Books Magazine

Top 10 Movies Based on Books

Posted on the 19 May 2012 by Adityasam @foralitelife
the godfather Movies based on books always have something new to offer unlike those that aren't. For a book to be successful, it has to give its reader something unique or something that has been told in a different way and thus the movie that is based on the book too is usually good, unless the screenplay is badly written.
So, here is my list of the 10 best movies that are based on books.
Before that let me give you an insight into the criteria; The film either has an important underlying message or cinema-making at its very best. I did not consider the box office success or its popularity among fans. However enough importance was given to the awards it received and how it differed from the book in a better way. Here's the list;
  1. Goodfellas

    You have to put Scorsese, no matter what the list is about. It revolves around the life of Henry Hill played by Ray Liotta, who after his rash endeavours in the 'gangster world' ultimately returns to being an ordinary man. Liotta is well supported by Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, who received the Academy Award for the Best Supporting Actor. A true masterpiece from Scorsese himself.
    Based on the book 'Wiseguy' by Nicholas Pileggi.
  2. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

    It exposes the harsh realities of a mental institution. Randle McMurphy is a man who always gets into fights and is institutionalized after serving his sentence for statutory rape of a 15-year old girl. McMurphy disrupts the usually quiet atmosphere in the hospital with his antics and this is where Nicholson delivers his very best. One of the best movies you can ever treat yourself too and I say this is a must watch. Nicholson of course won the Academy award for Best Actor.
    Based on the Novel 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest' by Ken Kesey.
  3. Ben-Hur

    When the music, the screenplay, direction, acting and everything come together, you can expect nothing short of a timeless masterpiece and this is one such film. The film depicts forsaken friendships, the roman's rule with an iron fist, the historic chariot race and the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. Charlton Heston's greatest performance and it made a clean sweep at the Oscars with 11 Academy awards. You should watch this at some point of your life.
    Based on the Novel 'Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ' by Lew Wallace.
  4. Psycho

    Most people would say that films lack that thrilling element, the punch, the horror that the book usually delivers. 'Psycho' by Hitchcock proves them wrong. A Masterpiece of a Psychological Thriller and it keeps you on the edge of your seat the moment you see Norman Bates. His expressions, his seemingly unknowing innocence and his guilt for murdering his mother. The famous 'Shower Scene' will surely catch you off guard and send a chill down your spine. I think this was Hitchcock's pinnacle in film-making alongside 'Vertigo' and 'North by Northwest'.
    Based on the Novel 'Psycho' by Robert Bloch.
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird

    This film depicts the sometimes illegitimate and harsh laws of the society like no other. Gregory Peck's character, Atticus Finch was hailed as the greatest hero of the 20th century, which also won him his only Academy Award for Best Actor. The story is about narrated by Finch's young girl, Scout who describes her father's efforts to save a wrongly accused black man from Capital Punishment, who however commits suicide when he learns that he couldn't be saved. It also tells the story of how the children, Scout, her brother and their friend spend 3 summers. A heartwarming tale and it certainly will move you emotionally. The protagonist is also synonymous with Peck in real life, Gentleman and a man of honor.
    Based on the Novel 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee.
  6. Forrest Gump

    From the 90s again, 1994 to be precise, the same year we saw 'The Shawshank Redemption' and 'Pulp Fiction'. Tom Hanks was coming off the success of 'Philadelphia' which earned him his first Academy Award for Best Actor. In 'Forrest Gump', he delivers yet again. Briefly, The story revolves around a man of the same name, with a very low IQ, who is, however involuntarily involved in some defining events of the later half of the 20th century. However it is substantially different from the novel and yet was able to complete a major sweep at the Oscars and other honors.
    Based on the Novel 'Forrest Gump' by Winston Groom.
  7. Schindler's List

    After record-breaking success of 'Jurassic Park' at the box office, Steven Spielberg was on top of the world. It did not end there. In late November, he gave us 'Schindler's List', the movie that is still closest to his heart. The film depicts the life of Oskar Schindler, played by Liam Neeson, who comes to the city of Krakow to setup his business. What follows is heartbreaking; Holocaust follows soon and Oskar tries to help the jews from the iron hand of the Germans. The screenplay is so heartwarming, you'll never forget. The final scene is icing on the cake, a piece of classic cinema-making.
    Based on the Novel 'Schindler's Ark' by Thomas Keneally.
  8. Raging Bull

    It was the pinnacle of 'Method Acting' from the one who popularized it, Robert De Niro. It's an all-time classic and rated by the AFI as the 4th greatest movie of all time and the greatest sports movie ever. It depicts the life of Jake LaMotta whose sexual jealousy and animalistic behavior destroys his life and relationships with his wife and family. Not surprisingly, De Niro won the Academy Award for the Best Actor. It is yet an other must watch to every movie buff.
    Based on the Autobiography 'Raging Bull: My Story' by Jake LaMotta.
  9. The Shawshank Redemption

    90s was probably the best decade in cinema history (You've already seen that!). But what stood out from so many good movies which shared the same standards was this. It describes the pitiable life of Andy Dufresne, who is wrongly accused of murdering his wife and her lover and sentenced to 2 back to back life sentences. The journey is amazing, how emotionally we are taken through Andy's life in the prison and how boldly he accepts it without cribbing, ever! The narrator is Andy's best friend in the prison, Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding. I'll say no more, it's a must watch for every movie buff and can never fail your expectations. The movie was nominated for 7 Academy Awards, only to be overshadowed by another classic, 'Forrest Gump'
    Based on the Novella 'Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption' by Stephen King.
  10. The Godfather

    Undoubtedly the greatest movie based on a novel and arguably the greatest movie of all-time. At one point I felt the movie was much better than the book itself. It is a true masterpiece of cinema-making. Marlon Brando breathed life into the word 'acting' with his unmatched performance as Don Corleone. Duvall, Caan and Pacino too delivered in this all-time classic. I must also acknowledge the work of Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola on screenplay and direction. Richly deserves its first spot.
    Based on the Novel 'The Godfather' written by Mario Puzo.

Honorary Mentions
I love these movies but I couldn't find a place in the list, after all it must end with 10. I tried hard to fit in Blade Runner, The Bridge on the River Kwai and LOTR because I just don't understand so much of science and fantasy. Anyway, I give these, the Honorary Mentions.
Blade Runner, The Silence of the Lambs, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Harry Potter Series, Jaws, Jurassic Park and James Bond Series.

Those that Just Missed the Cut...
Ordinary People, The Green Mile, Mystic River, L.A. Confidential, Dances with Wolves, The Untouchables, Scarface, Once Upon a Time in America, All the President's Men and The Devil Wears Prada.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you agree with my list? How would your list be? Would you swap places of one movie with another? Let me hear them in the comments section below.

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