The Shining The Shining question

Stanley Kubrick vs. made for TV version: which is better?
Rade Rade Dec 27, 2012 10:35AM
We all know that the Stanley Kubrick version of Stephen King's book The Shining is great, but there was also made for TV movie by the same name that came out few years ago. In my opinion, all the changes that Kubrick made are great. The addition of twins, the ending, it was all nicely done. The made for TV movie was more true to the book as it had original book ending and had things like Danny being "attacked" by water hose. Discuss?

Personally I preferred the mini-series; two of the things in the book that I found terrifying were the topiary hedges and the firehose......completely omitted from the Kubrick version. (I disliked the substitution of the hedge maze in his offering). Also, the Stanley Hotel was used as the setting for the mini-series; it is the original haunted hotel that inspired King to write The Shining in the first place.

Nicholson was totally over the top annoying with his maniacal portrayal of Jack Torrence; Shelley Duvall's weak, whiny characterization of Wendy was equally annoying.....I just can't watch that movie anymore.

The theatrical movie was a tour-de-force for Jack Nicholson. As a film ,it was dark, foreboding and disturbing. True, everybody else was background for the hotel and Jack Torrance.

The mini-series was a faithful novel adaptation and beautifully filmed but too long and boring. Being faithful to a written work does not always work on film. Finally, Steven Weber as Jack Torrance was laughable. He is a lightweight actor who specializes in watered down TV drama and he came across as an actor delivering his lines. He also looked out of his ilk.

On a side note, Stephen King slammed Stanley Kubrick's film version because it strayed from his novel. Kubrick made a movie not a filmed novel. The tv mini-series was like too many of King's novels made into movies, confusing, slow-moving and talky. Sadly, King's novels don't always make very good films. I can name ten that were very good: Carrie, Salem's Lot (amazingly, a tv-movie), The Shining (the film), It (another tv-movie), Stand By Me, Misery, Bag of Bones (another tv-movie), The Green Mile, Shawshank Redemption, and The Mist. Finally, films need to stand on their own and not depend on the aura of the book on which they are based or the mystique and enormous talent of the writer.

UGH The made for TV was the BEST! No questions asked, no competition. It was true to the book.

The two are difficult to compare in my opinion since, they are essentially two different stories.

The film was a work of art; Stanley Kubrick's art, that is.

The mini-series is a true film adaptation of the actual story told by Stephen King.

They are both good, and, as is common with film adaptations of literature, they are both flawed.

I recommend each. The film for its artistic merit and the pure genius of Kubrick and the mini-series for maintaining and presenting the story as Stephen King had wished it to be told to a viewing audience.

Stephen King was reportedly dissatisfied with Kubrick's vision for his story. To remedy this, King wrote the mini-series for TV a few years ago. It was much truer to the book and, in my opinion, the better offering.

Having said that, there is nothing so iconic as Jack Nicholson in that role. Shelly Duvall was annoying and halfway through, I was kind of hoping he would hack her to bits to shut her up. This is just my personal opinion, of course.

Both movies had virtues and strikes against them, but as far as which is more like the book, definitely the series.

I think when it comes to a Stephen King novel turned to a movie, let Stephen King do it. Though there are exceptions to that rule (I heard he did a bad job adapting his work into a screenplay for "Pet Sematary") he will probably do the best to making the movie version scary.

I have not even seen much of his TV movie but I remember jumping at a scene involving the dreaded hotel room that Danny is warned not to go inside of and he did.

I have seen (and unfortunately bought) Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. I wonder why people have thought it was a classic all of this time! The only memorable thing that came from it is "Heee-re's Johnny!" Not that much of a legacy...

And I see how the film is drawn out in length to give an idea of isolation from each other in the huge hotel but come on... that makes the film draggy and boring. There was no real scene that scared me too bad or made me afraid of going to bed. But the book chilled me to the bone!

And that one scene I saw in the TV movie has made me wish to see the rest of it.

So I say The Shining TV movie version all the way!

I've never seen the tv movie but I can tell you that I absolutely adore the movie. It's definitely one of my favourites of all time. I also love the book as I am a huge King fan. I know there were differences in them both and that King didn't agree with a lot of what Kubrick did but I can appreciate both versions.


The miniseries doesn't present the speculations that the movie does. some about the illuminati and some like this one...

I've seen both and I prefer the mini series to the movie.

Dan (last edited May 30, 2013 04:56PM ) May 30, 2013 04:53PM   0 votes
Kubrick isn't considered one of the best directors of all time for putting out mediocre films, people. But I will say, he was definitely known for changing his source material in mostly all of his films. I recall that there was quite a stir over him omitting the last chapter of A Clockwork Orange, and also, him having falling outs with Arthur C. Clarke (2001 ASO) and Gustav Hasford (Full Metal Jacket/The Short-Timers) because his vision for the screen differed from their visions from the page. That being said though, nobody knocks Piccaso or Warhol for putting their own unique spin on portraits, lol.

I read the book all by myself in the dark when I was young. Scared me to death.
I got the same sense of fear when I watched the Kubrick version. However - I watched the movie first. After watching it again after reading the book, I was distracted by the changes.
I think as a movie influenced by a book of the same title, the Kubrick version is by far a better movie.
I don't think there is a debate as to whether or not the tv miniseries was closer to the book. It just wasn't as good of a movie.

i couldn't gel with the miniseries, in the same way i could never connect with the mini series of The Stand and It - the production values just never quite got there

The Kubrick version is a piece of art, it always has something new to discover (the last new thing i saw was the woman at the party with the blood red hand print on her back), the mini series is what it is and nothing more. I am pretty confident i could watch Kubrick's piece another 10 times and find 10 new things - there's a youtube chap - Rob Ager - who has done some fascinating little documentaries on The Shining if ever you're up at 3am with insomnia as i often am

I like the Kubrick version. King didn't like Kubrick's changes. Stanley Kubrick never told Stephen King how to write a good novel. Stephen King should not tell Stanley Kubrick how to make a good movie.

I love Stephen King's work. But on the big screen, Kubrick dwarfs King.

Sunsette (last edited Aug 09, 2013 09:21PM ) Aug 09, 2013 09:20PM   0 votes
I wasn't even aware that there was a made-for-television version. I loved the movie. Jack is my hero. I have to say that I thought the book was much better, though. I find that to be true in most cases of book vs movie. I try to always read the book first, so I know all the details that are left out of the movies. (my apologies for going off-topic)

The Mini series by far!. Kubricks version I still consider one of the worst films EVER made. It was ridiculous and destroyed an amazing book. That stupid finger crap with Danny, and the caretakers "cameo", and the crap ending. Kubrick was a self serving megalomaniac and this wasn't the first book he destroyed because he mistakenly thought he KNEW better.

Stanley Kubricks version was a lot better. To me King tends to overdramatize with screenplays - his movie had over acting, too much melodrama, and too much in your face moments. Kubrick was artifully subtle, psychologically creepy, Nicholson was an excellent actor, and everything was an intense build up.

Matthew (last edited May 30, 2013 05:21AM ) May 30, 2013 05:20AM   0 votes
I read The Shining in 1979, the year before Kubrick's film came out. Some of the novel's most unsettling scenes--the firehose, the topiary animals, the woman in 217--were so shocking and visual in their descriptiveness that I found myself imagining how they would look in the film, even storyboarding them shot for shot in my mind.

When I saw Kubrick’s film, I won’t lie--I was disappointed. So much of what I was looking forward to, so much of what I couldn’t wait to see interpreted to the big screen, was missing.

The miniseries has filled in the blanks for me, given me what was missing, and you know, I think director Mick Garris must have been reading my mind. So many of the classic scenes in the miniseries are exactly as I imagined them, right down to the shot! (the woman in 217 is directed exactly as I visualized it when reading it all those years ago)

At the same time, I have warmed to Kubrick’s version. The additions are fantastic (the twins have become iconic among horror fans), and the atmosphere is such an eloquent slow burn that I can’t even watch a scene on YouTube without feeling a chill down my spine. And that ominous music! It sounds like we are in the belly of a giant beast, hearing it growl angrily in its sleep.

There's no denying that Stanley Kubrick was a great director and there's no denying that Stephen King is a great writer; however, Stanley Kubrick had a much better understanding of what works on the screen and what doesn't, which is why, more often than not, other people are taking King's work and rewriting it for the screen. King has been a director a few times, but he just doesn't have the same amount of talent in directing as he does in his writing; that being said, with the right directors, King's work can be much more appreciated on the screen.

Gary (last edited May 30, 2013 05:30PM ) May 30, 2013 05:28PM   0 votes
I remember reading that Kubrick commented after making A Clockwork Orange that had he known the book had a different ending than his film, he'd have done things differently. I can't help but wonder how closely or if he read King's book for his adaptation....

That said, Kubrick's film is a very different thing from the book. I don't think it's a bad movie, but it's not a great one, and it's far from a strong adaptation. Kubrick is a hugely important figure in film, but it's hard to watch his version of The Shining these days and not see it as campy, and rather slowly paced.

TV version. Hands down.
I was bummed when I first saw Kubrick's version. It left the best parts of the book out !

I've seen bits of the mini-series...was not impressed with what I saw, BUT I might be more than a little biased because "The Shining" has always been a favorite movie. Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall are brilliant, just perfectly cast, nobody else could ever do justice to Jack and Wendy Torrance, and I don't think anybody should try to again.

Rade wrote: "We all know that the Stanley Kubrick version of Stephen King's book The Shining is great, but there was also made for TV movie by the same name that came out few years ago. In my opinion, all the c..."

The movie was better than the book, ergo, the movie is better than the TV special

I prefer Stanley Kubrick's vision of The Shining. It still stands as one of the top movies in horror. True it did not follow the book but very few movies follow the book.

I liked the television series better overall but my favorite individual scenes were in the Kubrick version, with the exception of the scene where the ball bounces back into the room to Rebecca De Mornay. In the Kubrick version the scenes of Danny riding the Big Wheel down the halls were excellent.

However, the loss of the topiary animals in the Kubrick version were unforgivable and the maze didn't compensate

SpookySoto (last edited Aug 08, 2013 03:29PM ) May 07, 2013 10:47AM   0 votes
Neither one, both are boring. I've tried to see Kubrick movie like a dozen times, it's too boring I don't understand what people see in it.
Overall, I didn't like the book either so maybe that's the problem

Hated both versions...loved the book. Not a fan of remakes, but would love to see a do-over of this.

The mini-series is the one I loved while the Stanley Kubrick version was alright. Jack Nicholson always looks crazt and was to old to be Jack Torrance in the first place, he was a name. And Shelly Duvall was no Wendy as she was dark haired and bony. While their performances were alright they were not real for me. I totally agreed with King about Kubrick's changes and that's why I dislike most books made into movies, directors and their writers destroy the story for artistic value.

Even though I enjoyed his books I think King should keep his mouth shut about people bastardizing his work, since he's the one that bastardized Lars von Trier's Riget (The Kingdom) (one of the best TV shows ever) into that horrible shite show Kingdom Hospital. I lost a lot of respect for him when he did that. King should stick to writing books and steer clear from any involvement in movies or TV. He flat out sucks at that.

As for The Shining movie vs. the TV show, I can't believe people are seriously discussing this. It's like comparing haute cuisine to McDonalds.

Michele (last edited May 08, 2013 08:03AM ) May 08, 2013 08:03AM   0 votes
Nobody does is like Jack Nicholson !! Kubricks film of course !! My all-time favorite film ! Heeeeres Johnny :) Unforgetable !Even though I liked the tv movie too my vote is for the film version. I do love the book also !

I definitely preferred the miniseries. The Stanley Kubrick version was not true to the characters...especially Danny! And I loved the added piece in the miniseries with the look into the future.

I love both adaptations, but if I had to choose I would go with the miniseries.

I also prefer the miniseries. I found it better and truer to the book.

Kubrick's version is the better film, the miniseries is the better adaptation. Fact.

As a horror movie, I think Kubrick's version is more successful. There are some absolutely terrifying and disturbing moments in that film. The miniseries with Stephen Webber let the characters breathe a bit more, and there were some cool scenes, but it never scared me.

Personally I like them both but if I had to pick one I would say the TV mini-series as it is more true to King's novel. The Kubrick version is definitely more atmospheric and has some great visuals, especially the use of the newly developed (at the time) Arriflex camera which allowed the camera to follow Danny as he rode his Big Wheel through the corridors of the Overlook. However, Kubrick changed so much of King's work that it is hardly a true adaptation. The mini-series changed all that in that it stayed true to King's writing and since it played out over six hours and three nights it definitely was able to capture the true essence of the novel.

The Shining was the first book I ever read that totally freaked me out, and to this day is ranked among the top 10 books I've ever read. After I finished the book, I rented the Stanley Kubrick film... and HATED it!!!! I'm sure I don't need to go into all the changes he made, as I'm certain they've already been listed in this thread. While I am sure that the movie on its own must've been really amazing, having read the book ruined the movie experience. (Don't get me wrong, I much prefer to read the books so I don't mind if movie's get spoiled every now and again).

Then I saw the mini-series. And I thought it was great!!! It captured all the great moments in the book. So I definitely preferred the mini series. Though I'm sure those who never read the book would much prefer the movie.

deleted member Dec 27, 2012 02:02PM   0 votes
Rade wrote: "We all know that the Stanley Kubrick version of Stephen King's book The Shining is great, but there was also made for TV movie by the same name that came out few years ago. In my opinion, all the c..."

Kubric. This isn't debateable IMO

I guess I'll go with Kubrick's version - but I've never been a big fan of it either. I've had friends look at me like I was crazy for saying it didn't scare me. The book - that scared me. To me the bathtub scene was far more horrifying in my mind than on film. Books usually don't scare me much, but "The Shining" did.
I so wanted to like the miniseries, to have it be more faithful to the book. Like the movie, they dropped the ball at the end, and I got tired of the "Kissin' - kissin' that's what I've been missin'" stuff very quickly.
So I can admire the film as Kubrick art and watch it occasionally. I will never watch the miniseries again.

I preferred the mini-series version simply because it was much truer to the book.

You can see the miniseries version actually fighting against the madness. In the movie, and Nicholson's portrayal, all I got was the sense of "oh good, now I can go insane."

Enjoyed both the theatrical and television versions of The Shining, but LOVED the book. The only thing I truly disliked about the tv miniseries was at the very end when Jack says, "That's what I've been missing." to Danny - way, way, way too sappy!

Kubrick made the characters more realistic than in kings book or miniseries.Duvall and Lloyd's awkward performances make them more convincing because of that.Look how he brilliantly used Ryan o Neal and Matthew Modine.He takes the weakness of the actors,and makes it a strength for the characters.Nicholson was both comical and creepy at the same time.But,there is also great subtlety in his performance that people choose to ignore.Those looks when Wendy accuses him of hurting Danny,his conversation with Danny and Wendy on the bed.Yet all we hear from detractors is "oh he just is over the top".Ridiculous,Kubrick took a corny story(although a great premise)and really made it unsettling,ambiguous,and uncompromising.That's what true horror is.Kubricks additions are far more scarier that what king came up with.And it's kubricks film that is ingrained in pop culture,not kings book.

Kubrick's adaptation is by far the best version of this story. Better than the book. The book seemed to me to be quite silly in comparison. But then again I've never been much of a fan of Stephen King. I quite enjoyed The Stand though.

I'm sorry, I was so disappointed in this book. The movie was SO much better. One of my favorite movies; one of my least favorite books.

Michael (last edited Dec 29, 2012 03:29AM ) Dec 29, 2012 03:29AM   -1 votes
All I thought when I finally saw Kubrick's film (not that long ago, shamefully) was "Oh, is that it?" Didn't really shine my apple, to tell you the truth - which is a shame as my opinion of the book is very high. Still, when were they ever the same? I have yet to see the TV mini-series, and feel no urgency.

Richard Knight Me, too!
Aug 11, 2013 10:48AM · flag
Richard Knight I actually have a video on my page where I discuss why I think the movie is much better than the book. Swing by if you want to check it out.
Aug 11, 2013 10:49AM · flag

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