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Bookish Thoughts

Top Ten Tuesday: Books to movies

By February 22, 20115 Comments

So like Emily at As the Crowe Flies (And Reads) I find assembling a list to be a bit of work. As soon as I’ve put a list together, I immediately think of 5 other things that should have been on it. But I’m giving this hop hosted by The Broke and the Bookish a try this Tuesday. What are the top ten book to movie adaptations?

1. Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro. I think I attempted this list because I knew immediately that this would be at the top. I loved this book and I loved this movie, and I loved them both equally well. I remember at the time going on and on to anyone who would listen about how these two were an example of how a book and a film adaptation could be very different, but both quite amazing works of art in and of themselves. And of course, how can you go wrong with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, really?

2. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman. This looks to be the most popular choice so far by my informal and unscientific survey of other blogs. I remember driving home from seeing this movie and actually crying because I wanted to live in that world and knew I couldn’t. And then I found the book, and I could for a little bit longer, and that world was made just a bit more delightful by all the silliness Goldman has in the book.

3. The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith. I thought this movie was fantastic, and it was only last year I realized that it was based on a series of novels. As I’ve said before, the novels are even creepier than the film. In the movie, we get the vague sense that Tom Ripley isn’t completely evil. In the book, he pretty much is a psychopath or sociopath, or whatever you want to call it. We watched this film in my sociology of film class to discuss social class, and it’s really just a beautifully done movie.

4. Clueless based on Emma, by Jane Austen. I love Paul Rudd, love Alicia Silverstone in this. I think Amy Heckerling (writer and director) did such a great job making this story timely while still staying true to the spirit of Emma. Jane Austen would be proud.

5. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote. Well, it’s Audrey Hepburn. You can’t really go wrong with that, can you? And Henry Mancini’s beautiful Moon River. Both the book and the movie talk about the “mean red’s” which is one of the best expressions ever. The movie has a happy ending while the book does not, but that’s okay. Who could give Audrey Hepburn an unhappy ending?

6. The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton. I have two words for you–the cast.

7. O Brother Where Art Thou, based on the Odyssey, by Homer. Another two words for you–the music. And many great quotes. “He’s bonified. He’a suitor.” “My hair!” “Do not seek the treasure.” Mostly these are only amusing in the movie. Yes, it’s only very loosely based on the Odyssey, but isn’t it a great movie? And again, the music.

8. Field of Dreams, based on Shoeless Joe, by W.P. Kinsella. I’m cheating here, because I haven’t read the book, but consider this a contribution from my husband, who says the script is much tighter than the book.  Along baseball lines, he might also include The Natural, which is a great movie, but I haven’t read the book.

9. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. I don’t know which came first for me, the movie or the book, but I can’t picture Atticus Finch as anyone besides Gregory Peck.

10. Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell. Oh, I cannot believe I didn’t think of this one earlier. Another two words–the costumes.

Whew, that was still exhausting, and as soon as I post this, I will think of at least 5 others I forgot.  Also, can you tell I don’t get to the movies much anymore?  I’ve heard Winter’s Bone is amazing, and I’ve read the book, but can’t speak to the movie, or True Grit, both of which I’d very much like to see.  What’s your favorite book-movie combo?


  • Danielle says:

    I forgot the outsiders! You are right that was such a good cast!

  • Kathmeista says:

    Great list!! I also liked Tim Burton's take on Alice in Wonderland…

    (Sorry my previous comment logged in under my work email ID!!)

  • Nice list! O Brother, Where Art Thou never occurred to me, though it's one of my favorite movies. “we thought you was a toad.” “I'm a dapper dan man.” “your foldin' money's come unstowed.” “gopher, everett?” Can't believe I didn't think of it…

  • Kayla + Cyna says:

    Aw, I love Breakfast at Tiffany's as well, but I had to skip it because I've never even tried to read the story. But yes, Moon River and Audrey Hepburn! It might be my favorite movie of hers, period.

  • Robyn says:

    Danielle, the only movie which rivals The Oustiders for cast of soon-to-be stars is School Ties.

    Kathmeista, I haven't seen Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, though I'm a big fan of him in general, and of course, Johnny Depp.

    Emily, love the quotes. The first time I saw O Brother I was righteously outraged because I felt like he'd gotten Mississippi “all wrong,” whatever that meant. I got over it. I can watch that movie over and over again. George Clooney helps.

    Kayla and Cyna, I read the novel a long time ago, when I realized it was Truman Capote. In Cold Blood is his best book, but yes, I love Audrey Hepburn's stylish little pig tails in the movie.

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