Book lovers know that the adaptation hardly ever lives up to the original story. As Hollywood continues to turn almost any piece of literature into a film or TV show, we need to filter out the obvious cash-grabs from the films that really captured the essence of our favourite stories. Here are some excellent adaptations that continue the age-old argument of “which is better, the movie or the book?”
This adaptation is so popular that many people don’t even know the story was based on a book. The Godfather is considered one of the best movies of all time, and for good reason. It focuses on the lives of the Italian-American Corleone family as the youngest son reluctantly takes up the family business and joins the mafia. The film spawned two sequels and has become a household name as one of the world’s most well-known and quotable films.
An entire generation grew up reading the Harry Potter books, so capturing the same magic on screen was a must. However, unlike many other adaptations, these films remained faithful to the source material and character descriptions. There were no unnecessary changes, ageing of the characters, or random romantic storylines thrown in for extra drama (we’re looking at you, Percy Jackson).
Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Jane Austen’s work has been adapted a lot, from faithful recreations to loose interpretations like the 1990s film Clueless. However, one film managed to capture the hearts of fans thanks to its charm and undeniable chemistry between the romantic leads, Matthew Macfadyen and the queen of period pieces, Keira Knightley. The pining, the tension, and that scene of Darcy striding across a foggy meadow to proclaim his love make this movie one of the most popular Jane Austen films.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Logan Lerman was perfectly cast as the introverted teen Charlie for this profoundly moving coming-of-age film. No movie can be exactly like the book down to every last detail, but The Perks of Being a Wallflower really captures the joy, anxiety, and love that’s experienced in youth. Stellar performances from the cast help tell Charlie’s story in a charming and sometimes heart-wrenching manner. Of course, it helps that the film was written and directed by the author of the 1999 novel.
Stand By Me
Stephen King is probably the most iconic horror writer ever. He’s published countless hits like It, The Shining, and Carrie, all of which have been adapted into well-received films. However, the first non-horror adaptation of a Stephen King story is also one of the most impactful. Stand By Me follows four best friends in the summer of 1959 as they journey in search of a dead body. The coming-of-age story tackles themes like loss and the seemingly unbreakable bonds of childhood friendship with moving performances from the young cast, especially River Phoenix. King himself told Rolling Stone that the 1986 film was his favourite adaptation.