What are the best movies based on books?

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Answered by: Brittany, An Expert in the The Best of… Category
If you are like most people, you have at one time or another been disappointed by a movie that was based on a book. There is a broad spectrum of dismay that you may have experienced. You may be in the extremist camp that is outraged that the filmmakers could be so unoriginal that they would even dare to turn your favorite volume into such a vulgar medium in the first place.

If this is the case, all I can really tell you is that while, yes, it is a cheap trick to re-tell someone else's story for more money, most Hollywood filmmakers do need decent credentials from somewhere before they can make their own original works. Those that continue to recycle literature for no other reason than their own personal gain are a whole other brand of lazy, and I will allow you to continue complaining about them. However, for the other camps of upset movie-goers, who despise cinema based on literature purely because they have seen some that deviate from the original beloved works or are simply not as entertaining as the original works, allow me to recommend that there are still plenty that might be worth your while.

First I have to remind you that no matter what, movies based on books can never be perfect. Being two totally different mediums, there will always be disparities between them. Some screenwriters and directors, though, are still able to make decent flicks. If you like older movies, you should check out "A Clockwork Orange" (1971) or "The Graduate." (1967) While Stanley Kubrick deviates from Anthony Burgess' book by changing the ending of "A Clockwork Orange," he captures the essence of the rest of the story in a masterful way. And who can dismiss "The Graduate" as a terrible film, as adapted by Buck Henry from Charles Web's novel?

If you aren't such a big fan of viewing classic movies, there are tons of more recent movies being made out of great novels as well. Instead of worrying about movies based on books with huge fan-bases, though, such as "The Lord of the Rings," "Harry Potter," or "Twilight," set your sights on more easily digestible movies like "The Princess Bride," (1987) "Forrest Gump," (1994) or "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" (2005). Each of these is not only a well-made movie with brilliant writing and directing, but they're also undeniably enjoyable. There is even a new rendition of "The Great Gatsby" coming out in 2012, that might be good. However, since the last four or so have not yielded great results, don't hold me to that.

I could go on listing engaging movies based on books all day, but my point is simply: don't rule them all out because of a few bad experiences. Not all Hollywood writers and directors, or even producers for that matter, are in it just to make money; some have a passion for storytelling and aren't going to pass up an opportunity to do so even if that story has already been told.

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