Movies that are better than the books they were based on


Many movies are based on books. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that some of your very favorite movies have their origin in literary works. Often, the movies pale in comparison to their written counterpart, however there are a fair few movies that have been able to match, and even actually surpass, the quality of the books they are based on. Granted, this isn’t that common, but, when it happens, we all sit up and take not, because the end product is generally unforgettable. These are a few of the movies we’ve seen that we feel are better than the books they were based on.

Forrest Gump

We bet you didn’t know that Forrest Gump is actually based on a novel by Winston Groom, right? Well, you could be forgiven for overlooking this because the 1986 novel is completely different to the movie in question. Yes, they are based on similarities, and the main character is the same, but the film makes a lot of changes – and we feel they are for the better. This is one of the finest book-to-film adaptations we’ve seen and a movie that actually manages to top its source material.

No Country For Old Men

The Coen Brothers’ epic masterpiece is almost cinematic perfection. Based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, arguably the greatest living American writer, No Country is an inventive and highly addictive thriller about circumstance, fate, and corruption. The novel was sublime, but the plot could be confusing – we find the plot clearer in the movie. And there is an Oscar-winning turn from Javier Bardem as the psychotic Anton Chigurh. The lack of music in the film is a device that helps to build tension and helps make this an unmissable adaptation.

The Godfather

Mario Puzo’s The Godfather is one of the most important novels of the century, not least thanks to this adaptation. Considered the benchmark (and blueprint) for the modern gangster film, Francis Ford Coppola’s magnum opus is pretty much a perfect film. Don’t get us wrong, the novel is sublime, but the movie is a masterpiece, anchored by one of cinemas greatest performances from Marlon Brando. Puzo was heavily involved too, co-writing the screenplay with Coppola.

The Princess Bride

Based on a novel by William Goldman, with the screenplay adapted by Goldman himself, The Princess Bride is masterfully directed by Rob Reiner. It’s full of humor, action, fantastical characters, and a gorgeous landscape. The novel itself is an absolute gem, but the movie beats it by a whisker or two. The movie recently hit its 30-year anniversary, so it’s the perfect time to rediscover this wonderful film.

These are just a few of the movies where we feel the film itself has surpassed the text on which it was based. This doesn’t happen with a huge degree of regularity, but, we love when it does happen because it usually results in movies that are masterpieces. Check out these flicks and see if you agree that they surpassed their books.