Top 10 Movies Most People Dont Know Were Based on Books



Top 10 Movies Most People Dont Know Were Based on Books

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Written by George Cimurt

Many movie lovers are familiar with these films, but the book lovers among you might be also interested to know that these stories are not as original as you think, in fact, they're actually adaptations of novels. WatchMojo presents the top 10 Movies you didn't know were based on books. But what will take the top spot on our list, Mrs. Doubtfire, Die Hard, or Mean Girls? Watch to find out!

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Big thanks to Germano Pontes for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Movies+Most+People+Didn%27t+Know+Were+Based+on+Books
You loved them on the big screen, but did you love them in print? Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 movies most people don’t know were based on books.

For this list, we’re looking at films that the average moviegoer would be surprised to find out were books before they hit the big screen. However, we’re excluding adaptations of Shakespeare’s works, like “10 Things I Hate About You,” since we already have a list for that.

#10: “How to Train Your Dragon” (2010)
“How to Train Your Dragon” by Cressida Cowell

This Oscar-nominated animated film set in an exciting world of Vikings and dragons may have won points with critics and audiences alike, but mega points should go to the English children’s author behind the movie. The adventures of Hiccup are actually contained in a series of twelve novels, the first of which was published in 2003 and officially ended with the last book in 2015. Who knows what other films we have in store from this exhilarating series? All we know is if Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, and his Night Fury Toothless can keep making us laugh, it’s bound to be good.

#9: “The Exorcist” (1973)
“The Exorcist” by William Peter Blatty

Considered one of the best horror films in history, this supernatural scarefest directed by William Friedkin was actually based on an equally successful novel. Inspired by a real-life 1949 exorcism in an alleged case of demonic possession, this 1971 novel ended up hitting the New York Times Best Seller list - and it wasn’t long before Blatty took the idea to Hollywood, becoming both the film’s producer and writer of the screenplay. Despite experiencing production trouble, Blatty’s masterpiece became one of the highest-grossing films in history, and was even selected by the Library of Congress to be preserved as part of the National Film Registry in 2010.

#8: “Forrest Gump” (1994)
“Forrest Gump” by Winston Groom

Before being turned into an Academy Award-winning movie that is almost as quoted today as when it came out, the 1986 novel of the same name sold only 30,000 copies. Nevertheless, from humble literary beginnings came one of the most loveable cinematic characters of the ‘90s. The film did gloss over some of the events and rougher aspects of Gump’s life as portrayed in the book, but we’re just glad that Paramount went with Tom Hanks over the author’s preferred choice of John Goodman for the iconic role. It wouldn’t have been the same without him.

#7: “Jaws” (1975)
“Jaws” by Peter Benchley

Did you know that what’s arguably the first summer blockbuster ever and one of Spielberg’s finest films had its origins in the mind of a struggling American freelance writer? Inspired by Benchley’s interest in and research on shark attacks, his 1974 novel quickly became a bestseller and stayed so for about 11 months. It wasn’t long before the story of the lone great white shark and the three men who try to catch it caught the eye of some mega movie producers, leading to the highest-grossing film in history up to that time.

#6: “Pitch Perfect” (2012)

“Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate a Cappella Glory” by Mickey Rapkin
It’s hard enough to believe that this winning musical comedy came from the pages of any book—but a non-fiction one? Sure enough, though, this funny film about two opposing a cappella groups, The Barden Bellas and The Treblemakers, was inspired by the author’s season spent covering competitive a cappella at three different universities. With pages chock full of stories about singing, groupies, partying and rivalries, it’s not hard to see how this exhilarating account has turned into the film many love, as well as the second highest-grossing music comedy film of all time.

#5: “Scarface” (1983)
“Scarface” by Armitage Trail

Any fan of the violent 1983 remake of the 1932 crime film must pay due respect and say hello to its little friend, the 1929 crime novel they were adapted from. Loosely based on the life of gangster Al Capone, the novel came from the mind of a young crime writer who died just a year after the novel was published. However, we can thank him for the charismatic, unpredictable Tony Montana (whose literary counterpart was named Tony Camonte). That character will remain timeless due to Al Pacino’s unforgettable performance in a classic that’s been cited by some as the best mob movie ever put to film.

#4: “First Blood” (1982)
“First Blood” by David Morrell
Although almost universally praised upon its release in 1972, this violent book about the life of a Vietnam War vet passed through countless film studios, companies, and drafts before finally catching the eye of two young aspiring producers looking for their big break. With the likes of Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, and Steve McQueen considered for the character, Sylvester Stallone was eventually cast as John Rambo in what would become one of his defining roles. Although it initially received mixed reviews, the movie has since become a cult classic and has spawned one of the most famous action series of all time.

#3: “Mean Girls” (2004)
“Queen Bees and Wannabes” by Rosalind Wiseman

It started as a self-help book that focused on high school girls, the formation of cliques, and the aggressive behavior of the teens involved. Actress, writer, and comedian Tina Fey quickly noticed it. She then got in touch with Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, who got in touch with Paramount Pictures and the rest is history. Fey ended up writing a screenplay based on the 2002 book and her own high school experiences. It ended up becoming one of the best teen comedies of the 2000s, and was noted for its great performances, sharp wit, and overall clever humor.

#2: “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993)
“Madame Doubtfire” by Anne Fine

An endearing story about a set of divorced parents and the lengths to which a father will go to be with his children, it’s no surprise that this 1987 young adult novel earned several nominations for prestigious literary awards. The ensuing film’s results, however, were even more successful than the author probably could’ve ever imagined: with several Academy and Golden Globe Awards; an unforgettable performance by Robin Williams in the titular role as the cross-dressing father and nanny; and entries on several lists as one of the funniest films of all time as some of its many achievements.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” (2003)
“How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days: The Universal Don’ts of Dating” (1998) by Michele Alexander & Jeannie Long

- “There Will Be Blood” (2007)
“Oil!” by Upton Sinclair

- “Trainspotting” (1996)
“Trainspotting” by Irvine Welsh

#1: “Die Hard” (1988)
“Nothing Lasts Forever” by Roderick Thorp

We bet you didn’t see this one coming. It was in 1979 that Thorp published his sequel to “The Detective,” the successful novel that became a box-office triumph starring Frank Sinatra. The product, “Nothing Lasts Forever,” was praised as exciting and brilliant. When time came for the novel to become a film, the main character of Detective Joe Leland – changed to John McClane in the film series - was offered to the likes of Sinatra, Schwarzenegger, and Stallone before going to TV comedy actor Bruce Willis. However, thanks to this action flick, Willis became a mega star practically overnight and a successful action film franchise was born.

Do you agree with our list? Which films were you surprised to see here? For more great top 10s, be sure to subscribe to