Many filmmakers are taking on the challenge of turning classic novels into feature films. It's a challenge because many people have fallen in love with the books and don't want directors messing with them. There are many books that were translated poorly on the big screen, but there are films that are just as good as the book, if not better.
In no particular order, here is a look at some of the best and worst films that are based off books:
Joe Wright directed the 2007 film "Atonement," which is based off of Ian McEwan's critically acclaimed novel. James McAvoy
, Keira Knightley
and Saoirse Ronan
star in the film. The film received eight Academy Award nominations and won the Oscar for Best Original Score. In 2007, "Atonement" opened the Vancouver International Film Festival and the 64th Venice International Film Festival.
The Bourne Identity
, The Bourne Supremacy
, The Bourne Ultimatum
In the first film, Matt Damon
stars as Jason Bourne, a man with amnesia who is trying to discover his true identity among the conspiracy going on within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). They're trying to track him down and kill him for failing to carry out an assassination and then failing to report back when he was done. While on the run, Bourne teams up with Marie (Franka Potente
) who assists him on his journey in the first film. She is killed at the beginning of the second film, "The Bourne Supremacy."
"The Bourne Supremacy" continues the story of Jason Bourne and his quest to find out more about his past as he continues to be apart of a conspiracy that surrounds the CIA and Operation Treadstone. In the final film, "The Bourne Ultimatum," Bourne travels to Paris, London, Madrid, Tangier and New York City to uncover his real identity, while the CIA hires more assassins to go after him.
Gone Baby Gone
"Gone Baby Gone," based on the Dennis Lehane novel, is a critically acclaimed crime drama directed by Ben Affleck
. Set in Boston, the film stars Casey Affleck
and Michelle Monaghan
as Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, two private investigators on the hunt for a 4-year-old girl who was abducted.
Based on the 1996 Nicholas Sparks novel, "The Notebook" is a story about two young lovers, Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling
) and Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams
), who meet one night at a carnival. Allie's parents disapprove of their relationship and cause the couple to separate.
After waiting for Noah to write her for seven years, Allie meets and gets engaged to a handsome young soldier named Lon (James Marsden
). Allie, who is still in love with Noah, goes to visit him at the 200-year-old home that he restored for her "to see if he's OK." Allie is forced to choose between her fiancé and her first love.
Gone With The Wind
"Gone with the Wind" was adapted from Margaret Mitchell's novel. The movie is set in the south around the time of the Civil War. The film is about the war and its aftermath from a white southern point of view. The film was awarded 10 Academy Awards, which is a record that stood for 20 years. Even today, the movie is considered as one of the most popular and greatest films of all time and the most enduring symbol of the golden age of Hollywood.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe
"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" is a 2005 fantasy film based on the novel written by C.S. Lewis. The film tells the story of four British children who evacuate their home during World War II and head to the countryside. They find a wardrobe that leads to the fantasy world of Narnia, where they ally with the Lion, Aslan, against the forces of the White Witch.
The Lord of the Rings
"The Lord of the Rings" is an epic written by J. R. R. Tolkien. The film consists of three live action fantasy epic films: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings
, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
. All three films are based off the three-volume book. While the film follows the book's storyline, it also adds some features.
Set in Middle-Earth, the films follow a young hobbit named Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood
) as he and the Fellowship embark on a dark quest to destroy the "one ring," which will destroy the Dark Lord Sauron. The Fellowship becomes divided and Frodo continues the quest with his loyal companion Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin
) and the sneaky Gollum (Andy Serkis
). After a long adventure, they are ultimately victorious in the end.
The Harry Potter films are based off seven fantasy novels written by British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the eponymous adolescent wizard Harry Potter, together with his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The main story is about Harry's struggle again the evil wizard Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry's parents.
So far, the first five books have been made into films. The sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
, has a release date of November 2008.
The Devil Wears Prada
"The Devil Wears Prada" is based off the 2003 Lauren Weisberger novel. The film stars Anne Hathaway
as Andrea "Andy" Sachs, a recent college graduate who gets a job as a co-assistant to the powerful and overly demanding fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep
Streep's performance drew rave reviews from critics and later earned her many award nominations, including her record-setting 14th Oscar bid, as well as a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical. Emily Blunt
also drew favorable notice and nominations, including a best supporting actress nod at the Golden Globes.
Other great book-to-film adaptations:
The Shawshank Redemption
The Wizard of Oz
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Bridget Jones' Diary
A Walk to Remember
Click on the next page to see the worst book-to-film adaptations...