14 movies that were better than their books (and 14 that were just as good) #Barathon - Godyears

14 movies that were better than their books (and 14 that were just as good) #Barathon

June 19, 2017


Since I am going with the theme of 'Sevens' for this #Barathon (blog marathon by Blog-A-Rhythm), I will go with multiples here to make up for what is a pretty extensive list. So you have here 14 movies that did justice to the original book and then 14 movies that I feel were better than the original book.

14 Well written books/stories and equally excellent movies.


  1. Omen 
  2. Bladerunner 
  3. A Time to Kill 
  4. A Walk to Remember 
  5. Atonement 
  6. One flew over the Cuckoo's nest 
  7. Mystic River 
  8. Catch Me if you Can  
  9. Fight Club
  10. Runaway Jury 
  11. To kill a Mockingbird 
  12. Gone with the Wind 
  13. L.A. Confidential 
  14. The Exorcist
Now that we've seen the runner-ups, let's head onto the main event : 



14 movies that were better than the book.

14. Princess Diaries
While the book is a light read, Anne Hatheway (in a star making role), Julie Andrews and the Disney touch ensured this is a wonderfully done feel-good movie.

13. Children of Men
Alfonso Cuaron's movie is very different from the original P.D. James book which is more of a theological discussion as opposed to the thriller feel given to the movie. And it does benefit from that.

12. The Godfather
By retaining some aspects of the main story and leaving others for The Godfather 2, the movie becomes more focused, I feel.

11. Jaws
Yes, the book is good. But you just know the movie is better and a true cult classic at all levels.

10. Stand by Me
One of the best 'coming of age' movies, the Rob Reiner movie based on a Stephen King novella captured that feeling of childhood nostalgia perfectly.  

9. Jurassic Park
I think its the visualization that ensures this makes the list. Actually being able to see very realistic dinosaurs in action as opposed to reading of them was an amazing experience 25 years ago! 

8. A Beautiful Mind
Credit goes to : Ron Howard ( director ) and Akiva Goldsman ( screenplay )
Frankly, the book is annoying and unengaging. It is depressing, it is harrowing and it delves too deep into jargon that isn't frankly relevant. The movie starring Russell Crowe atleast attempts to put on a hint of mystery, intrigue and more importantly hope to the real life story of delusional schizophrenic John Nash, who would eventually beat the odds and get a Nobel Laureate. 


7. Prestige
Credit goes to : director Christopher Nolan
The book about two magicians whose rivalries define not just their career but their lives is no doubt a good read. But the movie is so much more - the direction is spell-binding ( no pun intended ), more emphasis is given to the three stages of an illusion and it's relevance in real-life and the acting is par excellence. For women - well, you have Wolverine vs Batman. What more can you ask for ?

6. Forrest Gump
Credit goes to : Director Robert Zemeckis.
This was, and in my opinion still remains, one of the best example of how simplicity can move your heart. Tom Hanks' role as the perennial do-gooder helping people ( including Elvis ! ) selflessly, while yearning for love is a masterpiece of story-telling and human nature at it's best. So sweet. So innocent. So natural...oh wait. Maybe not. Were you aware that in the Winston Groom novel, he also goes into space and meets an alien monkey ! And a short while later, gets captured by cannibals too ? 
Yeah. That's why the movie's better. Because they knew what to leave out.

5. & 4. Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile

Credit goes to : Stephen King ( novelist ) and Frank Darabont ( director )
No author in history perhaps has as many movie adaptations of his novels as horror writer Stephen King. And yet, it is the tale of friendship between two unlikely people in a prison that till date, adorns so many people's list of "Favourite Movie". There is no violence. No CGI. No women. And yet, this story is so profound and heartwarming that even grown men cry. Stephen King himself was man enough to admit that the movie was better than his book.

For those of you thinking it was a fluke, the two would collaborate 2 more times to further critical acclaim - The Green Mile ( another great human tale of an unusual prisoner awaiting death row... RIP Michael Clarke Duncan ) and The Mist ( a supernatural tale with a very human element to it, which I warn you in advance, has one of the most gut wrenching endings I have ever seen. )


3. Die Hard
Credit goes to : It's the original Die Hard. Just stand up and applaud already. 
New York cop John McClane taking on German terrorists at the Nakatomi Corporation. 'Nuff said. 

Fun Fact : here's what you didn't know. The author of the novel on which the movie was based ( Nothing Lasts Forever ) had a prequel way back in the 60s. That too was made into a movie called The Detective starring none other than Frank Sinatra ! ( In the books, the characters name is Joe Leland though. ) So technically, Bruce Willis isn't the original Die Hard man.


2. The Lord of the Rings series.

Credit goes to : Peter Jackson, the director.
Have you read the novel ? If you have got through the whole thing with it's elves, dwarves, sorcerers and made up languages and then seen the movie(s), then you know that it couldn't possibly have been taken any more beautifully. Peter Jackson, I salute you.

1. The Silence of The Lambs.

Credit goes to : Sir Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.
Frankly, there are better pyschopath based novels, if you care to search ( think John Conolly, Jeffrey Deaver etc ), but what made the movie iconic was not just Hopkins' chilling portrayal as Dr Hannibal Lecter but the interaction between him and Jodie Foster as she tries to hunt down a killer at large. 

Fun fact : The moths used in the movie were celebrities : They were flown in first class, had their own rooms ( a temperature thing ) and even had special costumes for themselves (the design on their back is based on artist Salvador Dali's photograph 'in voluptate mors' symbolising seven nude women ).

So what did you think of the list - Agree ? Disagree ? Got another movie in mind ? Some movie from the first list that deserved to make the final 7 instead? Do comment with your opinions.
I'm all ears.

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45 comments

  1. Great list man. Have to check out some of those books.
    I have to disagree with jurassic Park though. I read the book shortly after the movie came out and felt that as a young adult Crichton's depiction of dinosaurs on page sparked in my imagination far more vividly than than the movie did. Don't want to take anything away from the movie as I remember being as blown away by the effects but the inside of my head was better.

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    1. Point. I read the book years later (from that old library we used to go to). Which other movies would you want to see in this list.

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  2. Multiples... wow you are one blogging adventurer. Have seen many of those many times a few now on my to see list.
    http://poojasharmarao.blogspot.in/2017/06/life-of-pie.html

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    1. Most of these are absolute gems... do try them out.

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  3. I think Silence of the Lambs should go in the first list - just as good.
    Out of the others, I kinda disagree with LOTR. I love the book; the adaptations, not as much. But The Hobbit, definitely. It was on my list when I'd written a post similar to this. Other movies on my list had been Dracula, The Devil Wears Prada, and Bridget Jones.
    I think The Reader should be on this list as well. The movie was superb. The book, though good, was a little lacklustre in comparison.

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    1. I struggled with LOTR. And yes, Dracula was a much better movie... don't know how I forgot it.
      Will add your suggestions to this list.

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  4. Very interesting list. How about Bridges of Madison County? The movie is definitely better than the book. Devil Wears Prada -- movie and book are equally good. Maybe, the movie is a shade better due to sterling performances by Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and Emily.

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    1. Again, I totally forgot about The Bridges of Madison County while making this list. And enough people have suggested the Devil Wears Prada that it now merits making this list

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  5. Very good list!! I think each movie has really earned it place in your second list. Also liked the idea by itself.....using multiples of 7.

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    1. I honestly could not stop at 7! Felt absolutely inadequate!

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  6. Quite a exhaustive list and makes me think I have so many movies to catch up on

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    1. Most of these are pretty good... try them out.

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  7. Great list doc. Agree with most names in this list, although Im a 'Books better than movies' person. Just the LOTR bit which I was in love with JRR Tolkiens piece. Otherwise, cannot argue more. Especially with the Kings renditions.

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    1. Stephen King got away a tad lucky... many were there in my final list, including Mist and Misery.

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  8. Geez man! Salut! Never knew that some of these movies were adapted from books. But agree with...Princess Diaries, Jaws...I have read, rest the movies alone.Lord of the Rings I kind of disagree in the sense that the book is so rich in detail that it was practically scripted for a movie, that again Jackman pulled off brilliantly.

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    1. So many LOTR fans here :) I guess I just personally struggled with it.

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  9. I have watched most of the movies and I totally love Shawshank Redemption ( and lot more mentioned in the list)

    But, I really enjoyed reading Gone with the wind. Didn't enjoy the movie as much ;)

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    1. I thought they did a decent job for that era. :)

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  10. I haven't read all these books, just a couple of them, to be frank. But, I loved most of the movies - The green mile, Forrest Gump, The princess' diaries, jaws, Jurasic park...it's the visuals that make the difference, I feel.
    That's quite a list, haan, doc! What next? :p

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    1. I did comic books and movies... take a wild swing at what's next? :D

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  11. Except for Lord of the Rings I agree to the list.
    I felt the book had more depth.

    Click to Read my #Barathon2017 Seven Deadly Sins posts

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    1. Yours is the popular opinion in my comments section :D

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  12. Multiples??!!! Wow.. I couldnt imagine ... great list .looking forward more to read ..

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  13. Great list! Need to catch up on a few of them. Will have a binge watching session soon

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    1. oh trust me.. you will love most of these movies.

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  14. Indeed great list and some of them I don't read the book but the movies are incredible Amazing read
    thanks for sharing
    Bushra ( www.allaboutthewoman.com)

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  15. I nodded away at the first list. In the second list, LOTR and Silence of the Lambs is point on. Hannibal Lecter is the scariest villain I have seen.

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    1. Its the cold menace - the buildup and the aura - that makes the difference.

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  16. Interesting list this one is! Most movies don't do justice to the book and it is nice to know that you've pointed out the ones that are a lot better than the books!

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    1. Ya... I know the general saying. Just wanted to see what the converse would look like

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  17. I never knew some of these had book versions, especially Forrest Gump & Shawshank Redemption. I have enjoyed the movies though.

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    1. Shawshank is arguably one of the best adaptations ever... so well taken

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  18. Interesting list. From your list, have read and watched only Godfather. Have seen the movies but not the books from which they are adapted. So, I need to catch up on reading books and their movie adaptations too.

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    1. Many of these are quite decent books to be honest. Just that I preferred the movie version myself.

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  19. That's quite a list, and let me confess I didn't even know all these movies were taken from books :D some have definitively piqued me interest to read now!

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    1. As I mentioned above, many are pretty good books!

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  20. I tried reading LOTR. Didn't work for me. I got to the part where all of them are going to some place and they reach a forest/ river? I guess I should catch up with the movies, and look at the world beyond Harry Potter :D
    I am in awe of Christopher Nolan, Interstellar blew my mind away. So I'll add Prestige to my to watch list too.

    I'll just add this post to my bookmarks! It's so informative, doc!

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  21. Such a bookmarkable list. I didn't even know some of them like Jaws were books till much later.

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  22. I didn't know Die hard was a movie! I'll admit I haven't read or watched most of the list. I agree with Time to Kill, To kill a mockingbird and Mystic river though :)

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  23. I agree with most of the list but "A walk to remember. " I really believe the book had so much more to offer and they didn't even explain the main reason it was called a "walk to remember". Though a well made movie- it certainly wasnt better than the book.

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  24. Out of all in this list of 14, I have read and watched To kill a mockingbird and yes the movie is as awesome as the book. Another movie which I have seen but not read the book is Forest Gumps, one of my favourite movies.

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  25. I am yet to read Lord of the Rings and remember bestie was hooked to it during college days. The movies, Godfather is always a favorite like the book, Forest Gump, Silence of the Lambs and A beautiful Mind. I also love both the novel and movie PS I love you and a love story by Erich Seagal

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  26. Well, I have seen almost all of the second list and most of first list. Good Lists. However the list of better then book should feature Guide of Devanand. Anyway we don't make too many of them.

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So what do you think ?

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