When something original comes out that’s amazing, it’s hard for any followups to compete. Even the best written sequels often lack the magic of the original. They say that lightning doesn’t strike twice and it seems like that can be applied to the majority of original works.
We know that there are exceptions to every rule. And that still applies here. There are even times when sequels are actually better than the originals. Similarly, there are times when a work is adapted into a new format and it’s just as successful. Book-to-movie adaptations are the perfect example of this. Turning the written word into moving pictures can result in some amazing things. Sometimes the films are loved as much as the books, and sometimes they’re loved even more.
16. Lord of the Rings
J. R. R. Tolkien‘s Lord of the Rings was first published in 1954. You don’t really need us to remind you that the book was a huge success and remains a classic to this day. The series also spawned the Lord of the Rings film franchise in the 2000s. The movies were directed by Peter Jackson and created Lord of the Rings mania all over again. They might have been super-long movies, but fans enjoyed every minute of them. How else could they earn an average of $970 million per film?
15. Harry Potter
When Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone came out in 2001, it didn’t just change the life of author J.K. Rowling forever. It also impacted countless kids and adults. There might have been some concern with the book series being turned into movies, but that was quickly put aside. Midnight showings sold out and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) become as loved as the characters they played. Not one of the eight films lacked the magic of the original novels.
14. The Great Gatsby (1974)
There have been a few different versions of The Great Gatsby. You’re probably thinking about the recent Baz Luhrmann-directed one starring Leonardo DiCaprio. We’re going to leave that one alone and talk about the 1974 version. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it. Right now. The filmed starred Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby and Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan. Add in some gorgeous sets and costumes, and some amazing acting, and you have a worthy tribute to the book. If you had issues with some of the “creative embellishments” of the 2013 version, you will like the 1974 version more. Trust.
13. Bridget Jones’s Diary
When people think of Bridget Jones, they often think of Renée Zellweger‘s character. Not to mention that they also think of Hugh Grant and Colin Firth. That’s a testament to how good the film version is. We’re not saying the movie is better than Helen Fielding‘s Bridget Jones’s Diary book. The 1996 novel is a best-seller and it’s still as enjoyable to read today as it was a few decades ago. So, reread all of the books then go watch the movies again.
12. The Devil Wears Prada
When The Devil Wears Prada book was released in 2003, it became a sensation and a bestseller. A lot of it had to do with the fact that the author, Lauren Weisberger, was pretty much guaranteed to be talking about Anna Wintour, who Lauren was a one-time personal assistant to. Besides that, the book was fun and an insider’s look at the fashion world. The movie had all of those elements and more because it gave us the incredible union of Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and Stanley Tucci. It has been over ten years and we’re still quoting lines from the movie.
11. To Kill A Mockingbird
To Kill A Mockingbird was probably one of those novels that you were assigned to read in school. You might have read it or you might not have. If you didn’t, do yourself a favor and read the Harper Lee‘s novel from 1960 right now. After you’re done, you can watch the 1962 film version with Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch. Don’t be put off by it being in black and white. It’s a gripping film that will probably enhance your experience of the book.
10. Silence of The Lambs
There is something special about scary books and the way they work on your mind. Sometimes, that is lost in movies where they rely on blood, guts and gore to creep people out. Silence of the Lambs works in book and movie. The 1988 book by Thomas Harris was turned into a film in 1991 starring the incomparable Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. The movie was so creepy. Even if you read the book, you were still surprised watching the movie. And you’ll probably still feel that way when we you re-watch it.
9. Gone With The Wind
Gone with the Wind was brought to life with the 1936 book by Margaret Mitchell. It was a lengthy book with a whopping five parts and over 1,000 pages. The movie was just as lengthy with it being two minutes shy of four hours. That is longer than some mini series, but the film is as enjoyable as the book. And we’re not just saying that thanks to the gorgeous costumes. Seeing Vivienne Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara and Clark Gable as Rhett Butler is a pleasure. Period.
8. The Godfather
The Godfather is another one where you might actually think of the movie before the book. And that shows what a masterpiece the film is. Before we get ahead of ourselves, the thing that started it all was the 1969 book The Godfather by Mario Puzo. It was a page turner thanks to the crime, the action and the family tension. Francis Ford Coppola was able to channel that into an incredible film and some amazing sequels. It’s worth spending half a day watching them all at once.
How could anyone say that the Twilight films didn’t deliver when the mere sight of Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) with his skin glittering in the sunlight had an entire movie theater ready to jump out of their seats? It wasn’t just R-Patz that made the film. Rob and Kristen Stewart together as Edward and Bella Swan were the couple that we imagined in the book. They embodied the characters and made them something more. And the film made us realize how romantic gray skies and dark, damp forests can be.
6. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was one of those books that you saw everyone reading. It was released in 2005 and published posthumously after journalist-turned-author Stieg Larsson had submitted most of the three books to publishers. The original and sequels delivered so it wasn’t too much of a surprise when Swedish film versions were released in the late 2000s. We then got the American version in 2011 with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara. It was a great film and it earned Rooney an Oscar nomination. It’s too bad we never got sequels with the actors because they deserved more screen time.
There is nothing like the Trainspotting movie. It’s one of those films that people say describes a generation. Then they go into how amazingly raw and real the film is and how great Ewan McGregor was in it. What sometimes is forgotten about is the fact that the 1996 film was actually based on the 1993 book Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. People probably don’t mean to forget about the book considering it was the thing that started it all, and it featured a collection of not-to-be-forgotten short stories.
4. Sense and Sensibility
Jane Austen‘s Sense and Sensibility came out in 1811. (No that’s not a typo.) A long, long time later, we got a film that was worthy of the complex tale of lovers, the 1995 film version featuring an A-list cast of Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman. We know that people who haven’t seen it might be dubious about Professor Snape sporting blonde hair and being cast in a romantic drama, but have an open mind. Alan was iconic as Snape, but he was also a very versatile actor, too.
3. Pride and Prejudice
Speaking of Jane Austen, here’s another example of where the film lived up to the book. Pride and Prejudice was originally published way back in 1813. It has been made into TV shows and movies, but the 2005 movie version featuring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen is the one that does the novel justice. It even had Rosamund Pike and Carey Mulligan. (If this was about TV series adaptations, we would be praising Colin Firth‘s Mr. Darcy and that lake scene right about now.)
Shailene Woodley didn’t let us down in The Fault in Our Stars, and she didn’t let us down in the Divergent film franchise, either. And neither did the rest of the cast. The Divergent novels by Veronica Roth were a smash hit. When the first book came out in 2011, it was dubbed the next Harry Potter, the next Twilight, etc. Therefore, everyone had high expectations for the films. They didn’t let us down thanks to the mix of action and fantasy.
1. Breakfast At Tiffany’s
A lot of people are so obsessed with the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s featuring Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly that they don’t even realize that it’s based on a book. The novel in question is none other than Truman Capote‘s from 1958. If you liked the movie, you will like the novel, and vice versa. There are some adjustments in the film adaptation, but this is one of those rare times where you will appreciate them both because of the different formats.