Great Book to Movie Adaptations

Book to movie adaptations that you need to check out!

Do you, like me, suffer from short attention span disorder and can’t read an entire book or series of books in one sitting? Would you rather prefer to watch those same books be brought to life onscreen starring your favorite actors, sometimes through the beauty of CGI and/or practical effects, without the hassle of reading words (unless they’re subtitles)? Then this is the list for you!

Mean Girls (2004)

Adapted from the book ‘Queen Bees and Wannabes‘ by Rosalind Wiseman

Queen Bee Tina Fey adapts Wiseman’s nonfiction self-help book for an early 2000s demographic (back when Lindsay Lohan still ruled the roost), bringing to life the toxic cliques in American high schools. Protagonist Cady Heron transfers to one such high school, only to find herself being boxed in with the nerds and Goths, but in order to be considered cool and ‘acceptable’, she must be part of The Plastics, since the survival of the hottest is put front and center in the jungle that is high school. 

Cliques run wild here, and as a result, Cady decides to attempt a little experiment of her own and goes undercover to learn more about the snooty Plastics who are super into pink and being giant social butterflies (kind of like an early version of influencers, if you think about it). This movie catapulted the careers of actresses like Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Seyfried, Rachel McAdams, and Lizzy Caplan.

Perks of Being Wallflower (2012)

Adapted from Stephen Chbosky’s novel by the same name

This coming of age features Logan Lerman as a wallflower who finds himself navigating harsh pangs of depression, finding love, and trying to survive high school, along with the help of two classmates. It also features a brilliant performance by Ezra Miller as a closeted teen who is struggling for acceptance and trying to survive homophobic bullies.

Children of Men (2006)

Adapted from the novel by PD James

Set in a dystopian future in 2027 when the world is suffering from global infertility and is on the brink of collapse, the movie adaptation stars Clive Owen and Julianne Moore as a cynical activist and his ex-wife respectively, as they try to evade a mob and transport a pregnant refugee to a safe and secure location.

Call me by your name (2017)

Adapted from the novel by André Aciman.

This is a coming-of-age tale of 17-year-old Elio, who embarks on a romantic relationship with an older man, graduate student Oliver during a summer in Italy.

The Princess Bride (1987)

Adapted from the novella by William Goldman

Are you a fan of fairy tales, fantasy, and satire? This movie is an amalgamation of all three genres and has loads of laugh-out-loud moments. 

A self-aware tale of a princess named Buttercup, who is kidnapped and must be rescued by her pauper boyfriend Wesley. Along the way, Wesley enlists the help of a gentle giant and one of the most iconic characters in cinematic history, Inigo Montoya (played by my crush Mandy Patinkin). The movie features some swashbuckling action sequences, a whole load of sword fighting, and dialogues that are still fondly remembered till today. 

In fact, it is so famous and beloved that actors like Jack Black, Finn Wolfhard, et al even filmed a homemade version of the movie for a lockdown audience at the beginning of the sucky and cruel global pandemic, and it was super-duper fun to watch just like the original! A treat for both adults and kids and the inner child in you!

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Adapted from the novel by Stephen King

Andy is falsely accused of a crime, and this thriller revolves around his struggle to escape from prison with the help of a fellow inmate. This movie adaptation is filled with iconic scenes and is still quotable decades after its release, and is as critically acclaimed as the novel. Do check it out!

Little Women (1994 and 2019)

Adapted from the novel by Louisa May Alcott

This novel has been adapted twice (go, girl power!), once in 1994 and then again in 2019. The 2019 adaptation by Greta Gerwig is more suited for the modern-day women or young girl demographic, and it centers around themes of love, loss, dreaming big, friendship, sisterhood, familial bonds and tells the story of the March sisters as they attempt to come of age at the start of the Civil War.

The Colour Purple (1985)

Adapted from the novel by Alice Walker

The novel on which this movie is based won the Pulitzer Prize and was regarded as one of the best works of literature by a Black female author. The story follows the abused Celie and her trials and tribulations. The book’s narrative is structured in the style of letters rather than chapters, and the letters are addressed from Celie to a higher power as she undergoes sexual assault (trigger warning) and a hellish life overall. Apart from sexual assault, the movie and book address themes such as racism and sexism.

 The movie stars Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, and the riveting Whoopi Goldberg (then an up-and-coming stand-up comic) in her debut as the resilient Celie for which she won a Golden Globe.

Shanghai (2012)

Adapted from Vassili Vassilikos‘Z’

In the fictional Bharat Nagar, the government is developing the city to create their Indianized version of Shanghai. An activist releases a tell-all to protest against the same when tragedy strikes him, and he is murdered, possibly by the same government whom he ‘threatened’ with his words. A videographer, a former student of the activist, and a vagrant find themselves caught in a web of lies, deception, and corruption. Features stellar direction from Dibakar Banerjee and a versatile star cast of Kalki Koechlin, Emraan Hashmi , Pitobash Tripathy and many more.

Wizard of Oz (1939)

Adapted from L. Frank Baum‘s novel by the same name

A movie adaptation that was way ahead of its time due to its production value, i.e., its sets and the brilliant practical effects and other special effects. It is based on the fantasy novel by L. Frank Baum and revolves around country girl Dorothy whose life is changed after an encounter with a tornado. She is transported to Oz where she is accompanied by Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and a scarecrow on their adventures down the yellow brick road to battle an evil witch who watches over them via a crystal ball and sends in her army of flying monkeys after them and they must also find a wizard with all the answers to their problems.

3 Idiots (2009)

Adapted from Chetan Bhagwat‘s ‘5 Point Someone

One of my favorite movies and one that has inspired me (although the book wasn’t all great shakes to me, to be honest), ‘3 Idiots’ is the journey of two friends who set out to find the third idiot in their life years after they’ve all passed out of stressful engineering college and gone their separate ways. The themes explored here include the competitive education system, the unfair grading system, and many more topics that both high school and college graduates can relate to.

Persepolis (2007)

Adapted from the graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi

Based on true events from Iranian French graphic novelist Satrapi’s life, this movie adaptation is based on the graphic novel by the same name that is set during the Iranian Revolution after an American-backed dictator was overthrown and the aftermath in which innocent families were jailed. It is also a coming of age centered on Satrapi, who comes of age from a young girl forced to wear a veil everywhere she goes to a rebellious teen who loves punk music. The movie, much like the novel, is a visual beauty.

The Exorcist (1973)

Adapted from the novel by William Peter Blatty

Regan, played by Linda Blair in the movie adaptation, is a young girl possessed by a demon, and two priests are called in to perform an exorcism by her worried mum.

 This movie is noted for its scarily believable performances, creepy jump scares, and practical effects that were light years ahead and influenced many modern-day horror movies. If you are repulsed by movies featuring little girls who turn their heads around 360° and vomit a green pea soup-like substance all over their room, then you’d better skip this one. It also spawned a sequel and a third part that were both met with lukewarm response and, unlike the movie that started, it all are pretty forgettable.

Haider (2014)

Adapted from Hamlet, the play by William Shakespeare

One of Vishal Bharadwaj’s finest works (he is also known for his adaptations of Macbeth and Othello, Maqbool and Omkara, respectively), this is an adaptation of Hamlet, but set during the Kashmir conflict. It tackles various sociopolitical issues and is a must-watch for the spectacular performances from Shahid Kapoor as the titular character, Shraddha Kapoor and Tabu. I’m not lying when I say that this movie is a masterpiece.

Raazi (2018)

Adapted from Calling Sehmat by Harinder S. Sikka

If you’re a fan of spy capers and true stories, then this movie is right up your alley. It stars the talented Alia Bhatt as Sehmat Khan, a young bride turned RAW agent who is sent on a mission that is both physically and mentally challenging and tests her limits of endurance. The movie is also directed by one of my favorite female directors Meghna Gulzar, and she never fails.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Adapted from Lauren Weisberger‘s novel by the same name

A young graduate played by Anne Hathaway who aspires to be a journalist finds herself at the mercy of a demanding fashion magazine editor named Miranda Priestly, played by the marvelous Meryl Streep (is there anyone this woman can’t play?). 

The movie brings to the fore how ruthless the fashion industry is and how difficult breaking the glass ceiling in a patriarchal world can be as well as the consequences of being a workaholic. It also features Emily Blunt being rather blunt in the role of stoic assistant Emily Charleston. Fun fact: The novel was based on the real-life experience of Lauren Weisberger under Anna Wintour, a powerful and well-known name in the field of fashion.

The Bridget Jones trilogy (2001,2004 and 2016)

Adapted from the novels by Helen Fielding

Helen Fielding also wrote the screenplay for the three movies in the Bridget Jones trilogy- Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001), Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason (2004), and Bridget Jones’ Baby (2016), which in itself is partly a modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The protagonist’s love interest (well, one of them at least, since the romcoms in the trilogy follow a love triangle format) is even named after Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. 

All three movies are timeless classics and if you’re into the rom-com genre and think that Colin Firth, Sally Fields, Renee Zelwegger, Hugh Grant, and Patrick Dempsey are absolute thirst traps and want to look up to a relatable heroine whose life is a mess, who is a giant klutz and whose relatives live to fat-shame her at every point (just like real life, amirite, ladies?), then grab something to munch on and binge-watch this trilogy. 

Doctor Sleep (2019)

Adapted from the novel by Stephen King

This movie adaptation unfairly gets compared to its prequel ‘The Shining’ but stands on its own in the best possible way. 

As someone who hasn’t yet watched ‘The Shining’ (don’t judge me), I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and many scenes still give me the creeps. It’s well shot, and the performances by Rebecca Ferguson and Ewan McGregor as Rose the Hat and grown-up Danny Torrance, respectively, are great. 

Also, if you’re a fan of The Shining, then there are plenty of references that will not only make you nostalgic but also tie in nicely to the proceedings. 

That’s the end of our list, but thank you very much for reading, and I hope you have enough reading and viewing material for the rest of your lives or if you’re stuck on a desert island. Do share it with your pals, and I will be back with more content soon.

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