The best book-to-film adaptations

Shawshank poster Converting great books into great films can be a tricky business. While some novels may positively brim with a gripping story and prove to be resounding successes, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will translate well onto the silver screen – there are numerous examples of books that were turned into poor movies . Every once in a while though, a movie comes along that does infinite justice its paperback inspiration.

Here are 10 of the best book-to-film adaptations:

Fight Club (1999)

While director David Fincher’s adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s 1996 novel of the same name was a relative disappointment at the box office, it is widely acknowledges as a critical success, and the film has subsequently gained a cult following and influenced modern pop culture.  Edward Norton stars as a discontented white-collar worker whose life changes after meeting a confident soap manufacturer  named Tyler Durden, (Brad Pitt)  Norton’s character subsequently seeks escape from modern consumerism and his mild existence by starting “fight clubs” with Durden and engaging in even more nefarious activities. The film is notable for its twist ending.

The Shining (1980)

It’s always a tough task to ensure that master-horror writer Stephen King’s novels are given their just dues in celluloid. However, when you have iconic director Stanley Kubrick and legendary actor Jack Nicholson on-board, that task is much easier, and this film has become as much of a classic as King’s 1977 novel. Nicholson stars as Danny Torrance, a mild –mannered author who slowly loses his mind and eventually becomes homicidal and terrorises his wife and son during a trip to an isolated and haunted mountain cabin.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) 

Harper Lee’s 1960 Pulitzer-prize winning novel is considered to be a classic piece of literature, dealing with ongoing social issue such as rape, race and social inequality. Director Robert Mulligan’s big-screen adaptation was so successful that the film was listed in the National Film Registry in 1965, and it is widely considered to be one of the best films ever made. Gregory Peck stars as lawyer Atticus Finch, who is tasked with defending an African-American man accused of raping a white girl.

Psycho (1960)

With master film-maker Alfred Hitchcock at the helm, its unsurprising  that this adaptation of Robert Bloch’s 1955 novel turned out to be so masterful, and was arguably a game-changer in the horror genre. Anthony Perkins is perfect as the creepy motel manager Norman Bates, who has an unhealthy obsession with his mother and a murderous streak to boot. The film is noted for it's infamous "shower sacene", shown above.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

This horror classic, based on Thomas Harris’s 1998 novel, had the distinction of being the last film to win Academy awards in the top 5 categories: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director (Jonathan Demme) and Best Adapted Screenplay. Anthony Hopkins produces a chilling performance as a convicted cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter, who is brought on board to “advise” FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) on the best way to catch a serial killer named Buffalo bill. A cat-and-mice game soon ensues not only between Sterling and the killer, but between Sterling and Lecter, as he employs a host of psychological games to torment her.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Often cited by critics and movie-goers as their favourite film of all time, Shawshank Redemption is actually based on a 1982 Stephen King short novella called Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, and was adapted for the screen and directed by Frank Darabont.  Tim Robbins stars as Andy Dufresne, a banker wrongly convicted of murdering his wife and her lover and sentenced to life imprisonment at the Shawshank State penitentiary.  The film explores Andy’s friendship with charming inmate Ellis ”Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman in an unforgettable performance)  and examines how he deals with the vagaries and injustices of prison life, as he yearns for redemption and freedom.

The Godfather (1972)

Director Francis Ford Coppola and a legendary cast that includes Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan and Robert Duvall ensured that the adaptation of Mario Puzo’s  novel became for a time being the highest-grossing film ever, and the highest-grossing film of 1972.  Even today, it is still considered to be one of the best films ever, as it chronicles the trials and tribulations from 1945 to 1955 of the fictional Corleone family. What about the most successful film to slot adaptations? Check out these games in our lobby: Jurassic Park™, Game of Thrones™ and Terminator 2™. JurassicPark_01_Base

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