Movies of Books

For most of my life I’ve been vehemently against the adaptation of novels to the big screen. I’ve always felt that it ruins the book – so many parts are skipped, or changed, or made to fit the Hollywood world rather than fit the style of the novel. However, over the years, I’ve seen quite a few movies that were made by adapting a novel into a screenplay, and I’ve had varying degrees of satisfaction from them.

There are the classic ones, the ones that I actually, and shamefully, didn’t know were based on novels until quite a while after seeing the movie: A Clockwork Orange and 2001 Space Odyssey are two of those. They’re both incredible and incredibly weird.

Then there are the ones like Bridget Jones which are so true to the feel of the novel that they’re actually worth seeing. Another like this is Atonement, the novel of which I read right after seeing the film. It’s an amazingly moving and wonderful film and almost 100% true to the novel – what’s definitely true to the novel is the atmosphere in it.

Then there are the fantasy books that are exasperatingly and constantly being made into films. One such is The Golden Compus which I will NEVER see because Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials are way too good to ruin with a flashy film. Another example are the Harry Potter films. I saw the first movie and was so sick to my stomach by how the novel was butchered that I haven’t ever seen any of the sequels and I never will. But then, there’s Twilight, and that I’m going to see right now, tonight. But mostly because I don’t actually appreciate the book all that much – not enough to respectfully pass on what’s supposed to be an entertaining feature for anyway.

What do you guys think of books being made into movies?


7 thoughts on “Movies of Books

  1. ceylanthewriter says:

    I think that there are some movies that do justice to books and others that do not. It depends on the audience and budget when things get down to it. I have no impassioned feelings towards it. Some are really true to the book, others are ok, and others are nothing like the book at all. I guess that I look at things from a business standpoint sometimes.


  2. Reading is really one true passion of my life. I never see a movie unless I’ve read the book. Stephen King is one of my favorite authors and his movies disappoint me the most. I think it’s because he has a way of taking our fears and turning them into monsters or demons and in our imagination, we conjure up the image ourselves. It’s hard to make “monsters” in movies look convincing. Take Pet Cemetary for example, if you’ve seen it, the part where the old man takes the family cat to bury, only did this because the doctor helped his wife during a heart attack. In the movie, he didn’t have a wife. That whole part was left out and it was the main reason for any of it to happen. Very disappointing. Also in Cujo, the little boy dies but the producer didn’t want an ending like that. IT was one of the best books I’ve ever read but the movie was laughable and totally unreal.

    I also read Nicolas Sparks and have like most of his movies. I enjoyed To Kill A Mockingbird and Peyton Place. Gone With The Wind and Valley Of The Dolls, both very good.

    I do like books more. Much more, but I enjoy “some” movies.

  3. @Goodbadandugly – Almost always, I agree with you there!

    @Joy – ah, we share the same feelings about books, don’t we? I know, it’s SO frustrating to watch that kind of movie and see how it hacked the story up and changed it. Urgh.

    @Ceylan – Yes, some do justice, but they’re not necessarily as good as the books in my opinion.

  4. James Swezey says:

    Hollywood, Independent filmakers, and even Walt Disney himself adapted books into films because all of these people and individuals realize that some of the greatest stories are actually told by the individuals that lived them. One should always assume that a film will be different than the book it is adapted from. Books have a far different pace than films and different elements that need to be present. As an author and a person who appreciates the art form of film, I can understand how sometimes transforming a book to film might not always be perfect, but art rarely is. The perception of the different aspects of film versus the words chosen and the description in a book make them both unique mediums in their own right, to showcase diffferent angles of the same story that one would not be able to experience in only one of the formats. True that there are a lot of ghastly film adaptations from books, but on the average most aren’t too bad, and should be thought as separate from the book, not a clone.

  5. What I like most? The intricacy that a novel has… A movie will only pick out one strand of the whole plot… I think I prefer seeing the movie, and then reading the book. Then I can see all the rest of the plots and not be dissappointed when they trash it…

    Another good book/movie adaptation was Primal Fear. That movie was really good and portrayed the book really well!

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