While many people know the old trope of the book being better than the film, there have actually been many more successful film adaptations of books than poor ones. Notable adaptions include the Godfather, the Lord of the Rings and dozens of Stephen King and Michael Crichton novels.
No one really expects film adaptations to perfectly emulate the written narrative, but fans of a particular story do want to see certain key tonal and story elements that they identified with when reading the book, and filmmakers are not always on the same page as the fans.
That being said, let’s check out some noteworthy film adaptations of books that managed to please both film and book fans with their faithful retelling of the written word on the silver screen.
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While it languished in development hell a good few years before it was taken into filming, Stardust is one of the most authentic and accurate book to film adaptations out there. Based on the modern fantasy tale by Neil Gaiman, director Matthew Vaughn managed to capture the tone of the Gaiman book perfectly, with some tasteful alterations to make the film adaptation better.
Add to that some big name stars like Michelle Pfeifer and Robert De Niro, and you have a recipe for success. Test audiences loved the fantasy elements and the fairy tale feeling of the film that realised Gaiman’s more mature retelling of a kid’s story for adults.
The Princess Bride
One of the most well loved films of all time, the Princess Bride is based on the William Goldman novel of the same name.
The film was co written by Goldman himself and remains to this day one of the most faithful book to film adaptations, with great pacing and memorable characters that appear to have leapt straight from the books pages onto or screens.
Coraline is yet another Neil Gaiman story adapted into a film. Stop motion animation is used to tell the tale of a young girl called Coraline who uncovers a mysterious and seemingly exciting hidden world in her closet.
Coraline was a critical and commercial success that remained faithful to the book, which had a quite dark tone, as with Neil Gaiman’s other work, Stardust. The dark mood and excellent clay-mation work combines perfectly to create an unforgettable experience.
One of the greatest films of the last century, Forrest Gump was based on the book Gump and Co by Winston Groom.
This is definitely not an accurate translation of the book to the silver screen, with producers altering nearly every aspect of the characters and story, but the changes definitely feel to be for the better. This film went on to bag multiple awards and a coveted spot on the Library of Congress shelf.
James And The Giant Peach
Based on the Roald Dahl book of the same name, James and the Giant Peach moved mountains not just for book to film adaptations,but for film techniques in general.
This entire picture was shot with stop motion animation giving it a unique and almost creepy vibe that perfectly captures the feel of the twisted Roald Dahl tale, and would later be used to great effect in Coraline.
Can you think of any book-to-film adaptations that were amazing and should be on this list?