Top Ten Friday: Movies Based on Books

Today’s Top Ten list is best movies that came from books.  Brad came up with some fantastic rules for this so I’ll let him do the honors on that.  Oh, and there were 15, not 10, yes I cheated but it was way too hard to make this only 10:

-First, BOTH the book and the movie have to be great.  That eliminates such luminaries as Starship Troopers (same, by Heinlein:  GREAT book, but only a good movie.  Underrated, but still only good) and The 13th Warrior (Eaters of the Dead – Crichton: GREAT movie, but the book… not so much.)

-Second, it must be a book, not a short story.  Read:  The Shawshank Redemption (Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King, of course) and A Christmas Story (In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash – Jean Shepherd) are out.

-Third, I eliminated the Lord of the Rings trilogy because it’s a trilogy.  Felt like cheating.

As compiled by Jack, not in order (N.B. click on the images to go to the product page at

To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)

The Godfather (Mario Puzo)

Jurassic Park (Michael Crichton)

Blade Runner originally “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” (Philip K. Dick)

The Princess Bride (William Goldman)

Field of Dreams (Jerry Blaton)

Fight Club (Chuck Palahniuk)

Cool Hand Luke (Donn Pearce)

A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess)

High Fidelity (Nick Hornby)

Eight Men Out (Eliot Asinof)

The Firm (John Grisham)

Silence of the Lambs (Thomas Harris)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl)

There Will Be Blood (Upton Sinclair)

Love it?  Hate it?  Tell us in the comments section!


  1. Love your list, but it is incomplete without “Gone With the Wind,” excellent both on paper and on film.

  2. I watched “There Will Be Blood” and was totally weirded out! Maybe I should read the book instead…

    I have to add “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker – great on film, paper and stage!

  3. Ayanna and Laura, those were major oversights. I guess that’s what happens when you put a stodgy northeastern educated white guy in his 20’s in charge of making a list like this 😛

  4. I gotta say Jurassic Park (the movie) has not aged well in my opinion.

    I haven’t read “There Will Be Blood” so I can’t vouch for both but I will say “No Country For Old Men” was both a great book and a fantastic movie.

    A couple of others:

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
    Contact (very good read)

  5. I’d like to add The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Naked Lunch, Crash (the 1998 James Spader film, not the more recent one), Dracula (the original Bela Lugosi film and “Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary” by Guy Maddin), Svankmajer’s Alice, and Ghost World. I have high hopes for the upcoming Watchmen.

    A lot of people also forget that “The Wizard of Oz” is based on a book.

    And Starship Troopers is only a good movie if you look at it as a completely separate piece, standing on it’s own with no relation to the book. Looking at it that way, it’s not bad. Looking at it as being based on the book, I think it’s atrocious.

    I’m also still waiting for someone to do a good screen adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft material – word is that a Lovecraft movie is one of Guillermo Del Toro’s dream projects, but he will only do it if he can do “right”, with creative and financial freedom. If anyone can do it he can…but anyways, there’s my 2 (more like 10) cents. 🙂

  6. Niko,
    JPark hasn’t aged well, perhaps, the landmark nature of its effects can’t be discounted. It’s also a pretty solid read.

    Agreed on “No Country…” completely, and Cuckoo is major oversight (oops) but Contact, although well done in text was… less than optimal on film.

    Wasn’t aware that “Unbearable…” was a movie as well… gotta add that on my Netflix. Oz is a great one but I wonder how many have read the book (interestingly, a satire against moving from the country to the city/NY (notice OZ are the letters right after NY… not a coincidence).

    I too am very, very excited about Watchmen.

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