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Top 10 Graphic Novel Movie Adaptations

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Craig Butler. Intriguing plots, fascinating characters and a visual flair for storytelling – that describes at least two popular media. In this video, counts down our picks for the top 10 graphic novel movie adaptations. For this list, we’re focusing on movies that have memorably adapted stories from what are commonly thought be graphic novels and not traditional comic books. Special thanks to our users roxy, Andrew A. Dennison, ThedarkKnight180, LyleVSXyle, Nichelle Phoenix Perez, Drew Pennington, aldqbigsquare, Abdallah Nabil, Crookshanks832, Mohammed Al-hooti, liam043 and brian7981ify for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Craig Butler.

Top 10 Graphic Novel Movie Adaptations

Intriguing plots, fascinating characters and a visual flair for storytelling – that describes at least two popular media. Welcome to, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Graphic Novel Movie Adaptations.

For this list, we’re focusing on movies that have memorably adapted stories from what are commonly thought be graphic novels and not traditional comic books.

#10: “The Crow” (1994)

Telling the story of a rock musician who’s resurrected and on a mission to avenge his own murder and that of his fiancée, “The Crow” is often remembered for a real-life tragedy attached to it: the accidental death of star Brandon Lee during filming. But, based on the 1989 comic book by James O’Barr, “The Crow” deserves to be better remembered for its feverishly intense direction and imaginative visual style, both of which serve its captivating story well.

#9: “Kick-Ass” (2010)

Overflowing with violence and profanity, “Kick-Ass” scores big points for taking a more realistic look at what is involved with being a costumed vigilante. It also considers the less-than-noble motivations that go toward becoming a hero, which adds further depth to its characters. While definitely not for those with a weak stomach, “Kick-Ass” is a thrill ride of a movie with direction that’s over-the-top – but in a carefully calibrated manner. While the film’s direction differs from the source material, it stays true to its essence and was developed simultaneously by the movie’s director and the comic book writer.

#8: “Road to Perdition” (2002)

Inspired by the 1998 graphic novel of the same name, this revenge story set in the gangster world of the Great Depression found widespread critical acclaim and six Academy Award nominations. Although some have found “Road to Perdition” a bit cold and distant, this mood fits its story of a mob enforcer intent on settling the score with the gangster that killed most of his family. And, brilliant performances by Paul Newman, Tom Hanks and Daniel Craig make up for any failings.

#7: “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (2010)

While this film disappointed at the box office, it did not disappoint its core fan base – otherwise known as the readers of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s “Scott Pilgrim” graphic stories – and it has developed a fervent cult following since its release on DVD. The plot deals with young Canadian musician Scott Pilgrim as he battles the seven evil exes of Ramona, the girl of his dreams. Funny, quirky and inventive, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” is filled with eye-popping moments that stick and linger in the memory.

#6: “Ghost World” (2001)

The deadpan sarcasm of Daniel Clowes’ graphic novel was translated perfectly to the screen in Terry Zwigoff’s film version. Thora Birch beautifully captured her character’s sense of sad alienation and a young Scarlett Johansson is terrific as her friend who needs to move on. Zwigoff’s film makes some changes to the source, but it keeps the melancholic, poetic atmosphere intact. “Ghost World’ is technically a coming of age film – but it’s also so much more.

#5: “Watchmen” (2009)

It’s impossible to cram all of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ groundbreaking and complex graphic novel into 161 minutes – but Zack Snyder’s film is still impressive and packs a wallop. Yes, it makes some changes that purists will balk at; but those willing to meet it on its own cinematic terms will find “Watchmen” a glorious exploration of what it means to be a superhero; it’s both cerebral and excitingly visceral.

#4: “V for Vendetta” (2006)

To topple a fascist dystopia, anarchy may be the best means; that’s clear from both the film of “V for Vendetta” and the Alan Moore source material. The graphic novel is perhaps subtler and more nuanced, but it lacks the galvanizing presence of Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman’s engrossing performance. “V for Vendetta” raises many important issues, but it also never skimps on the excitement and offers plenty of intriguing visuals.

#3: “Sin City” (2005)

Many comics are brought to the screen with care taken to disguise their origins; “Sin City” revels in its source, creating a look that screams out comic arts while never neglecting the needs of the movie medium. Director Robert Rodriguez is perfectly in tune with creator Frank Miller’s sensibility; the result is brash, bold and brutal – and utterly mesmerizing. “Sin City” may be too stark for some viewers, but those who “get” it will be richly rewarded.

#2: “A History of Violence” (2005)

Director David Cronenberg is associated with shocking horror; there’s plenty of tension and fear here, but he’s operating in a low-key mode that is exactly what this graphic novel adaptation calls for. A man is thrust into a violent confrontation, resulting in the revelation of his own criminal past – and raising questions about the nature of both individuals and the communities of which they are a part. Heady stuff – but handled with a restless intensity that makes “A History of Violence” totally gripping.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (2014)
- “Akira” (1988)
- “Oldboy” (2003)
- “Hellboy” (2004)

#1: “300” (2007)

Frank Miller’s fictionalized telling of the Greco-Persian war was stunningly brought to the screen by Zack Snyder, who got just about everything right. Both the testosterone and the energy levels are pumped right through the roof – and fittingly so. The violence is rampant (also fittingly so), and the pace non-stop. Some may desire deeper characterization, but they miss the point: war is the main character here. Fortunately, that doesn’t stop Gerard Butler from turning in a commanding performance that anchors the film solidly.

Do you agree with our choices? What other graphic novel movie adaptations deserve to be on this list? For more enthralling top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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