For many great movies out there, there is often a great book behind it. Sometimes viewers who see an awesome flick on the silver screen don’t even realize that the film is in fact an adaptation of an original novel or story, so presented here is a top ten list of some of the best and most popular adaptations of all time. Quite a few honorary mentions will also be included below, so let’s get started with the most beloved books made into movies for readers and audiences alike.
This 1972 movie is one of the most highly rated and reviewed films of all time, but unless you’re a diehard fan of “The Godfather,” you may not have known it was adapted from a novel. The epic crime book was written by author Mario Puzo and published a few years before its adaptation in 1969. It went on to win three Academy awards, with the biggest difference between the movie and the book being that the bodyguards in the flick have significantly changed fates between the two.
“The Lord of the Rings”
Rightly considered one of the best trilogies of all time, notes Game Radar, this top ten list of books made into movies would not be complete without JRR Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.” Brought to life in an incredibly realistic and arresting way by Peter Jackson back in the early 2000s, this epic fantasy wowed millions of fans everywhere. From its perfect casting to its excellent use of special effects and overall strong ties to its source material, “The Lord of the Rings” is indeed the film trilogy meant to rule them all.
“Pride and Prejudice”
This 2005 film based on Jane Austen’s perennially popular novel is still a much-beloved one by both readers and movie lovers. Starring Keira Knightely as the independent Elizabeth Bennett, this excellently and beautifully made film truly shows the challenges that pride and prejudice can cause on our journey to happiness. In addition to being a touching love story, this tale shows how a very, very good book can be made into a very, very good movie.
This Nicholas Sparks book stars not only the highly talented Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling, but has become a cult hit among (primarily female) viewers. According to Good Reads, one would do well to remember that “The Notebook” was in fact a popular book before it became such a hit on the silver screen. While it only performed decently at the box office, it won a multitude of fan-oriented awards and remains a favorite by fans who likely similarly hope to find that special someone with a close relationship between Noah and Allie.
JK Rowling helped create a magical world beloved by all with her clever writing and incredible characters. Not only is “Harry Potter” an incredible series of books, but it has also been adapted into a set of eight outstanding movies. If you haven’t gone on this imaginative adventure with the young boy who has a mysterious lightning-shaped scar on his forehead, grab your wands and get ready to join Harry, Hermione, and Ron as they amaze you both on the pages and on the screen.
“The Hunger Games”
The next addition to our top ten list of the very best books made into movies comes from gifted author Suzanne Collins, “The Hunger Games.” If you think Katniss Everdeen is a compelling female protagonist on the page, wait until you see her brought to life by the always awesome Jennifer Lawrence. “The Hunger Games” and its sequels, “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay,” are already adapted for the big screen and have a tremendous following among YA literature fans. See Katniss as she takes her bow and arrows and fires a direct shot in opposition of the Capitol.
While we in America have thankfully come a long way in establishing more equal rights in the past years, one needs only look to “The Help” for a powerful vignette of the racism, prejudice, and hardships that existed in our great nation. “The Help” became a box office hit shortly after its release, but this excellent movie featuring a highly gifted cast originated from an excellent book about the stories of the “help” in a time of bigotry and adversity.
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”
This popular movie is considered widely to be one of the greatest American films that has ever been made, and with good reason. The always engaging Jack Nicholson stars a central role as a criminal who is sent to a mental ward and finds himself one of the few individuals there with (most of) his rational screws still intact. Yet the rigid and oppressive Nurse Ratched remains a constant thorn in his side, and the powerful plot with its twists and turns are irresistible. If you haven’t seen the original book or movie adaptation of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” then you must get your hands on a copy soon.
With the latest “Jurassic Park” adaptation not withstanding, the original film will also always remain a beloved fan favorite. Anyone with a love of dinosaurs will in turn love this movie, and if you haven’t yet read the book, check it out: you will see why it has made this top ten list. The original book by Micahel Crichton provides a unique and contemporary spin on the idea of dinosaur resurrection, while the 1993 adaptation was a blockbuster of utterly massive proportions. The sight (or imagined view) of a roaring T-Rex will never be the same.
“The Great Gatsby”
Based off of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, “The Great Gatsby” is a well-made movie adaptation. Although there is one starring Robert Redford, the latest take on the complex novel starring Leonardo DiCaprio brings “The Great Gatsby” into a contemporary light with musical and aesthetic updates. It works surprisingly well, and showcases how incredible the Roaring 20s truly were. Though each book and movie may have its flaws, like the green light that Jay would see at the end of Daisy’s dock, “The Great Gatsby” is worth revisiting both on the page and on the silver screen.
Provided below are some popular honorable mentions that almost also made our top ten best books made into movies list. These, as well as the above options, are in no particular order, but we hope that you found at least a few adapted selections that you have enjoyed. Are there any books or movies you were glad to see made the list, or that you believe should be added? Sound off below with your thoughts. If you’re interested in checking out the top ten YA books for teens or the top ten Disney Channel shows of all time, you can take a look at these links as well.
“The Shawshank Redemption”
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
“Bridget Jones’ Diary”