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Top 10 Book To Film Adaptations

Sometimes the picture we've created from the page matches the what we see and feel on screen. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our top 10 favorite book to film adaptations. Just to keep everyone on the same page, we’re not basing this list on box office and rewards so much as the adaptations we feel enhanced, respected and expanded on the source material, while translating brilliantly on the big screen.
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Top 10 Book To Film Adaptations


Books can make great movies. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our top 10 favorite book to film adaptations.

Just to keep everyone on the same page, we’re not basing this list on box office and rewards so much as the adaptations we feel enhanced, respected and expanded on the source material, while translating brilliantly on the big screen.

#10- The Shining (1980)


Busting down the door and taking the first swing at our countdown is Stanley Kubrick’s psychological horror adaptation of Stephen King’s 1977 novel. You probably know the story, an author and his family play caretaker for to a haunted hotel, where the author eventually loses his mind and his son discovers his own psychic abilities. While the film may not have been a faithful recreation of the ghost story elements found in the book, it remains the king of psychological horror.

#9- Misery (1990)


Next up is the thriller directed by Rob Reiner, which also took its narrative from the work of Stephen King. Like the Shining, this one is elevated by unforgettable performances. Specifically, James Caan as the captive author, and Cathy Bates’ terrifying portrayal as the psychotic and murderous Annie. The atmosphere and manipulation is unforgettable, and no modern special effect could have duplicated or enhanced it.

#8- The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)


Based on Thomas Harris’ 1988 novel, which was a sequel to his ’81 novel “Red Dragon”. Regardless, the film started on book two and gave us an unforgettable study into the mind of a least one, if not two serial killers. Of course, Jodie Foster’s role as the inexperienced cadet put us on equally shaking footing with her, while Anthony Hopkins’s portrayal of the educated, sophisticated and cannibalistic killer was a bit of a feast for the eyes.

#7- The Shawshank Redemption (1994)


Okay, we swear we’re not doing this on purpose, but are you in the mood for another Stephen King tale? Relax, this is one is different, as it’s a drama based on the 1982 novella “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption”. Perhaps the best prison film ever, it captures an immense amount of sensitivity and emotional impact, with Tim Robbins delivering as the innocent who spends two decades locked up for the death of his wife, while Morgan Freeman provided the heart by being Morgan Freeman.

#6- Jurassic Park (1993)


This 1990 novel by Michael Crichton took some pretty daunting subject matter, namely a dinosaur amusement park disaster, and managed to make us feel like we were actually there. Under Steven Spielberg’s pitch perfect direction, it brought us the spectacular man vs. nature story, while packing in the thrills and becoming the quintessential dinosaur movie.

#5- The Wizard of Oz (1939)


Okay fine, the Ruby Slippers were added by MGM, and it played it loose with elements from the various installments of L. Frank Baum’s series, including toning down the violence and focusing on singing. That said, it’s the film that took countless moviegoers out of dreary monotone and into Technicolor for the first time. As a fantasy that brought a whole new world to life, it also has aged startlingly well for a 70-year-old film.

#4- To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)


Based on the novel of the same name by Harper Lee, no classroom lecture about racism and prejudice in the American south would be complete without this classic. Gregory Peck stars as Atticus Finch, the heroic lawyer who stands for fair treatment and equality. A brave film based on a brave novel, especially considering it was released 6 years before the death of Martin Luther King, it’s a carries a poignant lesson about the consequences of our misconceptions.

#3- Harry Potter Series (2001-2011)


It’s tough to find a boy or girl who hasn’t been completely enchanted with this film series. With so many fans growing up alongside J.K. Rowling’s beloved characters, the magical series translated almost seamlessly from hardcover sensation to blockbuster mega franchise. Fantasy films like this were not possible not all that long ago, and the dedicated cast ensured that audiences were just as glued to their seats as they were to the pages.

#2- Lord of the Rings (2001-2003)


This is the film trilogy that no one ever believed could be made. Based on the beloved fantasy works of J.R.R Tolkien, this series went on to receive 11 Academy Awards and an orcs share of the box office. If you ask us, its rightfully deserved as Peter Jackson managed to not only interpret and translate the deep narrative and world, but did so by pioneering all new technical advances. Taking the strong lore and weaving it into pitch perfect pacing, the trilogy kept audiences rapt all the way to mount doom and through the numerous endings.

#1- The Godfather (1972)


Taking the top spot on our list is the adaptation of Mario Puzo’s multi-generational crime saga, which is considered one of the greatest films, let alone mafia films ever made. Although some may consider it a bit slow by today’s standards, it is hailed to this day as a seminal masterpiece of filmmaking. This is a rare case when an actor with cotton balls in his cheeks, A.K.A Marlon Brando, has managed to enhance and transcended the source material and give it a mythical appeal and peerless depth.

Agree with our list? With countless book adaptations, we’re sure your list is radically different. Which ones lived up to your expectations? For more riveting top 10s, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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