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poofandmook's avatar

What movie based on a book have you found to be most accurate to the text?

Asked by poofandmook (17212 points ) 3 months ago

Admittedly, most of my movie-based-on-book knowledge is Stephen King. And really, Stephen King’s books are not easily translated to movies. But I’m always dumbfounded by some of the discrepancies that are totally needless. (For instance, in the case of The Shining: The movie was room 237, the book 217. Wendy Torrance was blonde in the book, black hair in the movie. Hallorrann was bald in the movie, and had an afro in the book. Things like that)

There are some that come close, but in my experience, movies widely needlessly disregard the simplest of things from the book they are based on, which then ruins the movie (or in some cases, if I see the movie first, takes away from the book)

I’m currently reading The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty and holy cow. So many things in the movie are taken verbatim from the book. Entire chunks of dialogue. Even the description of Father Merrin standing in the beam of light looking up at Regan’s window… the famous picture from the movie… it’s described exactly that way in the book. I’m shocked. It almost feels like the book was possibly written based on the movie.

What is the most accurate movie based on a book that you’ve seen?

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28 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Julius Caesar (the 1953 version with James mason and Marlon Brando)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_Caesar_(1953_film)

Word for word the same.

Symbeline's avatar

If we’re talking about Stephen King, I think Misery is probably the most accurate movie based on the book. (out of all the work I am familiar with, anyway) Sure there are some changes, but essentially it keeps the concept unbroken. Not that it’s a very complicated idea, but Annie is a complicated character, and I think Kathy Bates got the role down.

Pet Sematary I thought was another movie that did the book justice. The book is about man’s contemplation of death as much as it is about dead stuff coming back to cause trouble in da neighborhood. The more deeper parts of the book which deal with the concept of death I thought were translated in movie form with great effort. They didn’t go too far into it, but just enough so we knew it was a thing, and fans of the novel could appreciate the inclusion. They made all the book’s events flow pretty well, probably one of the more accurate King movies.

And I must agree, I love most of the Stephen King movies, but many I like because of how bad they are.

Pachy's avatar

“The Last Temptation of Christ.” Scorsese did Kazantzakis’ wonderful novel proud.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The best at it? No clue. It’s been decades since reading and seeing To Kill a Mockingbird, but if memory serves correctly. the movie was pretty spot-on.

poofandmook's avatar

@Symbeline: BLASPHEMY!!! Misery was one of the ABSOLUTE WORST Stephen King adaptations in terms of accuracy. Yes, Kathy Bates was good but they changed so many things completely needlessly. I remember watching the movie the same day I finished the book, so the book was fresh, and I was flat out angry about it. I don’t remember specifics now, but I’m pretty sure one of the things changed was the part in the book when she puts the block of wood between his ankles and hammers his foot over the block. Taking that out REALLY took away from just how psychotic and twisted she was. Anyone can think to hit someone with a hammer, but to do it in that manner takes a truly demented mind, and that was severely lacking in the movie.

Symbeline's avatar

Oh, if you mean stuff like that, then yeah. They didn’t even include the part at the end where she’s found dead in the barn, gripping the chainsaw. I was disappointed too.
But what I mean is that the idea remained the same, without changing the story or concept. And I disagree about her lunacy, obviously in the book it goes more into it, but I thought the movie did a great job of portraying her as a nutcase.

ragingloli's avatar

I have no idea, for I do not read books.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Who knew? There is a website called That Was NOT in the Book. The link takes you to the page with the least number of differences. Tied for first place are Fever Pitch and Heat. Misery is listed as only having four differences.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@poofandmook ONE of the only reasons I will never watch MISERY is precisely because of that scene which most certainly is in the movie (at least it was when I watched it eons ago).

poofandmook's avatar

@Dan_Lyons: Okay so I was partially right. That scene is different though.

janbb's avatar

To Kill a Mockingbird

Cruiser's avatar

Lone Survivor did a decent job with putting the book up on the screen

wildpotato's avatar

No Country for Old Men is pretty spot-on. I think it had to do with McCarthy’s and the Coen brothers’ styles meshing well. Also that Bell’s monologues were lifted from the book.

I think that accuracy to a text can be relative, and the sort of superficial details you mention do not tend to qualify for me as true differences. 237 was probably just an inside reference to the director or something like that, and the differences with hairstyles and color may have been due to personal choices by the actors. Directors likely feel that disregarding these simplest of things precisely because it does not tend to bother most viewers, even those who have read the book.

Differences that bother me are when movies change major plot points and things about a character’s personality and motivations. This happens to almost every Philip K Dick book made into a film, for example. To take the animals out of Bladerunner (in book form: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) is to miss half the point of the book, the half that necessarily complements the half that’s about the robots.

Winter_Pariah's avatar

The most accurate rendition of The Count of Monte Cristo I’ve seen wasn’t a movie but an anime, Gankutsuou. And that was set in a sci-fi setting. And the Count is some sort of space vampire possessing the body of Edmond Dantes. And there are mechas… But despite all that, it stuck more true to the actual storyline than any other portrayal of The Count of Monte Cristo that I’ve seen thus far.

Now that is just sad. Good anime though.

canidmajor's avatar

Not sure this counts, but pretty much all of the adapted-for-screen Shakespeare plays I have seen have stayed true, no matter what period they are set in. The latest Much Ado About Nothing under the direction of Joss Whedon is a delight.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Another Stephen King book, The Green Mile. I saw the film first, then tried to read the series – there’s really no point, it’s almost exactly like the movie.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Of what I’ve read and watched, I’d say The Road comes closest to the book, but there are still some differences (largely trivial however).

filmfann's avatar

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was remarkably accurate. It’s almost as if they didn’t have a script, and just used the book.
While there were many, many alterations of the later books, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone” was pretty accurate. There might be 3 minor changes from the book.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

The first “Harry Potter” novel. When I read the book, I kept thinking that it had really been written as a screenplay for a movie. Said movie didn’t disappoint.

As for the entire “Harry Potter” universe, I lost interest after a few installments. The books became tedious and self-indulgent (how many pages were used for a meaningless Quidditch tournament?), and the films collapsed under their own kitschy special effects.

zenzen's avatar

Spiderman.

zenvelo's avatar

I’ll also vote for The Road.

And Grapes of Wrath was pretty close too. And so was Maltese Falcon.

zenzen's avatar

Birdy.

linguaphile's avatar

Shawshank Redemption. It might help that Shawshank is a short story, not a novel. The only difference that I can remember is that the rape scene in the story is much more graphic than in the movie.

poofandmook's avatar

@linguaphile: I don’t remember that. Which is actually making me wonder if I actually ever read the story, lol… I thought I did, because I know I own it.

I know the most important things – the plot and characters – are what make the movie, but for some odd reason, little details that mean nothing purposely being changed just irritate the crap out of me. I always feel like it’s like the screenplay writer criticizing the author. Which I’m quite sure is ridiculous.. lol.. but perhaps I have a smidge of some strange version of OCD when it comes to this stuff.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@zenvelo “And Grapes of Wrath was pretty close too.’

Really? Granted I’ve never actually seen the film, but my understanding is that it takes on a much more optimistic tone than the book, completely changes the ending, and cuts out the political message of the book.

Juliasmile's avatar

Game of Thrones is pretty spot on as far as I can tell. Just started watching the 1st season, however, so I can’t say if it will keep on track.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Juliasmile The Game of Thrones series is excellent, and I would say that they’ve done a good job of putting that world and that story on the screen, but they have changed a lot of details. I think the changes are good ones (because it would be impossible to follow all of the threads of the story otherwise), but if the OP is looking for literal fidelity to the text, this series is not it. They’ve created entirely new characters, and sometimes combined multiple characters into one character, and moved the timelines and events here and there.

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

If you count TV movies, “Lonesome Dove” was an excellent adaptation of Larry McMurtry’s epic of the same name.

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