Updated: Dec 9, 2021
“The Book was better”—this is a phrase our ears are so accustomed to that one naturally assumes that a book carries off a plot way better than its visual equivalent. Indeed, there are several reasons that give books an edge over movies, all of which we mentioned in one of our blog posts.
However, there were certain rare book adaptations that pulled off the plot just the way they should have. Often it was by keeping all the relevant scenes intact, casting the perfect actors for the role, and at times even improvising certain parts of the story. All of that added up to a film that did justice to—or even improved—the book they were based on.
By surpassing these obstacles and living up to the high expectations set by the remarkable books, these movies ended up being masterpieces themselves.
Here is a list of movies that are in fact better than the book they were essentially based on:
1) The Godfather
The Al-Pacino starrer film was in fact based on Mario Puzo’s novel called The Godfather. However well written and detailed, the book lacked the magic that the movie delivered. In my opinion, it was the length of the book that made it seem somewhat stretched.
And certainly, the stellar performances and the screenplay in the adaptation pushed you into the Corleone family’s life and contributed to making it one of the most revered movies. Often referred to as the best movie of all time, the Godfather is definitely the best book-to-movie adaptation.
2) The Namesake
Mira Nair’s film adaptation did great justice to Jhumpa Lahiri’s book, and beautifully showed the complexity of being brought up in the States by immigrant parents. Naturally, there were certain inevitable—and at times purposeful—changes that the film brought, but none of them dissolved the emotional impact it was capable of giving.
Peppered by Irfan Khan and Tabu’s moving performances, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the movie was better than the already heart-touching book.
3) Pride And Prejudice (2005)
Despite drastically changing the time period, Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice stands to be one of the greatest film adaptations of the classic. Owing to its duration constraint, the movie cut off certain scenes but eventually had a heart-wrenching impact on the viewers.
Either it was Matthew Macfayden’s moving performance as Mr. Darcy, or Keira Knightly as the fierce Elizabeth Bennet that influenced our opinions, or maybe it was just having our ship come to life that did the magic. Nonetheless, the unexpected changes did improve the story to some extent—and we can freely say that we loved the movie more than the book.
4) Little Women (2019)
Yet another classic adapted into the film version, Greta Gerwig’s directive does great justice to Louisa May Alcott’s book. As expected, there are numerous changes the film makes—but as they say, if we wanted to witness the same story wouldn’t we just read the book again?
Although the style of narration is quite different in the movie—with two timelines following the March girls’ lives—the perfect casting and even better acting make up for all the slight changes.
5) IT (2017)
The king of dark fiction, Stephen King’s book was adapted by Andy Muschietti into a horror film that haunted us for quite a long time. The book, however frightening and eerie, lost its terror due to the extensive page count—and made the movie look even better. And as it goes with the movies, certain characters and scenes had to be omitted.
Nonetheless, Pennywise’s sinister grin, creepy white face, and bizarre hair combined to make up one of the scariest monsters—and successfully instilled a fear of clowns that still continues to linger in the back of our minds. Looking at the impact it had on the viewers, it is safe to say that this adaptation was successful in overshadowing the haunted mark its source made.
These, in our opinion, were movies that were better than their written counterpart. Which movie do you think was better than the novel it was based off? Let us know in the comment section below!
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