Entertainment

The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels  

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List Rules Movies must be adaptations from YA books.

List of best movies based on young adult literature written by some of the best young adult writers. These films were all inspired by or adapted directly from novels written for a young adult or teenage audience. Many of these books are widely regarded as "classic children's literature" that has been popular and even assigned to students in schools for decades. Others - such as recent hit films like The Hunger Games and the Harry Potter series - are based on newer works that have become important cultural phenomena in the past few decades. Some of the most popular, beloved, and highest grossing movies of recent Hollywood filmmaking, in particular, originated in stories from young adult books.

The massive success of The Hunger Games - which scored one of the highest opening weekend totals in US box office history - has inspired other studios and filmmakers to look to young adult literature for ideas, and a number of other YA books are already set to be adapted in the coming years. (For example, Orson Scott Card's sci-fi thriller Ender's Game has long been considered for a big-budget film version.) Many of these YA books, like Harry Potter, take place in magical and fantasy worlds, making the stories even more compelling on a big screen. A few young adult book adaptations came out to considerably less fanfare, such as the first release from the ongoing Percy Jackson series - The Lightning Thief - but these are widely seen as exceptions rather than the rule.

This list compiles the best films ever made based on books for young adults. Be sure to vote for your favorites and move them up the list, and if your favorite movie based on a book for tweens or teens has been left off, be sure to add it at the bottom of the page.

list ordered by
1
Harry Potter Franchise is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
katrien-de-clercq added
Harry Potter is a British-American film series based on the Harry Potter novels by author J. K. Rowling. The series is distributed by Warner Bros. and consists of eight fantasy films. A spin-off ...more
2
The Hunger Games is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
The Hunger Games is a 2012 American dystopian science fiction adventure film directed by Gary Ross, based on the novel by Suzanne Collins. In a dystopian post-apocalyptic future in the nation of ...more
3
The Chronicles of Narnia: The ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Liam Neeson, Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a 2005 fantasy adventure film directed by Andrew Adamson and based on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first published ...more
4
Mary Poppins is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Elsa Lanchester
Mary Poppins is a 1964 American musical fantasy film directed by Robert Stevenson and produced by Walt Disney, with songs written and composed by the Sherman Brothers. The screenplay is by Bill ...more
5
Matilda is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
punksnotdead added Danny DeVito, Mara Wilson, Paul Reubens
Matilda is a 1996 American fantasy comedy children's film directed and narrated by Danny DeVito. The screenplay by Nicholas Kazan and Robin Swicord is based on Roald Dahl's novel of the same ...more
6
Hugo is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Jude Law, Chloƫ Grace Moretz, Christopher Lee
Hugo is a 2011 American 3D historical adventure drama film directed and co-produced by Martin Scorsese and adapted for the screen by John Logan. Based on Brian Selznick's novel The Invention of ...more
7
The Perks of Being a Wallflowe... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Emma Watson, Nina Dobrev, Paul Rudd
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a 2012 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film, and an adaptation of the 1999 epistolary novel of the same name; it was written and directed by the novel's ...more
8
The Wizard of Oz is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Frank Morgan
The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and the most well-known and commercially successful adaptation based on the 1900 novel The Wonderful ...more
9
The NeverEnding Story is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Gerald McRaney, Limahl, Moses Gunn
The NeverEnding Story is a 1984 West German epic fantasy film based on the novel of the same name by Michael Ende, about a boy who reads a magical library book that tells a story of a young ...more
10
The Maze Runner is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
courtneythevamps added Kaya Scodelario, Dylan O'Brien, Patricia Clarkson
The Maze Runner is a 2014 American science fiction dystopian action thriller film directed by Wes Ball, based on James Dashner's 2009 novel of the same name. The film is the first installment in ...more
11
The Fault in Our Stars is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
WillowHalverson added Shailene Woodley, Willem Dafoe, Laura Dern
The Fault in Our Stars is a 2014 American romantic drama film directed by Josh Boone, based on the novel of the same name by John Green. The film stars Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, and Nat ...more
12
Divergent is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Kate Winslet, Shailene Woodley, Ashley Judd
Divergent is a 2014 American science fiction action film directed by Neil Burger, based on the novel of the same name by Veronica Roth. The film is the first installment in The Divergent Series ...more
13
The Secret Garden is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Dean Stockwell, Margaret O'Brien, Herbert Marshall
The Secret Garden is a 1949 US drama film. It is the second screen adaptation of the classic 1911 novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The screenplay by Robert Ardrey was directed by Fred M. ...more
14
Jumanji is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Kirsten Dunst, Robin Williams, Patricia Clarkson
Jumanji is a 1995 American fantasy adventure film directed by Joe Johnston. It is an adaptation of the 1981 children's book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. The film was directed by Joe ...more
15
Alice in Wonderland is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter
Alice in Wonderland is a 2010 British-American live action and computer animated adventure fantasy film directed by Tim Burton and written by Linda Woolverton. Released by Walt Disney Pictures, ...more
16
Practical Magic is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock, Evan Rachel Wood
Practical Magic is a 1998 American romantic comedy film based on the 1995 novel of the same name by Alice Hoffman. The film was directed by Griffin Dunne and stars Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, ...more
17
Race to Witch Mountain is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, AnnaSophia Robb
Race to Witch Mountain is a 2009 science fiction/thriller film and a continuation to the 1975 Disney film Escape to Witch Mountain.. All three versions of the film are based on the 1968 novel ...more
18
Bridge to Terabithia is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Zooey Deschanel, Josh Hutchersonm, AnnaSophia Robb
Bridge to Terabithia is a 2007 American-New Zealand fantasy adventure family drama film directed by Gábor Csupó and adapted for film by David L. Paterson and Jeff Stockwell. The ...more
19
Percy Jackson & the Olympians:... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Uma Thurman, Pierce Brosnan, Rosario Dawson
This film is a 2010 fantasy adventure film directed by Chris Columbus.
20
A Little Princess is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Camilla Belle, Liam Cunningham, Vincent Schiavelli
A Little Princess is a 1995 drama film directed by Alfonso Cuarón, starring Liesel Matthews, Eleanor Bron, Liam Cunningham, and Vanessa Lee Chester. Set during WWI, it focuses on a young ...more
21
Escape to Witch Mountain is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Kim Richards, Kyle Richards, Ray Milland
Escape to Witch Mountain is a 1975 film based on the novel Escape to Witch Mountain by Alexander Key. It was produced by Walt Disney Productions, released by Buena Vista Distribution Company and ...more
22
The Outsiders is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, Diane Lane
The Outsiders is a 1983 American drama film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by S. E. Hinton. The film was released on March 25, 1983. Jo Ellen ...more
23
Mrs. Doubtfire is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Robin Williams, Pierce Brosnan, Sally Field
Mrs. Doubtfire is a 1993 American comedy-drama film directed by Chris Columbus, based on the novel Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine. A recently divorced actor (Robin Williams) decides to ...more
24
Lemony Snicket's A Series of U... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Meryl Streep, Jim Carrey, Jude Law
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is a 2004 American fantasy dark comedy film directed by Brad Silberling. It is an adaptation of the first three novels of A Series of Unfortunate ...more
25
Coraline is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Teri Hatcher, Dakota Fanning, Ian McShane
Coraline is a 2009 American stop-motion animated 3D dark fantasy film based on Neil Gaiman's 2002 novel of the same name. It was produced by Laika and distributed by Focus Features. Written and ...more