If you are a book lover, there isn’t much better than sitting down and seeing some of your favorite stories come to life in a way that they never have before. Adversely, though, there isn’t much worse than falling in love with a book, being promised a movie, sitting down in the theater, and then watch something that simply butchers the stories that you hold dear.
Today, though, let’s look at some of the most successful adaptations that we have seen grace the silver screen. For the movies in this list, we are looking at movies that weren’t only enjoyable but stayed true to the books that they were representing.
To Kill A Mockingbird
In July of 1960, Harper Lee released her now famous novel To Kill A Mockingbird. The novel took place during the Great Depression and focuses on a young, southern girl named Jean Louise Finch but we all came to know her better by the name of Scout.
The main mass of the story, though, revolves around the trial of Tom Robinson, an African American man who is wrongly accused of raping a white woman, and his defense by Scout’s father, Atticus Finch. The novel quickly became a pillar of modern American literature and earned itself a Pulitzer Prize.
We didn’t have to wait long for the movie either as it came out only 2 years later in 1962. With Gregory Peck taking the lead to breathe life into Atticus Finch, this movie was a quick success and still holds water as a classic film adaptation today.
It was Daphne du Maurier that first brought the idea of The Birds to mind. However, it wasn’t a full-length novel that The Birds created. Rather, it was only one of a series of short stories and novelettes that made up the 1952 du Maurier collection, The Apple Tree.
As a novelette, there wasn’t quite enough content create a full-length movie out of. Under the guidance of the great filmmaker, Alfred Hitchcock, Evan Hunter adapted this story into a full-length movie without losing the essence of the original story.
The biggest change between the story and the movie is the location. While du Maurier’s story took place in her hometown of Cornwall, England, Hitchcock opted to a setting on the west coast of the United States. While the story may have been added to, though, Hitchcock and Hunter were careful to make sure that nothing was taken away.
The Green Mile
The Green Mile is a unique piece on our list because rather than being a single novel or short story, it was a serial novel. The first volume – The Two Dead Girls – was released in March of 1996 as the first of a 6 part series. The serial novel ended in August 1996 with the volume titled Coffey on the Mile.
The story took place in a prison and followed the narrative of a death row supervisor Paul Edgecombe and his encounters with an inmate named John Coffey who showed signs of empathy and even healing powers.
The movie was released in 1999, starring Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan. It was received exceptionally well; pleasing both critics and casual moviegoers and earning itself four Academy Award nominations.
It isn’t just books for adults that have made their way to the silver screen, though. One children’s book that made its way from pages to our hearts and onto the screen is Roald Dahl’s story, Matilda.
The book itself was released in 1988 and it followed the main character, Matilda Wormwood. Matilda is a five-year-old girl who has to deal with harsh parents who mock her love for books and learning as well as a harsh principal who is cruel to students, Miss Trunchbull. The only adult on Matilda’s side is her teacher, Ms. Honey. However, this story is further made interesting by the fact that Matilda discovers she has the power of telekinesis. While she has this power, she uses it to teach Miss Trunchbull a lesson or two and to get away from her parents.
Matilda has been adapted into several different forms since its release. A fan favorite, though, is the film version that was released in 1996. The movie was directed by Danny DeVito, who also played Mr. Wormwood. To keep the movie true to the novel, DeVito worked with screenwriter Lucy Dahl – daughter of Matilda’s daughter.