(WG) Best Movie Adaptations

With the release of Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince this past week, I thought it would be good to turn once again to movie adaptations. In March, with the release of Watchmen (using that as a jumping off point for discussion), I brought up the subject of worst movie adaptations. This time, I'd like to bring up best movie adaptations (not saying if the recent Harry Potter movie is or isn't faithful to the book since I'll be honest I haven't read the book, but using the subject as a jumping off point for discussion).

So what are some of your favorite movie adaptations of books?

This is a really fun WG (I missed the wort adaptation question last year so I might add that at the end). So, first, I'd like to admit, I cheated. I'm terrible at remember titles of movies, titles of books (and while we're on the subject, songs, artists, characters...). Knowing this, I did a quick google search and came across two different websites that were both helpful and a lot of fun to go through.

First check out this site - it has catalogued a major list of books to movie and a pretty handy way to search.

Then, there is this site from The Book Reporter that will keep you abreast of all the up and coming movies based on books (I saw a preview of Shutter Island yesterday and just found out it was a book).

The Best of the Best

Many people might disagree, but I truly loved both the book and the movie adaptation of Atonement. I found that McEwan's Atonement was beautifully written, and although Briony was a bit frustrating, I adored the notion of one event (tragically) altering a lifetime of events. The movie adaptation did not disappoint.

Next on my list is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Uh, hello. Gonzo reporting done Johnny Depp style?! Is there anything more yummylicious than that? I read somewhere that Johnny Depp took his role of Hunter S. Thompson so seriously that he went into character and didn't step out even when he wasn't filming. Man I love them both.

Less Than Zero. Has anyone else seen or read this? I admit I saw the movie first, maybe in late middle school early high school years? I didn't even realize that it was based on a novel. Then, in college, I stumbled upon Jay McInerney and Bret Easton Ellis (they still seem to go hand in hand in my mind). Their works are racy pop culture pieces of literature. It was only then that I realized Less Than Zero was first a book. It's been so long, I can't remember if there were many incongruencies, I just recall being pleased with both.

Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs and directed by David Cronenberg. Ah yes, yet another memory from my college years. I went through a very large feast on the Beats. I think many jump on the Jack Kerouac bandwagon, but for me, it was definitely Burroughs and his use of stream of consciousness that made me swoon. Half the time reading his stuff made my brain feel like mush, but that's okay. It was always a good ride. Cronenberg's adaptation was campy and brilliant. In fact, I can't imagine any other director taking on this endeavor.

And last, but hardly least...The Princess Bride. Even to this day, is there anything sweeter than dear Wesley saying "As you wish" you Princess Buttercup? I'm a product of the 80's and grew up loving this movie. In fact, I think that I still have most of it memorized. It's a great film to pass on to my current students when we're doing the fairy tale unit. I feel like I'm doing my part in turning my students into 80's lovin' fiends. (Shhh...but I even sneak an episode of 21 Jumpstreet in there; lesson plans included!) OK. Back to the actual post. So here I was, loving The Princess Bride like every other kid around and one day while at a used book store, I found the book. I was thrilled. I think I was in 8th grade. It was the only time in my life that I ever wrote to the William Goldman expressing my gratitude for publishing this story. He never wrote back. Of course, I had no idea who he was at the time. I just knew that I didn't even get a mass produced 'thank you letter'. Maybe I'm still bitter?


  1. I haven't read/watched Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas since high school, but I loved both at the time.

  2. Less Than Zero, Naked Lunch, Fear & Loathing = three of my favorite movies and books!

    Princess Bride is awesome too, but I've only seen the film. Really need to read the book.

  3. Charley - Hunter S. Thompson was definitely a character.

    Joanne - Mine too! Mine too!


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