Any Movie That's as Good as the Book? Not Just Sci-Fi

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I started this one since there's already a thread in sci-fi movie vs the book, but the same principle seems to apply regardless of the literary genre.

Think of book and movie pairings and what is the shortfall of one of those.



I was looking for a sci-fi book-movie pair but could not stop thinking about Dr Zhivago. On the one hand, it's a long Russian novel, on the other, it's a long, romanticized movie. Both were huge hits in their moment and had the additional advantage of being in line with the cold war politics of that time. I did read Pasternak's book and also saw the movie.

Both follow the same story line, a young privileged, married, patrician doctor, caught up in the politics of the Russian Revolution, being abducted by Bolsheviks, exiled and then falling in love with a forbidden woman, Lara. In this case I saw the movie before I read the book.

I'd definitely prefer the movie, with its grand vistas, amped-up kodachrome color and romantic musical themes. The book left me flat. Like other Russian novels, people have too many names, conversations are too long and the book itself seems to stretch on like a Siberian winter.

My vote's cast for the movie in this case.




The first that comes to mind is Let the Right One In. I need to re-read the book at some point, but from what I can remember, both the book and the film are equally great. It's also a very faithful adaptation (it omits things to fit into a movie length, but the core is essentially the same).
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When Marnie Was There and The Dark Half get my vote.
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The first that comes to mind is Let the Right One In. I need to re-read the book at some point, but from what I can remember, both the book and the film are equally great. It's also a very faithful adaptation (it omits things to fit into a movie length, but the core is essentially the same).
Interesting....I remember that one, thought it was really good, and also saw the English language remake, Let Me In, which I also liked. I have not read the book, but I do see that there will be another version, a series on Showtime.



Francis Ford Coppola's Rumble Fish comes to mind first. It's very faithful - a lot of the dialogue comes from the actual book - but definitely not in a by-the-numbers, Republic Pictures sort of way. It has style in spades - it's shot in black and white yet uses color here and there like Schindler's List does - and with its period details and Stewart Copeland soundtrack, it wouldn't be wrong to call it cool. It also has a gut-punch of an ending that made me appreciate the book's ending even more.



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Fight Club! I read the book after seeing the film, so I am sure that colored my perception, but I recall sort of forcing myself to finish the book, because I was fairly bored with it.

Would add The Shining, Jaws, and I will catch shit for this, but LotR.

Sorry Tolkein people!
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Interesting....I remember that one, thought it was really good, and also saw the English language remake, Let Me In, which I also liked. I have not read the book, but I do see that there will be another version, a series on Showtime.
I liked Let Me In too. It's kind of a pointless remake but otherwise, it's a solid film.

For some reason, I thought that the series was ditched a long time ago but apparently I was wrong. I'm sure I'll watch it (at least start), but, man, does the trailer look worrying.



The big one - The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the first one, is an all time favorite among novel to movie translations. Like Dr Zhivago, I liked the movies better. The print edition of the trilogy was terrific and ground breaking, but what I really wanted was color, action and image. The movies did that, gave me faces I could see and a musical soundtrack that made the whole thing seem like an epic conflict. It would have been an awful disappointment if the first installment of the trilogy had landed with a thud, but fortunately everybody I knew that had read the book seemed to think that Jackson's version really gave life to the characters and Middle Earth.

I recall an earlier attempt at filming it that was such a disappointment. It captured none of the huge nature of the conflict. A filmed trilogy had to be an epic project in order to succeed and had to start the project with the expectation that it would be finished in the same style that it began. Thankfully, the cast members were on board and it all worked.



GWTW is a terrific book & movie.

Rebecca is another one.
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I liked Let Me In too. It's kind of a pointless remake but otherwise, it's a solid film.

For some reason, I thought that the series was ditched a long time ago but apparently I was wrong. I'm sure I'll watch it (at least start), but, man, does the trailer look worrying.
I recall the two being fairly similar, the why part of the English version being unanswered, except for the fact that popular American audiences don't do languages or subtitles. Whether there was a book is probably irrelevant since Americans don't read either, but again, if they did, language would be a problem.

Fortunately, I don't do Showtime, so it's not on my radar.



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I would second The Godfather, The Shining and Let the Right One In. I also much prefer the film Blade Runner to the source novel, although I imagine that has been covered by the sci-fi thread. Brokeback Mountain is another non-sci-fi one. A good case could also be made for The Princess Bride, Jurassic Park, Silence of the Lambs and Stardust.



Another old epic potboiler - Ben Hur, the 1959 version of course. Again, I recall reading the book and finding it to be tedious in that 19th century sort of way, where books were expensive and you wanted a lot of words for your money. There's no way, however to narrate a chariot race in text, so what must have been one of the biggest non-digital productions ever undertaken (horses trained by Yakima Canutt), including the absolutely insane chariot race, was put into this epic film. I could read about a chariot race all day, but seeing it on film is still amazing, as was the rest of ancient Rome and Jerusalem.

This is another case that brings up that old Chinese proverb, One seeing is worth a thousand tellings.




I thought of another one last night that belongs here:


Love this movie. Think I read the book, but not 100% sure.



Another old epic potboiler - Ben Hur, the 1959 version of course. Again, I recall reading the book and finding it to be tedious in that 19th century sort of way, where books were expensive and you wanted a lot of words for your money. There's no way, however to narrate a chariot race in text, so what must have been one of the biggest non-digital productions ever undertaken (horses trained by Yakima Canutt), including the absolutely insane chariot race, was put into this epic film. I could read about a chariot race all day, but seeing it on film is still amazing, as was the rest of ancient Rome and Jerusalem.

This is another case that brings up that old Chinese proverb, One seeing is worth a thousand tellings.

I've tried two or three times, but I have never been able to get through Ben-Hur from opening to closing credits.



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I've never read War and Peace, so maybe I can't really answer, but surely there is no way the book can be as good as the Bondarchuk masterpiece, right?



I've tried two or three times, but I have never been able to get through Ben-Hur from opening to closing credits.
As a one-time Latin student, seeing all this visualized was right up my alley....much better than memorizing declensions and conjugations.