We have all heard of famous books and their more famous movie adaptations like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist or Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice. However, this list is about 5 of my favorite books whose movie adaptations you might not have come across.
- The Kite Runner- Khaled Hosseini
First on my list is Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner that was first published in 2003. Set in Afghanistan, the book deals with the conflicts that marked the country the most, in a period fixed between the fall of the monarchy and the emergence of the Taliban regime. It tells a fictional story about family, friendship and exodus in a war torn Afghanistan. After its publication, the book became a New York Times Bestseller for two years.
In 2007, it was adapted to a movie of the same name. Directed by Marc Forster, the film received generally good reviews: it has a 66% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a 7.6 rating on IMDB and Roger Ebert from the Chicago Sun-Times gave it a 4 over 4 rating. However, even though I liked the casting, I thought that the film lacked a lot of important material that was in the book. I felt that the film failed to meet my expectations and I was somehow disappointed.
- Dangerous Liaisons- Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
The Second Book on my list is Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ Dangerous Liaisons (Or Les Liaisons Dangereuses) that was first published in 1782. This epistolary novel consists of a list of letter exchanged between the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont, two French libertines who use seduction as a weapon to manipulate others. Set during the Ancien Régime, this book is believed to be the source of the saying “revenge is a dish best served cold”.
Although this novel was adapted into numerous films and plays, my favorite adaptation is the 1988 American film directed by Stephen Frears and starring John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer and Glenn Close. This film was critically acclaimed and was nominated for seven academy awards of which it won three. This film is one of my favorite adaptations, as its screenplay is perfect and the acting especially Glenn Close’s is impeccable.
- To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee
Third on my list is a classic of American literature. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960 and it won a Pulitzer Prize. This novel deals with racial discrimination and injustice. Set during the great depression in the USA, this book tells the story of Atticus Finch, a lawyer who accepts to defend a black man accused of raping a white woman, and his two kids.
In 1962, To Kill a Mockingbird was adapted into a film by the same name. Directed by Robert Mulligan, the film was released to impressively positive reviews and wide critical acclaim. It was nominated for eight Academy awards of which it won three and it is considered to be one of the greatest American films of all time. This one is definitely a must watch. The roles as well as the storyline are perfectly adapted and if you’re a fan of the book you won’t be disappointed.
- Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
The fourth book on my list is Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 first published in 1953. The plot is set in a futuristic American society where books are illegal and firemen serve to burn books. The title, Fahrenheit 451 refers to the temperature at which books catch fire. The story is about a fireman, Guy Montag who starts to develop an interest for books after he meets a free-thinking girl named Clarisse who pushes him to question his life and actions.
In 1966, the book was adapted into a film by the same name. Directed by the famous French director Francois Truffaut, the film received mixed reviews upon its release but with time it gained more critical acclaim. Currently, it holds a rating of 81% on Rotting Tomatoes. Personally, the film was very disappointing for me. The acting was not flawless, the Art direction failed to create a credible futuristic aspect and the storyline adaptation could be better.
- Of Mice and Men- John Steinbeck
Another American literature classic, the last book on my list in Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. First published in 1937, it is also set during the great depression period. It tells the story of George and his mentally retarded friend Lennie, two ranch workers with a dream of owning a piece of land, and are constantly moving to search for job opportunities.
In 1992, the book was adapted into an American film by the same name. Directed by Gary Sinise, the film received critical acclaim and competed at the Cannes film festival where it was nominated for the Palme d’Or. This adaptation is very impressive. The acting is perfect and the art direction is remarkable and I highly recommend it.
Finally, I am currently reading Daniel Keyes’ Flowers for Algernon which was also adapted in 1968 into an academy award winning movie named Charly. So if you read the book or watched the movie feel free to write your review. And also if you have any comments about the list or any requests don’t hesitate to write them down in the comments.