adaptations The Best Movies Based on Short Stories  

1.9k votes 220 voters 16.9k views 37 items Embed

List Rules Films based on short stories and novellas. Vote and up the best movies that started out as a work of short fiction.

Some of the greatest movies in the history of film were based on a short story. Authors like Edgar Allan Poe have inadvertently shaped the film industry with their literary classics that were eventually turned into movies. What are the best movies based on short stories? Vote up the best films below and see where your favorites rank!
The movies on this list were all based on short stories or novellas and have been ranked by users as the best. The genres featured here range from classic black and white films to more recent box office hits. You might have read the short fiction or novella these films were based on, or maybe you are just learning that these movies were based on one.
This list features the best movies based on short stories including, The Shawshank Redemption, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Million Dollar Baby, Brokeback Mountain, and Minority Report. Vote up the best movies below or add one you love that isn't already on the list.

list ordered by

105 13
Ranker Video
The Shawshank Redemption Morgan Freeman, Rita Hayworth, Tim Robbins Based on Stephen King's novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 American drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont and starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. Adapted from the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, the film tells the story of ...more

The Best TV Shows Based on Movies The Most Horrifying Found-Footage Movies

81 17
Stand by Me is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies Based on Short Stories
Stand by Me Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman, John Cusack Based on Stephen King's novella, The Body.Stand by Me is a 1986 American coming of age comedy-drama adventure film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O'Connell. Based on the novella The Body, written by Stephen King, the title is ...more

61 19
Ranker Video
Apocalypse Now Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall Based on Joseph Conrad's novella, Heart of Darkness.Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American epic adventure war film set during the Vietnam War. Produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, and Robert Duvall. The film follows the central character, U.S. Army ...more

55 26
Ranker Video
The Birds Alfred Hitchcock, Tippi Hedren, Suzanne Pleshette Based on Daphne du Maurier's short story of the same name.The Birds is a 1963 suspense/horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, loosely based on the 1952 story "The Birds" by Daphne du Maurier. It depicts Bodega Bay, California, which is, suddenly and for unexplained reasons, the subject of ...more

49 27
Ranker Video
Sleepy Hollow Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Christopher Walken Based on Washington Irving's short story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.Sleepy Hollow is a 1999 American fantasy horror adventure film directed by Tim Burton. It is a film adaptation loosely inspired by the 1820 short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving and stars Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci, ...more

40 19
Ranker Video
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Fredric March, Wallace Beery, Miriam Hopkins Based on Robert Louis Stevenson's novella, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a 1931 American Pre-Code horror film directed by Rouben Mamoulian and starring Fredric March. The film is an adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the Robert Louis Stevenson tale of a man who takes ...more

73 51
Ranker Video
Brokeback Mountain Anne Hathaway, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kate Mara Based on Annie Proulx's short story of the same name.Brokeback Mountain is a 2005 American epic romantic drama film directed by Ang Lee. It is a film adaptation of the 1997 short story of the same name by Annie Proulx; the screenplay was written by Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry. The film stars ...more

42 23
Ranker Video
Minority Report Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell Based on Philip K. Dick's short story of the same name.Minority Report is a 2002 American neo-noir science fiction mystery-thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and loosely based on the short story of the same name by Philip K. Dick. It is set primarily in Washington, D.C., and Northern ...more

44 25
Ranker Video
Breakfast at Tiffany's Audrey Hepburn, Mickey Rooney, Mel Blanc Based on Truman Capote's novella of the same name.Breakfast at Tiffany's is a 1961 American romantic comedy film starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard, and featuring Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam, and Mickey Rooney. The film was directed by Blake Edwards and released by ...more

45 27
Ranker Video
Total Recall Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside Based on Philip K. Dick's story, We Can Remember It For You Wholesale.Total Recall is a 1990 American science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, and Sharon Stone. The film is loosely based on the Philip K. Dick story "We Can Remember It for You ...more

34 17
Ranker Video
Double indemnity Based on James M. Cain's story of the same name.

40 28
Ranker Video
Memento Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano Based on Jonathan Nolan's short story, Memento Mori.Memento is a 2000 American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Christopher Nolan. The screenplay was written by Nolan based on his younger brother Jonathan Nolan's short story "Memento Mori". It stars Guy Pearce, ...more

25 14
Ranker Video
looksharp added The Illusionist Jessica Biel, Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti Based on Steven Millhauser's short story, Eisenheim the Illusionist.
The Illusionist is a 2006 American period drama film written and directed by Neil Burger and starring Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, and Jessica Biel. It is based loosely on Steven Millhauser's short story, "Eisenheim the Illusionist". ...more

36 28
Ranker Video
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Elle Fanning Based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story of the same name.The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a 2008 American romantic fantasy drama film directed by David Fincher. The storyline by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord is loosely based on the 1922 short story of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The ...more

36 28
Ranker Video
2001: A Space Odyssey Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter, Ed Bishop Based on Arthur C. Clarke's short story, The Sentinel.2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay was written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, and was partially inspired by Clarke's short story "The Sentinel". Clarke ...more

16 Influential Movies You Didn't Know Were Based on Short Films 7 Classic Film Sets That Actually Killed People

37 31
Ranker Video
Million Dollar Baby Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Hilary Swank Based on the short stories of Jerry Boyd.Million Dollar Baby is a 2004 American sports drama film directed, co-produced and scored by Clint Eastwood, and starring Eastwood, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman. This film is about an underappreciated boxing trainer, the mistakes that haunt ...more

22 15
Ranker Video
looksharp added A.I. Artificial Intelligence Meryl Streep, Robin Williams, Jude Law Based on the short story "Super-Toys Last All Summer Long" by Brian Aldiss
A.I. Artificial Intelligence, also known as A.I., is a 2001 American science fiction film written, directed, and produced by Steven Spielberg, and based on Brian Aldiss's short story Super-Toys Last All Summer Long. The film stars Haley Joel ...more

29 25
Ranker Video
Where the Wild Things Are Mark Ruffalo, Forest Whitaker, James Gandolfini Based on Maurice Sendak's story of the same name.Where the Wild Things Are is a 2009 fantasy drama film directed by Spike Jonze. Written by Jonze and Dave Eggers, it is adapted from Maurice Sendak's 1963 children's book of the same name. It combines live-action, performers in costumes, ...more

19 14
Ranker Video
looksharp added 3:10 to Yuma Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, Logan Lerman Based on the short story of the same name by Elmore Leonard
3:10 to Yuma is a 2007 western film directed by James Mangold and produced by Cathy Konrad, and stars Russell Crowe and Christian Bale in the lead roles, with supporting performances by Peter Fonda, Gretchen Mol, Ben Foster, Dallas Roberts, ...more

29 29
Ranker Video
Bootsdad added The Running Man Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Brown, Jesse Ventura "Based on a short papeback story by Richard Bachman aka Steven King"The Running Man is a 1987 American science fiction action film loosely based on the 1982 novel The Running Man, written by Stephen King and published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. Directed by Paul Michael Glaser, the film stars Arnold ...more

22 21
Ranker Video
The Third Man Orson Welles, Trevor Howard, Joseph Cotten Based on Graham Greene's novella of the same name.The Third Man is a 1949 British film noir, directed by Carol Reed and starring Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Orson Welles, and Trevor Howard. It is considered one of the greatest films of all time, celebrated for its atmospheric cinematography, ...more

14 12
Notorious is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies Based on Short Stories
Notorious Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock Notorious is a 1946 American spy thriller film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains as three people whose lives become intimately entangled during an espionage operation. It was shot in ...more

24 24
The Fly is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies Based on Short Stories
The Fly Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, David Cronenberg Based on George Langelaan's film of the same name.The Fly is a 1986 American science fiction horror film directed and co-written by David Cronenberg. Produced by Brooksfilms and distributed by 20th Century Fox, the film stars Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis and John Getz. It is based loosely on ...more

16 15
Ranker Video
looksharp added The Day the Earth Stood Still Jennifer Connelly, Keanu Reeves, Jon Hamm Based on the short story "Farewell to the Master" by Harry BatesThe Day the Earth Stood Still is a 2008 American science fiction film, a remake of the 1951 film of the same name. The screenplay is based on the 1940 classic science fiction short story "Farewell to the Master" by Harry Bates, and ...more

11 11
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valan... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies Based on Short Stories
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance John Wayne, James Stewart, Lee Marvin The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a 1962 American Western film directed by John Ford starring James Stewart and John Wayne. The black-and-white film was released by Paramount Pictures. The screenplay by James Warner Bellah and Willis Goldbeck ...more

13 17
Ranker Video
looksharp added The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Sean Penn, Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig Based on the short story of the same name by James Thurber
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a 2013 romantic adventure comedy-drama cult film directed by, produced by, and starring Ben Stiller. Gore Verbinski served as executive producer. This is the second film adaptation of James Thurber's 1939 ...more

1 3
Ranker Video
Tom Islava added Rashomon Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Machiko Kyō

Based on Ryūnosuke Akutagawa's short stories "Rashomon" and "In a Grove

Rashomon is a 1950 Japanese period drama film directed by Akira Kurosawa, working in close collaboration with cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa. It stars Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyō, Masayuki Mori and Takashi Shimura. The film is based on two ...more

12 20
Ranker Video
The Dead Anjelica Huston, Colm Meaney, Dan O'Herlihy Based on James Joyce's short story of the same name.The Dead is a 1987 film directed by John Huston, starring his daughter Anjelica Huston. The Dead was the last film that Huston directed, and it was released posthumously. According to Pauline Kael, "Huston directed the movie, at eighty, ...more

9 16
Ranker Video
looksharp added Paycheck Ben Affleck, Uma Thurman, Paul Giamatti Based on the short story of the same name by Philip K. Dick
Paycheck is a 2003 sci-fi thriller film based on the short story of the same name by science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. The film was directed by John Woo and stars Ben Affleck, Uma Thurman and Aaron Eckhart. Paul Giamatti, Michael C. Hall, ...more

The Best Movies Based on TV Shows 51 High-Paying, Flexible Jobs

7 14
Ranker Video
looksharp added Impostor Madeleine Stowe, Gary Sinise, Vincent D'Onofrio Based on the short story of the same name by Philip K. Dick
Impostor is a 2001 American science fiction film based upon the 1953 short story of the same name by Philip K. Dick. The film starred Gary Sinise, Madeleine Stowe, Vincent D'Onofrio and Mekhi Phifer.

14 25
Ranker Video
The Duel Vladimir Vysotsky Based on Richard Matheson's short story of the same name.

12 25
Ranker Video
Death in Venice Dirk Bogarde, Silvana Mangano, Marisa Berenson Based on Thomas Mann's novella of the same name.Death in Venice is a 1971 Italian-French drama film directed by Luchino Visconti and starring Dirk Bogarde and Björn Andrésen. It is based on the novella Death in Venice, first published in 1912 as Der Tod in Venedig by the German ...more

11 27
Ranker Video
Away from Her Nina Dobrev, Julie Christie, Olympia Dukakis Based on Alice Munro's short story, The Bear Came over the Mountain.Away from Her is a 2006 Canadian film which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival and also played in the Premier category at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. The feature-length directorial debut of Canadian actress Sarah Polley, ...more

10 26
Ranker Video
Don't Look Now Donald Sutherland, Julie Christie, Leopoldo Trieste Based on Daphne du Maurier's short story of the same name.Don't Look Now is a 1973 independent British-Italian film directed by Nicolas Roeg. It is a thriller adapted from the short story by Daphne du Maurier. Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland star as a married couple who travel to Venice following ...more

10 27
Ranker Video
The Living Daylights Timothy Dalton, John Rhys-Davies, J.J. Barry Based on the Ian Fleming short story of the same name.The Living Daylights is the fifteenth entry in the James Bond film series and the first to star Timothy Dalton as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film's title is taken from Ian Fleming's short story, "The Living Daylights". It ...more

15 38
Ranker Video
Eyes Wide Shut Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Stanley Kubrick Based on Arthur Schnitzler's novella, Dream Story.Eyes Wide Shut is a 1999 American erotic thriller film loosely based upon Arthur Schnitzler's 1926 novella Dream Story. The film was directed, produced, and co-written by Stanley Kubrick. It was his last film, as he died six days after showing ...more

7 28
Ranker Video
The Emperor's Club Kevin Kline, Patrick Dempsey, Jesse Eisenberg Based on Ethan Canin's short story, The Palace Thief.The Emperor's Club is a 2002 American drama film directed by Michael Hoffman and stars Kevin Kline. Based on Ethan Canin's short story "The Palace Thief," it tells the story of a prep school teacher and his students at a fictional ...more