When Stories Come Alive: 10 Examples of Perfect Book-Movie Adaptations

It's common to say, “The movie was ok, but the book was amazing,” or “The movie was awesome, but the book sucked.” But what about where both the movie AND the book were both great?

Recently someone asked for examples, and the Internet delivered this terrific list.

1. No Country For Old Men

Image Credit: Paramount Vantage – Miramax

“No Country For Old Men is a near-literal translation from page to screen,” one user stated.

No Country for Old Men was written originally as a screenplay but later changed into a novel. So that's why it works so well,” informed another. 

2. Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings
Image Credit: New Line Cinema

“Yep, this is my answer,” replied one. “After watching Rings of Power, I went back and watched the extended editions of the original trilogy, which are so good. I may have to re-read the books again too.” 

“Want an experience? Get the audiobooks read by Andy Serkis. Sure, it's 60+ hours of listening, but he's an excellent reader, and his voices for each character are spot-on imitations of his friends,” another person informed. 

Finally, a third person argued, “While I love Andy Serkis, I feel the fan-made version of the audiobooks by Phil Dragash is far superior and highly underrated. It has voice acting similar to the movies, uses Howard Shore‘s OST, and has sound effects. It's the most immersive audiobook I've ever heard and the most immersive out there.”

3. L.A. Confidential

L.A. Confidential
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

“L.A. Confidential is a remarkably lean adaptation of a hefty novel,” acknowledged one. “The film makes sweeping changes to the plot while maintaining the novel's themes and spirit.” 

L.A. Confidential is the best example. The book is about 800 pages and has material for a big TV series, but the adaptation works well. Even James Ellroy liked it, even though he hates pretty much everything,” a second commenter agreed.

4. The Martian

the martian matt damon
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox

“I love the book and was initially disappointed with the film due to all the stuff skipped over. But I've come to enjoy it for what it is on rewatch. Matt Damon was precisely who I pictured as Mark when I was reading, and he nails the sarcasm,” shared one.

Another agreed, “Yup, rarely read and watch something, but The Martian was one of them. Both fantastic. I started reading the book after I saw the movie. The movie gave me the mind visuals while reading, whereas the book made the movie better on a second watch. They compliment each other, I would say.”

5. Holes

Holes 2 Walt Disney Pictures MSN
Image Credit: Walt Disney.

Holes,” one person admitted. “It's a perfect adaptation, with many lines taken word-for-word right out of the book. The only difference is Stanley's weight because the Director didn't want a kid to have to put on and then lose a drastic amount of weight. It's the best book adaptation I've ever seen.”

6. Jurassic Park

Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Jurassic Park,” another said. “I think it's even more impressive considering the movie makes many changes from the book.”

A second person shared, “I think they both work so well because of those changes. The way the idea is explored in the book only works for a book and vice versa.

“It's an excellent example of adaptation because the filmmakers made the right changes to make the story work for a different medium. As a result, the Jurassic Park adaptation is a movie in its own right, not just a novel squished into a film.”

7. Misery

Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

One person shared, “I just saw the stage version. It was also excellent. Movie, book, play – Misery is a triple threat. Triples are best. Triples make it safe.”

Another said, “Read the book a few weeks ago and convinced my horror-movie-hating wife to watch the movie with me last night. She even liked it!”

8. The Princess Bride

the princess bride
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox

Someone acknowledged, “The Princess Bride – both are practically perfect in every way.”

“I loved this movie for many years,” shared another. “I finally read the book to my daughter at bedtime when she was five, and I was floored by how wonderful it was. They are both masterpieces. I miss André.”

A third person clarified, “The abridged version only, though! The unabridged version is ugh.”

9. Stardust

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Stardust (Neil Gaiman) – different from each other, but both great!” one user exclaimed. “What's cool is that they each expound on parts the other glosses over. The stuff with the pirates was like all of two sentences in the book,” rejoiced another. 

Finally, a third user said, “The rare exception to the rule that Gaiman's books are always better than the adaptations. I've read and loved nearly all of his books, and I've universally hated the movie/TV adaptations. However, Stardust, the movie, is better than the book.”

10. Arrival

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Arrival movie did a great job with something I thought would be unfilmable in the book,” assured one user. Another added, “Think this may be a hidden comment since you listed a few, but Arrival is a great answer.”

Finally, after someone admitted they didn't know it was a book, a user informed, “It is more like a short story. It's in the book Stories of Your Life by Ted Chiang. It's a compilation of short stories, and they are excellent.”

Honorable Mentions: The Silence of the Lambs, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Shawshank Redemption.

What do you think? Did Reddit nail this list, or is something significant missing? Also, check out the worst book-to-film adaptions of all time.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.