14 Classic Books Made into Must-See Film Adaptations
These fourteen classics were made into films worth watching; it's just as possible to revisit these movies as it is to revisit the books that inspired them.
If the timing of Lewis Carroll's life and the advent of film were more aligned, I would think that he wrote this book to be made into a movie. While I've only seen the 1951 Disney version and Tim Burton's 2010 version, I think it's worth it to see as many versions of this story as you can. The text asks to be adapted by artists, and the descriptions give way to eye candy on the screen.
1 / 14
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The stories of Sherlock Holmes have had multiple strong adaptations, but personally the BBC series "Sherlock" is the pinnacle. The episode "A Scandal in Belgravia" in particular was everything an adaptation should be. I love that the series places Sherlock Holmes in the modern day, and they transplanted Irene Adler perfectly by giving her complete confidence and control over her sexuality.
2 / 14
I still don't see how this can be considered a children's book, and the 1996 film is in no way a kid's movie, but it's damn good all the same. The wacky tale is successfully brought to life by the appropriately uncanny stop motion animation, and I think it's the best adaptation of Dahl's works. Just keep the lights on and maybe don't watch it in a thunderstorm.
3 / 14
I have actually had a professor recommend that if people hadn't read Jane Eyre, they should watch the 2011 film. Mia Wasikowska conveys the intelligence, emotional capacity, and morality that has made Jane Eyre so appealing for generations.
4 / 14
The new film based on Thomas Hardy's novel "Far from the Madding Crowd" was just released and should still be in theaters. Carey Mulligan seems like an ideal choice to play the remarkable Bathsheba Everdene, and it's perfect that a book as rife with visual description as this one should be made into a movie.
5 / 14
F. Scott Fitzgerald
I know what you're thinking. The 2013 Baz Luhrmann film is a controversial choice, widely respected by everyone who hasn't read the book. But I'm talking about the 1974 film starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow that just might be the best worst movie I have ever seen. I love this film and think it's hilarious, but I would never watch it if I were looking for a proper film adaptation.
6 / 14
The film "Breakfast at Tiffany's" starring Audrey Hepburn tends to cast a shadow over Truman Capote's novella of the same name. While the film is undoubtedly a masterpiece, the novella is more raw and is invaluable in itself.
7 / 14
It's still weird to me that I like the 1996 version of Emma starring Gwyneth Paltrow as much as I do, but it's the perfect romantic comedy. Denys Hawthorne as Mr. Woodhouse and Sophie Thompson as Miss Bates steal the show; I'm sure Jane Austen would have loved it.
8 / 14
The version of Nineteen Eighty-Four starring John Hurt and Richard Burton is incredible. It honored George Orwell's work, while also casting an eerie reminder of the accuracy of his predictions. Burton's role as O'Brien is particularly moving; his death prior to the film's release adds weight to lines like "I'm unable to prevent the decay of my own body, but the individual is only a cell."
9 / 14
I wouldn't be surprised to hear that Hamlet is one of the literary works most frequently reinterpreted for the silver screen. Personally, I'm partial towards the 2009 BBC movie starring David Tennant and Patrick Stewart, although the versions starring Kenneth Branaugh (1996), Ethan Hawke (2000), Mel Gibson (1990), and Lawrence Olivier (1948) are all worth watching.
10 / 14
Tim Burton does Irving's greatest story justice in his 1999 film entitled "Sleepy Hollow." The whole thing is unsettling, getting to the core of Irving's writing, and although it thoroughly deviates from the plot quite thoroughly, it remains respectful of the original text. I do, however, miss the sense that I got at the end of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" that the whole mystery remains unresolved.
11 / 14
The 1945 film "And Then There Were None" is creepy and suspenseful even after having read the book. Unfortunately they changed some names for apparently no reason at all, but otherwise it's a great visualization of one of Agatha Christie's greatest mysteries.
12 / 14
J. R. R. Tolkien
It feels important to mention Lord of the Rings when talking about books that turned into highly successful movies. Even without the movies, the books in this series would have become classics, but with them, they're not likely to be forgotten any time soon.
13 / 14
I think every young reader should pick up a copy of Roald Dahl's Matilda. The film, true to the novel, teaches how much magic and happiness can come out of a passion for reading. Also, I'll support anything that positively depicts the patronage of a library.
14 / 14