Top 5 Movies Based on Books


movies based on books

Hey guys!. In this post, I’ll be discussing a list of Top 5 Movies Based on Books. Original movies are great and even though adaptations sometimes get a bad rap, they can be good too. So many movies are based on books, many of which a lot of people don’t even realize. With so many options to choose from, I had a tough time narrowing down to just five but I think the broadness of the topic will result in some pretty unique lists. 

We weren’t overly specific with the criteria but for my list, I’m sticking with movies based only on books, so no plays, no short stories, no comics or graphic novels. And my selections here are indicative of my enjoyment of the film rather than the book or the quality of the book-to film-adaptation. Alright, let’s get this top list started. 

5. Jurassic Park. 

This 1993 film is based on Michael Crichton’s 1990 novel of the same name. Although the novel is more science fiction than anything else, this sci-fi action adventure blockbuster is actually a pretty faithful adaptation. There are some changes that were made - mostly differences in some of the character’s personalities and ages - but the core story and themes are basically all still there. 

At its surface, Jurassic Park seems like an exciting dinosaur adventure story. And it is, and you could view it as just that. But it also presents an interesting and thought-provoking dilemma regarding scientific advancement and the applications of those advancements. 

Cautionary tale about genetic engineering and action adventure blockbuster doesn’t seem like the most logical pairing but it really was here, resulting in a film that can be enjoyed and appreciated at multiple levels. And that’s all just from a story perspective. You’ve also got some incredibly memorable and now iconic characters, some spectacular animatronics and special effects that still hold up today, and a brilliant blend of genres. 

There’s a little something for everybody here: sci-fi, action, adventure, comedy, horror. It runs the whole gamut, while remaining a very engaging and fun to watch a movie. The numerous sequels that this film spawned vary in quality but this first movie never fails to entertain. 

4. To Kill A Mockingbird. 

This 1962 film is based on Harper Lee’s 1960 novel of the same name. Although some of the other books on this list are very popular, I think this is the one out of the five that most people have actually probably read just because of its inclusion in most school curricula. I know a lot of people who had to read this in high school, I had to read it in eighth grade. 

But there’s a reason. This is a very important book that deals with some heavy stuff in a surprisingly accessible way. And this film adaptation maintains that and presents it all in another medium. Much like the source material, this movie is a drama, with quite a bit of courtroom drama in the second half. 

It features a fantastic Oscar-winning performance by Gregory Peck, who plays Atticus Finch, a lawyer in 1930s Alabama who’s defending Tom Robinson, a black man who’s been accused of raping a white woman. So, this story of racial injustice, class differences, gender roles is really compelling in itself and is still extremely relevant today but it also has this unique quality that separates it from other courtroom dramas. 

Cause, it’s told from the perspective of Atticus Finch’s 6 year-old daughter, Scout. So, there’s this multi-layered element of innocence to the story that also makes it a bit of a coming-of-age tale at the same time. 

3. The Silence of the Lambs. 

This 1991 film is based on Thomas Harris’ 1988 novel of the same name. Although both the novel and the film represent the most well-known Hannibal Lecter story, The Silence of the Lambs is actually technically a sequel, with the character of Lecter having been introduced in Harris’ 1981 novel, Red Dragon and its 1986 film adaptation, Manhunter. 

But in spite of that, both the novel and film versions of The Silence of the Lambs are capable of standing on their own, and especially in the case of the film, is arguably more effective that way. Everybody has those stories and films that, for whatever reason, are just right up their alley and The Silence of the Lambs is just one of those movies for me. 

I’ve seen it dozens of times and even with knowing exactly what happens, this film is endlessly interesting to me. It’s a psychological thriller with some horror elements but it’s also a police procedural crime drama. It focuses on Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling, who’s an FBI trainee, as she’s trying to help solve a serial killer case. 

And in order to do so, she repeatedly interviews another serial killer, Hannibal Lecter, who’s in custody. It’s a dark, frequently creepy movie with a captivating story and some excellent performances by both Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. 

2. Misery. 

This 1990 film is based on Stephen King’s 1987 novel of the same name. Well, if you know me at all, I’m sure you were waiting for the inevitable inclusion of Stephen King in this list. He has written a lot of books and a lot of those books have been adapted into films. As big of a fan as I am, I’ll admit that many of those films are a bit subpar, not just as adaptations but as films in and of themselves. 

But there are some that are great and Misery is one of them. There are some changes - something that’s necessary given the structure of the book - but this is one of the more faithful adaptations of a Stephen King novel. The central plot here is remarkably simple but I think that simplicity is part of what makes it works so well. 

For the most part, this is a single location, two character story with an easy to follow but terrifying psychological situation. Stephen King’s horror stories often incorporate supernatural elements: ghosts, zombies, spirits and possessions. But Misery’s different. It’s real. It’s something that feasibly could happen, so it’s an entirely different kind of scary. 

The story and its inherent tension are excellent but what really makes this movie so good and elevates it to the level it’s at is Kathy Bates’ performance as Annie Wilkes. She won the Oscar for Best Actress for this performance and deservedly so. She’s superb here, delivering one of my all-time favorite performances in any movie. 

1. The Shining. 

This 1980 film is based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel of the same name. Yep, we’ve got a Stephen King twofer on this list, though honestly, what did you expect from me. So, of the films on this list, this is my favorite - hence the #1 spot - but trust me, the irony of this film’s placement on this particular list is not lost on me. 

We were just talking about one of the most faithful King novel adaptations with Misery and here we got one of the most unfaithful. This movie is very different from its source material and while I like both versions, Stephen King hated this movie so much because of all the changes that he ended up writing and producing his own miniseries adaptation in 1997. 

I’ll admit that some of the changes Stanley Kubrick made here irritate me a bit too but the film still feels very cohesive, even without some of the more overtly supernatural aspects of the book. In fact, I think keeping this a purely psychological story was an extremely effective route to take. It’s not so much a supernatural ghost story as it is a cautionary tale of a man’s dissent into insanity. 

Jack Nicholson delivers a fantastically unhinged performance here. And in addition to that performance and the story, this film features some of my favorite cinematography. There’s some visually striking symmetry found throughout this movie and those tracking shots? Well, they’re not to be overlooked. 

That is it from today’s post on Top 5 Movies Based on Books. If you do not agree with the points in the post and have some of your own opinions, share them with us in the comments section down below. 

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Chandan is the writer of “Top 5 Movies Based on Books”. Also, Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.


Hey there! I'm Chandan and I'm from India. I'm a writer and youtuber. You can contact me at: pinterest

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