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When the movies are better than the books or vice versa

Made into a Movie

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Aug 15, 2006, 3:26pm Top

What movies do you think made better movies than books?

Personally I loved the movie The Bourne Identity but when I read the book I didn't like it quite as much. The same with Ella Enchanted. It is not that I disliked the books, I just felt more in tune with the movie. Interestingly in both of these cases I did see the movies before reading the books.

My first horrific experience with loving a book and hating the movie was Star Trek and The Wrath of Kahn. The book had such wonderful characters who only wound up being dead bodies with no back story in the movie.

Aug 15, 2006, 3:48pm Top

I can relate to the part about seeing the movie first. I saw The World According to Garp when it first came out. I didn't read the book until years later. I didn't really care for the book even though John Irving is one of my favorite writers.

I thought The Hunt for Red October was a brilliant movie, even better than the book, which is probably still my favorite Tom Clancy book. Maybe because I saw that movie on the first date I had with my wife. Maybe.

Aug 16, 2006, 12:58am Top

I hated the Starship Troopers movie but I love the book by Robert Heinlein
Oh and since I know somebody will eventually say this the Harry Potter books are better than the movies

Aug 18, 2006, 4:39am Top

Well, I have just re-read Peter Mayle 's A Good Year. There is a film due to come out in November (directed by Ridley Scott, no less). I wasn't impressed by the book (see my review), but I'll still give the film a try. Because with Scott directing and Russell Crowe in the lead I cannot imagine the thing to totally tank.
The book didn't seem to have enough meat (for a book), but maybe that is just right for a film.

Aug 18, 2006, 6:18am Top

There is an adage that good books make bad films, while bad books make good films. It sounds flippant but there is some truth to it. The books we really enjoy virtually always disappoint as film because much of the depth of the work is stripped away, while the books we dislike seem better because much of the junk is stripped away.

John Irving is a case in point. Look at the film adaptations of A Prayer for Owen Meany and A Widow for One Year, or to be more to point, don't look at them. (Although I did like the film of The World According to Garp the book is superior - Irving's best).

Graham Greene is probably the best writer to inspire a number of good films - The Power and the Glory, The Fallen Idol, Our Man in Havana, The Quiet American, etc.

Watching an Agatha Christie mystery is usually more enjoyable than reading them. Likewise John Grisham.

Aug 19, 2006, 10:35am Top

Limerts, I think you may be a little biased about The Hunt for Red October. :) Still, I loved both the book and the movie. Some of what made the book great (all the little subplots and intrigues) would have made the movie a terrible mess. You get a great movie when whoever is doing the adapting recognizes what will work on screen and sticks to it.

Aug 19, 2006, 12:15pm Top

Lisa, I agree to both suggestions; that I am biased in this case, and that a good adapter has to make some sacrifices when writing the screenplay. I thought The Door in the Floor was a fine adaptation of A Widow for One Year. I seem to remember even watching an interview with John Irving on the DVD.

Aug 27, 2006, 1:10pm Top

Just like heaven (which was originally published as If only it were true) was definately better as a movie.

I bought the book cause I knew the movie was coming out and it sounded like a cool concept. But really, the book was a smart film treatment that happened to get picked up by a studio...who actually made it.

The scriptwriters improved it a lot. Added subplots, backstory (a little). But it was still an average chick flick. But hey, who CARES. It made me feel warm and fuzzy, so I really liked it :)

9sigurd First Message
Aug 27, 2006, 1:20pm Top

With th exception of 2001: A Space Odyssey which was basically written from the movie, I'd say, quite possibly the best movie made from a book would be 1984. I think it expresses the nature of totalitarianism much more effectively than the book, and the ending is much more convincing on film (I understand Orwell was never quite happy with the way he wrote it).

Or as Colbert would say "Do it toJulia!"

Aug 27, 2006, 3:17pm Top

Jaws, The Godfather and The Third Man were all better movies than the works on which they were based, imho.

Aug 29, 2006, 4:34am Top

Books mentioned in the 'awful lit' group that were made into movies I liked:
Of mice and men
Romeo and Juliet (movie by Baz Luhrman )

Aug 29, 2006, 3:39pm Top

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman was a horrible BBC TV production long before it was a book. He was so disappointed by the low budget results that he decided to flesh it out in a novel. (I own both the DVD set and the mass market paperback, as well as the comic book adaptation by Mike Carey).

Aug 29, 2006, 5:32pm Top

Jaws is arguable better in it's celluloid form....The Shining was very different and equally excellent as both a book and a movie

Aug 29, 2006, 10:19pm Top

Bernard Malamud's The Natural was wonderful both as a book and a movie. However, besides sharing a basic plotline and character names, the stories are very different. The movie is magic, a feel good story that never gets old. The book is much grittier and has one of my favorite lines ever: "Suffering teaches us to want the right things".

Aug 31, 2006, 3:03pm Top

To Kill a Mockingbird and Clockwork Orange were two books where I thought the movie was better. Mockingbird the book got a little tedious, Clockwork Orange the book was not a bad, but when you let a director like Kubrick adapt it, there's a very good chance his vision is going to end up much more intriguing. And it did.

High Fidelity and Fight Club were two others: I had a lot harder time sympathizing with Rob from HF the book than from the movie: Cusack just seems so much more likable. And the themes in Fight Club the movie seemed much more fleshed out than they were in the book.

Both the movie and book versions of 2001 are equally good in their own ways. The book was more in depth, but the visuals in the movie were fantastic, and it did a much better job of capturing the abject loneliness in space.

The movies of Bonfire of the Vanities and World According to Garp, and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil were far inferior to the books- I felt like I was getting the cliff notes. I remember hearing a story where Tom Hanks actually approached Tom Wolfe in a restaurant in New York and apologized for that movie. So I guess I'm not the only one who feels that way.

Edited: Aug 31, 2006, 7:49pm Top

slajaunie.. oh no oh no...

there is no way that A Clockwork Orange in film version even compares to the book. One of the book's defining characteristics is the play on language. This makes it remarkable literature. THe only thing remarkable about the film is that it is not a remarkable piece of film. Good perhaps (for it's time and it now looks very dated) but in no way remarkable.

Kubrick's vision was his own. For that reason, it is not possible to compare book and film in the way you have done.

Sep 1, 2006, 4:44am Top

A Clockwork Orange strikes me as a work that is excellent as both novel and film. Kubrick, to my mind, sticks quite closely to the novel but manages to expand it into the cinematic realm. The main difference is the ending which is different partly because, when the book was originally published in the US the last chapter was missing. This meant that in the US the original work was seen as very pessimistic, since the it is the last chapter we seen the flicker of optimism, and Kubrick decided he preferred this dramatic ending.

18jen_brighton First Message
Sep 1, 2006, 6:55am Top

I think High Fidelity has got to be one of the (very) few occasions when I've read the book first and still enjoyed the film, although I was a little disappointed that it was transferred to Amerika, Cusak and Co.'s enjoyment and respect of the book really came through and the casting (especially Jack Black) was spot on.

Like everyone else who had read the book, I was disgusted with the paltry effort put into Memoirs of a Geisha, a sad example of films being ruined by trying to make it appeal to the mythical 'mass US audience'. Come on, I know that all Yanks aren't so lacking in brain cells as to be entertained by this rubbish!

I have to disagree about the Clockwork Orange review too. Stanley Kubrick was a pretentios *expletive deleted* and completly ruined something that can only ever work as a book. It seemed to celebrate the violence rather than looking at Burgess' delicate deconstruction of the character motives, and yes, it looks totally dated and awful now.

Sep 1, 2006, 9:37am Top

I agree on High Fidelity, I loved it as a book and a movie. I am a big John Cusack fan, and Jack Black was excellent as were others. I thought the move to America worked, but I think I would still like to see a British version.

Sep 1, 2006, 5:17pm Top

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Sep 1, 2006, 5:19pm Top

The film of Picnic at Hanging Rock was better than the book; the latter had chapters dealing with the exploits of minor characters that added nothing to the main suspenseful action of ths story.


Sep 1, 2006, 5:42pm Top

Just saw the movie, "I Capture the Castle," a book I've always been happy reading. The film is OK, BUT it loses the basic feel of the novel. . . to everyone: see the movie or not, but DO read this lovely book by Dodie Smith!Esta1923

23spoonwu First Message
Sep 1, 2006, 7:35pm Top

My sister and I believe that there has never been a bad Jane Austen movie adaptation (and that includes Clueless)...can anyone provide examples to the contrary?

Sep 2, 2006, 7:21pm Top

I read I Capture the Castle for my book group and really enjoyed it. Am tempted to see the movie, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

One of the first times I've ever liked the movie way more than the book was with Brokeback Mountain. I read the book first, and then saw the movie. While the book was good, the movie was phenomenal.

Memoirs of a Geisha just didn't do it for me. I tried to read it a couple of times, and couldn't make it very far. Never had any desire to see the film.

Sep 4, 2006, 11:44am Top

I didn't really care for the movie I Capture the Castle but since I didn't read the book, I can't really compare the two. I can say that I was not inspired to go read the book after watching the movie.

On the other hand, yesterday I watched Howl's Moving Castle and went to three bookstores yesterday looking for a copy of the book. Sadly I have not yet tracked one down, but I'll be on the hunt again tomorrow. The whole time I watched the movie I kept thinking to myself, "the book must be wonderful".

Sep 4, 2006, 1:16pm Top

Holes was a good book, but the film was even better - one of the most intelligent children's films I've ever seen

agree that High Fidelity was great as a book and a film. Personally I didn't mind so much that was transferred to the US, though it worked really well.

27sourdoh First Message
Sep 4, 2006, 1:40pm Top

"Howl's Moving Castle" is available at powells.com Powell's City of Books in Portland, Oregon is my first choice for finding just about anything published. Good luck.

Sep 4, 2006, 11:06pm Top

I think the Britain->US transfer in High Fidelity is possibly the most successful ever and I rate both book and film highly.

A case of mixed success is the bloody awful adaptation of The Beach. (Besides completely trashing the story by totally inverting aspects such as the main character who remains pointedly celibate in the novel laying half the girls on the island in the film.) The character of Sal transfers perfectly from an American girl in the British novel to a British girl in the American film, so much so that I now find it hard to image Sal as an American. This was obviously done to balance Leonardo Decaprio's American protagonist in place of the British one in the book. Leo was less than convincing in my opinion.

29lynnm First Message
Sep 5, 2006, 12:16am Top

The most disappointing book-to-movie experience I ever had was with Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of The Outsiders. Gads. I adored the book - still one of my favorites as an adult - but hated the movie with the intensity of a thousand white-hot suns. Such a disappointment.

Have to say I've loved the Harry Potter movies and books equally, and each in their own right. I think the movies manage to grasp the spirit and visual aspects of the books, but I'm always sad that time limitations require so many details to be left out.

And I will confess that it wasn't until I watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies that I picked up the books. While I can appreciate Tolkien's brilliance, I still enjoy the movies more. I know. Heathen!

Sep 5, 2006, 2:59am Top

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Sep 5, 2006, 3:03am Top

I hate movies that use the name of a book but are nothing like the book at all. I, Robot is the only one I can think of right now but there have been a couple recently.

Sep 5, 2006, 3:05am Top

The movie version of The Wizard of Oz is *much* better than the book.

Edited: Sep 5, 2006, 8:50am Top

As good as the movie was, I think Howl's Moving Castle was better as a book. Maybe because I was a little disappointed at all of the differences from the book. While I think they were all probably necessary (I try not to question the great Hayao Miyazaki, I had already grown accustomed to the book.

Edited: Sep 5, 2006, 4:38pm Top

I think High Fidelity has got to be one of the (very) few occasions when I've read the book first and still enjoyed the film, although I was a little disappointed that it was transferred to Amerika, Cusak and Co.'s enjoyment and respect of the book really came through and the casting (especially Jack Black) was spot on.

I have to disagree about the Clockwork Orange review too. Stanley Kubrick was a pretentios *expletive deleted* and completly ruined something that can only ever work as a book. It seemed to celebrate the violence rather than looking at Burgess' delicate deconstruction of the character motives, and yes, it looks totally dated and awful now.

I think a lot of your opinion of the movie will come down to your opinion of Kubrick as a director: you either like him or you don't. I felt it didn't really celebrate the violence as much as it was intending to be so extreme as to revolt and disturb you. Kind of like the same reaction you would get watching old Nazi propaganda films. I think that was Kubrick's intention.

I'm actually re-reading High Fidelity right now, as I'm between books and just want some light fiction I can get through quickly. Going back over it, it's really striking how British it is- there's really no way they couldn't have Americanized it and expected an American audience to relate.

On a related note, I just watched the David Lynch version of Dune the other night. My recollection of the book was kind of hazy, but I trust that it's nowhere near as cheesy as that movie was. See, that's how you make a movie look "dated": get Toto to do the soundtrack.

Sep 6, 2006, 11:55am Top

For GirlFromIpanema: This comment is a bit late, but this is my first time reading this group. I love Peter Mayle's books, but I have not read A Good Year, so I read your review. I don't know what kind of crime looms in this book, but the concept is plausible. Have you read Summer's Lease? Melding the countryside with imposing intrigue doesn't have to polarize the story;rather, it injects the plot and the characters with avenues for conflict and character development. I have seen all of the French movies of Peter Mayle's books, so I look forward to seeing this American made movie.

Sep 7, 2006, 9:52pm Top

It might be a tie, but the Lonesome Dove mini-series was as good or better as the book- and the book is my all time favorite.

Edited: Sep 8, 2006, 2:56am Top

*grrrr* LT ate my message! Second edition:
a211423: Melding the countryside with imposing intrigue doesn't have to polarize the story;rather, it injects the plot and the characters with avenues for conflict and character development.

True, but I think in this case it wasn't a particularly good solution. Looking at the dedications of the book, it seems that it was already written with the possibility of becoming a film in mind (Scott wanted Mayle to write a script, but Mayle didn't feel comfortable with that, and offered to write a novel instead. Or so I have heard/read).

Still, like you, I am looking forward to see the film. I *won't*, however, look for any more books! My Mount ToBeRead has hit 60 already --and counting...

BTW, I have seen stills from the Good Year film. What is it that directors have with those Smart cars? This is the third film this year, that has one of those in it. Either they're all utterly fascinated by the thingy --or someone's paying for it? (Hey, I'd take one of those, if someone else was paying for it, too ;-) ).

Sep 8, 2006, 10:20am Top

Forgive my ignorance, but what is a "smart car"?

Don't even mention the "to be read" list. *sigh* There are so many. I find that reading several at a time seems to help, and if they are the same genre even better.

Did Peter Mayle write the screen adaptation too or just the novel? If the screen play is not very good, is it fair to blame the author of the novel? My opinion is no. I would have to read the book and see the movie to make a valid comparison, and we readers know so many movies are disappointing once we have read the book. I say "disappointing" instead of "bad" because books and film are completely different and should be judged within the limitations of each, i.e., visual and auditory vrs written word. I don't mean to state the obvious, but sometimes I need to remind myself of the differences when being critical.

Sep 8, 2006, 11:08am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Edited: Sep 8, 2006, 11:18am Top

Well I had to post right when the databases were melting. So here we go again.

a211423: Smart is a car brand. "Invented" by the owner of the Swatch company. It started out Swiss, but is now German. They're basically tiny shoeboxes on wheels which is why I suspect you don't see many of them in the US. Putting them in movies is probably helping to promote them in the US, or that's at least their intention. Just my guess though.
You can actually look them up on wikipedia.

Edited: Sep 8, 2006, 1:38pm Top

Our local fire brigade has at least one of those as an advance car :-). In my neighbourhood there are two of those. But like Thalia I was wondering why they would show up in American movies. But maybe they are just deemed as something utterly European. Which they probably are, looking at the petrol prices and the packed roads and cities around here. :-)

Sep 8, 2006, 2:24pm Top

a21: Did Peter Mayle write the screen adaptation too or just the novel? If the screen play is not very good, is it fair to blame the author of the novel? My opinion is no.

I agree!
In the Good Year case, there's only a trailer available as of today, so we'll have to wait patiently (until November around here). And The Bridges of Madison County was another book I didn't like (OK, I hated it!). But the film is one of my alltime favourites. So I'll stay openminded about the matter.
Mayle only wrote the book, btw.

Sep 8, 2006, 5:34pm Top

GirlFromIpanema: That picture cracks me up! Awesome "firetruck" :-) It hasn't come this far here yet, but you see them everywhere else, usually plastered with ads.

Sep 8, 2006, 5:53pm Top

Sideways was a much better movie than a book, in my opinion. The author was a screenwriter, and I think it's telling that he was not involved with the screenplay of the movie. The book was much more Hollywood than the movie.

In agreement with others, The Godfather was a better film than a book, and while I liked the story of Brokeback Mountain, I think the film improved upon it.

While it wasn't a bad Austen movie, the latest Pride and Prejudice had a horrible tacked-on ending for American audiences. Apparently, we Americans can't accept that the couple actually lived happily ever after without sappy screen evidence.

Regarding a movie and a book that share little more than a title, there's About Schmidt. The book and the movie were both about a man with the last name of Schmidt, but that's about all they shared. Even their first names were different.

Sep 8, 2006, 11:44pm Top

Thalia: Thank you for the information on smart cars because I have never heard of them. ( I love your name btw. The muse of pastoral poetry is a welcome sight :) I have used "Calliope" before, but unfortunately some people attached polluted meanings to it, so I stopped using it.)

Sep 8, 2006, 11:59pm Top

cabegley: I didnt read the book Sideways, but I thought the movie was terrific. Brokeback Mountain was good and adapting from a short story I think would be more difficult, so praises to whomever wrote the screen play. Although I love Annie Proulx, I did not like the movie of Shipping News. The book was great. I think it was Kevin Spacey's portral--it was a little too creepy, and I didnt get the same impression when I read the book.
You bring up an interesting point in About Schmidt How much of a story needs to be included in a movie based on book in order to be given the title as an "adaptation"?

Sep 9, 2006, 8:52am Top

Actually, I think adapting a short story, or at least a novelette or novella, makes more sense than adapting an entire book. There's far too much that goes on in a book than can fit into a movie. The Harry Potter movies are a good example of this--if you've both read and seen, think of how much from the books never sees light of day in the movies.

Sep 9, 2006, 8:55am Top

Brokeback Mountain was adapted for screenplay by the great Larry McMurtry and his writing partner Diana Ossana. Even Annie Proulx said she thought they were able to expand upon her story and make it better.

Sep 9, 2006, 5:53pm Top

cabegley: I agree with you about adapting a novella in terms of the basic story, but this leaves a lot of character interpretation through dialogue up to the adaptation writer which might or might not reflect the intent of the novella author. Although, in Sideways as you stated it was an improvement, and in Brokeback Mountain the expansion of the characters was welcomed and blessed by Annie Proulx. I have seen some movies of E.A. Poe short stories, however, that were just horrible as they capitalized on the horror and grotesque, rather than the mystery and intrigue. For me, a good short story leaves me wishing it were longer. One of my favorites I wish someone could make into a movie is Anton Chekhov's The Darling (Note: Not Russell Banks' which is coming up on the touchstone.) I just wish he would have written it as a play like most of his other well know works. To me, Olenka Plemyannikova is a female heroine for all time. She could have a 21st century voice as easily as the 19th century one Chekhov gave her. I believe I have strayed a little from the topic, but I am in agreement with you on looking at short stories for film possibilities.

Sep 10, 2006, 8:16pm Top

Not to start up the Kubrick debate again, but 2001: A Space Odyssey was originally a short story called The Sentinel.

Sep 10, 2006, 11:12pm Top

I wasn't here for the "Kubrick debate." What was it about?

Sep 12, 2006, 2:05am Top

A Clockwork Orange.

Edited: Oct 6, 2006, 10:03am Top

I watched Howl's Moving Castle about a month ago and really enjoyed it. It inspired me to read the book which I finished last night.

This is one of those really rare instances where although the storyline in the movie and in the book were very different, I liked them equally as much.

Oct 12, 2006, 6:42pm Top

Quoting cabegley:

"Actually, I think adapting a short story, or at least a novelette or novella, makes more sense than adapting an entire book. There's far too much that goes on in a book than can fit into a movie."

Often this is true. Novels tend to make for better television miniseries. The longer form of the miniseries allows the screenwriter to preserve extended character development and multiple themes and subplots. A case in point is "Dune." The David Lynch theatrical release is simply wretched. But a few years back, the SciFi channel did a six-hour adaptation that was brilliant.

And "The Lord of the Rings" could not have been adapted without going for 8-9 hours of screen time, and even then, it would have been so much better if they could have had the 12 hours that a miniseries would allow. Most notably by retaining the "Scouring of the Shire" at the end, which is a vital denouement in the book, showing how the hobbit characters have lost their innocence.

Unless you are dealing with a potboiler that is essentially written to be made into a movie, the only way to reduce a novel to a 2-hour film is to focus on one or two aspects of the novel and ruthlessly toss away the rest. Sometimes this is done superbly, as in "To Kill A Mockingbird," more often too much is lost.

Oct 13, 2006, 2:15pm Top

The Lord of the Rings films were so much like the books. I saw things I had actually imagined as a child and the films seem to capture the " feelings" I had back then too.
Gone with the Wind is a nice film but does cut out an awful lot, pieces of the story which actually explain other pieces.
It would be interesting if they did films on the Philippa Gregory books.

Oct 13, 2006, 11:54pm Top

I have to disagree about Ella Enchanted. I was in love with the books when I read it two years before the movie came out, and the movie seemed to make fun of the book.

On the other hand, I fell in love with the movie Big Fish, and afterwards the book seemed lame, wandering, and dissapointing.

I think a lot of it depends on which you saw/read first. If you really like the original form you saw the material in, you're going to be dissapointed in the differences in it's counterpart.

Oct 14, 2006, 1:12pm Top

Quoting dwilton:

"Unless you are dealing with a potboiler that is essentially written to be made into a movie, the only way to reduce a novel to a 2-hour film is to focus on one or two aspects of the novel and ruthlessly toss away the rest."

This may be necessary even if you're dealing with a potboiler. Screenwriter Carl Gottlieb's adaptation of Peter Benchley's Jaws vastly improved the story by cutting virtually all of Benchley's subplots, including one about an adulterous affair (complete with excruciating "romantic" dialogue) that stopped the book dead every time Benchley returned to it.

Oct 16, 2006, 3:58am Top

I'm a little surprised that no one has yet mentioned The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks or The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans, both of which were made into movies. I've read both books, (The Notebook several times), and seen both movies, and I firmly believe that there is no contest...the books are so much better than the movies! For one thing, neither movie ended the same way as the book. This may be common with movies so that you end up with a *happy ending* or whatever, but, in my opinion, if you're going to pay homage to the person who wrote such a wonderful book, then do it right. Follow THEIR story, not yours, since it was theirs in the first place. The second reason the books were infinitely more enjoyable than the movies is that both authors have a way with words, so that the story seems to wrap around and engulf you, and suddenly, you are there. You see what they see, hear what they hear, feel what they feel, much more so than in a movie. Now, I'm not putting either movie down...both were exceptional movies, and, I'll admit, I cried at both. I own The Notebook (the movie), and it's one of my favorites, but the book version is probably my all-time favorite book, and to me the movie didn't do it justice. Oh, this also holds true to A Walk to Remember, also by Nicholas Sparks. The book was much better than the movie, although the movie did follow more closely and pretty much ended the same. I also own that movie, too, and, if anyone is interested, it has a wonderful soundtrack!

Oct 16, 2006, 3:13pm Top

I watched the Notebook and it made me ball like a baby. It wasn't that I didn't like the movie, it's just that it was SO sad.

For some reason I decided to try and read the book, thinking I might even like it better than the movie. Unfortunately I couldn't force myself past the first couple chapters. I don't know what it was about that book.

Nicoletort - I agree with what you said about how you're first introduced to a story. I guess that first impression just sticks with you no matter what.

Oct 16, 2006, 4:37pm Top

I tried to watch Memoirs of a Geisha this weekend and had a really hard time getting in to it. I have not read the book, and after the watching the first 30 minutes of the movie, I don't think I want to.

I just finished reading The Virgin Suicides, I had already seen the movie. I have to admit I don't totally like either. I think it has to do with the subject matter. It's just to dark for me. I kept waiting for the revelation to have it all make sense, but their was none. Maybe that is the point, that suicide only makes sense to the one doing it, and no one else will truly understand, but I was hoping for more insight. This book reminds me in a lot ways of Edwin Mullhouse by Steven Millhauser with the use of the child as an unreliable narrator and the future death of his friend which is a given from page 1, heck even from the title.

Oct 16, 2006, 8:33pm Top

demonlover, I agree, I cried like a baby in the theater when I saw the movie, too. It is sad, but it's such a great story. Plus, I was going through a trying time when I saw it, so I was extremely emotional about the whole thing. Anyway, maybe you should try the book again. I guarantee if you can get past those first couple of chapters, it will be worth your time. Unless you're just not a fan of Nicholas Sparks, then you probably won't like it at all.

Edited: Oct 18, 2006, 7:40pm Top

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Oct 19, 2006, 3:22pm Top

I've never tried anything else by Nicholas Sparks. I'll have to give him another shot. I know a lot of people absolutely love his writing.

64csgebhart First Message
Oct 19, 2006, 11:15pm Top

The worst movie I've seen made from a book was Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres. I thought it was a wonderful book, but the movie changed the story so much that I really wondered why anyone bothered. The movie might have been ok if I hadn't read the book, but I did, and so I HATED the movie.

Edited: Oct 26, 2006, 2:11am Top

re messages #4 and #35 to #43: A good year by Peter Mayle. I just returned from the cinema. I saw the film, to be released here on 9 Nov., at a preview (including intimidating security guys and stern warnings not to try and pull off some stunts with a camera).
Definitely a case of "film is better than the book", although like the book the film is not too strong on character development. It is really quite enjoyable, while I don't think I'll read the book again. It followed the main storyline of the book, but dropped a few subplots altogether. Which made for a taut story, as opposed to the book, which at times didn't know what story to tell. I am not a comedy person, but after a few minutes of warm-up, I was swept away by the story. The script doesn't keep too close to the book in the dialogue. There are some really hilarious lines! Of course, you get the obligatory jokes about Frogs/Rosbifs, but it's never overdone, IMO. Favourite scene: Max storming out to his car, getting in on the drivers side....- mate, it's a *french* car. They drive on the right side of the street. That is sooooo myself! Happens to me every bloody time I am in the UK.
It's not "leader of the pack" stuff but definitely made for two entertaining hours at the cinema.
And for those who have seen Gladiator, see if you can spot the quote *g*.

Nov 3, 2006, 6:53pm Top

Mostly, movies suck compared to books. Here are two exceptions for me:

Anyone remember the adaptation of Ordinary People? It was a real, real crappy book, but the movie was great. Amazing performances by Tim Hutton, Donald Sutherland & Mary Tyler Moore. It's still melodramatic, but on screen it worked for me.

Thank god for Peter Jackson! I never, ever have to read Tolkien's ponderous prose again, but I can hang out with Frodo, et al whenever I want. Brilliant casting made this film. Everyone looked and acted exactly as described in the books.

Nov 3, 2006, 7:16pm Top

I watched Pride and Prejudice a couple weekends ago. I've never read the book and wasn't too thrilled by he movie. Tons of people have said that the book and/or the A&E mini series were much better than the movie I saw.

68survivingniki First Message
Edited: Nov 3, 2006, 9:36pm Top

I used to be all about the books and felt that the movies based on novels (especially good novels) where all but travesties. But now we're in an age of LOTR and Harry Potter, so I'm changing my mind.

So I want to see if I'm way off base: Here are three movies, that although the writing was good I felt the movie was much better.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker movie directed by Stephen Speilberg

Dracula by Bram Stoker (despite Keanu and Wynona)

The Shawshank Redemption (orginally a short story by Stephen King)

What do you guys think? Am I crazy?

Nov 3, 2006, 10:12pm Top

Zach Snyder is making a film of Watchmen at the moment; it seems to me that this graphic novel would be better suited as an HBO series. Also, I would hate to be in his place- he's stuck between the studio execs who want to make it an action flick and the Moore fans who may declare jihad on him if the film is bad.
What do you all think?

Nov 4, 2006, 1:57pm Top

After the complete disaster that was the film of V for Vendetta, I think that Watchmen should *never* be made into a film lest it suffers a similar state. (Really. I cannot emphasise how utterly *awful* the V movie was.)

Nov 4, 2006, 2:39pm Top

Not to mention LXG, From Hell, Constantine, etc.

Nov 5, 2006, 5:42am Top

Limerts and others,

High Fidelity - great film, didn`t feel it suffered from being translated into American. John Cusack also good in Serendipity.


Just Like Heaven - also very good. Enjoyed the body-stealing scene immensely, partic the classic line where the sidekick explains why he`s helping the central character "You know why ? One day I`m gonna want to steal a body and I don`t want any shit from you." Great stuff.

Another good one is Summer of My German Soldier - video much loved, but book still on `books to be read` shelf, along with another by Greene.

Nick & Ann-Marie


I saw Altman`s The Long Goodbye with Elliott Gould before reading the book. I`d seen the Bogart Chandler films (i.e. films of Chandler books featuring Bogart. There isn`t a person called Bogart Chandler, though maybe there should be), but this was the one that started me reading the books - in fact I deliberately ordered a second hand Long Goodbye with a film tie-in (pic of Gould with ginger cat) cover, which I still have and treasure. Have own ginger cat now.

Another good one is Men of Respect with John Turturro - a gangster film based on a book called Macbeth by someone called Shakespeare - I can honestly say I enjoy it more than the book, though I imagine that`ll be a controversial choice in the context of LT.

Two others just quickly - Nosferatu with Max Schreck, Dracula with Bela Lugosi, both obviously based on Bram Stoker`s Dracula. I love the book though ! And Bela was never as good as Boris Karloff.


Ann-Marie`s favourite films - let`s see if there are books of these - Truly Madly Deeply,Thelma and Louise, Letter to Brezhnev

Nov 8, 2006, 4:40pm Top

I agree about The Color Purple. Walker's prose is stilted and awful, but the story and characters were good. Much better as a movie.

Nov 20, 2006, 12:49am Top

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Dec 1, 2006, 12:51pm Top

Am reading Great Expectations and have seen the black and white film.So far the film is very near the book.The rest remains to be seen.

76multifaceted First Message
Edited: Dec 1, 2006, 9:04pm Top

After having watched Apocalypse Now again last night (or...er...early this morning), I can still safely say it is much, much better than Heart of Darkness. While I understood the book, I just didn't like it much--the Vietnam War seemed much more interesting than boats and Colonialism in Africa.

It's the only movie I've seen that actually compliments the book, though. The movie makes the book seem better in retrospect, and the book helps make the movie more poignant.

Also, I loved Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. It *was* quite different from the book, which *was* really annoying at times, but for the most part I was too busy laughing! I can't really say the same for Kubrick's adaptation of Lolita, though, and I have yet to read more of his book-to-movie adaptations.

Edited: Dec 1, 2006, 8:09pm Top

Whilking jeekers! No one has yet mentioned some of the widest, most glaring disparities between quality of film and book. My nominations:

The grand prize bad film/good book: Catch-22 2nd: The Birds 3rd: School for scoundrels

Dec 1, 2006, 8:06pm Top

I sure agree with you on The Birds, but I haven't seen the other films. Or read those books.

The Count of Monte Cristo is right up there for me as a bad film/good book.

Dec 1, 2006, 9:28pm Top

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Dec 1, 2006, 9:33pm Top

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Dec 1, 2006, 10:24pm Top

I have to disagree,I thought THE HORSE WHISPERER had a terrible ending in the book. The author seemed to get tired of writing and just threw together the ending. I read the book first and could not get it out of my mind that Robert Redford was going to die at the end of the movie. Thank Goodness that did not happen in the movie. THE HORSE WHISPERER I thought was a great movie on several different levels but then i like Robert Redfords acting and directing efforts most of the time.
I totally agree with you on the NOTEBOOK. I went to this movie with a bunch of woman,I started crying way too early for them to undersatnd, they looked at me and asked why i was crying, I had to laugh and say i read the book already. Both works were well worth mentioning.

Dec 2, 2006, 12:12am Top

The Beast Master by Andre Norton has only two points of connection with the film: the kinds of animals who accompany the protagonist, and the title.

I prefer the book. It's science fiction, set shortly after the destruction of Earth in a war (fortunately, long after Earth has established colony worlds). The title character is a very specialized sort of commando who was a native of Earth, and is trying to cope by pursuing a family feud of sorts.

Edited: Dec 2, 2006, 5:07am Top

msg 80, MrKris: Which movie On the Beach are you talking about, the 1958 version or the 2000 version (TV 2-part mini series)?
I have read the book and seen the 2000 version. While the film is depressing as hell (I can't really watch it more often than about once a year), I kind of hated the book. I thought the characters were all so dated in their behaviour. At times I would have liked to throw the book against a wall, at great speed! The film is set in 2006, and has contemporary characters.

Dec 2, 2006, 5:10am Top

Oh, and who has read the P.D. James novel that formed the basis of the current "Children of Men" film? Is it worth reading? I have never read any of her other books.

Dec 2, 2006, 6:21pm Top

#84 - I have. I really enjoyed it (but note: I also like The Handmaid's Tale, Riddley Walker, Nineteen-Eighty-Four, A Clockwork Orange, that kind of thing. If you don't, you won't, I suspect.)

Edited: Dec 16, 2006, 2:45pm Top

Whew, that was a lot of reading! I have comments about several of the conversation threads going on...

The Notebook - Saw the movie first, loved it, bawled like a baby. I read the book some time later and enjoyed it, too. I can't really say I like one more than the other, though.

High Fidelity - I honestly haven't read the book because I haven't been able to find it used for a decent price, but I love the movie. I agree that it wouldn't be such a hit in the U.S. if it hadn't been Americanized. I'm reading About a Boy currently, but I haven't yet seen the entire movie. So far, I'm enjoying Nick Hornby's writing, though.

I, Robot - Someone mentioned this is a book/movie combo that don't go together. That's true... the only similarity is the use of the three laws of robotics, really. I saw the movie first (which I enjoyed), then read the book. I like them both as two separate entities.

The Da Vinci Code - (I'm scared I'm going to be beat up for mentioning this one, but ah well.) This stayed pretty close to the book. Tom Hanks played Robert Langdon well... little to no personality, really just a tool in the story itself. Then again, he felt at least a little more personable in the book. Don't shoot me please: I'm looking forward to seeing Angels and Demons on screen. I think it was the better of the two.

The Last Unicorn - No one has mentioned this one yet, either... but it's an animated movie. I heard they're making a live-action one soon, but I don't know how well that'll go over. The book and movie are extremely close, even verbatim at times. I think I may have preferred the book in this case (if only to avoid some of the cheesy cartoon bits).

Dec 16, 2006, 3:05pm Top

Contact was pretty good movie, even if it differed significantly from the book.

Dec 17, 2006, 3:52am Top

I'm not afraid of the heat; I much prefered the movie The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy to either the book or the BBC television series. I've said it and I'm not afraid.

Dec 17, 2006, 5:45am Top

I am curious if anyone has gone to see Eragon yet? Was it anywhere close to the book? I haven't seen any reviews on it yet so I am waiting till I hear what other people thought of it.

Dec 17, 2006, 3:25pm Top

I was supposed to go see Eragon, but my teen is now grounded and can't go. When I gave my 6 y.o. the option he opted for Happy Feet instead.

I may have to go see Eragon on Christmas day just as a present to myself.

Dec 17, 2006, 9:29pm Top

"Field of Dreams" is a much better movie than the book it was based on : Shoeless Joe.

Dec 18, 2006, 12:44am Top

I went to see Eragon Saturday afternoon, and I really enjoyed the movie, but I must say I sort of expected more of a climax. But, I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next two. I haven't read the books...that's not really my forte in reading, but my husband has read both, and is waiting on the third one. He said the movie followed along really well with the book, although they cut parts out. He said the only thing that they cut out of the movie that should have stayed was, during the fight between Eragon and the Shade guy (I forget his name), Eragon was cut across the back or something, and they didn't really show that. He said they should have showed that because it was kind of significant. Like I said, I haven't read the book, so I don't know, but I'd advise to go see the movie. Saphira, when she's young, is SOOOOOO cute! She makes these purring sounds kind of like a cat, and, if dragons were real, I'd want my own after seeing this movie! Plus, I love the fact they can communicate through their thoughts. That's cool.

Dec 18, 2006, 11:06am Top

I heard that they are playing the trailer for Blood and chocolate along with Eragon, so now I have another reason to go see the film!

Dec 19, 2006, 12:21am Top

I like the flying scene in Eragon, and I agree that young Saphira is soooooooo cute.

The downside of the film is that Eragon didn't name her 'Saphira', all of a sudden she just called herself that. I think the naming process is crucial, because that's the first time Eragon--and readers--realize that the dragon is a female. And it shows how Eragon tried to give the best name to his dragon--having had to get all the information from Brom.
That, and the way that Saphira grows 'in a flash'--metaphorically and literaly. They suppose to, you know, grow together. It makes the bond between them doesnt seem to go as deeply as in the book.
In short, the movie is just too...short. They cut out much--too much--of the important details. It leaves only a movie with wonderful landscape and a graceful dragon, without the interesting reasonable story.

95prying.delilah. First Message
Dec 20, 2006, 3:37pm Top

In my opinion, About A Boy is much better as a book while High Fidelity is superior as a movie.

Edited: Dec 20, 2006, 10:06pm Top

Oh my gosh, so much going on! I own the movie About a Boy. It's one of my favorites. I had no idea it came from a book. Have to add that one to my list. Also need to add The Notebook to my list. I own that movie as well. What a great story! Men cried during that movie. The Da Vinci Code was....well, pretty much what I expected-just ok. I'm probably going to watch the movie just to put all the peices together.

I haven't seen anyone mention Angela's Ashes. I read the book first and loved it. I was amazed at how closely the movie was to the book. Equally amazing. Apparently, Frank McCourt was on the set and gave his approval.

Oh, and I also have yet to see a bad film version of Pride and Prejudice.

Dec 20, 2006, 11:44pm Top

the one book i have read that i felt the movie was better was The Motorcycle Diaries. The movie grabbed me by the hair and drug me along with Ernesto 'Che' Guevara and made me fall in love with him and his beautiful country.

When i picked up the book, i imagined it to be so much better, but instead it was flat, and to honest a little boring. The movie breathed life into the stale journal entries. Not that the book was bad, I think that maybe when it was translated into english it lost something that the movie was able to put back into it.

As for High Fidelity I read the book a few years before the movie came out, and I liked it, but didn't love it. The last half of the book was so damned boring. I thought the movie was ok. The more and more i watch it the more and more i like it, so one day I'll get around to rereading it to see if it is any better.

Dec 25, 2006, 4:11am Top

There was a movie remake of Pride and Prejudice that was so awful it was embarrassing!
amazon link to horrible movie.

It's sad because Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books and I would love to see a good movie version of Eliza B.

I would say that my favorite movie based off of a book that I didn't like would have to be, The Last of the Mohicans by James F. Cooper. Of course, I saw the movie first but the book had the love interests reversed in what was supposed to be a moral lesson on why you shouldn't mix races.

It had the Native Americans dressing up in animal skins and fooling other tribe members into thinking they were actual animals, the hero was a lecturing boor who didn't grow up with any of the tribes yet presumed to teach the young native boy about life... strange white man's fantasy of what Indians were like...

Fantastic movie though!

Anyone read the book?

Spark Notes is a good source if you wanna check. ;-)

Dec 26, 2006, 9:14pm Top

I saw Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil first. I couldn't get into the book quite as much as the film. I didn't want to imagine the characters and the setting any other way, although I loved having more of a backstory on Lady Chablis.

Edited: Dec 29, 2006, 9:27am Top

I'll put in a vote for A History of Violence as a better movie than book.

Dec 30, 2006, 1:39pm Top

Agree with MrsLee #88 wholeheartedly! Anyone who's seen it filmed but not yet read the book: go forth and enjoy!! esta1923

Jan 1, 2007, 1:36am Top

Happy New Year everyone!

Jan 2, 2007, 8:29am Top

I have to say that Jeff Lindsay isn't much of a writer but james manos jr. did an excellent job in adapting the Dexter series for television. terrific actors, a great script and a camera work to die for!

As someone said a few entries earlier the novels are often too rich to scale them down to a film, so maybe a tv series could be a fine solution.

Jan 6, 2007, 10:00am Top

This is one instance where I wish I would have seen the movie before reading the book. I finished To Kill a Mockingbird, so I watched the movie last night. I'm sure in it's day this was a groundbreaking movie, and Gregory Peck was brilliant. But, there was so much missing from the book that I kept looking for. Mostly, I missed the relationship the kids had with Calpernia. Her true characther didn't really come through in the film. So many characters were lost in this film. Perhaps Hollywood, or some indies could create a new version.

Jan 6, 2007, 8:43pm Top

Has anyone read and seen Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander?
I saw the film, but have never got round to reading the bool, or any other by him for that matter. I really mean to someday. Is the film like the book?

Jan 7, 2007, 2:48pm Top

#105: "The book"?! You just missed 4.750 pages, blackeminence... :-)
There are actually 20 of 'em. The first of Patrick O'Brian's books in the series was indeed Master and Commander, but there isn't much connection with what is happening in the film (the rough story was taken from book 10 The far side of the world). I strongly recommend to read them in sequence, and you might want to start with no. 2 Post Captain or even no. 3 H.M.S. Surprise, to get into it. M&C *is* a bit dry, if you have never been exposed to O'Brian's specific style and the plethora of naval expressions he uses (but I made it through the book, and I am not even a native speaker).
Virtually every scene in the film is taken from the books, along with characters and characteristics. This is one of the films where I'd say the film is on par with the book(s), and that is no small feat with O'Brian.
There's a group here for his books, btw: HMS Surprise

Jan 7, 2007, 3:11pm Top

I just received a copy of the movie version of "First Blood" from my brother for Christmas. I thoroughly enjoyed it, although I haven't read the book, but plan to now. The story is, for me, completely engrossing, moving, and just a bit disturbing. For those who don't know, this is the first Rambo movie, and follows John Rambo as he discovers all his war buddies are dead, before finding himself in small town Oregon. He proceeds to piss off the local sheriff for no apparent reason, get arrested, and has a psychotic break while being processed, and runs off into the woods, where he hunts the local police before coming back into town to face the sheriff and his old special forces commander. The movie is much more of a thriller than either of its sequels, neither of which I like as much, and while by no means ultra-violent, is very disturbing. An example of this would be when Rambo runs down a teenage hunter, and almost kills him (in the book, apparently he does disembowel the young man, but this was not included in the movie.)

Jan 7, 2007, 3:17pm Top

Okay, that certainly gives me something to do :)
Thanks for the advice, I'll buy the first couple when I next get down to the bookshop!

Jan 7, 2007, 11:16pm Top

O'Brien is one of my favorite authors. The movie is just a mish-mosh of the best bits from various books and doesn't follow the plot of Far Side of the World at all. I enjoyed it, but if you really want to get to know the characters, which I highly recommend, read them in order. I disagree about starting with Post Captain. You'd miss Jack & Stephen's first meeting, which is wonderful.

And Stephen should NOT be taller than Jack!!!!!

Jan 8, 2007, 2:24pm Top

littlegeek, do you honestly suggest putting Jack Aubrey on screen 100% faithful to O'Brians description of him?? Well, it would make for good comedy, that's for sure, but not really for drama! :-)
And as for Maturin, here's a quote from O'Brian's son: "Several critics of the film have objected to the presentation of Maturin. I hesitate to join them. Every word Maturin speaks, his movements, tastes and other characteristics so plainly reflect Patrick himself that it is his figure and no other that appears before me."(source). I think what I said about Aubrey also goes for Maturin: The books' Maturin doesn't make a good film Maturin, dwarfish, unkempt, with a dirty coat and the odd dead animal in his pockets ;-).
Two different mediums, really. I am totally grateful to Peter Weir for introducing me to P. O'Brian and to Patrick O'Brian for creating this saga. I won't diss either of them :-). I love both versions and can re-watch/re-read them endlessly.

Jan 11, 2007, 7:58pm Top

I didn't say Jack needed to be exactly the same as the book, just that in the book, much was made of their relative heights. I think Russell Crowe is great at playing taller than he is (see also LA Confidential), but it was just wrong for Stephen to be so tall!

I did like the movie, and I understand the different medium thingy. The actors did capture the personalities well. There's just no room for some of the subtleties, and major things had to be left out, like Stephen's spying. Books are almost always better, and definitely in this case.

112fatamorgana First Message
Jan 11, 2007, 9:24pm Top

Snow falling on cedars
by David Guterson- both the book and the movie- excellent!!!

Jan 14, 2007, 12:36am Top

Agree with 112/fatamogana. . . rare to have such a faithful translation, and no loss Esta1923

114elcaminogirl First Message
Jan 14, 2007, 5:38pm Top

The worst interpretation of a book onscreen that I've encountered is The Count of Monte Cristo. The entire plot was butchered down to practically nothing, and the characters were twisted and combined until the movie bears little resemblence to the book except title.
It was such a disappointment, other stories by Dumas have been done well onscreen. The Three Musketeers has been a success on occasion.

Jan 14, 2007, 10:59pm Top

I agree elcaminogirl, I was so disappointed because I thought Jim Caviezel would make a perfect Count.

Jan 15, 2007, 7:11am Top

Count of Monte Cristo - it's hard, impossible?, to cut a 1000 page novel down to a 100 minute film. There was a French mini-series starring Gerald Depardieu which followed the novel relatively faithfully until it fell apart at the end by ignoring the original ending, and going for the cliched romantic ending.

Jan 15, 2007, 3:05pm Top

lverner says, "I hate movies that use the name of a book but are nothing like the book at all."

The recent Cheaper by the Dozen fits that bill. But I have nothing but praise for the older film adaptation.

Jan 15, 2007, 6:48pm Top

I'll agree with you #117 sflax, I just watched Cheaper by the Dozen, remake. I was shocked at just how bad it was. Loved that book and the old movie.

#116 jargoneer: For me, since The Lord of the Rings movies were made, I say nothing is impossible, if you have a director and company who are dedicated to the original work. I think that has made my standard for films from books much higher. It used to be said that the mediums are too different and one has to compromise. I'm not sure that holds water anymore. Some of the stories where most of the plot/dialogue is internal are hard to replicate. I don't like a movie where the character is thinking aloud too much as in The Dark Crystal.

Jan 15, 2007, 7:54pm Top

One genre where the films are consistently much worse than the originals are graphic novels. Too often only the title remains, and a sense of "why did they bother buying the rights?".

I've only seen a few passable films in this genre, maybe V for Vendetta is the best example, and that was disowned by its creator.


Jan 16, 2007, 2:50am Top

>119 mdoar:: In general I agree, but what about Sin City? I have never seen a film based on a graphic novel that is so true to the book. Or books in this case.

Jan 16, 2007, 4:17am Top

Just about the only film I've watched that comes close to the book is sphere by crichton.

It always helps to see the movie first and then gain the background details from the book afterwards. Because if you read the book first the movie will always dissapoint.

Anybody seen the Hogfather film? Is it any good?

Jan 16, 2007, 12:59pm Top

What? They made a film of Hogfather? Who? Where? When?

Edited: Jan 16, 2007, 1:03pm Top

MrsLee: imdb is also my friend: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0765458/ :-)

Jan 16, 2007, 1:54pm Top

Yup, that's one :-)

And it's hard to name another :-/

Edited: Jan 16, 2007, 3:10pm Top

re 118: I agree to that about the Lord of the Rings, but it doesn't seemt to have set the standard for all fantasy films. What do you make of the Narnia Chronicles, or Eragon? I didn't like Narnia much, but I didn't like the books either, so I guess I'm a bad judge, but Eragon, although I found it fun to watch, was nowhere near the book.

Jan 16, 2007, 6:57pm Top

I've not read or watched Eragon, so I'm no judge there, but I loved the Narnia books. On the movie, I loved the production values, but was not thrilled with the story and what they chose to leave in/cut out. I felt it missed the greatness of Aslan. However, it was O.K., better than the first attempt, a noble effort and I am happy they are planning more. I did feel that they tried to keep the spirit of the book.

I think what LOTR did, was to show that it is possible to make a great fantasy film without it being cheesy.

Thanks Thalia! I'm headed there after this post.

Jan 17, 2007, 11:59am Top

>120 Thalia: I've never read the comic of Sin City but had to stop watching the movie halfway through because I found it too disturbing.

I have really enjoyed the Spiderman and X-Men movies, but maybe that's because I don't usually read the comics.

Jan 17, 2007, 12:13pm Top

>127 Jenson_AKA_DL:: Well, when you read the books, you recognize the images from the movies. A lot of the shots in the movie look exactly like the panels in the graphic novel.
The books ARE brutal, even more so than the movie, I think. That's probably mainly because they left out a lot for the movie, and because the movie often looks like a graphic novel (e.g. the blood is white).
Another reason why the books are more brutal even is that you always imagine things that happen in between individual panels. At least I do.

Sin City IS very different from Spiderman or X-Men. The main reason for that is that you don't have any superheroes. You basically have one f***ed up character after the other and everybody's killing each other.
I read a lot of graphic novels and the Sin City series is among my favorites. I couldn't say why...

Jan 21, 2007, 9:55am Top

It's been my experience that reading the book or seeing the movie first will ruin one another.

There are very few movies that closely follow the book on which they are based, so I enter doing one or the other with an open mind or at least try!!

My example of movies that follow the book:

The Client-John Grisham

Jan 29, 2007, 6:19pm Top

I always debate whether or not to read a book first, then see the movie. Usually, if I read first, I'm much more disapointed in the movie. Seems like it upsets me to see all the changes made in the film, or the "poetic" licence the screenwriter or whomever did to the script. One movie that made me what to stand up and scream, "THAT'S NOT RIGHT" was "Jurassic Park". Read the book first and loved it, hated the changes to the movie. On the other hand, a book/movie that was almost perfect between the two was "The Right Stuff".

131Jadwin First Message
Feb 6, 2007, 6:56pm Top

I normally would agree with that point, but actually I think Sideways was the one exception. I hunted down the book because I absolutely loved the movie. I thought for sure, once I finished with the book that the film would have lost something, but both works were so dynamically different (and not at all in a bad way, even) that I don't think I like one over the other.

Band of Brothers was one where the "film" was just as good as the book, but it was only pulled off by being made into a ten-hour miniseries.

Feb 8, 2007, 6:53pm Top

I'm listening to The Da Vinci Code on cd right now in my car. I've decided I definately want to check out the movie when I've finished.

Feb 8, 2007, 7:22pm Top

Definitely The Bridges of Madison County. After reading the book, I felt as if I needed to shower or something but the movie was a keeper.

Feb 16, 2007, 2:03pm Top

I read The Club Dumas and enjoyed it but was annoyed when I watched its movie version The Ninth Gate. The book's main conceit is constant references to The Three Musketeers but the film chose to emphasize the Satan-worshipping instead.

Bleak House is one of my favorite Dickens books so I was quite happy when the 2006 miniseries turned out to be wonderful.

Out of Africa and The Virgin Suicides were both movies that inspired me to read the equally inspiring books.

Feb 22, 2007, 8:44pm Top

I loved the movie The World according to Garp; I think the book is great but the movie is better.

Feb 26, 2007, 7:52am Top

I don't think anyone has mentioned Silence of the Lambs. I think the casting of Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster was brilliant and the movie deserved it's success.

Apr 17, 2007, 1:54pm Top

Well,Blood and chocolate is one of the books that were amazing but the movie sounded awful.

Apr 21, 2007, 10:55pm Top

^^#136 I agree with you, Imager. I thought Silence of the Lambs was inspired. Too bad the magic was not repeated with the rest of the series.

Apr 22, 2007, 1:44am Top

survivingniki, what did you think of the prequel, Red Dragon, and the two movie versions "Red Dragon" and the earlier "Manhunter"?

Apr 22, 2007, 5:35pm Top

Seven Years in Tibet is a great movie, but I'm finishing the book now and it doesn't compare. The book is quite a bit different, often dull in places, not especially exciting or adventurous, no dialogue, more of a documentary on life in a Tibetan village. Not at all what I was expecting.

Apr 23, 2007, 1:17pm Top

Imager, do you want an essay or the book? (lol)

The book Red Dragon is great for what it is: a dark pychological crime thriller, full of details and creepiness that was not seen a great deal before it's fabrication.

The movies: Even though they are very similar, I prefer Silence to Red Dragon for several reasons: I saw Silence first, and it created the mold; having a female lead (epecially a pale, petite Jodie Foster) gives a far greater vulneralbility factor to the plot. Edward Norton phones it in(Red Dragon), and even though everything else hits similar notes, it doesn't ring as authentic the second time around. (With the noteable exception of Philip Seymour Hoffman as the doomed journalist).

Now the movie, Manhunter... I watched it within the past year for the first time, and it was hard for me to get over the 80's cop-movie cheesiness of some of it, with the heavy synthesizers in the background and so on...I think it would take a movie critic to prefer it, but I like that for it's time in 1986, again it was breaking molds and pushing boundaries. Noonan as The Tooth Fairy is truly creepy. So for me, it's a notable movie, just not a great one.

Of course, I could go on and on...but I'll spare you. ;)
What was your take on them? And whose performance do you prefect for Lecter (or Lektor)?

Apr 24, 2007, 10:54am Top

Survivingniki, thanks for your great review - wel'll have to get together on Flixter, lol.

I had been impressed by the book before I saw either of the movie adaptations and I felt that both had backed off from dealing with Dolarhyde's horrific childhood, although I thought Ralph Fiennes' portrayal came close to capturing the book's character in that respect (and I think he is perfect as Voldemort).

There were aspects of each movie that seemed superior - I preferred Will Peterson as Will Graham more than Edward Norton (who was brilliant in Primal Fear) but as I had already seen the movie, Silence of the Lambs, for me Anthony Hopkins is Lector.

I know many people cannot enjoy a movie if it does not stay true to the book but I can accept that a movie can be based loosely on a book's characters and still be entertaining in it's own right. Rant over.

Apr 24, 2007, 11:47am Top

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144lesserof2weevils First Message
Apr 24, 2007, 12:52pm Top

I think the Life of Brian was a much better film than the book it was based on.

Apr 29, 2007, 11:10am Top

The only instance I can readily think of where a book and the film of it have been equally good is The Princess Bride by William Goldman - both are absolutely magical.

May 1, 2007, 12:44am Top

For me, it is usually best if there is some time distance between reading the book and then seeing the movie. Then I don't feel as cheated if the movie leaves something out or changes it. Does anyone else find that, if the person you go to the movie with finds out you've read the book, then you are continually asked questions throughout the movie?

And sometimes I feel like I wouldn't understand the movie very well if I hadn't read the book (Dr. Zhivago).

Sometimes I am frustrated because I think some screenwriters read the flyleaf and then write their own version, which usually isn't as good.

I do think that One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was a good movie (and I loved the book).

I liked the plot changes the movie made in The Firm too.

Someone mentioned A Walk to Remember and said the plot was pretty close. It has been years since I've read the book and seen the movie, but, as I recall, the endings were completely opposite.

Just giving opinions off the top of my head... :)

Edited: May 1, 2007, 9:30am Top

I second the opinion on Princess Bride, although it is probably hard to find someone who disliked the movie. The first time I read the book, I could hardly put it down, it took about a day to read, which is very unusual for me.

William Goldman also wrote Marathon Man which I loved, particularly Dustin Hoffman.

May 1, 2007, 7:25pm Top

#146 Xorscape, I agree completely that to have some distance between the book and a movie helps to appreciate each one individually and I did find that having the book's background in The Godfather filled in what could have been some puzzling gaps in the movie's storyline.

#147 Limerts, someone who disliked the Princess Bride? Inconceivable.

149stayhuman36 First Message
May 18, 2007, 8:40am Top

i dont think there are many movies that are better than books.
movies i have seen where the book is better are:
Cold Mountain
The Shipping News
High Fidelity
About a Boy (although both of these were good movies)

I have yet to read Notes of a Scandal and i think the film wa pretty good, so will be interesting to compare the 2

May 18, 2007, 9:08am Top

Jurrasic Park was a better movie than book. Though both were mediocre.

On the fence about A Clockwork Orange. One thing UK readers may not be aware of is that the original US release did NOT contain the last chapter, and that's what Kubrick used for his adaptation. (Its there now, but wasn't until I think the late '80s.) I liked both the book and movie, though for different reasons.

One that'll doubtless get me pilloried here is that I happened to like both the book and movie for American Psycho. Probably give the nod to the movie. Too many weird asides about stereo equipment, clothing, and lame 80s music in the book. (Though Ellis claims that if you actually put together the outfits described the person wearing them would look like a circus clown. He intentionally had them in polka dot ties with striped shirts, etc. I missed this completely.)

And I thought Blade Runner was far better than Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

May 18, 2007, 6:05pm Top

Sorry this is so late in the thread, but here goes...

#70 HoldenCarver "...the complete disaster that was the film of V for Vendetta..."

I could not disagree more. On the advice of a friend I read the graphic novel first. It was good, especially the 'letter from Valerie.'

But I adored the movie. Hugo Weaving's voice was absolutely perfect for "V." My favorite things from the book were in the movie, such as "V" conducting the "symphony" of explosions, and the 'letter from Valerie.' I considered many of the changes to be an improvement: many plot elements were much more believable. I can't go into more detail without spoilers. "V for Vendetta" is a wonderful movie.

Jun 18, 2007, 9:44am Top

wow. what a bunch of opinions! i'm reminded of the quixotic phrase of my illiterate father:

"butch. opinions are like assholes, everone's got one. and they smell different depending on what you've been eating."

no one yet has mentioned the myriad works of steve king transferred to film.

books by SK better than the movie (what comes to mind now):

Pet Semitary
Needful Things
the Langoliers
apt pupil

quality of books and movies the same:

the dead zone
the shining
salem's lot
the stand

movies better than the books:

the green mile
shawshank redemption
misery (although i hated
both -- just too nutsy)
the fog
hearts in atlantis
creepshow (original)
storm of the century

the reason The Godfather was better thanthe book was the director created the movie in an Italian Renannaisance chiarscuro form. It is an art piece. the book is mundane.

so how do i smell?

Jun 18, 2007, 10:01am Top

The Neverending Story was better as a film. And I probably would never have got up the energy to open Sense and Sensibility or Emma, but I enjoyed the films.

Jun 18, 2007, 12:47pm Top

Hands down my number one movie is better than the book nominee is MASH By Richard Hooker. How Robert Altman got his masterful film from this source material is a testament to his genius.

Jun 18, 2007, 1:33pm Top

#153: The Neverending Story was better as a film.

I respectfully disagree, since I feel like we get to know Bastian better and get a more "complex" ending in the book. I also enjoy reading the editions with red and green ink.

#148: Limerts, someone who disliked the Princess Bride? Inconceivable.

I kind of hated the movie. While it was a cute and enjoyable movie, as a big fan of the book, I felt they left out most of the things I liked.

To be fair, one of the things which made the book fun was the whole invented backstory of the "original" version, which wasn't something that could be translated to screen.

Aug 6, 2007, 10:49am Top

Well, I just watched the movie of Blood and Chocolate and frankly I think it's better than the book. But then, I didn't care for the book a whole lot - I thought the title was deceiving and completely unrelated to the book, the writing was pretty low-level (even for a YA book), and the most interesting thing about the whole thing was the stuff about the pack structure (as opposed to, you know, the plot or characters).

The story was different from the book, especially from about halfway through I think, but again, I liked it better. Particularly the end; I didn't really care for the end of the book.

Aug 6, 2007, 3:29pm Top

#153 and #155:
I also think that the Neverending Story is best being read. I did see the film, but it didn't "stick". The images I created while reading are still there. I hated the plushy Fuchur.
A short while ago, I got the box of "books from the attic" (of my parents' house) and voilá -my Neverending Story (a 1979 first edition, actually). Now I need a glass cabinet ;-).

Aug 6, 2007, 3:38pm Top

I love Dune by Frank Herbert and the David Lynch Dune movie is very good. In the sci-fi genre this is pretty rare.

Aug 16, 2007, 6:24pm Top

I almost always prefer the book to the movie, but now I see that there are lots of exceptions, as detailed here (The Godfather, to name just one).

I thought the movie version of Frida was much better than the book by Hayden Herrera. I also had the same opinion of The Hours, by Michael Cunningham, but then I reread the book and decided I like both of them a lot.

Aug 17, 2007, 8:19am Top

I am about two thirds of the way through All the King's Men and while it is a very rich piece of writing, there are too many digressions from the main political plot, which was the main reason why I read it, having enjoyed the excellent 1949 film adaptation. So in this case I would say I prefer the film.

161Heathling First Message
Aug 26, 2007, 12:15am Top

I found that in The Virgin Suicides, I was more compelled to put the book down and never finish it, though I made myself push through it. I found it quite boring, where as the movie had a little more edge to it.

The Little Prince which I saw in a cartoon version by... oh, I forget the movie company, but I found the book to make me cry more so than the movie.

Oct 9, 2007, 8:06pm Top

***SPOILERS on Dexter and American Psycho***

Seconding the poster who said that "Dexter" was a better TV series than book. I read Darkly Dreaming Dexter after finished the first season of the show and I was disappointed. Seemed like they took a relatively mediocre novel with a great premise and turned it into an amazing show!

Also concurring with the poster who liked both the American Psycho movie and novel. The thing I loved about the movie was that it took the book, which seemed hyper-real, and made it seem unreal. The movie made it seem like it was all in his head, which I didn't remember sensing in the book.

Oct 13, 2007, 8:21am Top

#160: John: There has been a remake of "King's Men" starring Sean Penn as the Guv. I didn't think Mr. Penn could act until I saw this flick. It is better than Broderick Crawford.

Oct 13, 2007, 10:37am Top

Andy - yes, I did start to watch it, but must admit it did not hold my interest - though it did prompt me to read the book (which I have reviewed on this website).


Oct 25, 2007, 4:50pm Top

I thought the movie and book versions of Jurassic Park each had their strengths. The book is one of Chrichton's best, and manages to be believable science fiction. The movie is almost unrecognizable as being based on the book, however it makes up for it with stunning visuals and fulfilling a childhood fantasy of dinosaurs coming alive.

I've found that in general, I prefer the movie adaptions of Philip K. Dick's work - Minority Report and Blade Runner were both better movies than the stories on which they were based, IMHO - I just had an easier time suspending disbelief with the movies.

On a similar note, I liked the movie version of The Postman better than the novel - mostly because the former left out a lot of the dated science fiction elements.

And let me ditto someone above about The Silence of the Lambs, Anthony Hopkins simply made that character what he is.

Edited: Nov 8, 2007, 10:22am Top

What the hell? I'll throw my two cents in here, too.

Woman in the Dunes (old Japanese movie): almost a tie, but, right now, I'd give it to the movie by a nose (ask me tomorrow, answer might change).

Another old Japanese movie, Rashomon, is easily better than the two or three combined short stories from which it was created. Kudos to a young Toshiro Mifune acting the main role in this masterpiece.

To Kill a Mockingbird: I liked the book a whole lot, but the the movie is one of my top three all-time favorites. Sure, some touching material was left out, but all of the actors (particularly Gregory Peck and the young girl who played his daughter) brought so much to life to it.

Clockwork Orange: one case where the two different media yield two different masterpieces. Key word (obviously) is "different." I like them both immensely and I will not make a silly choice about which is "better."

Someone mentioned the old On the beach by Nevil Shute (hmm... Gregory Peck again, along with Ava Gardner (I was in teenage love with that woman!) and a cast of other very famous actors playing minor roles (an old Fred Astaire and a young Anthony Perkins). I read the book so long ago (back in the late 50's) that I don't remember it, but the movie is still one of my favorites (maybe I'll watch it again tonight ... it's been a while).

I just noticed that LibraryThing is drawing a blank on both title and author Touchstones for that movie ... how sad (just checked, though, there are 793 copies of it here ... so, I'm not as sad now). Oh well, I'll create my own html "touchstone" to this great movie. Interesting, though, at that link it states that both Shute and Peck didn't like the movie because they thought that too many changes were made (the link lists most of the differences between the book and movie), but Stanley Kramer won out (whatever that means). As much as I idolize Gregory Peck, I still like the movie better (again, even though I'm in my sixties, I still have a crush on Ava Gardner).

Generally, I prefer reading Shakespeare aloud to any movie version that's been made (and there have been some really, really good ones that don't take too many liberties). I don't know, but the characters that come to life in my own brain/heart are more a part of me than some Hollywood superstar (Hmmm ... the touchstone for Shakespeare isn't working either; I must be doing something wrong).

War and Peace: no movie comes close (though the Russian version leads the pack from a long distance).

A similar subject for discussion might be "Oh, Puh-leaze(!), DON'T make a movie of this wonderful book!!!"

Enough already!


"In the end, only kindness matters."

167seanoc First Message
Nov 8, 2007, 5:10pm Top

Having seen the Star Wars trilogy I bought the books of Episodes four , five and six and while i did enjoy them , I think you cannot beat seeing the special effects from the movies .
With something like the Godfather though I think there are parts that out score the film . Mainly the parts that would never make it past the censor!

Nov 8, 2007, 5:15pm Top

The Godfather movies are better and richer, sure.

Nov 13, 2007, 7:03pm Top

Looooong message -

25> I absolutely love Howl's Moving Castle - to the point where, despite liking Miyazaki very much and actually owning the movie on DVD I've been afraid to watch it. Afraid it would be awful. I really should watch it and decide...

82> It's really funny - I have (often) read The Beast Master. I did see the film, and thought it was fun in a campy sort of way - but until just recently (a review of Beast Master's Planet, which is an omnibus of The Beast Master and Lord of Thunder) I had not connected it to Andre Norton's book AT ALL. There just is no real point of contact!

154> Huh, funny. I really like the MASH book (and two others from the series of about 20). I've seen the movie and what I recall of it was very close to the book - actually, my recollections are now thoroughly mixed, as in I can see Alan Alda doing things that are only in the book, not the movie. Both the book and the movie are excellent in my mind. Now if you are looking at the rest of the series, where William Butterworth "helped"...yeah. Those are intensely stupid. But MASH makes me think of Catch-22 - much less depressing but equally thought-provoking.

One good book/bad movie for me was My Side of the Mountain. The book is excellent; the movie...well, I watched about 10 minutes of it. When I realized that the kid was living there with his parents' knowlege and permission in order to do _algae experiments_ for school, I quit - that is _not_ the story I love!

Another is Mrs. Miniver. Again, I've only seen the first 10-15 minutes of the movie. The book is _so_ good and the movie is _so_ unlike it! Though I might possibly like the movie if I could forget that it was supposed to be Mrs. Miniver. The absolutely obvious and I-can't-handle-it difference for me is that Mrs. Miniver is in her 40s with a son in college. Greer Garson looks...well, if you pushed it, _maybe_ 30. No way she's celebrating being in the autumn of her life the way Mrs. Miniver does! Bah. If you love words and - not exactly wordplay but celebration of words, you really should read Mrs. Miniver.

And (although I haven't myself seen the movie), Starship Troopers the movie is apparently totally unrelated to Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers. That's a pretty good book - not one of my favorites but a good Heinlein, with a lot about patriotism and duty and what is owed your country and yourself. The movie, reportedly, is a decent action flick with lots of blood (much of it green) and no philosophic musing at all. If they'd just chosen a different name...

Doctor Doolittle is another one where they took the name and nothing else (the recent two - ghah, that mess did well enough to get a sequel!). I haven't seen the movies, only a couple trailers, and that's enough. Having Doctor Doolittle suprised and afraid when the animals talk to him...arrrgggghhhh!

I like the Lord of the Rings a lot - very rich. The first movie was pretty good - I disagreed with some of his choices (skip the wizard wirework, I want to see the trip to Weathertop!), but it captured the book well. Two Towers made some seriously bad choices - making Gimli an idiot, moving everyone to Helms Deep (instead of, as in the book, evacuating Theoden's Hall into the mountains just behind it), several things about the battle at Helms Deep itself - so much so that I can't see the good parts (there were some) for groaning about the idiocies. I haven't yet seen the third movie and may never do so, just because Two Towers was so bad.

And there is exactly one set where I think the movie is actually better than the book - that's the new Chronicles of Narnia. I have read and reread the entire Narnia series literally dozens of times, and went to the movie cringing in anticipation of a mess. But the movie captures the story of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe beautifully, and adds some things that make it actually a more solid, realistic story than the book. I reread the book immediately after seeing the movie and it was weird how scant and bare and fairy-tale-ish it felt after the movie (by fairy-tale-ish I mean that no one thinks about what they're doing or whether they should do it, they just do what's presented next without (much) consideration). I'm looking forward to the rest of the movies.

And the old version of Little Women ('70s?) is nearly word-for-word the book - which I think is excellent, I love the book and the movie both. Last time I watched it I followed along in the book for a while and it matched perfectly.

In general, I read books and I don't watch movies/TV/etc. I find books so much richer and deeper than shows that 99% of the time books are preferable - that's why Chronicles of Narnia is so odd for me. And people who take a book/story that people have been reading and loving for years, and change everything in it 'to make it a better story' - ghhahhhh! Idiots. Another movie I won't see is Seeker which is supposed to be The Dark Is Rising except they changed the setting and the motivation and the plot and...bleah.

Nov 13, 2007, 8:03pm Top

I have No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy on my huge TBR stack. The movie also just opened, getting rave reviews. I usually prefer to read a book BEFORE seeing the movie but may see the movie first this time. Have any of you seen the movie yet? If so, how does it compare to the book?

Nov 16, 2007, 10:18am Top

When I read a book I tend to not want to see the movie because I know the book is always better. There's so much more you can get out of a book then a movie.

I've read and watched Message in a Bottle which is when I decided to always be leery of books made into movies. I absolutely loved the book but did not like the changes made in the movie.

I read The Notebook years ago but refuse to watch the movie version, knowing it won't live up to the book.

I recently watched A Walk to Remember and did enjoy that, but it helps that I read the book a long time ago and was fuzzy on the details.

I've also read Where the Heart is by Billie Letts and watched the movie and loved both of them.

Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde was a better book than movie.

I've only watched the movie version of In Her Shoes and enjoyed it.

Read and watch The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and while there were changes to the story I still enjoyed it.

And of course all the Harry Potter books and movies. Read and seen them all but the books will always be better.

Would be happy to watch a movie based on the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich. For some reason I feel like they could keep a few important details and the rest could be anything and it would be comical.

On a side note--how do feel about book covers changing after the movie is released and it has the actors on the cover? I'm not a fan and try to avoid buying that version of the book.

Nov 16, 2007, 4:27pm Top

For me, the film version of Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman was infinitely better than the book. I had seen the movie first, so that may have something to do with it, but I have always felt that the emphasis that they placed on the family (which was not so heavily emphasized in the book) really made the movie so much better than the book.

Nov 16, 2007, 4:29pm Top

#171 lasperschlager

I completely agree about the movie tie-in editions of books! I avoid them every case I can. I know it sounds ridiculous, because it's the same book, but I feel like the tie-in editions with the movie poster or actors on the cover cheapens the book somehow.

Nov 16, 2007, 11:26pm Top

Especially when they take up pages with pictures in the middle (ok, I'm dating myself. It was the early Star Trek movies that did that with the novelizations).

175lena6154 First Message
Nov 19, 2007, 4:47pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Nov 19, 2007, 4:56pm Top

has anyone read - a thousand splendid suns - just finished it what a book. great

Nov 22, 2007, 9:47pm Top

>169 jjmcgaffey:

Just so you know, regarding Mrs Miniver: Greer Garson was born in 1904, and the film of Mrs Miniver was released in 1942, so she would've been around 38 years old when it was filmed.

Nov 27, 2007, 4:56pm Top

>177 HoldenCarver: Okaaayyyy...but she sure doesn't look it. Or act it. Isn't it against the "actress's code of honor" to admit to aging past mid-twenties? (not all - some have aged magnificently - but most. Then and now.)

A lot of Mrs. Miniver the book is about her...hmm, how do I say it? Not 'dealing with aging' - it's not that self-centered. Expressing her changing viewpoint as she's gotten older, maybe that says what I mean. It is wonderful to read, and is one of the worst books I could imagine to make a movie out of - 90% of the interesting stuff is Mrs. Miniver's thoughts, never spoken; there's no overarching plot, it's lots of short vignettes related only by being about Mrs. Miniver and her family...As I said, I might well enjoy the movie if I could forget that it's supposed to be related to the book. But as that is one of my favorite books, that's hard to do.

Nov 27, 2007, 6:49pm Top

jjmcgaffey - I have never read Mrs. Miniver but have seen the movie many times - I love it and I love Greer Garson because of it. It is a fabulous movie. Whenever I watch a movie where I have read the book, I try to go into it with high hopes but also with the realization that it may be nothing like the book that I feel I read. I try to get past saying "That wasn't in the book" or whatever and try to enjoy it for what it is. I can't always do that though especially with a favorite book. Sometimes a movie is very good even if it isn't just like the book - other times it is plain awful of course, but sometimes it is good. I will have to look for a copy of Mrs. Miniver and see if I like it as much as the movie - having seen the movie first.

Nov 28, 2007, 5:40am Top

I'm looking forward to the movie of The Golden Compass. I read the book quite some time ago, so have requested it on Bookmooch. I hope it arrives in time for me to have a rapid re-read :)

Dec 1, 2007, 11:31am Top

John Fowles is one of my favourite authors and several of his books have been made into films:
The collector 1965 directed by William Wyler - I saw this a very long time ago, but my memory is that it followed the book very closely. Both were excellent.
The magus, 1968 - despite the fact that Fowles wrote the screenplay and the film received high praise, for me, reading the book was such an incredible experience that the film was just a pale imitation.
The French lieutenant's woman, 1981 - screenplay by Harold Pinter. Now this film was a magnificent adapation of the book. And the film is all about - wait for it! - a film being made from a book! It changes the ending, but then, so does the book, making the film a counterpoint to the book in quite magical ways. This is one of my all-time favourite "book into film" successes.

Edited: Dec 1, 2007, 12:41pm Top

I just watched the video of Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey, and while it was a good movie that stands on its own, the book was an incredible masterpiece. They had to pare down a book that took me 3 months to read to a two hour movie.

The book was deeply psychological (you learned what was going on in several characters' heads), so they had to change some of the characters' motivations and perceptions to make them easier to show on film without constant 1st person narration a la "The Wonder Years."

Dec 1, 2007, 10:03pm Top

Generally, I'm always a "gah, the book was sooooo much better!" Let's face it, we know what characters are thinking, feeling, tasting and touching - in film, we have only visual and spoken queues to contain all of the same things. While an author can go on for a paragraph about the taste, smell and texture of an apple, a character (outside of horrific voice-over) will never describe an apple to the same degree.

That aside, I must say that I'm surprised no one has mentioned Breakfast at Tiffany's. After reading the book (novella, really), that's one book where I'll actually tell people not to bother to read the book. Of course, the Seinfeld episode where George watches the movie instead of reading it to impress his bookclub is funnier if you do both!

I usually enjoy darker fare in books and film, so I think that speaks to just how much I hated the novella.

Dec 3, 2007, 9:30pm Top

I almost hate to admit it but I've been enjoying the tv show version of James Patterson's Women's Murder Club series then I've liked the last few books of the series. The same for the Gossip Girl series by Cecily Von Zeigesar. Although I've only read one of the books so once I read some more then I might think that they are better than the tv show after all.

For film, I enjoyed the movie version of Sleeping with the enemy to the book.

185earth.air.fire.water First Message
Dec 4, 2007, 1:14am Top

Okay.... first of all Ella Enchanted was a way better book than the movie was!!! The movie had absolutly nothing to do with the book!! I was so mad when I saw the movie. So far all the movies I'v seen have not been as good as the book. Some have come close but never as good.;-)

Dec 5, 2007, 10:06pm Top

In my book (ahem!), 84, Charing Cross Road is a draw. The book is one of my all-time favorites and, in the movie, Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins so wonderfully bring the characters to life in a way that my own rather limited imagination could never, ever match.


"In the end, only kindness matters."

Dec 8, 2007, 12:56am Top

Oh, yes! 84, Charing Cross Road was a winner on both counts. The book firmly cemented my love of books and bookshops. The film was a beautiful affirmation of that -- and my first encounter with the inimitable Judy Dench!

Dec 11, 2007, 6:00pm Top

Agreed! AND anyone who hasn't yet read the book should go immediately to library or bookstore and get it! (as for Dench. . . fans need to know hers is a very small part, but everyone in the film is fine too).

Dec 11, 2007, 6:22pm Top

Any opinions on The Winslow Boy? I read the play as a pupil, not in school but found it in my parents' library --probably a leftover from their schooldays in the 50s. I liked it very much, it has always resided in some corner of my brain. And now I was able to see the 1999 version, by David Mamet. Surprise! I thought it was about the boy, but it was about anything BUT the boy: The parents, the sister, the lawyer... Fascinating stuff, to see the play on screen after such a long time. Wonder if I should get the play... *looks at TBR list* Nah, probably not...

Dec 13, 2007, 10:08am Top

Not to derail the thread, but for those that enjoyed 84, Charing Cross Road (the book) should also read The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street if you haven't already. It continues Helene Hanff's story from 84.

As for the movie, I personally love it! One of my favorite films, and one I watch on a regular basis.

Dec 29, 2007, 3:23pm Top

To # 190 Yes, indeed! ***and Happy New Year 2008 to all.

Feb 4, 2008, 3:51pm Top

I've really enjoyed reading this thread, first of all. Here are some random thoughts for commenting for those of you still keeping an eye out.

I'd say that the original book First Blood that Rambo was based off of was about equal to the movie. I really enjoy David Morrell for what he gives you in action/adventure, and I enjoyed the adaptation too, though I didn't read/see them very close together. A really interesting book is also The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe--the movie is strange, as close as it sticks to the book, it comes across as much creepier. It's interesting how close they are in what they cover, and how different the tones are by the end.

Otherwise, I'd say some worth looking into if you're curious are Hawthorne's short story Rappachini's Daughter (spelling questionable) and the later film (incredibly disturbing). Also, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings: A Tale for Children" was made into something more resembling pornography than a tale for children--a strange adaptation of a short story if there ever was one.

I'm curious what you think of McCarthy's No Country for Old Men from anyone who's seen and read it; I'm afraid I'm behind on movies and books, so haven't in either case...

Mar 20, 2008, 8:27pm Top

Maybe not better, but. . . Saw "Chocolat," then grabbed book to verify: In book her tormentor is a priest, not the mayor in film (who uses the young priest as part of his action against her).

Edited: Mar 21, 2008, 1:00am Top

Our book club is reading with a theme. We are reading Frida for the April meeting and will be watching that movie then. Then in May we are reading Lolita and we wll be watching that movie as well.

Mar 21, 2008, 1:10am Top

I think Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is worth bringing up in this thread. The book has its charms, but the movie ditches a lot of the travellogue aspect for a fairly decent exploration of the morality of violence. (Or at least pretty solid for a mid-century Disney film!) Captain Nemo especially benefits from the reworking. In the novel, he seems to alternate between enthusiastic inventor and a gothicized vengeful madman. The movie takes away much of the lengthy science lectures but imbues Nemo with a greater gravitas. The script also changes the power source of the Nautilus from an advanced battery system to something more akin to nuclear power. This is far from an arbitrary change and, combined with Nemo confining his attacks to war ships and those carrying weapons, suggests without being explicit the profound unease of a world kept at peace by the threat of nuclear annhilation.

Though die hard fans swear otherwise, David Fincher's adaptation is superior to the original novel of Fight Club. The two hit much the same territory, but several of the changes for the movie are improvements, such as stealing fat from lyposuction clinics instead of Marla Singer. I think the best contrast is after the big reveal when Joe/Jack is trying to stop the bombings. The movie keeps the suspense pretty tight, whereas the book mostly has Joe/Jack floundering around. Palahniuk may have intended to play up Joe/Jack's ineffectualness, but it really just makes the story drag unnecessarily. (Then again, I saw the movie first. Maybe someone who read the book would feel cheated at the lack of floundering in the movie.)

Apr 27, 2008, 3:11pm Top

Usually, I think the books are better, but there are a few exceptions:

Brokeback Mountain - I love the book and the film, but especially the film.

Fearless - good book, fantastic film starring one of my favourite actors - Jeff Bridges.

The Devil's Advocate - enjoyable film, but possibly the worst book I have ever read in my life.

Edited: Aug 21, 2008, 12:33pm Top

Message 68: survivingniki:
I have to disagree with you on The Color Purple. I think the movie was good, but I absolutely loved the book (which I read before seeing the movie, btw). I understand that a filmmaker usually has to modify and omit some things from a book in order to make a viable movie and I think they touched on most of the important plot points in the book, but I kind of think that adding the bit about Shug and her father and then parading into the church at the end went against Shug's character in the book; the philosophy she expressed was closer to panentheism and she never went to church. Also, the relationship between Celie and Shug was only barely hinted at. I understand that society in 1985 was not ready for a lesbian protagonist in a major motion picture (the same omitting or diminishing of homosexuality was also done in Fried Green Tomatoes and The Man Without a Face) but I still really missed that part of the story.

But you're not way off base or crazy because ultimately it's a matter of opinion which is better.

Edited: Aug 21, 2008, 1:47pm Top

Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco...he could have left out over half of the book and not affected the story at all. This is why I MUCH prefer the movie with Sean Connery and a young Christian Slater.

Eaters of the Dead by Crichton was turned into the movie 13th Warrior starring Antonio Bandarras. I liked both for different reasons.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald I read and watched in high school. The book was good, but I loved Robert Redford's rendition of Gatsby.

I have read the entire The Dark is Rising collection. The movie the Seeker is NOTHING like it. Truly horrible film interpretation of a fantastic series. Its less than 2 hours and $6.50 that I will never get back.

On the other hand, I really liked The Golden Compass movie. The book was better, but the movie was fairly true to the book, and they did a good job of it. Loved Sam Elliott.

Agreed, The Last of the Mohicans and Apocalypse Now as movies were much better than their literary forebearers. Sorry, James F. Cooper was pretentious and Joseph Conrad preached a lot.

Dune...the books were a trial. Movies weren't bad, though I liked the one directed by David Lynch more than the mini-series, perhaps because of the soundtrack.

Hang me by my toenails all you want, but I suffered through the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Peter Jackson did an awesome job with the movies. I can't wait for the Hobbit.

Oct 16, 2008, 5:31pm Top

"I've found that in general, I prefer the movie adaptions of Philip K. Dick's work - Minority Report and Blade Runner were both better movies than the stories on which they were based, IMHO - I just had an easier time suspending disbelief with the movies."

This is startling to me, Philip k. Dick is a master of the page. It just sickens me that more people don't respect his great work.

but hey what do you expect out of someone who liked the Postman movie (water world 2)

Oct 16, 2008, 5:43pm Top

Just read The Warriors after having seen the movie a few years ago. The book is fantastic, but the movie stands on its own as a piece of "period art" and a cult classic. A warning, though - it's very, very brutal, and not in the "fun" way.

Oct 17, 2008, 3:50am Top

"This is startling to me, Philip k. Dick is a master of the page. It just sickens me that more people don't respect his great work.
but hey what do you expect out of someone who liked the Postman movie (water world 2)"

Hey now, no need to insult people. Also, film and book are simply different mediums, and what works on the page, mustn't necessarily be good on the screen.
Like someone said in a discussion on the latest Jane Eyre adaptation, it takes away most of the fun if you're simply ticking book dialogue items on a list, while watching the film. When I am watching a film I am looking for new insights and ideas the director brings to the story. And if he goes for expositional dialogue instead of taking advantage of the medium (film), I will more often than not hold that against him.

And I have to say, The postman as a book simply wasn't my cup of tea. Too many supermutants and giant rats (my terms :-) ). Whereas the film actually tells a plausible near-future story.

Oct 18, 2008, 12:01am Top

I would like to put in a plug for Babette's Feast by Isak Dinesen. It was a wonderful movie made from a short story, not a whole book.

It was a pleasure to watch the arrival of the foodstuffs on the boat from France, and the actual cooking. Crunching the heads of the quail at the dinner was a little off-putting, but it was believable, and watching her make the pastry cases out of puff paste rings was very realistic.

A sophisticated guest, who was a former suitor of the hostess, recognized the quail dish as Caille au Sarcophage, from a famous Parisian restaurant which had a woman chef. Little did he realize that that same chef was in the kitchen, creating the same dish for him and the others.

It was a delightful comment on the asceticism of the elderly church going Danish guests, whose faces showed such surprise and pleasure at the taste of the wine. (and each course of the meal as it progressed).

The joy of these elderly religious Danes experiencing their first epicurean feast was a happy experience. As described in Out of Africa, Isak Dinesen was apparently a very fine cook, and trained her African houseboy to be a fine cook also. Besides being Sheherazade for Denis Finch-Hatton, she fed him well, and on her china and chrystal from Denmark.

I liked the film of Out of Africa better than the book also, because of the scenery, the animals, and wonderful Meryl Streep. The love scenes are very moving, as is her trek to bring supplies to her husband in the bush with the army. The book is disliked by many for its condescending attitude toward the Africans, but aside from that, it is brilliantly done, and touching in its tragic outcomes.

Oct 30, 2008, 9:23pm Top

I remember my first experience with "read the book first, then saw the movie". It was Jurassic Park. I absolutely loved the book, so I was appalled at how bad the movie was in comparison! I do like the movie now, but it took me a long time to separate the two.

I am currently preparing myself for Twilight. I can't wait to see the movie, but I know that it can not possibly do the book justice. I already have a hard time buying into the actors they chose, but I am better prepared for the changes than when I saw Jurassic! :-)

Nov 1, 2008, 5:13pm Top

I believe that "The Kite Runner" book and film complement each other quite nicely. I saw the film (DVD) as I was mid-way through reading the book.
The film's scenes of Kabul & Afganistan helped me see those scenes in the book more clearly. The book was able to give more insight into the inner thoughts of the various characters.

Nov 10, 2008, 10:46am Top

I recently read The Last King of Scotland by Giles Foden which was no where near as good as the film in my opinion. Forest Whittaker was wonderful at making Idi Amin seem charming at first, which is essential, but I didn't get any sense of his charm from the book.

I think I prefer the film version of The Graduate to the film even though they are pretty similar. I think it may be the soundtrack and Dustin Hoffman that swing it.

Nov 11, 2008, 2:20pm Top

It should be noted that David Brin has kind words about the movie adaptation of The Postman and IMO, the movie captured the thematic essence of the work. And Dick's novels are great, but a lot of the background in them is very dated today. The films of his books have been interesting to watch.

The closest adaptation to the actual written work I've seen in a long time was The Talented Mr. Ripley and Minghella did an amazing job. Loved the film of Stardust, not so impressed by the book, but reading other Gaiman because I think he's interesting.

Nov 12, 2008, 7:10am Top

I read PS, I Love You by Celcia Ahern a while ago, and I found many parts of the book quite boring and just went on forever. Apart from that, I liked reading the build up of all the characters and how their relationships and bonds grew stronger.

The movie however, I think I enjoyed better. It is probably the only movie that I like better than books. The changes that were made to the story were a little bit better and the cast really suited the characters.

Nov 12, 2008, 7:26am Top

>206 Prop2gether: I agree completely about Stardust, I thought the film was much better.

Mar 11, 2009, 6:31pm Top

Watchmen - discuss ?

Mar 26, 2009, 2:04pm Top

I don't much care for Stephen King's books, but I've liked or loved about 80% of the movies made from his work.

Startship Troopers is a movie that follows the book almost exactly in plot, and yet manages to convey completely the opposite message. It does it brilliantly, but Heinlein is probably grumbling in his grave about it.

The Princess Bride is the best example I can think of where a movie and a book are equally perfect. Of course, William Goldman is primarily a screenwriter, so that may have something to do with it. My favorite movie of all time, though.

I'll admit to cowardice regarding the Narnia movie. I loved the books so much as a child that I simply can't bear the thought of seeing the movie.

Aug 6, 2009, 10:22am Top

We watched Inkheart the other night and I enjoyed the movie more than I liked the book. I thought the book dragged too much.

Group: Made into a Movie

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