8 movies that are better than their books.

I’m a devoted booklover. After seeing a movie based on a book, I nearly always say, “the book was better.”

Occasionally, a great movie will rival the book its based on. When this happens, it’s silly to talk about which medium was better, or worse. They’re simply different, as books and movies should be. (See: The Princess Bride, The Godfather, The Shawshank Redemption.)

Sometimes, the movie doesn’t remotely resemble the book. I love when a savvy screenwriter takes the source material in an entirely unexpected direction, like when Tina Fey turned Queen Bees and Wannabes into Mean Girls, or Michael Lewis’s nonfiction hit became the Brad Pitt movie Moneyball.

And most rarely, a screenwriter will take lackluster (or in the case of Forster, pretty darn good) and make it infinitely better than the book it was based on. It’s true: the book is usually better than the movie. But these are the exceptions that prove the rule.
room with a view

1. A Room with a View

E.M. Forster’s classic becomes an absolutely gorgeous film, complete with soaring arias and Italian vistas. I’ve loved this film since I was a kid. (Heads up: there’s some serious nudity, but as my high school teacher would say, it’s nudity with a European sensibility—naked boys jumping in a lake, not at all sexual.)

julie julia

2. Julie & Julia

Nora Ephron turned a ho-hum book into a delightful movie. The film version hums because Meryl Streep brings Julia to life: Amy Adams portrays a much sweeter spirit than the author’s, and the mediocre parts are gone. Ephron also relies extensively on Julia Childs’s memoirs to bring more Julia into the film version.

about a boy

3. About a Boy

Nick Hornby’s source novel is quite good. But in the film we get Hugh Grant at his most charming, and that is a force to be reckoned with.

The Painted Veil

4. The Painted Veil

This period drama starring Naomi Watts and Ed Norton is based on W. Somerset Maugham’s 1925 novel. When her husband discovers she’s having an affair, he demands that she come with him to the Chinese interior where he is needed to deal with a cholera epidemic. It’s a good book, but a better movie.


5. Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz

Okay, it’s not a movie yet—but it’s going to be. Gregory Maguire’s 1995 book retold The Wizard of Oz from the perspective of the witches. The story begins before Dorothy arrives in Oz, and continues until after she’s returned home to Kansas. The question everyone is asking now: can the movie be as good as the musical? 

Fight Club

6. Fight Club

The movie version of Chuck Palahniuk’s 1996 novel starring Brad Pitt, Ed Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter pushes the romance angle and completely changes the ending. After seeing the movie, Palahniuk himself said, “I was sort of embarrassed of the book, because the movie had streamlined the plot and made it so much more effective and made connections that I had never thought to make.”


7. Stardust

The 2007 movie starring Claire Danes and Charlie Cox is largely faithful to Gaiman’s novel, no doubt in part because Gaiman himself helped write the screenplay. The film pushes the romance/adventure angle, and is noteworthy for its superb performances and spirit of fun. The novel emphasizes the magical world, and is a little more reserved with its resolutions.


8. The Devil Wears Prada

David Frankel, Meryl Streep, and Anne Hathaway turned the forgettable (albeit juicy) novel into an enjoyable and witty skewering of New York City’s fashion scene. Author Lauren Weisberger makes a cameo as the twins’ nanny. Don’t miss the first three minutes!

What would you argue with? What would you add to the list?

8 movies that are better than the books they're based on


Leave A Comment
  1. Marie says:

    Now I have 4 movies to rematch, 3 to see for the first time, and one to look forward to. Well done. And you are dead right on The Princess Bride- two completely wonderful and completely different experiences.

  2. Amy says:

    I’m definitely with you on Stardust and Devil Wears Prada – both excellent movies that I’ve rewatched many times, but I’ve never picked the books back up after finishing them. I’d love to see Julie & Julia – the book definitely didn’t wow me, but I know that Meryl Streep can do no wrong!

    I’m not sure if I can think of any other movies that I thought were better than the books – although there are plenty that are on par. Different, but just as excellent! Matilda and Harry Potter both fall into that category for me.

    • Barbara says:

      While the movie is well done, it doesn’t follow the book very closely. The book is so well-written, it definitely a must-read. The casting of the film was absolutely fantastic, and is worth seeing, but certainly is no substitute for the novel itself.

    • Vanessa says:

      I think the unique “narrator” of The Book Thief makes it a much more interesting book. Too much is left out of the movie, but it’s still well-made and worthwhile to watch.

  3. I definitely agree with you about The Devil Wears Prada. I can rewatch that movie over and over, but the book was a one time thing for me. While it wasn’t a movie, I really enjoyed the mini-series The Astronaut Wives Club. The book was fun, but the mini-series was better!

    • Kayris says:

      I think I liked the book better. For me, casting issues. I love Meryl Streep but didn’t think she was right for Miranda. Not the right age and not nearly nasty enough. And I had a hard time accepting Anne Hathaway as “the fat girl.” Love Stanley Tucci though!

  4. Karen says:

    I love Julie and Julia. I’ve never read the book though. 🙂 I thought the movie North and South (BBC movie starring Richard Armitage) was better than the book. The book is by Elizabeth Gaskell and is also called North and South. There were some aspects of the book I did like a bit better, but overall I thought the movie was much better.

  5. Kayris says:

    The Book Thief for sure. The book dragged for me but I loved the movie.

    A Walk To Remember. I quit reading Nicholas Sparks years ago, because he basically writes the same book over and over again, but I read this book and saw the movie. The book felt rushed, like he wrote it in a weekend, but I liked the movie much more.

    Gettysburg. The movie is based almost word for word on the book, “Killer Angels,” but seeing it on the screen made it better. Sometimes it’s hard to picture a battle in your head. The movie made it more vivid.

    And I know some will skewer me for this, but basically all of Tolkien. I struggled mightily with the books. I know the movies made some changes, but I enjoyed the movies much more.

    • liz n. says:

      Ah, no, must disagree with you on both Shaara and Tolkien. I thought “Gettysburg” was well done, but not quite as good as the book. And while the LOTR films were excellent, I was, still am, and always will be, darn near furious with what Jackson did to “The Hobbit.”

      • Laura says:

        Molly, I couldn’t agree more! Although it did take me a while to engage with the book, when I did, I couldn’t put it down. The movie was an extreme disappointment!

    • CarolineK says:

      A Walk To Remember, yes!! It may be the only one I feel strongly about. The movie is SO much better than the book. I listened to its soundtrack over and over and over again. That movie really does it for me, in terms of teenage romance. And the book was just blah.

  6. Emily Ruth says:

    I just saw Room & I’m not sure if it’s better than the book, but definitely as good. Seeing the actual room on screen was wonderful & horrifying all at once. & Jacob Trembly as Jack) just breaks your heart (& should have been nominated for an Oscar).

  7. Marie says:

    I agree with many of these, but not The Painted Veil. The movie was beautifully shot, and I admire Edward Norton as an actor, but the film completely butchered Maugham’s very finely wrought–but frank and often upsetting–story. Maugham wrote a demanding book. Norton and Co. retreated to a trite Hollywood narrative, although the movie does have amazing scenery and a really good cast. I can’t forgive the film for destroying the emotional punch of the book. And the reworking renders the title’s reference to Shelley’s poem nonsensical.

  8. The only two on your list where I have read the book and seen the movie/musical are Julie and Julia and Wicked. I agree on both accounts. I also like The Devil Wears Prada as a movie. It is hard for me to imagine it as a book.

    Another one I would add to the list is Mary Poppins. I think Disney did a phenomenal job making the books into a movie that is loved by multiple generations.

  9. C says:

    I didn’t like Bridget Jones’ Diary when l read the book. But I’ve watched the movie many times. Maybe it’s just Colin Firth that makes the movie better.

    It’s been several years since I read the book then watched the movie Atonement but I thought both were good. There were a few changes with movie but I think they helped tell the story.

  10. Jennifer says:

    I loved the 1990’s “Little Women.” It captured the big feelings I had when reading the book as a young girl. Rereading the book in a mother-daughter bookclub, I was shocked at how moralistic and shallow it was–another case where my own imagination had supplied so much of the depth to the book, and in memory ascribed it to the actual book. But the movie stepped away from the Sunday School teaching of the book and focused on the emotional cores of the various subplots.

    • Jeannie says:

      That’s a really interesting comment on LW — I have to say I feel completely the opposite. For me, the core of LW is when Marmee gives the girls each a copy of Pilgrim’s Progress for Christmas, symbolizing how each of us must make our journey, recognizing our own particular pitfalls along the way: for Meg it’s discontentment and envy of luxury, for Jo it’s her temper, etc. To me, the movie completely abandoned that spiritual dimension in favour of a more feminist approach — not that there’s anything wrong with feminism at all! but it wasn’t what the book was about. I guess that’s the challenge of all movie-makers of older books, isn’t it: stay true to the author’s vision and risk seeming really dated,, or take a more contemporary angle and risk losing some of the original spirit.

      • Allie says:

        I believe I saw the movie before I ever read the book, and I love both so much. The movie makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and I have to watch it every Christmas. It doesn’t quite surpass the book in my eyes…but it’s close.

  11. Holly F says:

    Forrest Gump. The book is way different. In the book, Forrest becomes a professional wrestler and he’s the one that does drugs, not Jenny. Weird.

    • Abbey says:

      Yes! Oh my gosh…the book was so strange! And wasn’t he on a deserted island at one point? And had to play ping ping for his life?? Terrible book. Read it before I saw the movie.
      Sadly, I’m not crazy about the movie either, though. I think because people had made it out to be The Best Movie of All Time, by the time I got to see it, it didn’t live up to its hype.

      • Jamie says:

        Totally agree on that one. Forrest Gump as a book is like a completely different story. I read it and saw the movie while in high school…the book should have had a warning that it included MUCH more sexual and drug references in it. Yikes!

  12. Melissa says:

    PS I Love You is far better as a movie than as a novel. The characters in the book are flat, and Gerry’s letters leave much to be desired. In the movie, Holly and Gerry’s love for each other is palpable, and the relationships between other characters is much stronger and more interesting. Plus, all of his letters make me cry, every single one.

    • Leigh Kramer says:

      Oh my gosh, I HATED the movie version! I thought the book was better. The movie presented a cliched experience of grief, whereas the book gave it more nuance, which was sorely needed given the premise. Although, I tend to be very critical of fictional grief because I used to work in hospice and bereavement.

      • Molly says:

        I’d have to say Last of the Mohicans falls into this category. I adore the Daniel Day Lewis version of the story, and saw it long before I ever picked up the book. When I did start to read the book I learned that events in the beginning of the book were at the end of the movie, and events in the middle of the movie were at the end of the book. The whole plot seemed inside out!

  13. Heidi says:

    I really like Mockingjay the movie(s) better than the book. I remember rolling my eyes a lot reading the book, but the movies just fill in more of the sensor stuff. Of course, I read all three books in a week, and I have a soft spot for Jennifer Lawrence. I do think casting and screenplay/adaptation can make all the difference.

    • I am totally with you on Mockingjay. I don’t think the original Hunger Games movie was the best (even if Jennifer Lawrence is to die for!), but the Mockingjay movies are way better than the book.

    • Leigh Kramer says:

      Agreed! When I finished reading Mockingjay, I almost threw it across the room. The changes they made in the movie (and perhaps having enough distance between when I read it and when I saw it) redeemed it for me.

    • Dawn says:

      I know! I am excited, and nervous. I read the book and saw the musical – twice, I hope the movie can live up to them. If thy get Kristen and Idina I will be less nervous!

    • Laura says:

      Ironically, I chose Wicked for my 2016 MMD Challenge as a book that intimidates me because the musical (which I have never seen) is so incredibly popular. I found the book for $3 at the store so I bought it but admit I’m a bit fearful that my impression of the story might not be up to par with all the hype. This post definitely has my eyebrows raised, LOL!

      • Olynan says:

        The book and the play Wicked are NOTHING alike. I think the witches’ names are the only thing carried into the play. Thank goodness because I feverishly disliked the book!

    • Krista says:

      They have both said they’re too old now. Elphaba and Glinda are twenty somethings in Act 2. I’m afraid of what Hollywood will do with the story. I did not like the book, but have seen the musical multiple, multiple times.

  14. Sarah K says:

    I would add Rabbit Proof Fence. My sister studied abroad in Australia and I never got to visit her, so I had a phase where I was devouring books about Australia. This one was just ok, but the movie really brought the characters and the conflicts (and the LANDSCAPE! — always a character of its own when you’re talking Australia) to life.

    • Brooke says:

      LOVED Rabbit Proof Fence movie- didn’t realize there was a book. Do you think it would be better if you read it after seeing it and having the visuals established?

  15. Debra says:

    (not a movie, but…) I rewatched Death comes to Pemberley and recalled how much more I liked it over the book.

    Gosh, it’s been so long since I read Little Women, I never thought of that aspect.

  16. I think Stardust needs to be in the “different entity from the book” category. 🙂 The book is one you read to fall into the gorgeous language and rich world-building, whereas the movie is more about the humor and quirkiness. But I do think the addition of the star glowing when she was happy was an improvement–however, one that works MUCH better in a visual format than it could have in a book.

    • I agree! I thought the book was brilliant, if a little racy at times. The movie added some really fun and beautiful scenes, but didn’t quite capture how all the story lines came together at the end of the book. **Anne did you end up liking the book Stardust? I remember you said you started it and put it down because it was too adult for a kids story. **

      Also I read Silver Linings Playbook and liked the movie more. It was sweeter and stronger.

  17. Michelle Deckert Richmond says:

    I would add The Bridges of Madison County I loved the book, but the movie touched me more. Might have been the casting and acting of two of the greats. Anyway it remains one of my favorites.

  18. Sloan says:

    I 10000000% agree with you on Wicked. I could not finish the book until I saw the musical, and even then it was torture.

    I would add The Princess Diaries to this list. Hated the book, but really enjoyed the movie. (Does this reveal my age- late 20’s!)

    • Rachel says:

      Agreed! I absolutely hated the book and for that reason haven’t yet seen the musical. I keep hearing amazing things about it, which is confusing since I struggled mightily with the book. Maybe I should give the musical a chance now…

    • I haven’t seen the movie (and probably never will — definitely an HSP) but my husband loved it, and after reading the book, I thought it would probably work really well as a movie. For me, the nadsat really got in the way of the story and was more of a mask for the fact that the writing wasn’t that great. But the idea, the story itself, is excellent.

      • Karen says:

        My husband read The Book Thief and I think he liked the movie better as well. I thought the movie was excellent and have been wanting to read the book. From what everyone is saying, it sounds like I will probably like the movie better……but it’s still on my to-read list. 🙂

        • JJ says:

          The Book Thief is up there with To Kill a Mockingbird for me. It MUST be read. “I want words at my funeral. But I guess that means you need life in your life.” -Markus Zusak
          The movie is great too, but oh that book killed me!

      • Ginger G says:

        The movie is definitely a quirky independent film but Keri Russell did a great job portraying the character as a cute, hopeless romantic (I thought she was too whiny in the book). The ending is sweet too. I think it’s worth a try! 🙂

      • Amy D says:

        I definitely like the movie version of Austenland better than the book. The comedy is cringeworthy at times, but the reworking of the Henry character changes the tone of the story in a good way. Another movie that is better than the book is Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. The movie tightened and sharpened the story. Resetting the story on the eve of war added an extra layer of depth not found in the book.

  19. Sarah R says:

    I loved the movie “Homeward Bound” based on “The Incredible Journey”. I thought the book dragged in places, but the movie added humor and life to the pets.

  20. My favorite baseball movie is “The Natural” (I have two sons who play baseball — I’ve seen them all.) The book was a big disappointment – especially the ending. No home run to win the game – ahhhh.

  21. Anja says:

    I really enjoyed the movie version of Jumpa Lahiri’s novel “The Namesake”.
    The book I found a bit slow but thoroughly recommend the movie.

        • Susan says:

          Charlotte’s Web
          Charlie & the Chocolate Factory/Willy Wonka
          City of Ember
          Narnia (first movie was good. I think they weren’t so great after that)
          Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
          The Little Princess
          Tale of Despereaux
          Harriet the Spy
          Babe the Pig

          • Amy says:

            Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was a terrible book. I was so disappointed, since I like a lot of Ian Fleming’s work. But the movie is far superior.

            Speaking of Ian Fleming, I’d put the James Bond books and movies down on the comparable list. In most cases, the only common thread between the books and movies is the title. I love the movies, but I tore through the books quickly. Different, but both worthwhile.

  22. Susan says:

    I thought Gone Girl was better as a movie, but I really hated the book. The characters were slightly more likable in the movie (especially Ben Affleck’s character) so that helped.

  23. Nancy B says:

    I love the movie Julie and Julia, and I want to point out that the movie is based on TWO books (or so says the subtitle of the movie). Julie Powell’s book is so-so and not nearly as enjoyable as the movie. The other book that provided inspiration was My Life in France by Julia Child. I adore this book so much! I really enjoyed listening to the Audible version, but it’s nice to see Paul Child’s photographs in the book.

  24. MJ says:

    I think there’s a difference between loving a great movie and thinking it’s better than the book. On your list, “A Room with a View” and “The Painted Veil” are great books. I’ve never seen the movie of Maugham’s book but the Forster movie is good. I also think that some books are more demanding of the reader than the movies are.
    I would say “The Help,” which I was forced to read for my book club was awful. The movie was saved by superior acting and a much better screenplay.

    • Krista says:

      Man! I was hoping no one else would comment with The Help so I’d have an original comment!

      I actually really liked reading The Help but there was such good casting and acting in the film that when it was over I thought “This is one of the few movies I enjoyed much more than the book!”

      • Amy says:

        True. I had heard who was cast before I read the book, and I could envision Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer as those characters. My book club read the book and then went to the movies together. We were all raving about the movie as we left the theater.

  25. Melanie says:

    The Scarlet Pimpernel is a million times better as a movie than the book. I’d seen the Jane Seymore version of the movie several times before I read the book. The book is incredibly simplistic and the characters fall flat compared to how they’re portrayed in the movie.

    I also agree with a commenter above that North and South is better as a movie than the book, but maybe that’s because I saw the excellent film adaptation first.

    The first time I read The Count of Monte Cristo I decided that I liked the movie better. I’ve since reversed my opinion. The book is more nuanced but much darker than the movie.

    • liz n. says:

      I like the 1934 version of “The Scarlet Pimpernel” with Merle Oberon and Leslie Howard. It’s long, but the tension is palpable, and Leslie Howard is wonderful.

    • Karen says:

      I was that commenter who mentioned North and South. 🙂 I was thinking that my opinion could be because I saw the movie first too. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I think it probably wouldn’t have changed much by reading the book first. I think the movie cast Margaret’s character much better. I felt she was a much stronger character in the movie. What I did like about the book is that you see more of Mr. Thornton’s friendlier, sensitive side. The movie starts off portraying him harder than the book does and slowly you see that other side of him…the caring, sensitive side. But I think that’s one of the elements that makes the movie good. Just my opinion. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      My daughter changed the book choice she gave me for the book challenge and has chosen The Count of Monte Cristo for me. So I’ll be reading that soon. She told me it is much different than the movie. So I’m looking forward to seeing how the book and movie differ. 🙂

    • Megan says:

      The Count of Monte Cristo is the only example, for me, of a movie that is better than the book. The book was great, but I liked the ending to the movie better.

  26. Kelty says:

    I loved seeing “A Room with a View” atop your list. My sister and a good friend and I watched that movie about 1,000 times in the early 90s and could quote so many parts of it. I’m not even sure how we ended up seeing the movie as it’s a bit obscure. It’s packed with quite the stellar British cast! Oh, how we loved the oh-so-nerdy Cecil played by Daniel Day Lewis and had all the heart eyes for Freddy. I was so delighted to see Rupert Graves (the actor who played Freddie) show up as Lestrade in the Sherlock series. Oh, and that kiss in the poppy fields! Rewind and replay, repeat. Ah, great memories. 🙂

    • Ha, I had to check that it wasn’t one of my sisters that wrote this. We were obsessed with a Room with a view in our teen years and still make references to it today.
      DDL as Cecil was our favorite nerd and we all rooted for Freddy “such an unpromising lad”. The swimming scene and poor Mr. Beebe was a great laugh and the romance in the hills above Florence has me going back on a regular basis.
      Surprisingly, much of the script was true to the book, but with the incredible Italian landscapes that you can’t summon up in your head if you have never had the pleasure of seeing them.

      • Kelty Brittle says:

        Oh I love hearing this and knowing we weren’t the only ones! We used to draw pictures of the scenes with stick figures, ha! After posting this comment, it sent me on a YouTube chase to watch clips that I could find. Now I probably should rent and watch the whole movie. It was so strange seeing Helen Bonham Carter again in such a young and innocent role after she’s made her reputation playing the weirdest parts she possibly can! I tried to read the book as a youngster after seeing the movie and just never could get into it.

    • Chelsa says:

      I love Graves!!! He is also in The Forsythe Saga which I hope to read soon, though it’s terribly thick so I’m scared 🙂

  27. liz n. says:

    Haven’t seen all of the films or read all of the books on the list, but I completely agree with “The Devil Wears Prada.”

    I love that movie!

    But I HATE that book. It’s the one I threw across the room when I finished reading it, and I seriously considered writing the author to ask her to return my money, my time, and the little piece of my soul that died of embarrassment from reading the book.


  28. Criss says:

    The Vow by Kim Carpenter. The film is rich with character angst and pathos. In the book one half of the couple is in a coma the majority of the time. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman; love the film but the book just never gels.

  29. Amy says:

    The one I always mention is Forrest Gump. Loved the movie (the soundtrack was especially phenomenal and added so much), but the book was pretty bad. Hard to get through.

  30. Ivy Hendrix says:

    The movie Contact was interesting and easy to follow. The book, however, was bogged down with scientific and technical explanations. I had a hard time getting through it, but I loved the movie.

  31. Heather says:

    I love the BBC version of Little Dorrit (with Matthew Macfadyen). The book was too long-winded and meandering, even for Dickens. LOVED the movie!

  32. Kim N says:

    It may have been a case of having the book over-sold to me by an acquaintance, but I felt pretty ambivalent after reading Colm Toibin’s “Brooklyn”, even though much of the story-line mirrored my own Irish mother’s experience coming to Canada in the 1950s. When the film came out I had no desire to pay money to see it. I was eventually persuaded to go and I loved the film. Somehow it had the emotional depth that I just couldn’t find, or at least connect with, in the book.
    Also, I enjoyed the film version of “The Princess Bride” a great deal more than the book! In the book I found the frequent interruptions to the flow of the main storyline to be annoying.

    • Dawn says:

      I can’t wait to see Brooklyn! I read the book about 5-6 years ago, knowing nothing about it, and I enjoyed it so much. The movie looks beautiful.

  33. Kari Ann says:

    I hesitate to say movies are better than the book for the exact reason you mentioned. That being said, the following are movies that I enjoyed as much, but not necessarily more than the book.

    Forrest Gump
    The Green Mile
    The Martian
    Field of Dreams
    Silver Linings Playbook
    This is Where I Leave You

  34. Totally agree on Julie & Julia – though I really loved My Life in France, which Ephron used for the “Julia” parts. Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci are perfection.

    I liked reading the Grantchester mysteries by James Runcie, but absolutely adored the BBC miniseries last winter with James Norton and Robson Green.

  35. Georgia says:

    I completely agree on The Painted Veil. I thought the movie was so much more redemptive. I did love About A Boy as much as the movie though. I laughed out loud on almost every page, which is a rare feat.

  36. Kim Jeffery says:

    Another film I would add to the list: The Natural. Bernard Malamud’s novel is fine, but the film is a beautiful fairy tale about baseball — one of my most favorite depictions of light and dark, dreams and disappointments, and the two lives we are each given: the one we learn with, and the one we live after that.

  37. Anna says:

    I’m with you on Julie and Julia. I don’t watch many movies. The only other movie from your list I’ve seen is “The Devil Wore Prada” and I didn’t read the book. I would add “The Scarlet Pimpernel” to the list. I watched it with some friends in college, then one day stumbled across the book. The book was such a disappointment!

  38. Amanda says:

    I always say Memoirs of a Geisha is a better movie than book. The movie is visually appealing and has a better pace than the book. The book was too subtle for my taste.

  39. Tim says:

    I completely agree about The Princess Bride. They are the same story with entirely different emphases, and each as good as the other.

    And Wicked? The book was unreadable, the musical incredible (we saw it twice at the Pantages in Hollywood). I am looking forward to the film version, hoping it will be handled a well as the stage production.

    And when it comes to whether to read books or see the movies, I say it depends on how you feel about spoilers. I loathe them.

  40. Mary says:

    I don’t know as I’d say this movie is BETTER than its book, but “LA Confidential” did a fantastic job of adapting a book that I thought would be impossible to transfer to the screen.

  41. Sarah says:

    I like the North & South miniseries better than the book. Gaskell had originally written the book as a magazine serial and I’m assuming it had to meet a certain word count, so it does end up being, well, wordy. The adaptation tells the same story but succinctly and with a good pace, is beautiful to watch, and The Kiss makes me hold my breath every. Single. Time. Plus, Richard Armitage.

    • René says:

      I agree, the miniseries was quite perfect. I have attempted the book several times but it has never held my interest long enough for me to finish it. Plus, Richard Armitage.

  42. Jane F says:

    Not a book, but a play – “Much Ado About Nothing” (the Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson one) – really great film, I wanted to jump right into the film (Tuscany and all that).

  43. Kate says:

    Totally agree with Devil Wears Prada and Julie and Julia. I loved, “My Life in France” but the Julie and Julia book was ghastly. Now I am about to commit blasphemy. I prefer Scarlett, the movie, over Gone With the Wind or the book, “Scarlett.” Though I adored Gone With the Wind as a teenager, both the book and the movie, as the years went by began to feel “gasp” shallow. “Scarlett” came along and it picked up the threads of “Gone With the Wind.” But the movie put all the pieces together with beautiful music and cinematography. Finally, there on the screen was a grown up Scarlett and the love story that I had always wanted. As a bonafide Southern gal, this is a secret I have never been able to share until now.

  44. Ellen says:

    Like you, it’s rare for me to like the movie better than the book. However, I agree with you about A Room with a View. My ultimate “movie-is-better-than-the-book” is The English Patient. I wouldn’t call the book “impenetrable,” but it IS difficult and slightly ponderous. The movie is simply gorgeous in every way.

  45. Guest says:

    I’m so glad you posted about The Painted Veil. I watched that movie several years ago on a whim and it has stuck with me ever since but I could. not. remember. what the name was?!? The movie was hauntingly beautiful. I’ve never read the book so can’t speak to that. I agree with you about the others (that I’ve seen/read).

    Wicked was an absolutely awful book. I stopped reading after awhile because life is too short to read bad books. The musical, however…j’adore!

    Another that I thought was better as a movie is Bridge Jones’ Diary. Maybe it’s because the movie came out the same time I was finishing grad school and moving out on my own but I thought the movie was better than the book.

  46. Wendy says:

    Nothing new to add but a little fan-girling. Now I want to go listen to the soundtrack from Room with a View. How I adore that movie, and it also brought me to Forster. Passage to India is my book preference (a good movie, but better book). People talk about Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Curry, but I am so old I always think Merchant & Ivory are “her” directors. I had NO IDEA that Freddie and Lestrade are the same actor!

    I think High Fidelity is a better based-on-Hornby film than About a Boy, but I enjoyed them both, as I enjoy all his novels.

    I couldn’t finish Wicked, but have always heard how great the musical is.

    I saw both Silver Linings Playbook and Winter’s Bone before realizing they are books. SLP felt like a different experience for me in book form, and I haven’t yet read WB.

  47. Jo says:

    Fight Club is always my example of a movie better than the book. So glad to see it on your list!
    V for Vendetta is also a brilliant movie, but it was based on comics so not sure if it counts for this list.

  48. Anna says:

    I haven’t read all of the comments (by far… I only glanced at a few), but I want to add some thoughts.

    1. The Devil Wears Prada is arguably better in some ways than the book, possibly due to the acting and the heavy emphasis on the visuals. However, I thought the book was hilarious. I couldn’t stop laughing, like when the $200 Hermes scarves were being treated like tissues. The language was funny throughout.

    2. Julie and Julia to me was distinctly not as good as the books. The books were rich and nuanced – and funny. The movie was exactly Ephron formula which matched Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail. Similar plot structure and elements, similar camera shots, similar voice-over narrative – even similar *voice* as Meg Ryan, and finally, similar-looking and even behaving main characters. It totally changed the books into Ephron formula, and I thought the books were great.

    3. Lastly, A River Runs Through It, the movie, was vastly better than the book. I thought the book was paltry and sad in scope. The movie was grand, even if tragic.

    These are just my thoughts… It is something I’ve considered before so wanted to chime in.

    Thanks for the post!

    • Anna says:

      I guess the rich part of Julie and Julia was more Julia Child’s book but also Julie’s book was good I thought partly because of its novelty and funny language (though not rising to the level of rich). I was very disappointed by what I saw the author’s next book was about and didn’t read it. Also the cookbook editor’s book (I forgot right now the name and even the author’s name!) was also good.

        • Can someone explain who even published Cleaving when it is SO awful?? I read the whole thing, so I guess the writing isn’t terrible. I am one who did actually like Julie & Julia the book. I think the ways she works in 9/11 and living in NYC and marital issues is complex and interesting, even if Julie isn’t super-likable. I love how they made the movie and really worked in My Life in France, but they are very different .

    • Dawn says:

      A River Runs Through It is my all-time favorite movie, just perfectly shot, scored, acted, directed, and produced. The book in no way compares.

  49. Thora says:

    I saw The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (a British film, with a lot of big actors, like Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy) and really liked it. Then I read the book, and ugh, I hated it. The characters were so much less likable in the book.
    Another movie that I liked better than the book is The Scarlet Pimpernel. Marguerite in the books (the movie took its plot from multiple books the Baroness Orzcy wrote) is shallow and fairly stupid, while in the movie she has much more depth, therefore making the romance better.
    I remember really liking the book A Room with a View, but then, I had seen the movie first, and really identified with the movie a lot, so in my mind’s eye I think I was seeing the character’s from the movie, but with more details 🙂
    I think in general, unless a movie is made from really mediocre text material and then is considered to be objectively much better, than whether a movie is better than a book comes down to a few factors. The first is that some people prefer visuals to text – a well done movie with all of the visceral images and moments will beat out a novel, even if the novel is generally considered excellent (I think for some people this is where Lord of the Rings sits). Movies also play to a larger common denominator than books, so more people will find a good movie interesting than would find the same book, like with North and South – unless you enjoy reading very descriptive, long, nineteenth century plots, then often the miniseries, although it is still long, will appeal to you more. And finally, I think whether you watch a movie first or read the book first tends to solidify that source as the “right” source in your mind, so that whatever you watch or read second will always feel secondary, unless you happen to really fall for it more.

    As far as movies that I loved the adaptations from books (although I don’t think it’s better – I love both) is Cold Comfort Farm.

    • Anne says:

      I finally read North and South after seeing the BBC version several times, and have to admit I enjoyed the movie more. You’re not the first one to mention The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. And I’ve seen The Scarlet Pimpernel musical, but I didn’t know there was a movie!

      • Thora says:

        It was made in 1982, and (as I just was looking it up for the year, I learned this) was a TV movie. It has Jane Seymour in it as Marguerite (as well as Ian Mckellan as Chauvelin), and the musical is definitely influenced by the movie, and not just the book – particularly in the characterizations. I grew up watching, and loving, the movie, and when I finally read the book I was disappointed (see, people loving the first source first). My husband, who loves the musical, movie AND book, still thinks the book is best, though. But, that’s life – I don’t think we can all come to a consensus (like I happen to love the book North and South more, although I also really liked the miniseries when I saw it, but then I read the book first. It’s the same with the BBC Pride & Prejudice – I love the movie, but I have to side with the book more, even though when I do read the book now Mr. Darcy definitely looks like Colin Firth, just like Mr. Thornton looks like Richard Arimtage.)

        • liz n. says:

          I’ve noticed that when I really like the film version of a book, the film characters are who I see from then on when reading the book. For example: Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley are forever Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint. Emma Thompson is Elinor Dashwood, Viggo Mortensen is Aragorn, Richard Chamberlain is Aramis. But, much as do appreciate the actors, Richard Armitage, Dean O’Gorman, and Aiden Turner will never be Thorin, Fili, and Kili because A) I hate what Peter Jackson didto The Hobbit and B)it’s pretty clear in the book that dwarves are not drool-worthy pin-up boys of Middle Earth.

          • Catherine says:

            I totally agree on this and it’s why sometimes films ruin favourite books for me! If the casting is good then it’s fine to picture the actor as you read, but if it jars it can be so frustrating. I’m also glad I’m not alone in loathing the film version of The Hobbit. As an ardent LOTR lover, I frequently re-read and re-watch all of the trilogy. But I couldn’t even watch The Hobbit once through. Ghastly!

  50. Kate says:

    Totally agree about Julie & Julia. That book made me so cranky, I didn’t even finish it.

    I would also add The Princess Diaries to this list. The movie is so sweet and quirky while the book is quite cynical.

  51. I am kind of sad over the people who thought THe Book Thief was better as a movie. I did think they did a very good job, but just adored the book.

    Maybe Bridget Jones’s Diary falls under a different experience? I don’t know. It’s been SUCH a long time since I read it, but I super duper loved the movie.

    I live in fear of seeing movies of books I adored. I am still angry that they changed the end of Circle of Friends when they made it into a movie. SORRY MOVIE PEOPLE, EVERYTHING DOESN’T HAVE TO BE WRAPPED UP WITH A BOW. Books forever.

  52. Dawn says:

    So many great examples have already been discussed, but I want to add The Firm and The Pelican Brief, two good, suspenseful Grisham novels that are VERY FUN movies to watch (The Firm, in particular, has so many great actors playing minor roles, from Holly Hunter to Ed Harris to David Strathairn). The Pelican Brief is classic 90s-era gorgeous Julia Roberts & Denzel Washington! And the absolute best Grisham adaptation I’ve ever seen is The Rainmaker, which is so good, I never even cared to read the book. That movie is AWESOME.

  53. Lisa says:

    Oh my goodness- YES about Julie & Julia. Meryl Streep is so great as Julia and as I re-watch the movie I notice how Amy Adams definitely gives a softer edge to Julie- at least from the impression I got of her character from the few pages I read of her book before deciding not to finish it!
    And it has been years since I’ve read The Notebook but at the time I preferred the movie over the book.

  54. Abbey says:

    The one that popped into my head immediately was Possession. I could NOT get past the first couple chapters, but I’ll watch the movie over and over again!

    • Connie Moore says:

      First listened to Possession as a recorded book.LOVED it! Still remember so many scenes from having the book read to me. Read it on my own twice, saw the movie. And still one of my all time favorite stories. I would take the book or movie any time.

  55. Shay Gerritsen says:

    Warm Bodies!!!
    Loved the movie, just sort of a campy little easy watch. Thought the book would probably just be more of the same. Not so much. All the characters were different and far less likable…

    • Shanna says:

      I have to say the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was much more enjoyable as a movie. I also enjoyed Interview With A Vampire and Queen of the Damned are much better on screen than in the books. All of the books had interesting concepts (and all happen to be about vampires, odd), but were somewhat boring overall.

  56. Jennifer says:

    i didn’t like THE STEPFORD WIVES, neither the book nor the movie, but the movie was marginally better.

    i quite liked THE PAINTED VEIL in book form, but i’m looking forward to seeing the movie now!

  57. Jill says:

    I’ve read through all the comments and I’ve finally thought of a movie I remember enjoying much better than the movie, (however it was many years ago and it’s a kid’s movie): The Iron Giant. Adorable movie, but I had a difficult time with the book, (at least as a kid).

    In the category of different experience, but just as good, I completely agree with The Princess Bride, and would add Sense and Sensibility, (the Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant addaptation). I’m sure it helps that I saw the movie before I read the book, but I love both equally!

    Just as a side note, while we’re on the subject of movies based on books, can someone please tell me that I am not alone in my great dislike of the Kiera Knightly Pride and Prejudice? I finally got rid of my copy, because I knew I was never going make it through the whole movie again. 😛

  58. Laura says:

    I’ll add “Under the Tuscan Sun.” The movie with Diane Lane is one of my favorites and recently when I saw a copy of the book on sale for a few bucks in the store I couldn’t resist. Well, I flounced on the book. To say that the movie is “loosely based” on the book of the same title is a stretch.

  59. Leah says:

    The first one that comes to mind for me is Silence of the Lambs. The movie was a thousand times more suspenseful than the book, and Sir Anthony Hopkins portrayal of Hannibal Lector was just brilliant.

  60. Whitney says:

    Well, Pride and Prejudice, although technically the movie’s not *better*; it just made the story accessible back when I really wanted to like Austen but had trouble getting into her writing. First the nice short Kiera Knightley version with the beautiful music and the awkward-but-sweet Bennett family; then the Colin Firth miniseries, of course; then the book. (Then Mr. Darcy’s Diary.)

    Also: Sarah, Plain and Tall. The movie fills out the simple story.

  61. Barbara says:

    My contribution would be The Hunt for Red October. The book was AWFUL, in my opinion. No character development whatsoever; I didn’t care about ANY of them. The film was excellent!!!

  62. Sara says:

    The movie “I am David” made me want to read the book (originally published as North to Freedom). There were certain things I liked better about the book, but overall I would highly recommend seeing the movie first, and the movie is more satisfying and bright and beautiful and true! One of the few that I would recommend to see first, before reading.

  63. Molly Mugnier says:

    How about The English Patient? I loved the movie but found the book such hard work.
    The images, music and actors in that film stay with you long after the bittersweet romance has ended.
    I visited the convent where the Italian parts where filmed, in the heart of Tuscany, hardly a thing has changed. Frescos, dust and ancient cemetery intact.

  64. Kim says:

    I would add the first Harry Potter book/movie. I had seen the movie first. When I read the book I was so disappointed that the very last seen was condensed down to a very short read of a hand full of pages.

  65. Andi - Roo says:

    Cloud Atlas was such a difficult mess of a read for me, but I loved the movie – it’s one of my favorites!

    I loved the book Wicked so I’m sad to see the number of people who disliked it. I still need to see the musical but I hear it’s nothing like the book, so imagine it’ll fall into the category of “separate but equal” for me. The singers can do no wrong, obvs! And I’m excited to see the movie, too!

    Agree on Mary Poppins as the book character was so bossy and rude whereas in the movie she has some redeeming qualities and had a fuller character.

    I list Stardust as “separate but equal” but I may be a biased Gaiman fan so perhaps my opinion doesn’t count, lol! Also I think Bridget Jones’s Diary, About A Boy, and High Fidelity were awesome both as books AND film.

    Love seeing all the differing opinions here! Fun topic, too!

  66. Laurie says:

    We will have to agree to disagree about “The Painted Veil,” my favorite book of all time. The movie was good for what it was but a dim shadow of the beauty of the novel.

  67. Anna says:

    I just finished reading Brooklyn after seeing the movie. The book was good, but there were parts of the ending I hated that weren’t included in the movie. Definitely love the movie more than the book!

  68. Marie says:

    Interesting 🙂 I wrote a blog post recently about whther it’S better to read the book first and wathc the film later, or the other way round. And I started asking myself whether it can ever happen that a rubbish book is turned into a great movie… Well, you asnwered my questions 🙂

  69. RW says:

    I loved the movie The Color Purple, so I read the book. I was disappointed in the book. Celine in the movie had an innocence that was not in the book

  70. K.A.L says:

    Hi, don’t know if it’s already mentioned, there were so many comments I didn’t get to them all 🙂 but I just had to add a movie/book to this list.

    Might be blasphemy to some, but here it comes anyways: Mansfield park (filmed 1999). Sorry Austen I love every other one of your books but I just absolutely hated your version of Fanny Price!

    I loved how they made her witty, sharp intelligent – basically gave her a personality in the movie! My guess for the change has to do with the times being different from when the novel was written. In Austens days, her version of Fanny Price had, I suppouse, desirable personality traits for a woman. A modern day public wouldn’t be equally charmed so I guess they changed her personality to suit our admiration more?

    So – with the movie they made a boring heroine made interesting, wich is in essence to capture what Austen wanted I guess – for us to like Fanny. So, for our time the movie-made Fanny is much more preferred 🙂

    Sure, they have made a few more alterations than her personality but nothing that bothers me much or is unusual when they try to squeeze an entire novel into a single movie. Austens usual wit & humor is somewhat lacking in this book altogether actually but they kind of add it to the movie 🙂 So, improved and definetly worth wathing!

    • Jenny OH says:

      Yes! Agree 100% about the improvements to Fanny Price in the film version. It’s hard to even say that, as written, she was boring or bland – it feels like she’s hardly present in the text at all. Good point about the changes capturing Austen’s intent for Fanny, for a different audience/era.

  71. Chelsa says:

    Totally agree with you about Wicked and Julie & Julia..the others I’ve either not read or not watched so I can’t say.
    I mentioned in a comment about E Gaskells book Cranford. The movies are SO SO much better!!!
    It does kill me to think that some people would think The Anne of Green Gables series, The LOTR series, and Harry Potter would ever be better as a movie. Madness I say!! 🙂

  72. Amy says:

    I know I am late to this…but, I recently read The Shawshank Redemption. I was shocked at how different the book (or short story by Stephen King standards) was. The movie was so much better!

  73. irene says:

    I would agree that some of the films made of King’s short stories have rivaled the printed word (we can add Stand By Me to that list). I don’t know if the film was necessarily better than the book, but to my mind, the film version of The Firm had a more consistent ending with the character’s values than the book did, so in that sense, I liked it better.

  74. Brooke says:

    More maybe sacrilegious suggestions- Sense and Sensibility (I found the book dragged), Order of the Phoenix (so much angst in the book, but much more enjoyable as a movie), and The Inheritance (there’s a reason Louisa May Alcott didn’t get that one published while she was alive!)

  75. Jeff says:

    It may just be the scenery, but Under the Tuscan Sun made a better movie, even with the divorce and gay angle than the books. It has become a go to when things get dreary.

  76. Laurel says:

    Howl’s Moving Castle is one of my favorite movies. It is beautifully drawn by Studio Ghibli and has some wonderful voice-acting in the English version (Billy Crystal, Christian Bale, Jean Simmons, etc). On the other hand, the book is just OK because the story is more disjointed and the characters aren’t as dimensional.

  77. Mary Kate says:

    I know this may be an unpopular opinion, but I hated hated hated the novel The Notebook, and actually enjoyed the movie. I also think most of the movies based on Stephen King novellas–Shawshank, Stand by Me/The Body–were better than the written ones. And I actually liked the Hunger Games movies better than the books. Ok done with my unpopular opinions for now!

  78. RCM says:

    I’ll vote for Cider House Rules. The book was good, but the movie deletes that long drawn-out bit in the middle and brings it all to life so much more concisely and vividly.

  79. Malvina says:

    I have to say that The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler made a terrific film, which I think I enjoyed more than the book. I think it was seeing all those characters portrayed well on screen and enjoying their separate story lines that helped. Plus the dialogue wasn’t so clunky when delivered by superb actors. My 2c.

  80. Jen says:

    I agree with you about Stardust. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE LOVE THE MOVIE!! When I read the book it just felt like there was a lot missing from it.

    The MOVIE is AMAZING!! 😀

    I had a huge epic week to week conversation with a girl I knew who had read the book and never seen the movie and I had to tell her that the movie is SO MUCH BETTER than the book!! 😀

    She finally watched it and agreed! I can watch it over and over again and never get sick of it. I LOVE IT!

  81. Becky Maxwell says:

    Let’s not forget Phantom of the Opera, any version, is better than the book. The book is totally unreadable.

  82. Grimlock says:

    I was linked to this from another blog, and I have to say, I find it very… unreliable when anyone recommends something they haven’t seen yet. As I point out in a comment on that blogpost, even the best looking previews, even movies from amazing source material – even plays/musicals – can be awful. They can change things. The actors can have zero chemistry. The visuals can be just so bad it’s painful to look at in the end.

    So I kinda haven’t read any of these books and movies, and I don’t really expect to run out to see the movies after this. There’s this glaring logic fault in assuming something that hasn’t been made will be brilliant. Unless you’ve seen the movie – and you hadn’t, seen it hadn’t been made when you wrote this – then you really can’t guarantee that, even for yourself.

    It’s frustrating to me, mostly because I like what you say about the other movies, but I question whether it’s accurate given that the Wicked assertion seems faulty to me. I’d also be interesting in seeing what you think when Wicked comes out. I do honestly hope it meets, and even exceeds, your expectations, but I’m wary of people reviewing with certainty things that haven’t been made yet…

  83. Rachel says:

    For nearly 40 years I have been a firm believer that the books were ALWAYS better than the movie with one exception…Forrest Gump. I didn’t really care for the book (it was short and horribly uneventful) but the movie is one I have watched repeatedly and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. Recently I have found another movie that I preferred over the book and that is Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks. I don’t know if it’s because I saw the movie several times before reading the book, but I just liked the movie better.

  84. Stacy says:

    Big Fish. We used to have a movie book club. We would watch the movies after reading the book. Most of the time we loved the books more but Big Fish was a huge disappointment!

  85. colette a chestnut says:

    Bridges of Madison County – the book was overly descriptive to the point of driving one to lose interest. The movie was the exact opposite – fantastic casting and acting and beautifully shot. Hits a chord like the book does not.

  86. I enjoyed ‘Mr. Holmes’ much more than ‘A Slight Trick of the Mind’ – probably mostly for the cinematography, the fabulous acting of Sir Ian… and of course they were a lot gentler with the ending. The first thing that comes to mind, though, when someone says the movie was better than the book is ‘Practical Magic’. Not my typical taste in books or movies, but it certainly stands out in my mind.

    On the other hand, the recent adaptation of Lady Susan just sort of made me angry. It was campy and missed the mark entirely for Austen’s brand of humor.

    • Jenny OH says:

      I feel like it’s hard to even compare the film and book versions; they share so little that when I saw the movie after reading the book, I wasn’t completely if it was actually based on the book or just happened to share the title!

  87. Andrea says:

    I preferred the movie A Walk to Remember to the book by Nicholas Sparks. I saw the movie first and wanted to read the book because in my experience, the book had always better. This was the first time for me that it went the other way.

    • Deborah Larson says:

      Same is true of The Notebook by Sparks. Love the movie, the writing in the novel is just too sparse. Don’t feel the emotional fire in the novel that’s present in the movie.

    • Deborah Larson says:

      My comment disappeared…I added the The Notebook by Sparks is also better in film version.
      Sparks writing is too sparse, lacks the emotional fire that the movie portrays so well. Love the movie, the book was just meh.

  88. Molly says:

    I have to say “The Firm” and “Last of the Mohicans” only because I saw both of these movies and loved them before I read the books. I was actually so mad that LotM movie did not match the book that I quite reading it.

  89. Katie says:

    Totally agree with Julie & Julia and Fight Club. I’d add The Book Thief to this list. I got so frustrated with the book, but the movie was very good!

  90. Marla says:

    The Silence of the Lambs did an excellent job of streamlining the book to turn it into the amazingly scary movie it became!

  91. Claire says:

    A Walk to Remember is most definitely a better movie than book! Reading the comments, this seams to be a trend for Nicholas Sparks’ books…

  92. Carol R says:

    I preferred the whole Hunger Games trilogy movies over the books. The books were laborious to get through but the movies were fantastic!

    • Deborah Larson says:

      Great movie, but the constant use of adding tag lines to dialogue was a bit annoying.
      ‘Blah, blah, blah, Darcy.’ ‘No, blah, blah, blah, Dex.’
      ‘Ethan, stop. Ethan…Ethan!’ ‘Rachel…do you hear yourself, Rachel?’ ‘No, Ethan. Dex loves me not Darcy, Ethan.’ 😉

  93. Sally says:

    Not sure if it counts as a movie, but I prefer the BBC mini series version of Wives and Daughters to Gaskel’s novel. I love all of her books but the movie brought it to life so much better than me reading it did.

    • Deborah Larson says:

      Yes, definitely! Bridges and The Notebook were going to be my two suggestions and they’ve already been listed. Reading minds think alike. 🙂

  94. Rebekah says:

    So this will not be a popular opinion. But as much as I love Jane Austen I generally prefer the movies. Especially Pride and Prejudice, if she lived today she would be an excellent screenwriter.

  95. Karen M Cox says:

    North and South BBC miniseries (the book is by Elizabeth Gaskell- not the Civil War miniseries with Patrick Swayze 😉 ) and I agree about Last of the Mohicans. I ‘kinda’ read it for high school English, but then saw the movie and liked it better.

    • Alex says:

      North and South has to be one of the best screen adaptations I’ve seen. How does it achieve such smoldering romantic tension for a film about polite disagreements, class conflict, and working conditions in turn-of-the-century England?

  96. Kelly Q. Prunty says:

    The Help.
    Loved the movie adaptation, but felt the book was written in a overly-simplistic, almost juvenile tone.

  97. I almost didn’t watch Julie and Julia because I thought the book one of the worst books ever written. It had such a delightful premise but I returned it to the library after reading two chapters. I enjoyed the movie, though.

    I’m glad I watched 84 Charing Cross Road before reading the book and its’ sequel. It helped visualize the book better.

  98. Kel says:

    The Princess Diaries was the first movie that I encountered that I thought was far better than the book. Partially because of the acting/casting, but primarily because the movie corrected some weaknesses in the plot very effectively. “Diary” style books are very hard to get right, and that’s one where I don’t think it was quite there. But the movie is wonderful. (The sequel though… no.)

  99. Mary Schiffbauer says:

    I am just discovering this list, so I don’t know if this was already mentioned, but “How to Make an American Quilt” is one of my all-time favorite movies. I read the book twice and have seen the movie at least ten times. Both are good, but the movie is better.

  100. Alex says:

    The 1982 animated classic The Last Unicorn. I mean, nothing wrong with the book but the movie has a really incredible cast and some performances that bring minor characters to life in ways the book doesn’t get into. Also singing: a surprising amount of singing. And the band America (doing some but unfortunately not all of the aforementioned singing).

  101. patricia says:

    Pride and Prejudice, the Kira Knightly version. It’s Austen but edited and beautifully staged.
    The Firm. The book had a sloppy ending but the movie made it work so much better.

  102. Meghan says:

    So, it’s a TV show, not a movie but The Man In The High Castle (the first season specifically) is fabulous on screen and I hated the book! Talk about an unreliable narrator. I thought the producers of the show took an interesting concept and truly brought it to life.

    • Jennefer Deiley says:

      Yes! I was thinking the same! I would also add to this list Blade Runner based on another Philip K Dick SciFi classic Do Andtoids Dream of Electric Sheep? The movie just zeroed in on all the best parts and dropped all the unnecessary PKD craziness!

  103. Amy says:

    Shawshank Redemption is a much better movie than short story. And of course, The Princess Bride which I actively disliked as a book.

  104. Robert says:

    Epistolary novel format is not my favorite. The cast of The Color Purple movie is truly outstanding. And the Broadway musical may be even better. All 3 are works of art.

  105. Judy Gibson says:

    For pretty much any book by Philip K. Dick, the movie is better. Don’t get me wrong: PKD is brilliant but his books range from bizarre to incomprehensible. But Blade Runner, Minority Report, and most others are at the top of the sci fi cinema genre. Anne, you had a guest on WSIRN who was one of the writers for Minority Report.

    • Beverly J Wrigglesworth says:

      I absolutely agree about Blade Runner. The movie’s characters were so much more alive, and the emotional punch at the end of the movie was so much greater than anything that the book delivered.

  106. Karla says:

    I recently felt this way about The Martian by Andy Weir. The book was just ok for me, so I didn’t have high expectations for the movie, but both my husband and I agreed that the movie was way better!!

  107. Amy says:

    I refuse to attempt to read anymore Dickens at this point in my life, but The Personal History of David Copperfield was absolutely delightful!

  108. Suzy says:

    As long as this blog is still open…
    I LOVED The Scarlet Pimpernel movie, but my sisters and I then devoured the books and they were excellent! Maybe the movie first helps.
    Also LOVED both THE HELP book and movie, they did an awesome job, ditto for The Secret Life of Bees.
    And although I hate Shakespeare, what a joy the Kenneth Branagh version of Much Ado About Nothing was…
    The Martian was better as a movie, the book had too much swearing in it, I had to abandon it.
    Worst book ever after a very nice movie: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen with Emily Blunt! The book had an awful ending!
    And my vote for one of the worst adaptations: Master and Commander! They completely made a hash of it, especially with the casting of Doctor Maturin. Might as well be a completely new character.

  109. Stephanie says:

    The Beach with Leo DiCaprio is a MUCH better movie than book. Also I would say Crazy Rich Asians. The book was all over the place and scattered. I felt the movie tied everything together more cohesively.

  110. Sally says:

    The Count of Monte Cristo with Jim Caviezel! I saw the movie before reading the book. I thought the book was all over the place. I knew they took liberties with the movie, but it was so much better and easier to follow.

  111. R Jones says:

    I wholeheartedly agree about Julie and Julia. I watched the movie first and loved it. Then decided to read the book. It was disappointing. The author’s voice came across very whiny and unlikable.

  112. Elizabeth says:

    The English Patient – i was hoping for more character development than what was in the movie and to my dismay, there was not.

  113. Kathleen Kenna says:

    Julia and Julie (Julie and Julia?) was tiresome because it was all about Julie’s angst, Julie’s success, Julie’s failure…..blah, blah, blah. The book had more about Julia’s life and cooking.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.