Filmmakers love adapting books for their films. As we're about to show you, some of the greatest films of all time have been based on books. And this is a trend that isn't stopping. In our booklover's guide to the Oscars
, we revealed just how many of the 2016-nominated films have their origins in books.
But can you pick just one as your favourite? Yes, we're going there.
We asked some of our colleagues to tell us what their favourite film adapted from a book is, and to tell us a little bit about why they picked that particular film.
We think there might be a few surprises in this list! Read on for your chance to win a prize pack of best-selling film tie-in editions.
Alex’s pick: The Martian
Loyally adapted from Andy Weir’s brilliant novel, this stunning survival story truly is a marriage between Castaway
and Apollo 13
. After an accident leaves astronaut Mark Watney stranded on Mars he must fight with little food, low water, and no way of contacting earth.
The film brilliantly follows his battle for survival as he builds, thinks, and curses his way out of everything Mars can throw at him to get back home.
Rhys’s pick: Jaws
Duuuunnnn dun... duuuunnnn dun... dundun dundun dundun dundun dundun dundun duh nah NAH!
Some films are so iconic you actually forget that they started out as novels. Spielberg took the bones of the novel by Peter Benchley and fleshed it out, keeping the suspenseful drama of the book but tightening the characters and injecting some well-placed humour. The film alters some of the unnecessary elements (the affair between Hooper and Ellen Brody; Hooper’s death in the shark cage), and gives the audience a much more satisfying finale, including one of film’s most iconic shots. The book is definitely worth a read as a comparison point, but this is one case where the film far surpasses the original novel. It may not be safe to go back in the water, but it’s definitely safe to dive into this book! (Groan…)
Kate’s pick: The Lord of the Rings
Although this is technically three film adaptations, Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the three volumes is brilliant! He chose wisely which sections to cut and which to expand on (pity he didn’t do the same with The Hobbit
), and all characters were excellently cast. Tolkien’s entire fantasy world gets brought to life and holds you enthralled, even with an epic run time of 558 minutes.
Sophie’s pick: Twilight
An unashamed Twilight-lover (Twi-hard?) who attended the midnight screenings, I honestly don’t think I have ever been more excited about a film screening….
If you don’t believe me, see the photo evidence from New Moon
, and pay particular attention to the cup with Jacob’s face on it. It’s the only merch I have ever purchased. Oh, along with my Team Jacob hoodie.
Everyone might be a hater now but I promise back in the noughties it was the biggest and best thing ever!
Imogen’s pick: High Fidelity
It’s an oldie, but a goodie! What’s not to love about a light hearted look into the top 5 (desert island) break-ups of a 30-something male? Rob owns a vinyl store and spends his time wallowing in self-pity and creating mixed tapes and ‘best of’ lists with his two employees. The relationship between Rob and his employees (the best type of music snob geeks) are even funnier on film, partly due to the fabulously cast Jack Black, and the scenes in Championship Vinyl are easily my favourite.
Rob’s asides to the camera are as funny and heartfelt as the honestly flawed characters and the great commentary on relationships that is threaded throughout the book and movie. The pop culture references throughout both will be enjoyed by anyone who has a general knowledge of music. The book is an easy, enjoyable afternoon read, and perfect when followed immediately by the movie.
Mark’s pick: The Shawshank Redemption
A film that always finds its way onto someone’s list of favourites, Frank Darabont’s 1994 adaptation of the Stephen King novella is as powerful as it is moving. A tribute to the will to survive and the power of human connection.
Morgan Freeman’s “Red” is our guide to life of the incarcerated. When he first introduces us to Andy Dufresne, we are instantly intrigued. Guilty or not, Andy’s life of incarceration is a living hell and a train wreck we find incredibly hard to watch, but the fact that Andy never complains and simply fights for his life makes it equally as hard to look away. Being that we see the film from Red’s point of view, Andy’s quiet and solitary nature renders him somewhat of an enigma.
As the years go by we see the strengthening bond between Andy and Red, so much so that we witness the inevitable friction between their opposing life views. Their relationship is truly tested, but even opposition from his closest friend is not enough to quell Andy’s fortitude. Given the rough end of every stick, Andy never gives up as we are glued to the screen waiting to see what will break first: Andy, or the Walls.
A reminder of the power of the human spirit, this film is up there with the greatest of all time.
Tonile’s pick: Shutter Island
Based on Dennis Lehane’s 2003 novel of the same name, Martin Scorsese
’s 2010 Shutter Island
is my second favourite film based on a book of all time. (Why am I writing about my second favourite? Mark already picked The Shawshank Redemption
.) It’s a simple story with a final twist that initially kept me reeling for days, and even now upon multiple re-watches, I’m still deeply affected by Scorsese’s thrills and Robbie Robertson’s expertly-curated soundtrack.
Set in the 1950s, two US Marshals travel to Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of a patient at the island’s hospital for the criminally insane. They are met with an icy reception, both literally from an incoming storm and figuratively from the abrasive and standoffish staff. Their only clue leads them to suspect the existence of a 67th patient, with only 66 patients officially on record.
What follows is a chilling psychological thriller, irrefutably more enjoyable than what’s being passed off as a thriller in 2016, that will stay with you long after the credits begin to roll.
Sue’s pick: Goosebumps
R.L Stine’s Goosebumps series is a publishing phenomenon that’s kept generations of kids up at night. With over 400 million copies sold and appealing to both boys and girls, it’s surprising that it took so long for a film adaptation to be released.
Dubbed the ‘Stephen King’ of kids lit, Stine created so many creepy characters it’s impossible to fit them all into one film. Luckily, director Rob Letterman doesn’t leave fans disappointed as the best of Stine’s beastly characters – the Giant Praying Mantis, the Abominable Snowman of Pasadena, The Werewolf of Fever Swamp and the evil ventriloquist dummy Slappy – all make an appearance. When the monsters are unintentionally unleashed from their manuscripts, creating mayhem and terrorizing the town, it’s up to Stine, his daughter Hannah, and new neighbor Zach to get them all back into their books.
Jack Black’s portrayal of the reclusive author is a standout performance. The frenetic pace, frightening monsters, and self-referential ‘in-jokes’ offer thrills and laughs for kids and kidults alike. And true to the books there’s a twist at the end. Good creepy fun!
Claire’s pick: Clueless
My favourite film based on a book is Clueless
, based on Jane Austen's Emma
. It's a glorious 90's teen flick that manages to maintain the key character beats of the novel while transplanting its time and place.
Like Emma Woodhouse, Cher Horowitz is rich, beautiful, and very confident in her abilities to improve people's lives. Both women are loveable, but very fallible - and their process of realising their faults is massively entertaining. The importance of social hierarchies easily translates to rich LA teenagers and the fact that it's all set to an amazing pop soundtrack doesn't hurt at all.
We'd love to know which film based on a book is your favourite! Tell us in the comments below, let us know why you picked it, and you'll automatically be in the running to win a prize pack of best-selling film tie-in edition books including The Revenant
and American Sniper