Recently we looked at TV programs that made bad movies. This week let’s list some books that made great movies.
Since this list is possibly a mile long, we turned to a favorite book resource, BookBub. Contributor Jeff Somers listed 40, but we’ll only examine the first ten on his list.
BTW, all of these films scored an Oscar for one thing or another:
10) “Dr. Zhivago” (1965) — David Lean’s epic film is faithful to the plot of Boris Pasternack sweeping Russian love story, adding a visual style “that is so beautiful and so fluidly shot you can enjoy it with the sound off — a feat few films can manage.”
9) “Persepolis” (2007) — Based on a graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi, the film “matches the bold, black-and-white art style of the book, bringing this story of her experience growing up in the midst of the Iranian Revolution to life.”
8) “Forrest Gump” (1994) — Winston Groom’s novel is “darker and more morally complex than the streamlined character depicted by Tom Hanks” … nonetheless Robert Zemeckis’s telling won six Oscars, including Best Picture.
70 “Sense and Sensibility” (1995) — Ang Lee directed Emma Thompson’s screenplay for the Jane Austen classic. “The result was an Oscar for Thompson for Best Adapted Screenplay and a film that remains one of the best modern versions of the novel.”
6) “The Remains of the Day” (1993) — Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel is “a beautiful character study, told from the point of view of English butler Stevens.” James Ivory’s adaptation takes a broader view by keeping “all the characters at equal length, resulting in a more comprehensive view of Stevens’s world.”
5) “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) — “Drenched in color, the film has visual morsels tucked into every inch of every frame; you can watch the movie a dozen times and still notice new flourishes. This rich visuals (mixing black-and-white and color) capture the essence of the L. Frank Baum’s fantasy novel.
4) “The Color Purple” (1985) — Steven Spielberg “relies on his actors to convey much of the emotional content through their performance,” while in Alice Walker’s novel we follow Celie’s inner thoughts and feelings. “The phenomenal performances from the cast make this film a must-see.”
3) “Little Women” (2019) — A great chick flick, Greta Gerwig transformed Louisa May Alcott’s novel into “one about creative passion and achievement” by imagining that Jo is actually the author of the novel “Little Women.”
2) “The Godfather” (1972, 1974) — Mario Puzo’s novel is “an absorbing, dark thriller that fascinates, horrifies and entertains.” The first two films in Francis Ford Coppola’s trilogy “elevate the sordid story into operatic triumphs.” Considered to be two of the best films ever made, both won Oscars for Best Picture (Part II being the first sequel to ever do so).
1) “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1962) — The film adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel features “deft character work … bringing Atticus Finch Scout, and Boo Radley to life.”
I know, I know. There are many other great films based on novels. I’ll add three or four of my own: “The Princess Bride” (1987), Rob Reiner’s version of William Goldman’s fairy tale; “Schindler’s List (1993), Speilberg’s moving depiction of Thomas Keneally’s holocaust novel; “The Lord of the Rings” (2001-2003), Peter Jackson’s brilliant trilogy based on the J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy novels; and “Harry Potter” (2002-2011), an 8-film series that brings the magic of J.K. Rowling’s stories of witches and wizards to the screen.
What’s on your list?