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What is the best movie based on a book?

Ranker 2013/02/22 22:35:21
The Shawshank Redemption
Atonement
The Silence of the Lambs
The Godfather
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
The Harry Potter Franchise
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The best movies based on books include some of the most highly acclaimed film franchises in history. Which movies based on books are your favorites? This is a tough category with so many awesome films to choose from. Still, do your best -- and if your favorite isn't listed, feel free to sound off in the comments section.

shawshank redemption

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Top Opinion

  • Katt 2013/02/25 22:47:23 (edited)
    None of the above
    Katt
    +9
    to kill a mocking bird book
    to kill a mocking bird
    It stayed very closely to the book instead of going its own path which many books to movies do.

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  • LoneWolf 2013/04/01 01:51:17
    The Harry Potter Franchise
    LoneWolf
    LOL Harry Potter took up a huge portion of my life and I'm glad that it did :)
  • Yuki Yamato 2013/03/12 19:35:59
    The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
    Yuki Yamato
    The Lord Of Rings
  • Mj PINKYFINGERDOWN 2013/03/12 03:31:04
  • Mj PINK... Mj PINK... 2013/03/12 03:31:38
  • Amber 2013/03/02 22:24:57
    The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
    Amber
    I really loved the books as a kid, and I think this was the only movie adaptation of a book I loved that didn't make me want to kill someone....even if they did leave out Tom Bombadil.
  • Gothic Angel 2013/02/28 20:57:14
    None of the above
    Gothic Angel
    +1
    Of Mice & Men Of Mice   Men Of Mice   Men
  • Krissy Gothic ... 2013/03/12 20:18:12
    Krissy
    I AGREE!! I love this movie!!
  • kudabux 2013/02/28 15:01:31
    The Godfather
    kudabux
    I thought it followed the story line very closely.
  • katywon 2013/02/28 01:38:36
    The Godfather
    katywon
    +1
    The Godfather in its time was a really excellent and close version of the book. MARLON was wonderful, sad that he let himself go to an early end.
  • Jan Haskell 2013/02/27 20:14:22
    None of the above
    Jan Haskell
    Gone With the Wind.
    gone with the wind
  • sαиѕ sσℓєιℓ~ 2013/02/27 18:45:29
    None of the above
    sαиѕ sσℓєιℓ~
    I am Number Four <3
  • david abe 2013/02/27 18:32:41
    None of the above
    david abe
    +1
    Gone with the wind...!
  • jmc07806-PWCM-JLA 2013/02/27 16:40:30
    None of the above
    jmc07806-PWCM-JLA
    +1
    To Kill a Mocking bird
  • PatLabat 2013/02/27 14:24:47
    The Harry Potter Franchise
    PatLabat
    +1
    HARRRYYYYY
  • richard.maloney.7 2013/02/27 13:54:20
    None of the above
    richard.maloney.7
    James Clavels Shogun was a 13 part mini series and the book was the movie, word for word, action for action and thought for thought.. it was amazing
  • Seonag 2013/02/27 12:55:45
    The Harry Potter Franchise
    Seonag
    +1
    But my all time favorite that followed the book:
    Gone with the Wind
  • Nichole 2013/02/27 08:56:43
    The Harry Potter Franchise
    Nichole
    +2
    All of these were good, but I'm a Potter nerd all the way.
  • Michael S. 2013/02/27 07:50:05 (edited)
    The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
    Michael S.
    +1
    All of them are pretty awesome.

    I'd say that in and of itself, The Godfather might be the best movie out of the above. However, The Lord of the Rings was the most impressive adaptation in terms of sheer ambition (few thought it could be done), and it's probably my favorite as well. I have an enormous soft spot for Harry Potter too, but the movies strayed so far from the books that I felt like they cheated viewers out of some of the series' best moments. (Even as an LOTR nerd, most of Jackson's changes didn't bug me so much.)
  • Nichole Michael S. 2013/02/27 08:58:46
    Nichole
    +3
    I agree that the Harry Potter films differed greatly from the books, but the only one I really have an issue with is Prisoner of Azkaban. That one was changed so drastically I rarely watch it.
  • Michael S. Nichole 2013/02/27 12:28:52 (edited)
    Michael S.
    +2
    I actually really enjoy the movie version of the Prisoner of Azkaban on its own merits, but it could be because I watched the first three movies before reading the books. (I picked up the books the moment I got back from seeing PoA in the theater, actually. As you'll see in a few moments though, maybe I should ALWAYS watch movies first, so the books pleasantly surprise me, instead of reading books first and raging about the movies. ;)) The book focused greatly on the Marauders and their connection to Harry though, and the movies gutted the emotional core of that so deeply that I can't help but wonder what might have been...and for what? A few campy additions, like shrunken heads? All of the unregistered animagus business was left out too, and Snape's animosity toward Sirius was, sadly, poorly explained.

    Now that I'm writing about it though, I'm really starting to think back to all of the things I disliked about the rest of the series, and if you don't mind, I'm going to indulge in a poorly structured rant. ;) It feels good to get these kind of things out in writing. I still enjoy the movies despite myself, but I often have to pretend like they included parts they didn't just to maintain my sanity. In general, a lot of the later movies felt unnecessarily rushed to keep t...



















    I actually really enjoy the movie version of the Prisoner of Azkaban on its own merits, but it could be because I watched the first three movies before reading the books. (I picked up the books the moment I got back from seeing PoA in the theater, actually. As you'll see in a few moments though, maybe I should ALWAYS watch movies first, so the books pleasantly surprise me, instead of reading books first and raging about the movies. ;)) The book focused greatly on the Marauders and their connection to Harry though, and the movies gutted the emotional core of that so deeply that I can't help but wonder what might have been...and for what? A few campy additions, like shrunken heads? All of the unregistered animagus business was left out too, and Snape's animosity toward Sirius was, sadly, poorly explained.

    Now that I'm writing about it though, I'm really starting to think back to all of the things I disliked about the rest of the series, and if you don't mind, I'm going to indulge in a poorly structured rant. ;) It feels good to get these kind of things out in writing. I still enjoy the movies despite myself, but I often have to pretend like they included parts they didn't just to maintain my sanity. In general, a lot of the later movies felt unnecessarily rushed to keep the viewing time "short enough," and this came at the expense of a great deal of atmosphere, exposition, and some of my favorite scenes.

    For instance, the Goblet of Fire cut out some great moments and botched characterization at times: I had been greatly looking forward to seeing Harry learn to resist the imperius curse and demonstrate his strength of will over Voldemort in the graveyard in that way, and that was totally cut. All of the tension regarding Harry's wand casting the Dark Mark was thrown away, as well as the character development for both of the Crouches. (When Crouch disappeared, it just fell flat...actually, do we even learn in the movie that he disappeared at all?) Some interesting parts of the third task were cut, and others were changed for the worse. Making Harry seem torn between running for the cup and saving Cedric may have added dramatic tension, but it came at the expense of his character. Dumbledore's characterization wasn't the best in this movie either: It was almost as bad when he asked Harry if he put his name in the cup as it was when he hit Ron's injured leg in the hospital in the PoA movie. Plus, that movie also started the long train wreck of avoiding exposition for brevity, which led non-readers to get lost regarding priori incantatem and miss Dumbledore's gleam of triumph regarding Voldemort using Harry's blood, which was really the turning point of the series. (Readers didn't know why, but we knew it was significant. Later, it turned out that once Voldemort did that, he tethered Harry to the world and made him immortal so long as he maintained the body made from Harry's blood.) On a superficial level, it would have been nice if they stuck with Voldemort's red eyes. Too scary for children? That's kind of the point! ;)

    They do get some points for streamlining the plot though, despite glossing over character development for the Crouches in the process. After all, the details of the plot were never all that especially important to its result or thematic elements to begin with. (I mean, the whole thing still worked out well for Voldemort, and it made Harry look crazy even though he couldn't outright kill him...but really, it would have been easier for Crouch to make an inkpot into a Portkey from the very beginning and say, "Here, Harry. Catch." ;)) A lot of people complain about SPEW missing too. I never used to care, and I still understand why it was cut, but on further reflection I have a greater appreciation now than I used to for how the ethical subtleties of house elf treatment helped add to the richness of JKR's world, and it's sad there was no time for any of it in the movies...from SPEW, to Winky, and to Regulus and Voldemort's contrasting treatment of Kreacher. It's also sad that The Beetle at Bay missed the cut, but I can understand that.

    Once Order of the Phoenix came out, it became clear that the producers and directors had no intention of preserving the consistency and variety of spells from the books, and that detracted from the atmosphere and immerson IMO. Everything was also pretty rushed: The opening scenes failed to adequately capture Harry's isolation, loneliness, and frustration. Occlumency was rushed, the reason for Harry pursuing it was poorly developed, and the most important part of Snape's worst memory was omitted. (Do we ever learn about Umbridge sending the dementors to Little Whinging? I can't remember, but little touches like that, while unimportant to the mechanical workings of the plot, are important to the feeling of cohesiveness.)

    Still, the OotP movie really broke down for me at the climax at the Department of Mysteries though: The movie replaced the high stakes life-and-death tension and mayhem of the battle with an abbreviated and almost silly game of Lucius Malfoy half-apparating, half-flying around sticking his hand out for the prophecy. (Speaking of which, they really broke the distinction between apparition and flying, which only Voldemort and Snape seem to do in the books. ;)) I mean, really? In the book, the Death Eaters were casting killing curses at everyone except for Harry, all of the Time Turners were destroyed, Hermione almost died (and nobody knew until later if she'd make it), Ron was mind-raped by brains with tentacles, Neville had a moment of great bravery, and a Death Eater had his head horrifyingly reversed in time to become a baby's (and it was possibly permanent, if he didn't die from it). It was no laughing matter, and the movie eviscerated it.

    Even after the Order arrived the book version of the battle was no picnic, and the movie missed the opportunity for Dumbledore to arrive and seemingly save the day at the end of an uphill battle. The movie perfectly captured Sirius's attitude toward Harry in the moment of his death at least, but it missed the tragedy of his death (dying from his own cockiness). Harry chasing down Bellatrix went pretty well, but I would have liked the full dialogue about righteous anger being insufficient for the cruciatus curse. (...and the appropriate follow-up scene in The Deathly Hallows.) The battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore was done okay, but following the book would have made it at least twice as awesome: One of the coolest moments included Dumbledore mobilizing the statues to simultaneously trap Bellatrix and save Harry from a killing curse. Thematically, perhaps the best moment of the battle from the book was when Voldemort realized Dumbledore was not dueling to kill: Once Dumbledore responded, Voldemort replied with a flurry of verbalized killing curses, and Fawkes ended up taking a hit for a distracted Dumbledore. All of that opportunity was squandered in favor of a more generic wizard lightning battle, but enough was still included and done well enough to help me forget about the ruined battle earlier...at least until the movie threw in a one-dimensional Cliff's Notes version of perhaps the single most important and emotional scene between Harry and Dumbledore in the entire series. They even felt compelled to change the wording of the prophecy to shave about five seconds of screen time. Blah.

    Half-Blood Prince? It could have used some memories about the Gaunts and Tom Riddle going after the cup and locket, at the very least, as well as some more discussion about the kind of objects the Horcruxes might be and why (which all provided insight into the villain). The Deathly Hallows movies found a way around Harry's complete ignorance on the matter, but it felt cheaper. Why doesn't Harry continue the DA, and how is it learning nonverbal spells from Snape? Nobody knows, because it's not even mentioned. (It's no big deal, but just an example of how bad the movies are at tying up loose ends and demonstrating where the kids are in terms of their magical capabilities.) I understand leaving out Percy's fallout with the Weasleys, since the subplot would have required so many supporting scenes in OotP and DH too, but it's a shame. I'm always bothered though by the movie leaving out the telling scene where Snape demanded Harry's potion book (and he gave him Ron's), and the climax wasn't executed nearly as well as it could have been either: Book Dumbledore immobilized a brave but predictably reckless Harry under the invisibility cloak while being disarmed by Draco, and movie Dumbledore just let Harry rush in to save him, except not really, because movie Harry more or less failed to live up to his otherwise predictable "saving people thing." The movie toned down Harry's attacks on Snape and left out some of the most important subsequent dialogue, e.g. "DON'T-...CALL ME A COWARD!" As a side note, it could have used some more foreshadowing about Dumbledore's hand and follow-through in the Deathly Hallows too. (At least they managed to include Dumbledore's line to Harry before they left the seaside cave though.)

    Then...Deathly Hallows Part 1. All of Harry's crushing self-doubt about Dumbledore's character and the drama of his relationship with Grindelwald was just...swept away, leaving us with a scene with Aberforth in Part 2 that lacked all of the context of the scene from the book. This also undermined the revelation about Dumbledore putting on the resurrection stone in a moment of weakness and losing his hand to dark magic (I forget exactly how much of that is even revealed in the movie actually). In a similar vein, the significance of Voldemort's prison visit to Grindelwald was totally lost on most viewers. The revelation of Regulus Black's brave, thankless, and horrifying sacrifice simply never happened. There was something poignant about Sirius dying thinking the worst of his brother, and that was a bit of soul that was sucked out from the movies. Leaving this out also reduced Kreacher to nothing more than a plot device and mild comic relief, instead of the surprisingly rich character that helped round out JKR's house elf ethics subplot and delve deeper into Voldemort's depravity. Much of the impact was lost from the scenes in the Ministry too, because in the books it was clear that convicted muggle-borns who "stole magic" from real wizards and witches would literally have their souls sucked out. In the confusion department, there was no explanation regarding why Voldemort couldn't follow Harry to the Burrow (where he flew directly from Privet Drive in the movie) despite Death Eaters showing up just a few days later. Oh, and...whatever happened to Peter Pettigrew, who should have choked himself to death with the hand Voldemort gave him after warning him not to let his loyalty waver again? Sigh. There were smaller things I missed too, like Harry disarming Stan Shunpike (and the telling consistency of his "signature spell"), Harry burying Mad-Eye's eye under the most gnarled tree, Potterwatch (unimportant though), learning about Scrimgeour refusing to give up information on Harry's whereabouts under torture, etc. There are so many meaningful subtleties that JKR put in the books which didn't carry over, and it's a little sad, but it's really the bigger omissions that bother me.

    On to Deathly Hallows Part 2: On a superficial level, I can't understand why they'd use a brown-eyed girl for Lily, when everyone constantly comments about Harry having his mother's eyes...but that's just petty. As mentioned before, the scene with Aberforth lacked context. I will also never forgive Kloves and Yates for leaving out Harry's epic antihero moment in Ravenclaw Tower ("You shouldn't have done that"), followed by McGonagall using the imperius curse in front of him as an implicit show of reciprocal trust and willingness to follow his lead past the point of no return on a moment's notice. The scene they replaced it with was cool too, but nowhere near worth it, and the subsequent fight between Snape and McGonagall lacked some of the book's flair. Most of the rest of the movie was awesome up until the end: I have no problem with the longer "chase scene" after Harry reveals he's alive, but so much else was changed for the worse. I mean, how can you top Neville cutting Nagini's head off with the Sword of Gryffindor, right in front of Voldemort, while on FIRE? You can't. The movie lost the impact of Harry revealing himself by saving Molly Weasley from an enraged Voldemort, and it dropped the game-changing result of Harry sacrificing himself in the forest for everyone at Hogwarts: Voldemort's spells couldn't "hold" or kill any of the Hogwarts students or staff, for the same reason Lily's sacrifice saved Harry all those years before. One of the most dramatic moments of the book was when Harry and Voldemort were circling each other and Harry explicitly pointed this out, along with everything about Snape's true loyalties and the Elder Wand's loyalty, all in the same conversation. It was exposition, sure, but it was both clarifying and tense, and I would have loved to see Voldemort's arrogance struggle with his panic on-screen during that conversation. The movie-goers also missed out on Harry deliberately and ironically casting a "non-threatening" expelliarmus at the end instead of, say, a killing curse, in his utter confidence that he would win anyway. I don't mind the "wizard lightning battle" on top of that, but why leave that out?

    Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy watching the movies, but sometimes the omissions and changes for the worse drive me crazy. In contrast, very few things seriously bother me about The Lord of the Rings, and more discretion seemed to be used regarding omissions and alterations. A lot of Tolkien's subtleties didn't make the cut, but the movies maintained narrative coherence, and they didn't remove thematically crucial or climactic "fan favorite" scenes for no good reason. The worst offense to me by far is the Witch King breaking Gandalf's staff in the Extended Edition, but that's the only thing that really makes me cringe. Lesser crimes include Sam leaving Frodo (even momentarily), omitting the Scouring of the Shire, and compressing the timeline before Frodo leaves the Shire. Arwen riding Frodo to Rivendell? Arguably cooler than First Age Glorfindel the Impossibly Perfect, anyway. Elves showing up at Helm's Deep? They should've come in the books too. ;) etc. (Thank God Christopher Tolkien doesn't read Sodahead. He'd have me sent to Mandos for sure for inflicting this paragraph on the world.)

    Long story short, I'm a rambling nerd.
    (more)
  • Mae Michael S. 2013/02/27 18:18:27
    Mae
    +2
    applause harry potter

    applause harry potter

    applause harry potter

    Best SodaHead Harry Potter dissertation I've ever read!
  • Michael S. Mae 2013/02/27 19:14:10
    Michael S.
    +1
    Hahaha, thanks. It's totally in rant form, and it should really have some bullet-points or something to compensate for horrible flow within the paragraphs, but...man, it felt good.
  • Nichole Michael S. 2013/03/03 08:28:04
    Nichole
    +1
    I agree that all of the Harry Potter movies producers, etc. took too many creative liberties. I definitely agree with you on Voldemort's red eyes. The whole point of Voldemort is to scare the audience. I missed SPEW in the movies, at times it annoyed me in the book, but the best way I have always found to explain Voldemort, etc. to people who only watched the movies is to compare it to Hitler. I always get frustrated about SPEW missing from the films because to me, SPEW is kind of the "liberators" during WWII. It's hard to truly explain, but I love to analyze the books.

    I'll be honest, I love the LotR movies, however, I never finished the books. I got bored with them when I first tried reading them. I made it to the forest of the Ents. I haven't tried since, but have been told I need to.

    Otherwise, as for your rambling, I loved it! I go on tangents like that as well.

    So bravo!!

    harry potter clapping harry potter clapping harry potter clapping http://replygif.net/i/758#lor... lord of the rings gif lord of the rings gif
  • Joker2874 2013/02/27 06:13:15
    The Shawshank Redemption
    Joker2874
    +1
    Great list 2 pick from..Very hard choice..As much as I love 'The Godfather' & 'Silence Of The Lambs'..I really loved 'Shawshank Rdemption'..Had no idea it was a Stephen King novel..Morgan Freeman & Tim Robbins wer great in it..2 this day I get pissd that Shaw-shank lost the Oscars 2 'Forest Gump'..WTF was the Academy thinking that night?! They wer on crak that night..Stephen King is the master..Anothr good one of his novels to movies is 'Needful Things'..Fun movie..Great performances in that one as well..Ed Harris, the late J.T. Walsh & Max Von Sydow made a great Devil..
  • Cocktails 2013/02/27 05:56:11
    None of the above
    Cocktails
    +1
    The Color Purple...Was the closest movie to the book, I ever saw. The rest are hardly recognizable.
  • philldclarke 2013/02/27 04:30:22
  • wolf 2013/02/27 02:38:51
    None of the above
    wolf
    +1
    The Good Earth was excellent
  • JJay 2013/02/27 01:59:22
    The Shawshank Redemption
    JJay
    +1
    shawshank for sure but godfather is a close second
  • Zoe Michele 2013/02/27 01:58:32
    The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
    Zoe Michele
    +1
    I could watch it a million times over
  • WGN 2013/02/27 01:45:58
    None of the above
    WGN
    +2
    Non of the movies that you posted are exactly like the book from which they came.
    Almost all movies are from a printed story- novel, short story, etc. But almost no movie does justice to the book/story from which they came.

    Stephen King's novella "Different Seasons" spawned two great movies and some lesser ones- the great ones are "Stand by Me"- based on "The Body" and "The Shawshank Redemption" based on "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption", the latter is one of my all time favorites, but even at that, it has many differences.

    The Harry Potter series comes close to the books, but there is a lot of director/screen writer interpretation that changes the meaning of many parts of the stories.
  • Brian Decker 2013/02/27 01:27:58
    The Godfather
    Brian Decker
    +1
    I think all of these movies are great adaptations of the books, but I really dont feel that Harry Potter deserves to be even close to the top. Theyre entertaining movies, but they hold no comparison with the caliber of the other movies.
  • Brian D... Brian D... 2013/02/27 01:28:54
    Brian Decker
    +1
    Gorramit, I meant to select LOTR but this would have been my second choice anyway.
  • tor 2013/02/27 00:58:00
    None of the above
    tor
  • silentart 2013/02/26 22:30:17
    None of the above
    silentart
    +2
    Gone with the wind still stand out in filmdom!
  • vinone 2013/02/26 22:17:57
    None of the above
    vinone
    Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World.
  • carlbrown4 2013/02/26 21:04:51
    The Godfather
    carlbrown4
    +1
    Of Mice And Men
  • Drageona 2013/02/26 19:59:58
    The Harry Potter Franchise
    Drageona
    +1
    I read all of the Books and saw all the movies, and have everyone on DVD as to watch over and over again.
  • poopanoob 2013/02/26 19:22:21
    The Harry Potter Franchise
    poopanoob
    +1
    or the hunger games
  • Joey 2013/02/26 19:14:44
    The Shawshank Redemption
    Joey
    That is one of my favorite all time movies. Poor Andy.
  • Augure3VI Joey 2013/02/27 10:04:37

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