Please welcome fellow cinephile, Jake Tillerson to Reads & Reels!
Ah the age old debate, “What was better, the book or the movie?” As a book worm who also adores movies, this has always been a difficult one to navigate. Honestly, I would have to say 80% of the time the book is usually better but there have been some AMAZING adaptations over the years and yes, there’s even been a film or two that was… GASP… better than the book! It happens, it’s true!
Here are some of Jake’s favourites!
Not everyone has time to read every book that comes out. Since movies are so much faster and easier to watch, a lot of people just rely on the films to judge a book. The biggest complaint movie goers have is hearing “the book was better” whenever they say they liked a movie. If you’re looking for the best book-to-movie adaptations, here are the most accurate.
The book is one of the most classic written works in America, winning the Pulitzer Prize. Written by Harper Lee in 1960, this story covers a small town dealing with some common issues of the time, including race, social inequality, and even rape. The book’s hero, Atticus Finch, teaches his children and those who will listen, about areas society has failed and improvements everyone can make to create a better world for everyone. A film was created with the same name in 1962 and sticks fairly close to the original plot.
Set in the deep south during the civil war and reconstruction era, this book was published in 1936 and written by Margaret Mitchell. The movie was released in 1939 and has been considered one of the greatest, most classic movie in the United States. Because the film crew tried to stick so close to the book, the movie takes over three hours to watch, but it’s worth it. The plot revolves around Scarlett O’Hara, as she comes of age, falls in love, and tries to change her life. Audiences fell in love with the way Vivien Leigh portrayed O’Hara, and the on screen chemistry she had with Clark Gable.
The Pianist: The Extraordinary Story of One Man’s Survival in Warsaw, 1939-45 (The Pianist)
This book, written by Wladyslaw Szpilman, discusses the triumph of the human spirit during the atrocities of World War 2. This gives a raw and honest account of one man’s experience in Warsaw during the occupation of the Nazis. The story lines and lessons that are taught in these pages are so profound that it isn’t surprising a movie was created. One important thing to note is that the movie was directed by Roman Polanski, who is a Polish Jew. He has a unique perspective that helps tap into the emotion and story of the author, earning it a solid position on the list of greatest war films of all time.
Before it was a classic movie, it was a novel by William Goldman. The movie is an accurate representation of the book, even with the script feeling word for word in many scenes. There are the same endearing characters that everyone knows and loves from the book. The movie quickly gained a spot in America’s heart and the book will too if you read it.
Even though many people know the story by this name, the book is titled “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” but was whittled down when it was turned into a movie. Written by Stephen King in 1982, it took on a new life in the 1994 film adaptation. The story is very similar, following Andy Dufresne into jail after his wife and her lover are murdered. A lot of the plot plays around his friendship with an inmate called “Red”, played by Morgan Freeman in the movie. It’s a short book and well worth the read, but the movie is also great and well worth the time to watch.
This is a fantastic list and one I heartily agree with! Thanks so much for being here today Jake!
What are some of your favourite film adaptations?
About Jake Tillerson
Jake Tillerson is a home theater nut, working for Kaleidescape and writing about movies any chance he gets. Outside, he likes to hike, sail, and fish.