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FutureMemory's avatar

Can you think of a movie you've seen that is better than the book it's based on?

Asked by FutureMemory (24476points) June 1st, 2010

The only one that comes to my mind is Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. The novel is just flat and almost boring in comparison to the film version.

What other examples can the collective come up with? What made the film version better?

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22 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

The Shining, another Kubrick film, was better than the book. I think there may be more but off the top of my head, that’s what I’ve got. Then there are films like To Kill a Mockingbird where they are simply different, maybe equally as good, just different art forms.

FutureMemory's avatar

Ahh yes, The Shining was an excellent movie, one of my all time favorites! I thought the book was just as good, maybe even better.. but then again the novel was the first King book I’d ever read, so that probably affected my perception.

lillycoyote's avatar

@FutureMemory I may be a little biased too. I’m not really much of a Stephen King fan, though I have to confess that I have read The Stand twice but that was only because I was trying to avoid writing my senior college thesis and it was the biggest, longest mindless novel I could find at the time. :)

Trillian's avatar

I’ve read both books mentioned and seen the movies as well. I must respectfully disagree about The Shining, although the remake came closer than Mr. Kubrick’s attempt. A clockwork Orange left out the last chapter which would have changed the movie, but I agree that the cinematography captured the feel of the book.
I believe that I have never seen a movie surpass to the book. Pride and Prejudice was kind of close with the A & E version which was almost six hours long, but the one with Keira Knightley was horrible, and I can say this having seen about four minutes of it. Hollywood changed Elizabeth’s feelings about Mr Darcy and added kisses that did not exist. That was enough for me.
Peter Jackson did extremely well with LOTR, but still left out a lot, by necessity, I understand. But if you hadn’t read the books, you wouldn’t know that Boramir tried to take the ring because he was flawed within, and the blood of Numinor was not true in him, as opposed to his brother Faramir who let Frodo go. You don’t get to learn that Merry and Pippin drank Entmeade and grew in stature as a consequence. You don’t learn that Faramir and Eowyn grew to love each other while he was recovering and that he recovered only because Aragorn was a true king and could properly use Athelas, Kings Foil.
Sorry, I’m a reader and when I read I can see the pictures in my mind. The Sword of Truth series, by Terry Goodkind, has been made into a mini series and has some elements, but falls flat. The Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher, has also been made into a series and the books are delightful but Hollywood has jakked them up too.
Hate, hate, hate.
Hey! How did @lily coyote sneak another one in there? ;-)

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Don’t get me wrong, I love “To Kill a Mockingbird”, but I thought the movie was even better. First of all, you have Gregory peck who plays Atticus Finch really well and I felt the part where Scout sees Boo Radley for the first time was more enchanting on the screen than in the book.

Randy's avatar

Fight Club was one of those that translated better on film as well in my opinion. The sight of bruises and blood, seeing the contrasting personalities “clash” and the way David Fincher mixed his dark tones with the dark undertones of the story all made for an amazing film. The book is great, don’t get me wrong but that visual element made the story even better.

I agree with A Clockwork Orange as well. Great film… boring book.

lillycoyote's avatar

A couple more. It thought The Postman Always Rings Twice, the original, was better than the book. I had a little pulp fiction phase :) ... and I haven’t read Mario Puzo’s book, but I have always suspected that the movie The Godfather was probably better than the book.

FutureMemory's avatar

@lillycoyote The Godfather is an excellent book, but I must admit the movie is one of the best films ever made, in my opinion. It might be a tie :)

faye's avatar

I’ve never seen a movie better than the book and I’m a big reader. I liked The Godfather as a book but I didn’t like the movie. Notebook came close but maybe I just liked looking at the actor!

lillycoyote's avatar

And there’s one other where I thought the book and the movie were equally good, neither one was a masterpiece just a charming story and that was 24 Charing Cross Road. The book was very sweet and the movie was pretty true to the book and you can’t beat the cast: Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins as the main characters. They were perfect in it. And it’s a movie about books and book lovers! But equal is not better, and most movies are rarely better than, or even equal to the book.

filmfann's avatar

The Godfather and Fight Club were both better movies, though it was closer with FC. But I can’t talk about it.

Jurassic Park was a better movie, but it wasn’t because the book was bad. It’s just cooler watching the dinosaurs.
Contact worked much better as a movie. It got rid of all the extra stuff between her and her mothers husband.
Field of Dreams was terrific, and much easier to watch than Shoeless Joe was to read.

squidcake's avatar

I’d say Howl’s Moving Castle but I have a feeling not many know of that movie/book anyways.

tranquilsea's avatar

@squidcake I didn’t know Howl’s Moving Castle was a book but we adore the movie. We also love Spirited Away.

tranquilsea's avatar

I can’t think of one movie that was better than the book. I’ll have to think harder.

stardust's avatar

@tranquilsea I’m in the same boat for now

MacBean's avatar

Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Atonement
The Neverending Story
Lord of the Rings
The Stepford Wives
Deliverance (I didn’t like the movie, either, but it was better than the book.)
Twilight (Again, don’t like the movie(s), either, but the book(s) are even worse.)

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...Crap, I know my list is longer, but these are the ones I can think of off the top of my head while I’m tired.

mrentropy's avatar

I like Bladerunner more than I like “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep.” But, to be honest, I think the movie is different than the book I’m not sure it’s a fair comparison.

filmfann's avatar

Also in the PKDick section, Minority Report.

Cat4thCB's avatar

Princess Bride the author kept interrupting the story to talk about his father reading the book to him
The Hunt for Red October all that techno speak, I just couldn’t get into it
Rambo (the book was titled “First Blood”) it was a good book, really, just liked the movie better.
Eiger Sanction with Clint Eastwood, terrible and boring
A River Runs Through It based on a short story that had made no sense to me
Die Hard wasn’t too good at describing action
L.A. Confidential the book is 500 pages or so with umpteen characters that take forever to connect with each other

MissAnthrope's avatar

The Soloist. I was given the book to read before it was a movie and as much as the book seemed fascinating and interesting, I could not get into the author’s style. I found it difficult to read and eventually gave it up. The movie was pretty darn great, though.

MacBean's avatar

@MissAnthrope That movie is quite near the top of my Netflix queue right now. :D

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Reading @poofandmook’s movie review blog the other day, I was reminded of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. The movie affected me deeply and has stayed with me. The book made me feel nothing.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I agree with Fight Club. The book just didn’t have the power behind it, for me. I do like the author, I was surprised to enjoy the movie more than the book – but I really did.

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