“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” – Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird
Sometimes when you read a great book it seems like a given that the movie will be fantastic. That’s often not the case. Characters that seem so alive in a book fall flat on the screen, stories change- not for the better, or the magic of the book somehow gets lots. But, every once in a while a movie comes along that captures the essence of a book perfectly. In some cases, the movie is better than the book ever was. Below are our favorite movie adaptations of all time.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K Rowling – The Harry Potter series became a cultural icon- the doorway for millions of kids to develop a love of reading. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first of the Harry Potter movies, earned $970 million dollars world-wide. It opened the door for 7 more movies earning billions of dollars. I will always remember how I felt when Harry walks into Diagon Alley for the first time- pure magic (literally and figuratively). The scene is the movie was just as brilliant. Every time I watch the movie, I am transported- it never gets old.
Princess Bride by William Goldman – The Princess Bride is one of my all time favorite movies. I know , it silly and cheesy but I just love it. I’ve watched it numerous time with my husband and kids. I didn’t find out until later that the book came first . I read it and loved it- presumably because it was so close to the movie that I already adored. There were a few differences between the two but they were so minor that it didn’t affect my love of either one.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – Harper Lee’s classic story is taught at schools across the country. Boo Radley, Scout and Atticus are practically woven into the fibers of society at this point. Gregory Peck’s Oscar-winning performance in the adapation is spellbinding and the movie well deserved its Nomination for Best Picture.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – Winning 8 Oscars, including Best Picture, and nominated for five more, this is probably the most indisputable adaptation on this list. I fell in love with the story after watching Vivien Leigh brings to Scarlett to life. As a high school freshman, I checked the book out of the library the next day and read it over the course of my spring break – devouring it whenever I could.
Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg is an amazingly illustrated children’s picture book filled with meticulous detail. The movie adaptation took this beautiful black and white book and turned it into something so much more. It became a colorful world where the game could be a reality. The game is both terrifying and exhilarating. I loved the idea of taking a children’s book and bringing it to life.
Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger – I first read the Lauren Weisberger’s debut novel when I was in college. I fell in love with the devilish Miranda Priestly, but Meryl Streep’s portrayal of the editor-in-chief was even better. Let’s be honest – the fashion in the movie is also way better than an book description could ever be. The sequence of Andy’s walk to work with a montage of outfits is my favorite.
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson is a disturbing psychological thriller. Mikael Bloomkvist enlists the help of Lisbeth Salander to help him research a case that has been cold for almost 40 years. The 2009 movie adaptation with Noomi Repace captured the feeling of this book and brought it to a new level.
The Help by Katherine Stockett – I love this book. I love this movie. This books takes place in 1962 in Mississipi. Skeeter, while trying to find out what happened to her beloved maid, Constantine, befriends Minnie and Aibileen. The three woman work together to bend the lines of race and friendship. What can I say? Every time I see Hilly eat Minnie’s special pie, I cheer. Oh, two-slice Hilly….The movie was nominated for best picture and Octavia spencer won an Academy Award for her role as Minnie.
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkein– I would be remiss if I did not mention the Lord of the Rings trilogy when talking about the best movie adaptations. The Trilogy won 17 academy Awards including best picture for The Return of the King. These films provided over 9 hours of beautiful costumes, music and scenery. Even if the books were not your fave, the movies are definitely visually spectacular.
What selections do you agree with? Did we leave any off the list?