10 Best Books That Were Made Into Movies

Wednesday, November 17 by Jennifer Potts

Creating a list of the 10 best books that were made into movies is not an easy task. There are literally hundreds of amazing books that have been made into excellent movies. Even though the movies don’t always do justice to the book, a great story is a great story, no matter what medium is used to tell it.

  1. "A Clockwork Orange". Author Anthony Burgess created his own surreal world of violence and mayhem in this 1962 classic novel. After reading the book, it’s hard to imagine how the made up language and downright despicable behavior of the main characters could possibly be translated to the screen, but in 1972, Stanley Kubrick’s unique brand of genius made it happen.
  2. "The Grapes of Wrath". Published in 1939, this John Steinbeck classic tells the epic story of what it takes for a family to survive during the Great Depression. Director John Ford displayed the struggles and suffering of the family on screen in 1940.
  3. "The Fountainhead". Ayn Rand continues to stir up controversy with her ultimate depiction of true egoism in her 1943 novel "The Fountainhead". In 1949, this book of monumental proportions was made into a movie by director King Vidor, but no movie can hold a candle to the experience of reading over 500 pages of the tale of Howard Roark.
  4. "Lolita". Another controversial, wickedly addictive book is Vladimir Nabokov’s "Lolita". This is the story of a middle-aged man whose own childhood trauma causes him to lust after a fourteen year old girl that he refers to as a nymphet. This first-person novel was made into a feature film by none other than Stanley Kubrick in 1962.
  5. "The Great Gatsby". The iconic book "The Great Gatsby", written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1922, depicts a version of a love story with money and power as the tools of seduction and tragedy waiting around every corner. In 1974, the classic story unfolded under the subtle direction of Jack Clayton.
  6. "Alice in Wonderland". A Lewis Carroll classic, the written version of "Alice in Wonderland" is more for adults than readers tend to realize. As Alice makes her way through the strange, exotic world that is Wonderland, adults marvel at the lavish descriptions and possible hallucinogenic influence on the story, while children delight in the misadventures and delightfully depicted characters that Alice encounters. Like the book, the 1951 animated film version is still beloved by adults and children alike.
  7. "Beloved".  Tony Morrison’s "Beloved", published in 1988, has central themes of slavery, a haunting past, lost love, secrets and death. There’s not much to this story that isn’t powerful and intense. This was not lost on Oprah Winfrey, who helped turn Beloved into a feature film in 1998.
  8. "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". The book and movie version of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", written by Victor Hugo, tell the same basic story.  The book describes the disturbing habits and beliefs of the people living in medieval Paris, evil in its purest form, the unjust executions of gypsies and a naïve, grotesquely deformed bell-ringer who lives in the Notre Dame Cathedral. This hardly sounds like the makings of a child’s movie, but Disney somehow pulled it off. The 1996 animated film version kept all of the above themes, with a little more optimism of course, but left out the particularly disturbing ending of the book.
  9. "The Shawshank Redemption". This story revolves around two unlike souls finding comfort and friendship while behind bars, a pair that never would have united in the outside world. Like many Stephen King novels, "The Shawshank Redemption" was made into a film by director Frank Darabont in 1994. The overarching theme of the story, redemption, is perfectly depicted in both the novel and film versions.
  10. "House of Sand and Fog". Tragedy and heartache lurk around every corner of this devastating story originally told by Andre Dubus III. A fight over a house reveals deeper and darker themes, including the immigrant experience in the Unites States, self-destruction, irony and destiny. In 2003, one of the most tragic stories ever told was justly depicted by director Vadim Perelman on the big screen.
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