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Top 25 Movies Based On Books

When it comes to the movie world we can all agree that books are the greatest cinematic inspiration. These are actually great ways for the non-reader population to enjoy the beautiful world created by a writer. There are over hundreds of book adaptations made in Hollywood by now. However, not each one of them does justice to the book and is often reduced to a useless adaptation.

Arguably though, there are some iconic adaptations that have been appreciated by the novelist themselves. Here are the top 25 book adaptations in no particular order. Get your popcorn ready guys!

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Call Me By Your Name

This movie is my personal favorite so I am gonna enjoy my writer’s freedom and talk about it first. This movie is based on André Aciman’s coming-of-age novel which was published in 2007. The movie was released in 2017 and featured Timothée Chalamet as Elio and Armie Hammer as Oliver. The movie is set in Italy and tells us the story of 17-year-old Elio who falls in love with his father’s 24-year-old graduate assistant, Oliver.

Little Women

Little Women‘ is based on a classic novel by Louisa May Alcott which was published in 1868. The movie follows the March Sisters, mainly Jo March as they struggle to find love and passion. The film mainly focuses on the bonds of family and how it changes over the years. It features Saoirse Ronan, and Emma Watson, and let me tell you, does all the justice to the book.


Adaptation‘ is based on ‘The Orchid Thief‘, a non-fiction book written by Susan Orleans in 1998. The movie came out in 2002 and featured Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep. In this movie, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is fed up with his inability to adapt to The Orchid Thief and his tormenting twin brother. He tries to escape the situation and goes to Florida, where he gets caught up in a criminal plot with writer Susan Orleans.

Sense And Sensibility

This movie was released in 1995 and became an instant hit. It is based on Jane Austen’s classic novel of the same name which was published in 1811. The movie features Emma Thompson as Elinor Dashwood and Kate Winslet as Marianne Dashwood. The movie is a classic must-watch just like the book.

Mean Girls

Who can forget the iconic “Mean girls” era? Not a lot of people know this but this movie is also based on a book. The film takes inspiration from Rosalind Wineman’s non-fiction self-help book ‘Queen Bees and Wannabes‘ which was published in 2002. The movie came out in 2004 and featured Lindsay Lohan as Cady, and Rachel McAdams as Regina George. In this film, a new student Cady tries to find her group in the new high school and is taken under the wing of “Queen Bee”.

Harry Potter

Although all the Harry Potter films are a masterpiece, the 2004 adaptation of ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban‘ is said to be the best. It is based on the third book of the same name by J.K. Rowling, in her Harry Potter series. The movie features Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Gary Oldman. The film captures Potter’s third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. We get to know the story of Sirius Black.

Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump‘ came out in 1994. The movie is based on Winston Groom’s 1986 novel that was released by the same name. It features the famous Tom Hanks. The film follows several historical events from the perspective of Forrest Gump whose only wish is to be reunited with his first love.

Gone Girl

This movie is based on the thriller movie by Gillian Flynn of the same name published in 2012. The movie came out in 2014 and featured Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck. It follows Any Dunne who had a perfect past and family who suddenly disappears and her husband is the highest suspect.

The Color Purple

The Color Purple‘ is based on Alice Walker’s seminal novel which was published in 1983. The movie features Whoopi Goldberg as Celie, Akosua Busia as Nettie, Oprah Winfrey as Sofia, and Margaret Avery as Shug. It was released in 1985. We would personally recommend you read the book before you watch the movie.

The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring

This movie is based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novel which is a part of the ‘Lord of the Rings‘ trilogy and was published in 1954. It features Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins, and Christopher Lee as wizard Saruman. The film came out in 2001 and revolves around the Hobbit Frodo Baggins who finds a magical ring that is being chased by many villains.

The Silence Of The Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs‘ was released in 1991. It is based on Thomas Harris’s psychological horror novel which came out in 1988. The film features Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. The movie follows an FBI cadet in seek of help from a cannibal to face a serial killer.

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The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower‘ is based on Stephen Chbosky’s epistolary novel which was published in 1999. The movie came out in 2012 and was highly appreciated. It features Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller. The film follows a socially awkward freshman and his journey to find a place in society.

The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada‘ is based on Lauren Weisberger’s 2004 novel by the same name. The movie features Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep. The film revolves around a college graduate who gets a job as an assistant to the editor-in-chief of a famous magazine. The movie was released in 2006 and has now become an iconic classic.

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Children Of Men

Children of Men‘ is a dystopian thriller movie released in 2006. It is based on P.D. James’ 1992 novel of the same name. It features Clive Owen as Theo, Julianne Moore, and Clare-Hope Ashitey. The movie shows the world in 2017. It is suffering from two decades of global infertility and is on the brink of collapse.

The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride‘ was released in 1987. It is based on William Goldman’s 1973 novel of the same name. The film stars Cary Elwes as Westly, Chris Sarandon as Prince Humperdinck, and Robin Wright as Princess Buttercup. It follows Westley who is on the path to rescue the love of his life from Prince Humperdinck.

12 Years A Slave

12 Years a Slave‘ was released in 2013. The movie is based on Solomon Northrup’s memoirs which were published in 1853. The film features Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northrup. This movie follows a free black man, who gets kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1842.


The Election‘ was released in 1999. The movie is based on Tom Perrotta’s acerbic 1998 novel of the same name. It features Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick. The movie follows an Ambitious high schooler Tracy Flick who strives to be the president of the student body but is sabotaged by her teacher.

The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption was released in 1994. The movie is based on a 1992 novella by Stephen King titled ‘Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.’ The movie features Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. The film follows Andy Dufresne who is convicted of the murder of his wife and her lover. He tries to survive the Shawshank State Penitentiary.


One of the feel-good movies to watch on a Friday night. This movie was released in 1996 and is based on Roald Dahl’s 1988 book of the same name. This is basically a children’s book but a really fun read and watch. It follows an incredibly intelligent girl named Matilda who takes the help of her kind teacher to defeat her sadistic family and evil principal.

The Shining

This movie was released in 1980 and is based on Stephen King’s 1977 horror novel. Stephen King is said to be the king of the horror genre and this film didn’t do him any wrong. The movie follows a family of three members who spend a winter in an isolated hotel.

The Talented Mr. Ripley

‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’ was released in 1999. It is based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 thriller, part of a Ripley series. It features Matt Damon as Tom Ripley, Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf, and Gwyneth Paltrow as Marge Sherwood. The movie follows Tom who falls under the sway of socialites in Italy and everything changes.

The Godfather

The Godfather‘ was released in 1972. It is based on Mario Puzo’s 1969 crime novel. The film features Al Pacino as Michael and Marlon Brando as Vito. The movie follows a New York crime family who fought to stay on top in the years following World War II and their son who gets drawn into the family business.

Jurassic Park

This is a 1993 film based on Michael Crichton’s 1990 sci-fi novel. It features Richard Attenborough as Dr. John Hammond. Dr.Hammond creates a theme park in which genetically cloned dinosaurs roam. When he invites his grandchildren for the tour things go out of hand.

The Wizard Of Oz

This movie was released in 1939. It is based on L. Frank Baum’s book ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz‘ was published in 1900. The movie features Judy Garland as Kansas farmgirl Dorothy. It follows her as she is transported to a magical land by a tornado. she immediately murders someone and steals her shoes. She forms a gang and storms a whole city.


Atonement‘ was released in 2007 and is based on Ian McEwan’s 2001 metafictional novel. The movie features Saoirse Ronan as Briony, Keira Knightley as her sister, and James McAvoy as the housekeeper’s son. The movie revolves around these characters who get tangled up in a mess.

Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby‘ was released in 2013. It is based on the 1925 novel of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke, and Elizabeth Debicki. If you still haven’t seen the masterpiece, please do.

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Arushi Rai
Arushi Raihttps://firstcuriosity.com/
Arushi is an undergrad literature student at Delhi University, which explains her love for writing. If you ever see a girl in wide-leg pants and crop top with earphones in, and a book in a metro that's probably her. Go say Hi! cause she loves to meet new people. Pro tip: Music is always a conversation starter with her.