QOTW: Book-to-Film Adaptations

4 Mar

Winter is slowly coming to an end, which means those lazy days spent in front of the TV because it was too cold to leave the house are a thing of the past. Being the book lovers that we are, we thought it might be fun to commandeer this week’s QOTW for our favorite book-to-film adaptations, in honor of our treasured winter months gone by!


In terms of ‘Best’ I think the Fight Club movie stayed really true to the book. But in terms of my favorite, What Dreams May Come wins hands down. It was way better than the book, and completely gorgeous, to both the ears and the eyes. It just blows the book out of the water. I really hope heaven is like the one presented in What Dreams May Come.


Mine are:
-The Secret of N.I.M.H., adapted from Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of N.I.M.H.
-Howl’s Moving Castle
-Pride and Prejudice (both the BBC and Kiera Knightley versions)
-Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (best one)
-The Lord of the Rings
-The Hours
-The Black Cauldron (don’t judge!!!)

-The Last Unicorn


-Gone With The Wind

-The Princess Bride


I’m rather fond of the Kiera Knightley PRIDE AND PREJUDICE adaptation, too…as long as we disregard the meadow scene and the sappy American ending, lol. Something about lovers walking in slow-mo across the screen at one another as the sun rises (and his shirt is unbuttoned) hits me the wrong way. My sap meter goes through the roof  😛

I liked the ATONEMENT adaptation, too. (wow, I’m just on a Kiera Knightley kick, apparently). I thought Saoirse Ronan was brilliant in that. Hmmm…what else?

Well, this is a BBC production and not a movie, but the most recent EMMA adaptation with Ramola Garai is quite nice, too.

And if anyone is looking for a modern-take take on SHERLOCK HOLMES, “Sherlock,” co-created by Moffat and Gatiss, is a great three-part series. Apparently, I have a thing for movie adaptations of British literature??

ETA: Ooh, I can’t forget HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE!! I think that’s one of the
only book/movie pairs where I can’t say which one I like more. I love
them both equally on their own terms 😀


I’m going to second Sarah and say Prisoner of Azkaban. The third book was my favorite, and I think the film was fantastic. I mean, come on. Gary Oldman. Need I say more?

And I can’t believe no one mentioned this one — Black Beauty! That was one of my favorite books as a kid, and I am not ashamed to say I still watch the movie occasionally. It’s just too pretty not to.

Also, I know I’m getting ahead of myself here, but the new Jane Eyre movie. I’m currently reading the book, and from what I’ve read, compared with the trailer, I’m sure it’ll be fantastic! In the same vein, the 1999 version of Mansfield Park is also one of my favorite. I’m such a sucker for period pieces based on literature.


Sarah already said Stardust but I have to agree! I love the music, and the sweetness of the characters. I also adore that they have different endings. They both work for what they are as a piece of art/literature. Even though I do like the ending of the book more, because bittersweetness just gets to me :).


I gotta agree with Sarah and Biljana: STARDUST!  I actually prefer the movie over the book. ::sigh:: Tristan is just so adorable and conflicted.  Plus, the music!  What a score!

I of course love almost all the ones everyone else named, but they BEAT me to it! ::waves fist at LTWFers above::

Other wonderful movie adaptations: LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy is fantastic, JURASSIC PARK (one of my favorite books as a kid, but I couldn’t see the movie until I was 13 because of the darn PG-13 rating. Ha! If my parents only knew the content of the novel!), THE PRINCESS BRIDE is as hilarious and exciting as the book, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY with Johnny Depp is just amazing, and ABOUT A BOY (probably one of my all time favorite movies, and possibly better than the book, which is also fabulous!).


I’m seconding Sarah on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (totally the best one!) and The Lord of the Rings. I’m also a mad fangirl for the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. I liked the Keira Knightley movie, too, but not quite as much.


I’m seconding Kat on the BBC version of Emma, it actually made me like Mr. Knightley a lot (I used to think he was kind of a creep). And I totally agree with Sarah and Kat on Howl’s Moving Castle; I think I may still like the movie better than the book! Also, while the book The Shining made more sense overall and I’m a big fan of the epilogue, I really like the movie, and definitely prefer its ending scenes.


Wow.  There are a lot already mentioned here that are great, but I think I have to go with the Kiera Knightley version of Pride & Prejudice.  And I hate to say it, Kat, but that slow-mo scene of Lizzy and Darcy meeting at dawn is my FAVORITE SCENE in the whole movie!  Guess I’m just a sappy romantic.  😉



What about you guys? What are some of your favorite book-to-movie adaptations?


41 Responses to “QOTW: Book-to-Film Adaptations”

  1. Madeleine March 4, 2011 at 12:10 AM #

    Great, great lists!

    I LOVE the BBC version of Emma. Mr. Kightley is incredible and worth every minute of the 3+ hours.

    I also love a movie not on the list – The Secret Life of Bees. The cast is fantastic, particularly Dakota Fanning. And there’s that scene in the middle that makes me want to sob every time….

    • Kat Zhang March 4, 2011 at 1:18 AM #

      I just love EMMA in general (it’s my favorite Austen!), so I used to like the Gwyneth Paltrow one best, but the recent BBC has got that one beat, lol. There are still some things that I prefer in the movie, but the BBC does a great job of making Emma someone you just know you shouldn’t like but you can’t help loving anyway 🙂

      If you like the actor for Knightly, he’s also in a relatively recent Mansfield Park adaptation as Edmund with Billie Piper as Fanny. (I took an Austen class and now I swear we watched clips from every single Austen adaptation EVER). Though in the words of my teacher, “Billie Piper wasn’t exactly the best choice to play Fanny Price…No way any girl who looked like *that* could be described as sickly and under-developed…” 😛

      • Madeleine March 4, 2011 at 1:21 AM #

        I love Mansfield Park! (It might be *my* favorite Austen!) I haven’t seen any movie adaptations at all, so I need to check that one out!

        • Susan March 4, 2011 at 7:58 AM #

          WHAT? Mansfield Park? Oh dear, that’s my LEAST favorite Austen! My favorite is definitely PERSUASION.

        • Kat Zhang March 4, 2011 at 11:05 AM #

          I admit MANSFIELD PARK wasn’t one of my favorites either, haha. Someday, we’ll have to have a whole Austen conversation where everyone talks about their favorite and why they liked it best!

      • Caitlin Vanasse March 6, 2011 at 5:32 PM #

        Kat – I love watching Masterpiece specifically gor the wonderful adaptations. I didn’t like the Gwenyth Paltrow Emma so I was plesantly surprised to like the newest BBC/Masterpiece version. I’m not a fan of everything they do but in addition to Emma I’ve really enjoyed their recent Jane Eyre (2007) and the Sherlock re-imagining was wonderful, so I’m totally with you there. I also have a fondness for North & South despite the fact that it could probably be tightened up a lot. The opening cotton factory sequence is just so pretty and so informative/such a great beginning!

        • Kat Zhang March 6, 2011 at 11:36 PM #

          Haven’t seen the Jane Eyre or the North & South! Will have to soon 🙂

  2. Eskay March 4, 2011 at 12:15 AM #

    I love classics like BBC’s Pride and Prejudice and Gone with the Wind naturally. I have watched about a million different productions of Jane Eyre, but my all time hands down favourite has to be the 2006 BBC miniseries with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens. It so gets to the essence of the book for me. I thought both leads were great and I’m a bit… okay a lot in love with Toby Stephens’ Rochester.

    • Kat Zhang March 4, 2011 at 1:20 AM #

      Are you excited about the new JANE EYRE adaptation coming out? I am! Haha. I read JANE EYRE many years ago and I admit I never liked it much…most of it stemmed from a dislike of the main character herself. But I’m beginning to think perhaps I misjudged her 😛 Will have to re-read before I see the movie!

      • A.Barone March 4, 2011 at 1:30 AM #

        Oh I am so psyched for the Jane Eyre movie!

    • Sarah J. Maas March 4, 2011 at 4:30 PM #

      God, how did I forget about GONE WITH THE WIND? That’s one of my all-time favorite books/movies!!! *goes to edit list*

  3. Jennifer March 4, 2011 at 12:18 AM #

    The 2005 version of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I remember seeing it in theaters and counting on one hand the number of details – most of them tiny! – that were different than the book (which I had reread the week before, just so I could be a nitpicky book-purist). It was far better than I had ever hoped for in a book-to-adaptation.

    • Jennifer March 4, 2011 at 12:22 AM #

      And by that I mean “book-to-movie” adaptation, of course.

      I also have to agree and second The Princess Bride, Coraline, and Stardust.

    • Savannah J. Foley March 4, 2011 at 10:07 AM #

      Did you see Voyage of the Dawn Treader? I turned it off half-way through; they changed radically from the book 😦

      • Kat Zhang March 4, 2011 at 11:07 AM #

        You can rent it already?? Wasn’t it just in theaters? lol. I accidentally saw it in 3D so the experience was a bit weird. But I admit I mostly watch Narnia films for the feel good and the amazing visuals.

      • Jennifer March 4, 2011 at 2:42 PM #

        I can’t bring myself to see it. The trailers look amazing, but Voyage of the Dawn Treader is my favorite Narnia book. I decided to quit that movie series after seeing Prince Caspian. While it was good as a movie, it was bad as an adaptation, most especially in all the character development it changed!

  4. Steph March 4, 2011 at 12:30 AM #

    I’m glad I’m not alone in preferring the film adaptation of Stardust! I actually saw the movie first, and then bought the book because I loved the movie so much…I ended up taking the book to Goodwill when I cleaned out my room.

    I also liked Prince Caspian. And not just because I have a humongous crush on Ben Barnes.

    • Kat Zhang March 4, 2011 at 1:22 AM #

      Is the book very different? I’ve heard it’s not so light-hearted? Need to read it!

      • Susan March 4, 2011 at 7:59 AM #

        Nomnomnom BEN BARNES!

  5. Mac_V March 4, 2011 at 12:52 AM #

    I’m such a sucker for the princess romances. I LOVE Stardust and the Princess Bride.

    Princess Bride the book has some fun details, but watching the movie will never, ever get old. It is too wonderful.

    I loved the movie Stardust long before I read the book, so maybe I’m a little biased in that direction, but it is probably one of the only movies that I like better than the book. I just love Captain Shakespeare.

    Also, Sarah, you are not alone. I love the Chronicles of Prydain and The Black Cauldron movie totally butchered the book, but it is wonderful none-the-less. I watched in for the first time on a no-good-horrible-bad-day and Kyle surprised me by setting up his (probably not used in three years or more) VHS player so we could watch it. And it was the perfect thing. He got it for me for Christmas this year and it was wrapped in about eighty-bajillion layers of wrapping paper, notes, jokes, and one layer completely made of Duct Tape. Totally worth it to get to that movie.

    Also, on a different note, I love the adaption of Wicked to musical form. The book is on a very adult level and is wonderfully written (though it was thoroughly confusing to my tiny teenage brain and I should probably re-read it again) but the musical is so perfect for everyone and the music is wonderful and it is just SUCH a magical thing to see. I cried at the end of the play simply because it was so wonderful and sweet.

    Also, new BBC version of Sense & Sensibility was GREAT.

    Mac 🙂

    • Kat Zhang March 4, 2011 at 1:23 AM #

      I love how so many of us are fans of BBC productions of Austen books! 😀

    • Sarah J. Maas March 4, 2011 at 4:31 PM #

      Aghhh! THE PRINCESS BRIDE! How did I forget that one, too?!!? I freaking love that book, and the movie is pretty much the story of my childhood!!! (well, not literally, but it was a staple of my childhood, lol).

      So great chatting with you last night!! 🙂

  6. A.Barone March 4, 2011 at 1:29 AM #

    Favourite book to movie adaptations? Gosh I have so many… I love Mansfield Park with Billie Piper. This movie was so fantastic that it made me want to read the book, but I loved the movie so much better than the book. There’s the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice with Kiera Knightly which also made me read the book and I loved the book. There’s The Secret Garden and while I never really got through the book I loved the movie and there’s A Little Princess where I loved the book and the movie. The Princess Bride is an awesome movie and the book is great as well. Anne of Green Gables with Megan Follows was a childhood favourite of mine and I aboslutel loved the first book in the series. The Lord of the Rings. I haven’t been able to get through the books but the movie adaptation is just brilliant. Finally there’s The Lion The Witch & the Wardrobe. I wasn’t a huge fan of the books but I loved the 80s BBC adaptation and I do have a soft spot for the Disney version too.

    • Savannah J. Foley March 4, 2011 at 11:01 AM #

      The Keira Knightley Pride & Prejudice made me read the book, too… It’s not one of my all-time faves, and I think I liked the movie better, lol.

  7. Aurora Blackguard March 4, 2011 at 4:40 AM #

    I so love the Princess Diaries! Yeah, the book came out later but GOSH I LOVED the movie! And come to think of it, Ella Enchanted too! I am a sucker for the running through the market scene! And Lord of the Rings. Honestly, my brother and I watched the trilogy 24 times and it never ceases to amaze me. And the latest Sherlock Holmes movie. And Pride and Prejudice (I thought the Keira Knightly one was nicer, sorry). Clearly I have a thing for movies. And The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. And Stardust. Actually, I really just don’t hate any book-to-movie adaptations.

    • Susan March 4, 2011 at 7:59 AM #

      GAH PRINCESS DIARIES! Yes! How could I forget that one!?

      And YAY for LOTR obsessive watching. 🙂 Me too.

      • Aurora Blackguard March 5, 2011 at 3:35 AM #

        Yay! Can’t get enough of the second movie! Yay! Isn’t Mia the best?

        • sdennard March 5, 2011 at 4:02 PM #

          Oh man, the second movie is great! Most people don’t agree, but I LOVE it! That actor (the guy in the new STAR TREK) is soooooo cute!

  8. ariannasterling March 4, 2011 at 8:49 AM #

    Wow, the few here…you guys are the only people I have ever seen who actually LIKED the PoA movie adaptation. I (and basically everyone I know) feel that movie was utter crap.

    My favorite book to movie adaptation, though…huh. Probably current Narnia movies, because they’re so perfect. They don’t stray from the books (okay, I haven’t seen Dawn Treader yet, so I can’t know that for a fact I suppose) and that makes me a cheerful person.

    • Savannah J. Foley March 4, 2011 at 10:08 AM #

      Dawn Treader really blows 😦 They strayed from the book. The guy who played Eustace was BLONDE, too!

    • Susan March 4, 2011 at 10:36 AM #

      I have to agree, Arianna! I hated PoA–thought it was the worst HP. My favorite HP is definitely Chamber of Secrets.

      • A.Barone March 4, 2011 at 2:37 PM #

        Oh no, POA was my favuourite HP book when I was a fan of the series… it probably has something to do with the fact that there was time travel at the end (I’m a sucker for anything that has to do with time travel) and lots of Harry/Hermione goodness at the end. Not to mention that I love Sirius.

    • Caitlin Vanasse March 6, 2011 at 5:48 PM #

      A lot of people who haven’t read the books (like pretty much all of the film critics, but some “normal” people too) thing PoA was one of the best of the films, probably because they weren’t comparing it to a beloved novel.

  9. Holly March 4, 2011 at 11:20 AM #

    Princess Bride FTW, for sure. I love Harry Potter too, but some of the films made me fuming mad. 😉

  10. Caitlin March 4, 2011 at 12:59 PM #

    I thought the best HP adaptation was the first part of book 7, actually… and I thought Prisoner of Azkaban was the worst. It’s my favorite book in the series, though, so I guess I’m extra nitpicky.

    I agree with you guys about Stardust (OMG SO ADORABLE – and the score is amazing), Atonement (I thought the adaptation was fantastic, and another amazing score – I tend to be biased towards movies with good music…), and Lord of the Rings (again, music!). I much prefer the BBC Pride and Prejudice, though.

    Also, I’ve not read the book, and it sounds like it’s completely different but, I’m so glad that the How to Train Your Dragon movie exists. The music! The stunning animation! The adorable cat dragons! *feels warm and fuzzy* 😀

    Also, I must agree with Mac – book-to-musical adaptations are awesome. Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Jekyll & Hyde, the Scarlet Pimpernel, the Light in the Piazza, the Secret Garden… all FABULOUS.

  11. Clematis14 March 4, 2011 at 4:42 PM #

    The Princess Bride is not only my favorite movie of ALL TIME, but it might be better than the book. I think its because the same person who wrote the book wrote the screenplay. I agree with Caitlin on the HP thing. Most of the movies make me angry but the 7th one was pretty good.

  12. Elizabeth March 4, 2011 at 7:23 PM #

    OK, I’m just going to come out and say it: I hated Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s my favorite book of the series and the movie is just wrong wrong wrong.

    But I love LoTR and Pride and Prejudice. And Amadeus–it was a play before but that counts, right?

  13. Rika Ashton March 4, 2011 at 11:59 PM #

    I think all my favourite book-to-movie adaptations have been listed already. (Though I have to say I liked Part 1 of Harry Potter 7 the best so far.)

    I adore princess/fairy tale movies as well, so The Princess Bride and Stardust are definitely on my top ten lists! When it comes to the Jane Austen adaptations I’ve probably seen every BBC version available lol!

    Worst all film adaptation was Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. Well, the acting and effects weren’t so bad, but it was way off from the original novel. I don’t think there was a single thing that they kept of the novel in that film.

    I LOVE the Black Cauldron as well, but I was sad that they didn’t make the rest of the Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain into films as well. 😦

    • Caitlin Vanasse March 6, 2011 at 5:51 PM #

      Oh my goodness, did you hear that they might actually make Sea of Monsters!

      I thought the characterizations of everyone were spot on in The Lightning Thief so I couldn’t for the life of me figure out quite why the movie was such a train wreck (the pacing was off, they did screw Grover up, I wasn’t as concerned about the aging up as others, but they’ll have to age up later deadlines/events too re: the prophecy, but all in all why was it SO bad?)

      • Illiana Cruz March 10, 2011 at 1:17 AM #

        For book to film consistency the movie was pretty bad. As a movie is was good, but as a book adaptation is wasn’t. I’ll probably see the Sea of Monsters, but I won’t expect it to relate to the book…other than for character names.

  14. Caitlin Vanasse March 6, 2011 at 6:04 PM #

    Sooz – it makes me laugh that your parents made you wait until you were 13 to watch Jurassic Park. For years I thought it was rated PG because my parents took all of us to see it in theaters, when I finally figured out it was PG-13 and asked, my mom said they saw it and decided it would be fine to take us because all the shady elements would probably go over our heads and my brother was obsessed with dinosaurs.
    I haven’t read the books they’re adapted from, but I loved The Princess Bride, How to Train Your Dragon, Adaptation (which is not quite based on a book, but it’s complicated) and The Social Network. I also love Pride & Prejudice (2005) more than Pride and Prejudice (1995) but this is because I believe the first is a better film and I come down on the side of good film over good adaptation most often now.
    I’ll try to keep this short and just mention a few others I love: The Wizard of Oz and To Kill a Mockingbird are classics, Howl’s is great partially because it introduced me to the magic of Ms. Wynne-Jones, A Beautiful Mind was beautiful, The Count of Monte Cristo is always fun, and what nerd doesn’t love the LOTR trilogy? Also I know TV shows probably aren’t allowed, but the movie adaptation of Friday Night Lights was just meh for me, the show though, it’s 5 seasons of amazing (okay season 2 was really melodramatic for a while, but it snapped out of it!)

    I’m sure there are movies I’m missing because I’ve forgotten they’re adaptations of books (there are so many!) I also have a huge stack of films on my “to watch” list that are adaptations (Winter’s Bone, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, etc.) but I also realized when looking up my list of fav. films that only one or two of the top 20 is an adaptation which is pretty amazing when you think of how derivative Hollywood has been through the years.

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