Top 10 Book Movies of All Time (So Far)

Recently, more than ever, it seems like more books are being adapted into movies. A good chunk of 2014’s new movies will be book adaptations so I thought it would be cool to look back over all of the “book movies” I’ve seen over the years and share my top 10 choices with you. I put “so far” on this post title to allow me to make a new list to accommodate new movies I will see in the future.

Here is my criteria for the list:

  • Have read the book and watched the movie
  • Keeping true to the plot
  • Choice of actors/actress – Can they display the characters emotions and speak to the audience?
  • Story is adaptable to fans of the book and movie goers that have not been previously exposed to the plot

Here we go!….

*Note: I found that for a lot of choices I wanted to put of this list, I had to exclude because I had either only read the book or seen the movie, and I felt it wasn’t fair to add those to the list. (which clearly shows I need to read more)

**Another note: Despite the newer releases of City of Bones and etc. I thought they were great adaptions, but weren’t up to par with some of these movies I’ve watched a long while ago.

1) Charlotte’s Web (1972)

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“Charlotte’s Web” tells the story of  a pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte. When Wilbur is in danger of being slaughtered by the farmer, Charlotte writes messages praising Wilbur (such as “Some Pig”) in her web in order to persuade the farmer to let him live.

Charlotte’s Web has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. I enjoyed the original movie released in 1972 (the one I grew up watching) rather than the more recent live-action reboot in 2006. The songs in this movie are enjoyable, the story is captured well, the voice acting is done right, and the animation is decent. Charlotte’s Web has and probably will be the only book/movie I loved that involves spiders being kind, endearing creatures.

2) The Color Purple (1985)

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“The Color Purple” tells the story of a young African-American girl named Celie Harris and shows the problems African-American women faced during the early 1900s, including poverty, racism, and sexism. Celie is transformed as she finds her self-worth through the help of two strong female companions.

I love this movie! While the movie is a lot different from the book theme wise and has additional characters and situations not portrayed in the novel, I still felt it deserved to be on the list. The acting is fantastic and has a star-studded cast filled with greats such as Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, and so many more. It’s an incredibly sad story, but it’s so powerful in the way that each character manages to connect to the audience in some way.

3) The  Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? (2005)

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Four British children evacuated during the Blitz (in WWII) to the countryside, who find a wardrobe that leads to the fantasy world of Narnia. There they ally with the Lion Aslan  against the forces of Jadis, the White Witch.

I’ll admit right off the bat that this the only book I ever read in the Chronicles of Narnia. I tried to read the other novels, but I just couldn’t get into the stories. Growing up this book was phenomenal to me because I thought Narnia was the coolest place ever. The movie did a great a great job of capturing the story and even explaining the plot for newbies that weren’t exposed to the story. The acting was fantastic and I felt Tilda Swinton makes a very fierce White Witch. The digital effects also equally add to movie making the world of Narnia look so real and the creature’s look life-like.

4) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

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I actually talked about this book and movie in a previous post. To read about it click here.

5) Coraline (2009)

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When Coraline moves to an old house, she feels bored and neglected by her parents. She finds a hidden door with a bricked up passage. During the night, she crosses the passage and finds a parallel world where everybody has buttons instead of eyes, with caring parents and all her dreams coming true. When the Other Mother invites Coraline to stay in her world forever, the girl refuses and finds that the alternate reality where she is trapped is only a trick to lure her.

Coraline!!! Also another childhood favorite when I was growing up. I really love and enjoy animation films so I could appreciate all of the detail and work that went into making Coraline a stop-motion animation movie. I thought the story was adapted well into a movie. Not much got cut from the original plot, plus I feel that this movie can be enjoyed by all ages.

6) Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)

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Also previously discussed in previous post. To read more about it click here.

7) The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

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“The Devil Wears Prada” is about Andrea Sachs, a college graduate who goes to New York City and gets a job as a co-assistant to powerful fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly.

Truth be told, I’m going against the criteria of my own list. The movie version of this book is a very loose adaptation of the book. I saw the movie first, and read the book after. I honestly was kind of disappointed by the book because the story was so different plus it wasn’t as exciting as it is displayed in the movie (in my opinion). This movie has a good balance of romance, comedy, and drama. As well as the great acting by Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep (who is amazing in pretty much every movie she’s been in, this goes for Anne too). The characters are portrayed similarly like in the novel except for some characters that are omitted. But other than that it’s a good movie!

8) Sleepy Hollow (1999)

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Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate the decapitations of 3 people with the culprit being the legendary apparition, the Headless Horseman.

Okay, so this movie isn’t exactly the same the original story, but it does amp up the plot giving it exciting action and drama. Plus it’s a Tim Burton film (I’m a huge fan of his!) starring Johnny Deep and Christina Ricci! The detailing of the settings and the twist on the original story  is what makes it such a good film.

9) The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

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Set in South Carolina in 1964, “The Secret Life of Bees” is the moving tale of Lily Owens a 14 year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother .To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with her father, Lily flees with Rosaleen, her caregiver and only friend, to a South Carolina town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by the intelligent and independent Boatwright sisters , Lily finds solace in their mesmerizing world of beekeeping.

Not only is the acting amazing in this movie, but it was perfectly adapted into movie form and it’s such a heartwarming story. I bawled at watching the movie just as much as I did when I read the book.

10) The Hunger Games (2012)

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Also previously discussed in previous post. To read more about it click here.

What are some of your all-time favorite book movie adaptions? Let me know!!!

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5 thoughts on “Top 10 Book Movies of All Time (So Far)

  1. Great films but I haven’t read the books for any of them except Memoirs of a Geisha which I cannot remember too much about. I really like Sleepy Hollow.

    My favourite adaptation of a book… Cloud Atlas. I love the book and I recently watched the film for the first time a few weeks back and I loved it.

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