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View Full Version : Movies that are better than the book.


tony hipchest
10-28-2009, 11:01 PM
taking this from the Blindside thread.

i think its pretty much a given that the movies never live up to a book. then again its difficult to condense a book that may take 16 hours to read into a 2-3 hour movie.

so are any movies better than the book? if not, what movies DEFINITELY do the book justice?

(where the wild things are may take this honor, but then again who cant adapt a childrens book? cat in the hat anyone?) i am intentionally leaving out comic books as i believe the good ones are all story boards begging to be turned into film.

heres some of my favorites (probably in this order)-

dont think it ever made it to theaters, but Helter Skelter really brings the book to life as does the made for tv jeffery mcdonald murder mystery Fatal Vision.

i love the theatrical version of The Shining.

And the Band Played ON. this made for HBO movie was a great adaption of the book that really captured the drama and magnitude of the AIDS epidemic. excellent cast.

nothing can top irving stones The Agony and the Ecstasy but charlton heston as michaelangelo was really good.

i will never read Dune a second time. couldnt even make it past the 3rd book of the series. watching the movie is good enough for me.

i havent read Lord of the Rings or any of the harry potter books, but i am sure they would rank high on alot of peoples lists.

fansince'76
10-28-2009, 11:04 PM
I thought Thinner stayed true to the book.

MACH1
10-28-2009, 11:16 PM
An oldie but goodie - Where the Red Fern Grows

MACH1
10-28-2009, 11:29 PM
(Book name) - Indian Country
(Movie name)- A Man Called Horse

Cheppy
10-28-2009, 11:32 PM
The Shining is the first example I think of when a film overshadows a written work. Shawshank's gotta be up their too.

I've got two more off the top of my head.. Die Hard & Predator... Both are adaptations & both are better than the source material.

Silence Of The Lambs is the one adaptation which is exactly like it is on the written word. Moreso than any book I've ever read.

Shea
10-28-2009, 11:46 PM
I rarely go to see a movie when I've read the book that it's based upon. I've been disappointed too many times. I agree that children's books are the exception, and from what I've read about reviews of Where the Wild Things Are, I probably will go and see that movie. Children's tales and the world into which they take us transcend age.

One of my favorite books, Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier, which is beautifully written and personally struck a cord with me, was made into a movie, yet I instantly knew I'd never go or rent a copy to view it. Just knowing who was casted to play the characters showed me that my perception of the story and what the characters were or even looked like, differed from what I had in my minds-eye. I didn't want anything to change how I saw the story since I will occasionally pull a book off my bookcase to read again from time to time, especially those that I love.

But there are exceptions. Although it came from a series of short stories from Stephen King, Shawshank Redemption is one of the best movies I've ever seen. If all books could translate to the big screen in the same manner then I'd be going to the movie theater more often than I currently do.

tony hipchest
10-28-2009, 11:51 PM
Shawshank's gotta be up their too.

I've got two more off the top of my head.. Die Hard & Predator... Both are adaptations & both are better than the source material.

Silence Of The Lambs is the one adaptation which is exactly like it is on the written word. Moreso than any book I've ever read.i havent read any of those. i cant imagine the story being better than the movie, but i really need to read shawshank as it is one of my favorites.

An oldie but goodie - Where the Red Fern Grows

speaking of "oldie but goodie"-

Old Yeller i dont think there is any variation from the movie to the book. the movie absolutely and perfectly brings the book to life. (having seen and read it multiple times, this may be one where the movie is better).

"best doggone dog in the west" RIP.

Cheppy
10-28-2009, 11:54 PM
Jaws

steelwalls
10-29-2009, 06:19 AM
Jaws

Ditto....found the book kind of stupid but the movie drew you in.

SteelMember
10-29-2009, 10:25 AM
Definately would agree with Jaws and Shawshank.

Off the top of my head a couple others I would consider are:

Stand By Me, since we're on Stephen King. A short story (The Body) from Night Shift. Oh, which reminds me of Maximum Overdrive. Another short (Trucks).

Another SciFi movie I love is Blade Runner. Based on the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?by Philip K. Dick. A guy in HS got me to read it. Great Movie! Another from him could be Total Recall.

And I'm typing this as quietly as I can because of the surroundings, but I would have to say Gone With the Wind. Margaret Mitchell is practically royalty around here, but the movie is a better than excellent adaptation imo. Yes, this was "required" reading. *snore*

SteelCityMom
10-29-2009, 10:51 AM
Definately would agree with Jaws and Shawshank.

Off the top of my head a couple others I would consider are:

Stand By Me, since we're on Stephen King. A short story (The Body) from Night Shift. Oh, which reminds me of Maximum Overdrive. Another short (Trucks).

Another SciFi movie I love is Blade Runner. Based on the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?by Philip K. Dick. A guy in HS got me to read it. Great Movie!

Stand By Me is definitely on the top of that list. Bladerunner as well. Those were the two I thought of first lol.

Other Dick books that were made into decent films are We Can Remember It For You Wholesale (Total Recall), Imposter (same), Minority Report (same) and A Scanner Darkly(same). The worst of his adaptations is Next (based on The Golden Man, which is a GREAT read).

From Hell and V for Vendetta (Alan Moore) are excellent adaptations, though he didn't want his name attached to V because of what happened with League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman was a great adaptation (and some say better than the book, though I don't think so). Marathon Man and Magic (both by Goldman) are excellent adaptations as well.

Of all the Stephen King books made into films I think The Stand and Stand by Me were by far the best. Golden Years, Carrie, The Shining, Dreamcatcher, It, 1408, Secret Window, The Green Mile and The Dark Half were all pretty decent. There's a bunch of others that aren't horrible, but don't do the books justice at all. The worst by far were Desperation and Tommyknockers though. You could easily make a whole thread just to discuss the adaptations from his novels though lol.

And finally, one book that has been adapted 3 different times, all successfully IMO is I am Legend by Richard Matheson. The original adaptation ,The Last Man on Earth, that stars Vincent Price is by far superior IMO, but Omega Man (with Heston) and I am Legend are pretty decent too, though I am Legend strays farther from the book than the other two.

SteelMember
10-29-2009, 11:09 AM
Stand By Me is definitely on the top of that list. Bladerunner as well. Those were the two I thought of first lol.

Other Dick books that were made into decent films are "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" (Total Recall), "Imposter" (same), "Minority Report" (same) and "A Scanner Darkly" (same). The worst of his adaptations is "Next" (based on The Golden Man, which is a GREAT read).

From Hell and V for Vendetta (Alan Moore) are excellent adaptations, though he didn't want his name attached to V because of what happened with League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman was a great adaptation (and some say better than the book, though I don't think so). Marathon Man and Magic (both by Goldman) are excellent adaptations as well.

Of all the Stephen King books made into films I think The Stand and Stand by Me were by far the best. Golden Years, Carrie, The Shining, Dreamcatcher, It, 1408, Secret Window, The Green Mile and The Dark Half were all pretty decent. There's a bunch of others that aren't horrible, but don't do the books justice at all. The worst by far were Desperation and Tommyknockers though. You could easily make a whole thread just to discuss the adaptations from his novels though lol.

And finally, one book that has been adapted 3 different times, all successfully IMO is I am Legend by Richard Matheson. The original adaptation ,The Last Man on Earth, that stars Vincent Price is by far superior IMO, but Omega Man (with Heston) and I am Legend are pretty decent too, though I am Legend strays farther from the book than the other two.

Wow! You have a great list there. I actually edited my post with the Total Recall shoutout.

I've never read the Matheson book, but Omega Man is one of my favorites. I was reminded of it in the Zombie thread.

And your right on about the Stephen King Novels. I always though he might try and do something with the Gunslinger series as far as the popularity of sequels in hollywood.

Just though of another book. The Wizard of Oz. It's been quite awhile since I had that read, but it seems like that book was only a hundred pages or so.

vasteeler
10-29-2009, 11:30 AM
while were on the king topic i thought misery was an o.k. book but a great movie

SteelCityMom
10-29-2009, 12:09 PM
while were on the king topic i thought misery was an o.k. book but a great movie

That's because William Goldman did the screenplay! :thumbsup:

He did the screenplays for Dreamcatcher and Hearts in Atlantis as well, which were both very good adaptations of King books.

SteelCityMom
10-29-2009, 12:14 PM
Wow! You have a great list there. I actually edited my post with the Total Recall shoutout.

I've never read the Matheson book, but Omega Man is one of my favorites. I was reminded of it in the Zombie thread.

And your right on about the Stephen King Novels. I always though he might try and do something with the Gunslinger series as far as the popularity of sequels in hollywood.

Just though of another book. The Wizard of Oz. It's been quite awhile since I had that read, but it seems like that book was only a hundred pages or so.

They will be doing something with the Gunslinger soon. I had heard rumors about it, but just found this on Wiki.

IGN Movies has reported that a film adaptation is in the works; whether it is for a movie or a television series is unknown. J. J. Abrams, co-creator of the television show Lost, is supposedly attached to produce and direct.[9] Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, who co-created the show Lost with J. J. Abrams, have optioned the Dark Tower series from King for a reported nineteen dollars, a number that mysteriously recurs throughout the Dark Tower series of novels.[10] According to issue #923 of Entertainment Weekly, King "is an ardent supporter of the desert-island show and trusts Abrams to translate his vision" into a film franchise with Lindelof being "the leading candidate to write the screenplay for the first installment."[11] In a July 2009 interview with C21 Media, Lindelof revealed that he and Cuse had indeed optioned The Dark Tower's rights, but said he was wary about committing to such an ambitious project: "The idea of taking on something that massive again after having done six seasons of Lost is intimidating and slightly frightening, to say the least." [12]

King also reported that he had turned down long-time collaborator Frank Darabont, creator of such films as The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption, after he had asked to do the film.


Multiple mock trailers have appeared on YouTube. Also, the official Grand Prize winner of Simon & Schuster's (King's Publisher) American Gunslinger contest,[13] "Roland Meets Brown",[14] by Robert David Cochrane,[15] can be found there.

In King's 2007 film The Mist, the main character, David Drayton, can be seen painting a movie poster with Roland in the center, standing in front of a trans-dimensional Ghostwood door, with a rose and the dark tower to each side.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/0a/Mistdarktower.png

In April 2009, both Abrams and Lindelof revealed that they would most likely begin adapting the series when Lost concludes in 2010.[16]

In May 2009, rumours emerged that Christian Bale was the top contender to play Roland.[17]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dark_Tower_(series)#Film_adaptation

SteelMember
10-29-2009, 12:41 PM
Hmm. Interesting.

There is a lot of truth to it being " intimidating". There's plenty of subject matter and detail to work from. It seems it would be a perfect collaboration for Abrams. I really like some of the stuff he has done with Lost, but at one point didn't he leave the writing to some others? :chuckle: I like the show, but at times it was webbing out in too many directions. Like they didn't know where they wanted it to go. That may stand to reason, because you wouldn't want to write yourself out of a series too soon. Now that there is a time table in place, it will hopefully get better as far as pulling everything together.

I have actually started watching FlashForward. It seems like an interesting premise. We'll see how it progresses.

Sorry for getting off topic.

hindes204
10-29-2009, 01:26 PM
You colud start a whole new thread on The Dark Tower series, its an amazing series. I remember waiting years for the next one to come out....Ive read all 7 at least 4 or 5 times, and have read the first one more times than i can count. I kinda hope they never meake a movie, it could never live up to the books.

Back on topic.....Im suprised nobody mentioned any John Grisham novels turned into movies...they are usually just as good as the book...........I just thought about that, maybe they arent. Honestly, i dont think Ive ever seen a movie that was as good as the book. I love to read because it lets me use my imagination as opposed to somebody trying to act it out. Shawshank was pretty damn good though

SteelMember
10-29-2009, 02:48 PM
Shawshank was pretty damn good though

"get busy living, or get busy dying"

Classic line.

Awesome movie!


"Geology is the study of pressure and time. That's all it takes really, pressure, and time. That, and a big god-damned poster." :chuckle:

KeiselPower99
10-29-2009, 09:16 PM
Movies are always better then the book. The movie dosent take a week to watch.

HometownGal
10-29-2009, 09:55 PM
Brian's Song is one of my favorite all time movies (though I've seen it at least 50 times, I still :crying:). The book was OK, but nothing compares to the great acting and emotion displayed by both James Caan and Billy Dee Williams playing Brian Piccolo and Gayle Sayers, respectively, in the movie itself.

tony hipchest
10-29-2009, 10:23 PM
i knew this thread would have a heavy stephen king overtone, as so many of the movies (and books) are classics.

stand by me is an excellent movie.

i really like "pet cemetary" too, but have never read the book. how does that stand up?

i never read nightshift either, and after the movie, i never will. i thought it sucked.

as for The Shining... remember the made for TV mini-movie a few years back. i think it had rebecca dimornay in it and was supposed to be much more true to the book?

yeah, i liked the jack nicholson version much better too.

SteelCityMom
10-29-2009, 10:50 PM
i knew this thread would have a heavy stephen king overtone, as so many of the movies (and books) are classics.

stand by me is an excellent movie.

i really like "pet cemetary" too, but have never read the book. how does that stand up?

i never read nightshift either, and after the movie, i never will. i thought it sucked.

as for The Shining... remember the made for TV mini-movie a few years back. i think it had rebecca dimornay in it and was supposed to be much more true to the book?

yeah, i liked the jack nicholson version much better too.

Nightshift is a GREAT book...I love every story in that book. Lawnmower Man, Children of the Corn, Jerusalem's Lot (which was eventually expanded into it's own novel and movie), Quitters Inc. and The Ledge (made into Cat's Eye), Trucks (my favorite story from the book, and also made into Maximum Overdrive), The Mangler and Graveyard Shift (which is probably the weakest stories of the book, but still good...they made it into a even weaker movie though, which is the one you are probably thinking of, since there is no movie called Nightshift based off a King book).

Pet Cemetary is a much better book with an ok adaptation. I know it's a horror classic, as well it should be, but the movie doesn't do the book justice IMO.

The remake of The Shining was much truer to the book, as you would expect any miniseries to follow a book closer than a 2 hour movie could. I like and dislike different things from both versions though.

MasterOfPuppets
10-29-2009, 11:04 PM
i knew this thread would have a heavy stephen king overtone, as so many of the movies (and books) are classics.

stand by me is an excellent movie.

i really like "pet cemetary" too, but have never read the book. how does that stand up?

i never read nightshift either, and after the movie, i never will. i thought it sucked.

as for The Shining... remember the made for TV mini-movie a few years back. i think it had rebecca dimornay in it and was supposed to be much more true to the book?

yeah, i liked the jack nicholson version much better too.actually the only movie i thought was better than the book / books , was the green mile... i thought the books were kinda boring , but i liked the movie. in the book he spent way to much time talking about the damn mouse..:doh:

tony hipchest
10-29-2009, 11:08 PM
Nightshift is a GREAT book...I love every story in that book. Lawnmower Man, Children of the Corn, Jerusalem's Lot (which was eventually expanded into it's own novel and movie), Quitters Inc. and The Ledge (made into Cat's Eye), Trucks (my favorite story from the book, and also made into Maximum Overdrive), The Mangler and Graveyard Shift (which is probably the weakest stories of the book, but still good...they made it into a even weaker movie though, which is the one you are probably thinking of, since there is no movie called Nightshift based off a King book).

Pet Cemetary is a much better book with an ok adaptation. I know it's a horror classic, as well it should be, but the movie doesn't do the book justice IMO.

The remake of The Shining was much truer to the book, as you would expect any miniseries to follow a book closer than a 2 hour movie could. I like and dislike different things from both versions though.

:dang:

im sorry, i meant graveyard shift. (sucky rat movie)

but nightshift with m. keaton and h. winkler was great. (havent read that book either) :hunch:

SteelCityMom
10-29-2009, 11:15 PM
:dang:

im sorry, i meant graveyard shift. (sucky rat movie)

but nightshift with m. keaton and h. winkler was great. (havent read that book either) :hunch:

Haha, it's ok...I had to look it up just to be sure. Graveyard Shift did majorly suck though. There's a good number of his remakes that are pretty crappy, but that's one I had thankfully forgotten about lol. Don't ever watch the TV version of Desperation...it'll ruin you forever! One of my favorite novels though.

All in all, you're pretty safe reading any of his short story collections. There's usually a couple that you don't care for as much, but you never feel cheated after you're done reading the whole thing. I highly recommend it.

I've never seen Nightshift with Keaton and Winkler though...will have to check that out sometime.

tony hipchest
10-29-2009, 11:25 PM
I've never seen Nightshift with Keaton and Winkler though...will have to check that out sometime.

:jawdrop:

OMG! it hit HBO at the same time as the empire strikes back. 2 dudes running a prostitution ring (with a few boobie scenes) from a morgue or star wars???

i was SO torn as a kid as to what was better.

2 classics. check it out fo sho. :chuckle:

SteelCityMom
10-29-2009, 11:31 PM
:jawdrop:

OMG! it hit HBO at the same time as the empire strikes back. 2 dudes running a prostitution ring (with a few boobie scenes) from a morgue or star wars???

i was SO torn as a kid as to what was better.

2 classics. check it out fo sho. :chuckle:

Lol I will...I was only about 2 or 3 when it came out though, so that's probably why I never heard of it. Who can say no to 2 guys running a prostitution ring and boobie scenes? I know my fiance can't...so it will be watched soon I'm sure!

SteelMember
10-30-2009, 07:41 AM
Pet Cemetary is a much better book with an ok adaptation. I know it's a horror classic, as well it should be, but the movie doesn't do the book justice IMO.

I agree with you here.

The movie was ok, but the book had that bit of creepiness you can only get for King's words. The entire sequence where he walks to the burial ground needing to cross the deadfall isn't represented. The movie just makes it seem like a walk up the mountain. There are just certain things that don't translate to a movie. One of them is the inner thoughts of a character. Sure, in a movie you can do a voice-over narration, but that really takes away from the scene imo.

Also, the whole part with Gage at the end of the movie. They must have though they needed some gratuitous blood and a type of chase scene there. Kinda silly, I thought.

My biggest gripe was having to listen to a terrible New England accent by Fred Gwynne. :chuckle:

hindes204
10-30-2009, 01:35 PM
The book Pet Cemetary was much better. I agree with SteelMember, the thoughts of a character can never really work in a movie. A very good example is The Dreamcatcher....an absolutely phnomenal book, but the movie was lacking in several areas. Alot of the book is a battle btween the character and the "intruder" in his own mind, something that was written very well in the book, but not portrayed very well on screen

Dino 6 Rings
10-30-2009, 03:06 PM
What's sad is how many of King's books actually make better movies.

His writing style is hard to get through, and his Endings Suck in the books. Sorry but they usually do. (the Dark Tower Series ended in the only way possible so I give him a pass on that one.) But usually its like he gives up at the endings. Misery however adapted well to the big screen. Also, Needful Things did a pretty good job going to the big screen. I thought the Stand miniseries sucked. maybe it was the acting but I didn't enjoy it.

Of his books, Bag of Bones would actually make a fantastic movie. Its a Ghost Story I highly recommend.

the Books I read don't usally make the big screen, however I'm reading the Sookie Stackhouse books right now to be able to talk about them with my wife. She loves the TV show True Blood and she read all the books already. They are very different from one another, book to screen. But they do ok.

Also, another series I've been reading is going to be made into a show on Showtimes, called the Game of Thrones, or the Song of Fire and Ice. Medieval War type fantasy fiction. Includes Dragons and what not, but it should be pretty good.

I loved the LOTR Movies but also love the books. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe did a great job I thought of making the transition, but those are kids books in my brain.

There is a new Alice in Wonderland on the way with Depp as the Mad Hatter, that could be interesting.

Dino 6 Rings
10-30-2009, 03:08 PM
Oh and the only reason IT didn't Suck as a TV miniseries is because Pennywise was played by Tim Curry who is one of the most underated actors of this generation.

MasterOfPuppets
10-30-2009, 03:30 PM
:jawdrop:

OMG! it hit HBO at the same time as the empire strikes back. 2 dudes running a prostitution ring (with a few boobie scenes) from a morgue or star wars???

i was SO torn as a kid as to what was better.

2 classics. check it out fo sho. :chuckle:
you went with the boobies didn't ya ? :popcorn:

SteelMember
10-31-2009, 09:39 AM
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Gene wilder is great as Wonka, and the songs are classic.

Shea
11-01-2009, 12:48 AM
"get busy living, or get busy dying"

Classic line.

Awesome movie!


"Geology is the study of pressure and time. That's all it takes really, pressure, and time. That, and a big god-damned poster." :chuckle:

"I hope."

Simple, yet a beautiful and perfect ending to that movie. Morgan Freeman's voice gives me goosebumps.