The BOOK was BETTER than the MOVIE

When these books were adapted for the screen, they didn't live up to expectations.
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flag this list (?)
1,354 books · 17,890 voters · list created July 29th, 2008 by Kathleen (votes) .
619 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Kathleen 287 books
10 friends
Shadi 193 books
27 friends
Slayermel 4554 books
280 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 2795 books
652 friends
I am Bastet 1957 books
147 friends
Jill 2837 books
75 friends
Kate 851 books
40 friends
Trisha 2834 books
72 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-50 of 409) (409 new)


message 1: by Debbie (new)

Debbie i love this list because the book is always better then the movie


message 2: by Eliza (new)

Eliza I'd be curious to see a list of movies that were better than the book, I certainly can't think of any...


message 3: by Meaghan (new)

Meaghan I think To Kill a Mockingbird, the movie was actually a really good adaptation of the book - the only one I like, actually. I don't know if I would go so far as to say BETTER than the book.


message 4: by Erin (new)

Erin The book is ALWAYS better than the movie.


message 5: by Sagar (new)

Sagar Though I agree that the book is always better than the movie, but I think Shawshank Redemption, can be made an exception. That is the only one that I can think of.

When I read this short story by Stephen King, it didn't feel as gr8 as was the movie. I think Frank Darabont just made something special out of it.


message 6: by Giacomo (new)

Giacomo How do I vote for "pretty much any graphic novel adaptation"?


message 7: by Joan (new)

Joan One instance where I thought the movie was better than the book - "The Bridges of Madison County" - after reading it, which only took me about three hours, I couldn't believe this had been on all the best seller lists and was highly touted by the critics. Went to see the movie only because I like Streep and Eastwood, and not really expecting much, but thought it was terrific. Another movie that I liked better than the book was "The Shipping News" but that may be just me; Annie Proulx doesn't do much for me.


message 8: by Omdog (last edited Aug 20, 2008 05:46AM) (new)

Omdog I Only voted for The Princess Bride because even though I'm a strong advocate for books over movies, this was the first book turned movie that I thought came anywhere close to representing the text. Since reading it, I've always believed this movie to be superior in execution of a tale that had me laughing out loud every other page. And there wasn't an option (other than here) of saying if you thought that the movie did an accurate or better version of the story

So they changed the Zoo of Death to the Pits of Despair... not that big a difference in the scheme of things, and when you've got the author on set giving his approval for the change, who can complain really?

Taking dialog verbatem from the book was what really sold me on the movie, and the only way I can concieve (heh) a better version being done is if they could have incorporated the background bits without making the movie too much longer than it is.

Then again, I'm young enough that I didn't know there Was a book until after I'd seen the movie.



message 9: by Ciqu (new)

Ciqu i have not met a movie that is better than the book...yet. i think the latest adaptation of "Pride & Prejudice" with Keira Knightley was a grand effort that i thoroughly enjoyed and Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings Trilogy" although skipping alot on the history of Middle Earth (understandably) is my favourite movie adaptation of a book so much so that I have the DVDs as well the book.


message 10: by Omdog (last edited Aug 20, 2008 05:55AM) (new)

Omdog Starship Troopers is another tough one. How can you even say that they're the same story?

I liked the movie for how it updated/advanced the already far advanced technology of Heinlen's time, and how they humanized more of the characters. Take away that, and there still isn't enough in common with the book to think that it is okay giving them the same title.


message 11: by Emily (new)

Emily Lind I think that Fight Club was actually a better movie than it was a book. Both very good, though, and of course the movie wouldn't exist without the book.


message 12: by Robin (new)

Robin The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the few cases of movies that I've loved; and I could never get through the books.

And I'd have to agree with the writer who mentioned The Shawshank Redemption. I thought that the movie came closer to the meaning of the story, if that makes any sense. It might have been the script though in that particular case, I really think it was Tim Robbins and MOrgan Freeman.


message 13: by Trish (new)

Trish How about Dr. Zhivago? It was an amazing movie, and although Pasternak's book is great, it just didn't have the visuals or the musical score that the movie did.


message 14: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Although I saw Holes before I read it, and usually I don't like the movie as well as the book, this was one case where I thought that both were equally emjoyable.


message 15: by Jannette (last edited Aug 20, 2008 09:17AM) (new)

Jannette There are quite a few on the list that I've only seen/read one or the other, and even more that I've never seen either. However, I'm flabbergasted that The English Patient isn't on this list. The movie was sentimental schlock that focused on the least interesting relationship. The book was incredible. I saw the movie first, and I'm so glad that it didn't dissuade me from reading the book.

That said, there are a lot of movies on this list that were almost offensively bad-- from Memoirs of a Geisha and The Hours to (shudder) the Dr. Seuss adaptations.

Some of the movies, though, are really good in their own right, even if the book is better. The Lord of the Rings movies and The Great Gatsby are both great, and stick pretty close to their source material.

I also liked the movie version of Everything is Illuminated-- Eugene Hutz was so awesome-- except for the the one twist that really really differed from the book. On the other hand, I was glad that they ditched the whole Trachimbrod literary-Chagall chapters, which were the most annoying parts of the book.

Similarly, both the book and movie High Fidelity had their merits. I'd be hard-pressed to choose one over the other. (And not just because of John Cusack!) I'd say the same about The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; I really enjoyed the movie. In both these cases, though, the filmmakers stuck to the spirit of the book, even if they tweaked the storyline or moved the story to Chicago.

And I can think of a couple examples of movies that did outshine the book. One of these is Empire of the Sun. Not only is it the only Spielberg movie that I really like, it's filmed gorgeously, 13-year-old Christian Bale is amazing, and it captures something that the book is missing. Secretary is about a million times better than the Mary Gaitskill story that it's based on. And, of course it's a cliche to say that the Godfather movies are on a different plane than the books.




message 16: by Marcus (new)

Marcus where's Wonder Boys?


message 17: by Margie (new)

Margie Hooper I love both the book and movie. One of the best film to capture the mood, culture and characters of the book. One of the all time best reads and films.


message 18: by Chris (new)

Chris Clockwork Orange is also one of the closest book to movie that works -- Kubrick actually did the directing from the book when Burgess the author did the screenplay and they decided to just direct right from the book...


message 19: by Melodie (new)

Melodie This movie was better than the book -- because the ending made more sense.


message 20: by Marcus (new)

Marcus agreed...if you're speaking about Wonder Boys...the book was really good, but it went on a bit too long, and lacked a nice, concise ending. The movie did a great job of fixing the disjointed parts, and improving the overall pace.


message 21: by Diane (new)

Diane Where is "Bonfire of the Vanities"? That is a great book that was made into a dog of a movie?


message 22: by Kate (new)

Kate Corelli's Mandolin should DEFINITELY be on this list. The book is one of my favorites of all time, and the movie was absolutely horrid.


message 23: by Flyingskull (new)

Flyingskull Agree with all of the above, except for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Am not the greatest fan of the books, but Tolkien deserved better than those films.

Granted, it's not easy to adapt a book in a film, but it's not impossible to do so, witness Pratchett's Hogfather the adaptation of which was both spectacular ant thrilling and utterly adhering to the book.




message 24: by Debra (new)

Debra Montgomery Strictly speaking, Darkly Dreaming Dexter was made into a TV series, not a movie. Perhaps there should be a seperate list for books made into TV shows. BTW, I think the Dexter series is one of the better programs on television, even though it doesn't completely follow the story line of the book.


message 25: by Janie (new)

Janie Ella Enchanted was the worst movie. The book was excellent, and I read it several times because I was so excited for the movie. Sadly, It was a HUGE dissapointment. The only book I've read where the movie was better is Carrie. The remake of the movie is awesome :}


message 26: by Jerome (new)

Jerome No country for old men. Bingo! Bingo!


message 27: by Jo (new)

Jo Johnston Absolutely Agree -- they slaughtered the story and miscast the characters with Tom Hanks and Melanie Griffths. Horrible!


message 28: by Reid (new)

Reid I am amazed to see Children of Men on this list! It is a mediocre book at best, and is an absolutely stunning movie.


message 29: by David (new)

David I think this list is coming from the wrong angle. It should be "This film is better than the book": a much rarer and more noteworthy occurence. Off the top of my head I can only think of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" ...


message 30: by Angela (new)

Angela Grimpe Where is THE STAND, Best book ever, worst movie made from book!!


message 31: by Amy (new)

Amy  M. Brobst mmmm. didn't know some of these had been made into movies. Will have to get back to them. Also need to read some of the books on this list (that I have see the movies to)

Ummm have to justify my Harry Potter votes... I love the movies, but the books are way better


message 32: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie I didn't know whether to vote for The Devil Wears Prada or not because the book was great, and so was the movie, but their plots were actually different, so I feel like they almost shouldn't count as one. And not totally different, but for me, different enough.

I hope everybody has a fabulous day.


message 33: by Stven (new)

Stven I would like to add The Great Gatsby, The Sword in the Stone, Captain Horatio Hornblower, The Little Prince, and The Right Stuff.


message 34: by Matt (new)

Matt Ummm...Why is The Dark Knight Returns on this list? If there was a film adaptation of it, I'm pretty sure I'd know. People can't seriously be trying to say that the movie The Dark Knight is an adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, can they? (Or are they referring to the small little segment of the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Legends of the Dark Knight"? That wouldn't really count, I'd think.) Is there any way to recommend that a book be removed from the list?


message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

I liked the broadway play of this book but I think the book still had more of an opportunity to go into more detail. I love this book. :D


message 36: by Timothy (new)

Timothy I basically agree that the book is 99.9% of the time better than the movie; however, I didn't care at all for The Shining and loved the movie and I didn't like the book Congo and although I admit the movie was almost just as bad, I was able to get through without nodding off too badly.


message 37: by [deleted user] (new)

When Twilight comes out, youll probably have o add twilight


message 38: by Sandy (new)

Sandy Bell I liked 'Howards End' the movie better than the book!


message 39: by Aan (new)

Aan i'm agreed with Debbie..books always much much better than the movies..


message 40: by Chloe (new)

Chloe There aren't many, but some are based on the book, but end up both good and so different that it's hard to compare.


message 41: by Ashley (new)

Ashley I'd disagree that the book is always better than the movie, though in most cases that is correct. It is very hard to ever truly satisfy everyone's imagination when a novel is turned into a film. But I think the movie "Holes", wonder of wonders, was actually better than the book, despite being made by Disney.


message 42: by Amanda (new)

Amanda agreed! :)


ĴįĻŁ ĺž ©ØÕļ this list... it is interesting to see the explanations of people on why they liked the book better.


message 44: by Paige (new)

Paige The ministry was so different!


message 45: by Helene (new)

Helene In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix they missed a lot of detail out of the film which I though spoiled it a bit. I know if they put everything in it would last ages, but still. Better to do it well...or not at all.
Emma Watson was really good though as Hermione.


message 46: by Karen (new)

Karen Forest Gump! The movie is MUCH better than the book.


message 47: by Saira (new)

Saira Books are usually ALWAYS better! However the new adaption of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is almost as good as the book. :D

Out of what I've seen, I'd say Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is one of the worst adaptions. If you happen to really like NEVER watch it with me in the room or you will not hear a word of the movie. >XP I point out every single mistake in that one, even small ones because of how much I hate it.


message 48: by Saira (new)

Saira Helene wrote: "In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix they missed a lot of detail out of the film which I though spoiled it a bit. I know if they put everything in it would last ages, but still. Better to d..."

I agree. People will sit through 5 hours of Lord of the Rings so why not add some more of the story instead of leaving so much detail out. XP I liked it first time around because it is closer than the others, but I can't watch it anymore.



message 49: by [deleted user] (new)

Well, I nominated "Forrest Gump" and I cannot think of a better book in proportion to the film based on it. If you disagree then you haven't read it.


message 50: by Karen (new)

Karen I read Forest Gump and thought the movie was much better. I liked his character more in the movie - they made him more of a wide-eyed-innocent. I found him much less likable in the book.


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