Greatest adaptations

A selection of the best movies based on novels or stories I've read. Includes memorable adaptations of the works of authors like John Steinbeck, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Dickens, Henryk Sienkiewicz, Arthur C. Clarke and many others. Will be permanently updated as I read and watch more. Random order.
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
East of Eden (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A wilful young man contends against his brother for the attention of their religious father while reconnecting with his estranged mother and falling for his brother's girlfriend. (115 mins.)
Director: Elia Kazan
“ James Dean's first magnificent role of his short career. ” - Attila85
 
2.
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A poor Midwest family is forced off their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression. (129 mins.)
Director: John Ford
“ The ending in the movie is less dramatic than in the novel. Read it and you'll be convinced. ” - Attila85
 
3.
Quo Vadis (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A fierce Roman commander becomes infatuated with a beautiful Christian hostage and begins questioning the tyrannical leadership of the despot Emperor Nero. (171 mins.)
Director: Mervyn LeRoy
 
4.
Ben-Hur (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
When a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend, he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge. (212 mins.)
Director: William Wyler
 
5.
Planet of the Apes (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An astronaut crew crash-lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved. (112 mins.)
“ In the movie the action takes place on the Earth, but in the novel all of it is happening on a different planet. ” - Attila85
 
6.
The Shining (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future. (146 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ There are a lot of differences between Stephen King's novel and Stanley Kubrick's movie. In the book Danny's relation with his father is more familiar, meanwhile in the movie Jack appears like a tough head who wants to control the lives of his wife and son. The ending is more original in the picture. ” - Attila85
 
7.
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Detective Sherlock Holmes and his stalwart partner Watson engage in a battle of wits and brawn with a nemesis whose plot is a threat to all of England. (128 mins.)
Director: Guy Ritchie
“ Although this movie isn't based on any novel or short story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the illustration of the characters is excellent. ” - Attila85
 
8.
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I. (136 mins.)
Director: Lewis Milestone
 
9.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
A meek Hobbit from the Shire and eight companions set out on a journey to destroy the powerful One Ring and save Middle Earth from the Dark Lord Sauron. (178 mins.)
Director: Peter Jackson
 
10.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
While Frodo and Sam edge closer to Mordor with the help of the shifty Gollum, the divided fellowship makes a stand against Sauron's new ally, Saruman, and his hordes of Isengard. (179 mins.)
Director: Peter Jackson
 
11.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
Gandalf and Aragorn lead the World of Men against Sauron's army to draw his gaze from Frodo and Sam as they approach Mount Doom with the One Ring. (201 mins.)
Director: Peter Jackson
 
12.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest. (149 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
 
13.
The Jungle Book (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Bagheera the Panther and Baloo the Bear have a difficult time trying to convince a boy to leave the jungle for human civilization. (78 mins.)
“ The action of this adaptation differs from the plot of Kipling's Mowgli stories, but still remains one of the best classic Disney animation. ” - Attila85
 
14.
The Jungle Book (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
After a threat from the tiger Shere Khan forces him to flee the jungle, a man-cub named Mowgli embarks on a journey of self discovery with the help of panther, Bagheera, and free spirited bear, Baloo. (106 mins.)
Director: Jon Favreau
 
15.
A Christmas Carol (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
An animated retelling of Charles Dickens' classic novel about a Victorian-era miser taken on a journey of self-redemption, courtesy of several mysterious Christmas apparitions. (96 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
 
16.
Great Expectations (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A humble orphan suddenly becomes a gentleman with the help of an unknown benefactor. (118 mins.)
Director: David Lean
 
17.
Oliver Twist (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
An orphan named Oliver Twist meets a pickpocket on the streets of London. From there, he joins a household of boys who are trained to steal for their master. (116 mins.)
Director: David Lean
 
18.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Four kids travel through a wardrobe to the land of Narnia and learn of their destiny to free it with the guidance of a mystical lion. (143 mins.)
Director: Andrew Adamson
 
19.
The Name of the Rose (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
An intellectually nonconformist friar investigates a series of mysterious deaths in an isolated abbey. (130 mins.)
 
20.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A journalist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing -- or dead -- for forty years by a young female hacker. (152 mins.)
“ Far from being complete, but still a good movie. ” - Attila85
 
21.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Journalist Mikael Blomkvist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing for forty years by Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker. (158 mins.)
Director: David Fincher
“ Much better than the Swedish version. ” - Attila85
 
22.
Nosferatu (1922)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence and real estate agent Hutter's wife. (94 mins.)
Director: F.W. Murnau
“ After more than 80 years still remains the best adaptation of Bram Stocker's "Dracula". ” - Attila85
 
23.
Dracula (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina. (85 mins.)
Director: Tod Browning
 
24.
War and Peace (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A Russian Prince experiences battle against Napoleon and a troubled relationship with his father and wife... (427 mins.)
 
25.
Frankenstein (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
An obsessed scientist assembles a living being from parts of exhumed corpses. (70 mins.)
Director: James Whale
“ Marry Shelley's masterpiece is a Bildungsroman, but this is a classic horror movie. ” - Attila85
 
26.
The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A mad, disfigured composer seeks love with a lovely young opera singer. (93 mins.)
Director: Rupert Julian
 
27.
Shogun (1980 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A English navigator becomes both a player and pawn in the complex political games in feudal Japan. (60 mins.)
Director: Jerry London
“ A great journey to the 16th century Japan. ” - Attila85
 
28.
Hugo (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In Paris in 1931, an orphan named Hugo Cabret who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton. (126 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
“ One of the best movies of this decade. ” - Attila85
 
29.
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette. (100 mins.)
Director: John Huston
 
30.
Captain Blood (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
After being wrongly convicted as a traitor, Peter Blood, an English physician, is sent to exile in the British colonies of the Caribbean, where he becomes a pirate. (119 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
 
31.
Rich Man, Poor Man (1976 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
An examination of the trials and tribulations of the Jordache family, from the period following World War II to the late 1960s. (60 mins.)
 
32.
The 39 Steps (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A man in London tries to help a counterespionage agent. But when the agent is killed and the man stands accused, he must go on the run to both save himself and also stop a spy ring which is trying to steal top secret information. (86 mins.)
“ Hitchcock's movie differs from John Buchan's novel by the introduction of two female characters, while The 39 Steps refers to the clandestine organisation. ” - Attila85
 
33.
Animal Farm (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A successful farmyard revolution by the resident animals vs. the farmer goes horribly wrong as the victors create a new tyranny among themselves. (72 mins.)
“ The altered ending was caused by the death of J.S. Stalin one year before the release of the movie. ” - Attila85
 
34.
The Reader (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Post-WWII Germany: Nearly a decade after his affair with an older woman came to a mysterious end, law student Michael Berg re-encounters his former lover as she defends herself in a war-crime trial. (124 mins.)
Director: Stephen Daldry
 
35.
Lolita (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A middle-aged college professor becomes infatuated with a fourteen-year-old nymphet. (153 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
 
36.
Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A young peasant maid working in the house of painter Johannes Vermeer becomes his talented assistant and the model for one of his most famous works. (100 mins.)
Director: Peter Webber
 
37.
The Piano Teacher (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A young man romantically pursues his masochistic piano teacher. (131 mins.)
Director: Michael Haneke
 
38.
Les Misérables (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after breaking parole, agrees to care for a factory worker's daughter. The decision changes their lives forever. (158 mins.)
Director: Tom Hooper
 
39.
Life of Pi (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal tiger. (127 mins.)
Director: Ang Lee
 
40.
Gone with the Wind (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
American film classic in which a manipulative woman and a roguish man conduct a turbulent romance during the American Civil War and Reconstruction periods. (238 mins.)
Director: Victor Fleming
 
41.
The Tin Drum (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Danzig in the 1920s/1930s. Oskar Matzerath, son of a local dealer, is a most unusual boy. Equipped with... (142 mins.)
 
42.
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A young New York socialite becomes interested in a young man who has moved into her apartment building. (115 mins.)
Director: Blake Edwards
 
43.
The Great Gatsby (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A writer and wall street trader, Nick, finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor, Jay Gatsby. (143 mins.)
Director: Baz Luhrmann
 
44.
Sophie's Choice (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
After spending time with his new neighbors, an aspiring writer realizes they are harboring deep secrets that will forever change him. (150 mins.)
Director: Alan J. Pakula
 
45.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Tells the story of Benjamin Button, a man who starts aging backwards with bizarre consequences. (166 mins.)
Director: David Fincher
“ David Fincher takes F. Scott Fitzgerald's story to another level. ” - Attila85
 
46.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
A criminal pleads insanity after getting into trouble again and once in the mental institution rebels against the oppressive nurse and rallies up the scared patients. (133 mins.)
Director: Milos Forman
 
47.
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice. (129 mins.)
Director: Robert Mulligan
 
48.
Fight Club (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
An insomniac office worker, looking for a way to change his life, crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more. (139 mins.)
Director: David Fincher