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The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels 

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Originally by Ranker Community
Updated April 28, 2020 63.9k votes 4.8k voters 175.6k views 82 items

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.

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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

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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

Released: 2012

Directed by: Gary Ross

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

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3
Mary Poppins is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Elsa Lanchester

Released: 1964

Directed by: Robert Stevenson

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

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4
The Chronicles of Narnia... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Liam Neeson, Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy

Released: 2005

Directed by: Andrew Adamson

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

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5
Hugo is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Jude Law, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Lee

Released: 2011

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

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

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6
The NeverEnding Story is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Gerald McRaney, Limahl, Moses Gunn

Released: 1984

Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen

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

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7
Ranker Video
Rachel Weisz, John Malkovich, Jeremy Irons

Released: 2006

Directed by: Stefen Fangmeier

Eragon is a 2006 British-American fantasy-adventure film based on the novel of the same name by author Christopher Paolini. The cast includes Edward Speleers in the title role, Jeremy Irons, ...more

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8
The Perks of Being a Wal... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Emma Watson, Nina Dobrev, Paul Rudd

Released: 2012

Directed by: Stephen Chbosky

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

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9
The Secret Garden is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Dean Stockwell, Margaret O'Brien, Herbert Marshall

Released: 1949

Directed by: Fred M. Wilcox

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
10
Jumanji is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Kirsten Dunst, Robin Williams, Patricia Clarkson

Released: 1995

Directed by: Joe Johnston

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

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11
The Wizard of Oz is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Frank Morgan

Released: 1939

Directed by: Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, King Vidor, George Cukor, Victor Fleming

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

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12
Divergent is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Kate Winslet, Shailene Woodley, Ashley Judd

Released: 2014

Directed by: Neil Burger

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

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13
Percy Jackson & the ... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Uma Thurman, Pierce Brosnan, Rosario Dawson

Released: 2010

Directed by: Chris Columbus

This film is a 2010 fantasy adventure film directed by Chris Columbus.

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14
The Maze Runner is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
courtneythevamps added Kaya Scodelario, Dylan O'Brien, Patricia Clarkson

Released: 2014

Directed by: Wes Ball

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

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15
The Fault in Our Stars ... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
WillowHalverson added Shailene Woodley, Willem Dafoe, Laura Dern

Released: 2014

Directed by: Josh Boone

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

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16
Bridge to Terabithia is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Zooey Deschanel, Josh Hutchersonm, AnnaSophia Robb

Released: 2007

Directed by: Gábor Csupó

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17
Matilda is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
punksnotdead added Danny DeVito, Mara Wilson, Paul Reubens

Released: 1996

Directed by: Danny DeVito

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18
A Little Princess is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Camilla Belle, Liam Cunningham, Vincent Schiavelli

Released: 1995

Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón

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19
Mrs. Doubtfire is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Robin Williams, Pierce Brosnan, Sally Field

Released: 1993

Directed by: Chris Columbus, Chuck Jones

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20
Alice in Wonderland is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter

Released: 2010

Directed by: Tim Burton

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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

Released: 1975

Directed by: John Hough

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Race to Witch Mountain ... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, AnnaSophia Robb

Released: 2009

Directed by: Andy Fickman

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23
Practical Magic is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock, Evan Rachel Wood

Released: 1998

Directed by: Griffin Dunne

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24
The Outsiders is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, Diane Lane

Released: 1983

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

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25
Pirates of the Caribbean... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Keith Richards

Released: 2011

Directed by: Rob Marshall

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