Bookworms may disagree, but many of us find it amazing when a book is made into a movie because it simply brings the story to life. Although it can be challenging to fit a book’s entire plot and characters into a two-hour film, some movies have managed to wow us with the details, cast, dialogue, background music, and everything in between. On the one hand, some movies stick to the story in the book and, in fact, use its glam elements to make the film a life version of the book. On the other hand, other movies add scenes, dialogues, and even characters to appeal to the modern audience or to make the film more engaging.
Best Movies Based on Books
You’ve pretty much had your fair share of movies based on books, but this list lists the best ones that are considered cinematic masterpieces.
That said, we’ll dedicate this article to listing the best movies based on books you must watch. You may already know a few, but you’ll be surprised when you check the following list.
When you think of the best movie in history, The Godfather has to cross your mind, let alone be your first option. Mario Puzo’s The Godfather was adapted by the director Francis Ford Coppola, where he elevated the dark-thriller novel to a fascinating trilogy that, up to this day, is considered one of the best films in history, especially the first two films.
The story follows the life of The Godfather, Vito Corleone—a respected mob boss who runs illegal activities while keeping his legitimate olive oil importing as a facade. Throughout the movies, we witness how his sons, Michael Corleone in particular, handle the other mob bosses and manage to become the new Godfather after his father retires. The Godfather is and will always be an epic trilogy that entertains, fascinates, and horrifies the audience.
Since we’re on the subject, GoodFellas is another great mobster movie that is based on Nicholas Pileggi’s novel called Wiseguy. The director, Martin Scorsese, based his film on the story and events of Pileggi’s novel by condensing, scattering, and arranging them to create his fast-paced, magnificent cinematic experience. The story of the film follows a young man who was brought up by a mob family. He tries to rank up high in the mob business and enjoy his luxurious, wealthy life while being oblivious to the dangers he’s bringing on himself. Due to cocaine addiction and other complications, he has to deal with the consequences.
Pride and Prejudice
Now that we’re moving on to a totally different, calming periodic setting, we have to mention Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen’s compelling classic love story has witnessed several movie adaptations. However, the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie, starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, has to be the winner. In this film, we see a more realistic, reserved, and lovable version of Elizabeth Bennet and an honest, deep, and passionate version of Mr Darcy. Both actors managed to portray the characters in the best way possible, giving us a masterpiece that is widely and wildly loved by the audience up until this day. Did you know that this novel has been adapted into 17 movies and TV shows?
Even though Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women was published in 1868, the story is still relatable to this day. Thanks to seven movie adaptations, the novel is widely known across the world, and the movies make it even better, especially the 2019 version. The director, Greta Gerwig, managed to add a little twist to the story by convincing the audience that Jo is the author of the novel. This twist gave the movie the freshness it needed while still showcasing and keeping the original story.
Sense and Sensibility
Here’s to another successful movie based on a book. The 1995 Sense and Sensibility, adapted from Jane Austen’s novel of the same name, has to be one of the best movies based on books. It is no surprise that Emma Thompson, who plays Elinor Dashwood, won an Oscar for writing the screenplay of the movie. Ang Lee, the director, made a few alterations to the characters without changing the main events or the dynamics of the original story.
If an author has to make it three times in this list, it has to be Jane Austen! You may be familiar with the 1996 Emma film starring Gwyneth Paltrow. However, today, we’re shedding light on the 2020 version of Emma, starring Anya Taylor-Joy, since it’s more vibrant and the costumes are also on point. Moreover, the casting and modern approach to the original story make this version superior.
We bet you didn’t know that Clueless is another adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. Clueless’s director, Amy Heckerling, said that she loved Emma ever since she read it at college with its perfect characters and compelling story. So, when she thought about Emma in a coming-of-age teenage comedy, the idea of Clueless started to come to life.
The Devil Wears Prada
In this film, adapted from Lauren Weisberger’s novel of the same name, we see a scary, cold, and intimidating boss at a magazine called Runway, played by Meryl Streep. While the novel’s story is compelling and captivating, Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway add a mesmerising touch thanks to their unique performances. One thing that may make the movie better than the original story is that it gives the audience a surprising finale, sharpening Streep’s character as opposed to the novel’s emotional ending.
Crazy Rich Asians
The mordant romantic comedy novel Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan was published in 2013. Because of how attractive, captivating, and enticing the story, characters, and events are, it was made into a movie five years later directed by the director Jon M. Chu. The film gained immediate popularity because of its fascinating setting, intriguing relationships, and the complexity of the Singaporean class society.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
Rom-com fans have gracefully regarded this movie as one of the best book-to-movie adaptations. Ever since Netflix released To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before adaptation movie of Jenny Han’s novel of the same name, it’s been receiving epic reviews. The novel talks about adulthood, womanhood, and sexuality, which is exactly what Gen-Z is all about. Millennials seem to love this film as well since it approaches women’s insecurities and family complications. Although the novel ended on a cliffhanger moment, the movie borrowed its ending from P.S. I Still Love You, which is the sequel to the first novel.
Since we’re talking about movie adaptations from books, we cannot help but include the Harry Potter series. J.K. Rowling wrote perhaps the best fantasy series in history. A seven-volume children’s fantasy book was made into eight movies that still, up until this day, have gigantic audiences and are quoted on so many different occasions. Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger will always remain our favourite characters. Undoubtedly, we have to pay tribute to Michael Gambon and Alan Rickman (RIP), who played Professor Dumbledore and Professor Snape, for their mind-blowing performances and their forever-resonating-in-our-ears words, “After all this time? Always…”
If winning six Oscars doesn’t make you want to watch this movie, we don’t know what will! Some people may find the movie adaptation charming, while others just…don’t see it. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Forrest Gump is one of the most remarkable movies based on books. Forrest Gump, a novel written by Winston Groom, has a darker side and a more complex plot. But overall, the novel paved the way for the movie to have strong original material and a fantastic cast, Tom Hanks in specific, that helped the film become this successful.
Fight Club, a novel by Chuck Palahniuk, uses a voice of anger and rage, while the film, directed by David Fincher, has a traditional structure touching base on modern-day society and the masculinity concept. What makes the film special is Fincher’s idea to have the protagonist’s voiceover narrate his involvement and interactions with Tyler Durden (spoiler alert!), whom we later find out he’s the same person.
Both the film and the novel that carries the same name left their audiences in awe of the horrific events and shocking truths about American society in the 1980s. The novel writer, Bret Easton Ellis, wrote a horrific story about the greed and heartlessness of the people during this time, and the movie managed to showcase exactly what the author wanted to express. Both versions are equally terrifying and amazing!
If we’re going to be rating book-to-movie adaptations, Gone Girl has to rank very high. It may take us at least a six-page essay to talk about the details of this novel written by Gillian Flynn and the topics it discusses. The thriller film, directed by none other than David Fincher, tackles crucial topics, such as parenting, misogyny, manipulation, and marriage. In short, the movie is about a husband whose wife disappears all of a sudden and the entire society suspects him. We’re not going to mention any spoilers, so you can watch the film (if you haven’t seen it already) and enjoy every bit of it.
How many movies did you watch out of this list? Did you know that these movies you’ve probably watched plenty of times are based on books? This list doesn’t, of course, include all the movies based on books, but it is a great list that gathers pretty much all the movies you should never miss. If you’re not big on reading books and don’t want to miss out on amazing stories and great plots, these movies will satisfy this urge.