there are thousands. I mean, Hollywood's been doing it at least since Ben Hur, right?

Good ones,in no particular order: Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, The Maltese Falcon, The Godfather, Gone with the Wind, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Psycho, High and Low, The Thin Man, No Country for Old Men, Mildred Pierce, A Christmas Story, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.
 

takao

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In a twist, the best movie that is a terrible adaptation of the book is probably Jurassic Park.
this.

something really mindbending i have to say ... i remember reading the book after the movie and was blown away of how they despite cutting countless parts and twists of the book, less action sequences, merging & cutting characters they turned the movie into a well paced all time classic

i watched the 3D blu ray 2 weeks ago and the movie is still great

on the other side they paid the price for this miracle with Jurassic Park II: i still love "the lost world" sequel but the movie ? cringe-worthy and forgettable


as many others said: The Godfather, one flew over the cuckoo's nest is absolute tops

Lord of the Rings: while many changes were made i think it needs to be kept in mind that over decades it was considered absolutly impossible to turn into a movie, even more so into a _good_ movie. Because of that i still rate it up at the top of adaptions

Clockwork Orange i'm split i would have to say: The movie is iconic just like 2001: Space Odysee but both have taken quite some liberties so in both cases i would rate the individually as excellent pices of art
 

johnmadden78

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Some good ones that don't seem to have been mentioned yet:

I don't think these necessarily stayed faithful to the books, but then again that's not always a good idea. They're great movies based on books, though.

Jaws
Get Shorty
LA Confidential
The Hunt For Red October
High Fidelity (This is my favourite book, so I was so happy when the movie was decent too)
Into The Wild

Edit: Forgot to add: The Hustler.

One book I really, really loved when it came out was 'This Is Where I Leave You' by Jonathan Tropper. The movie's coming out later this year and I really hope it's on my 'good adaptations' list! The cast looks promising, at least.
 

zyr123

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World war z. The only thing it shares with the book is the title. If they followed the book it would have been incredible.
 

Shrink

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One of the most remarkable film "adaptations" of a book is "The Maltese Falcon".

I put the word "adaptation" in quotes because the film is a scene for scene, word for word transition of the book to the screen...with the exception of one chapter which many critics questioned belonged in the book at all. Huston could have just handed the cast the book, without bothering the have it typed into script form, as there was nothing in the movie that departed from the book in any way! There was no "adaptation" at all...just a direct filming of the book.

And it didn't turn out too bad :)p) for all that.;)
 

MacCruiskeen

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Clockwork Orange i'm split i would have to say: The movie is iconic just like 2001: Space Odysee but both have taken quite some liberties so in both cases i would rate the individually as excellent pices of art
"Best adaptation" doesn't necessarily mean "sticks most closely to the source material." In fact, that's rarely true. Some movies are arguably made worse by trying too hard to be like the original--good movies require that the filmmakers bring something to it. It's a balancing act, one that Kubrick excelled at. The Shining is the best anyone is likely to be able to do with a Stephen King novel. Personally, I didn't like the LOTR movies all that much. I could only bring myself to sit all the way through the first one. Maybe it could have been cut down to a watchable length without so many gratuitous closeups of the ring.

There's really no such thing as an unfilmable book. Or at least, that doesn't stop anyone from trying. I mean, Cronenberg did "Naked Lunch" and "Crash".

For bad, clearly y'all have forgotten the mess that was "Dune." Or the Rankin & Bass Hobbit.
 
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maflynn

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World war z. The only thing it shares with the book is the title. If they followed the book it would have been incredible.
I'm liking the adaptation of the hobbit, technically its a trilogy and not a single movie but its remained true to the book yet set up in such a way that keeps the viewer engaged.

I agree with World war z, good book, but you cannot even say its an adaptation.

I think a movie can be too true to the book like The Da Vinci Code. The movie jammed too much of the book at the expense of being an engaging movie, at least for me.
 

Scepticalscribe

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I'm liking the adaptation of the hobbit, technically its a trilogy and not a single movie but its remained true to the book yet set up in such a way that keeps the viewer engaged.

I agree with World war z, good book, but you cannot even say its an adaptation.

I think a movie can be too true to the book like The Da Vinci Code. The movie jammed too much of the book at the expense of being an engaging movie, at least for me.
As I have not seen The Hobbit adaptations, I cannot really comment on them, but I do have reservations about the length of the movies when contrasted with the relatively slim size of the book which gave rise to them. I really lked the book when I read it, a good few years ago.

Re the Da Vinci Code, my concern is that the source material is so weak (personally, I think it is a dreadful book and, as someone who used to teach Renaissance history, it appals me that this book, of all out there, became a bestseller; sometimes, there is no accounting for taste ) it would be difficult to redeem it with an excellent movie. Reading the thread, I'm getting a sense that some of the best adaptations have come from excellent source material to start with.
 

macquariumguy

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The absolute worst is, and always will be, Dune. I don't believe it's possible to ever again take something that good and make it into something that bad.

For the best, I would nominate Jaws or The Godfather. Both took a mediocre book and made them into classic movies.
 

johnmadden78

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The absolute worst is, and always will be, Dune. I don't believe it's possible to ever again take something that good and make it into something that bad.

For the best, I would nominate Jaws or The Godfather. Both took a mediocre book and made them into classic movies.
I really liked Dune (the movie) until I read the book. They really butchered that thing!
 

maflynn

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As I have not seen The Hobbit adaptations, I cannot really comment on them, but I do have reservations about the length of the movies when contrasted with the relatively slim size of the book which gave rise to them. I really lked the book when I read it, a good few years ago.

To be sure, there is extra material that was drawn from Tolkien's other novels like the Silmarillion. Yet because of Tolkien''s attention to detail it wasn't that difficult to keep everything in the book and yet have too much material that it needed to be broken up into multiple movies.

The original intent was to make two movies but Peter Jackson couldn't cut enough without impacting the story - at least that's what he's saying.
 

Tomorrow

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To everyone praising the adaptation of the LOTR series into movies, I offer this:

In my own opinion, The Fellowship of the Ring was a fairly faithful adaptation with respect to the book. The Two Towers was bad - really bad. The portrayal of Faramir as a jerk to Frodo and Sam, taking them to Osgiliath, painting him in exactly the same light as Boromir, ALL starkly contrasted with the book, where he as portrayed as pretty much the opposite of his older brother. It might seem like small potatoes, but it was a big deal to me.

Return of the King missed the mark in a HUGE way by leaving out the final 1/4 or so of the book, where Saruman had basically taken over the Shire and the hobbits returned to pretty much overthrow him themselves.

The Harry Potter movies, while entertaining in their own right, aren't very faithful to the books, either. Same with the original Jaws - great movie, but it only barely resembled the book.

On the other hand, I thought The Hunger Games stayed very true to the book, and was very well portrayed and entertaining to watch.
 

mobilehaathi

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One of the most remarkable film "adaptations" of a book is "The Maltese Falcon".

I put the word "adaptation" in quotes because the film is a scene for scene, word for word transition of the book to the screen...with the exception of one chapter which many critics questioned belonged in the book at all. Huston could have just handed the cast the book, without bothering the have it typed into script form, as there was nothing in the movie that departed from the book in any way! There was no "adaptation" at all...just a direct filming of the book.

And it didn't turn out too bad :)p) for all that.;)
I am shocked, SHOCKED I say, to hear this from your mouth!!:eek:;)

(Read this from your fingertips?)