5.0k voters

The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels

Updated January 11, 2021 67.3k votes 5.0k voters 181.0k views96 items

List RulesMovies 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.

  • Harry Potter Franchise1

    Harry Potter Franchise

    Danielle Radcliffe, Rupert Grint

    Released2001 - 2011

    Directed byChris Columbus, Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell, David Yates

    Harry Potter is a British-American film series based on the Harry Potter novels by author J....  more
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  • Mary Poppins2

    Mary Poppins

    Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke


    Directed byRobert Stevenson

    Mary Poppins is a 1964 American musical fantasy film directed by Robert Stevenson and produced...  more
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  • Hugo3


    Jude Law, Chloë Grace Moretz


    Directed byMartin Scorsese

    Hugo is a 2011 American 3D historical adventure drama film directed and co-produced by Martin...  more
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  • The Hunger Games4

    The Hunger Games

    Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson


    Directed byGary Ross

    The Hunger Games is a 2012 American dystopian science fiction adventure film directed by Gary...  more
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  • The Chronicles of Narnia Franchise5

    The Chronicles of Narnia Franchise

    Will Poulter, Tilda Swinton

    Released2005 - Present

    Directed byAndrew Adamson, Michael Apted

    The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of fantasy films from Walden Media, based on The...  more
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  • Eragon6


    Rachel Weisz, John Malkovich


    Directed byStefen Fangmeier

    Eragon is a 2006 British-American fantasy-adventure film based on the novel of the same name...  more
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  • The NeverEnding Story7

    The NeverEnding Story

    Gerald McRaney, Limahl


    Directed byWolfgang Petersen

    The NeverEnding Story is a 1984 West German epic fantasy film based on the novel of the same...  more
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  • The Secret Garden8

    The Secret Garden

    Dean Stockwell, Margaret O'Brien


    Directed byFred M. Wilcox

    The Secret Garden is a 1949 US drama film. It is the second screen adaptation of the classic...  more
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  • Matilda9


    Danny DeVito, Mara Wilson


    Directed byDanny DeVito

    Matilda is a 1996 American fantasy comedy children's film directed and narrated by Danny...  more
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  • A Little Princess10

    A Little Princess

    Camilla Belle, Liam Cunningham


    Directed byAlfonso Cuarón

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  • Divergent11


    Kate Winslet, Shailene Woodley


    Directed byNeil Burger

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  • Jumanji12


    Kirsten Dunst, Robin Williams


    Directed byJoe Johnston

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  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief13


    Directed byChris Columbus

    This film is a 2010 fantasy adventure film directed by Chris Columbus. ...  more
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  • Practical Magic14

    Practical Magic

    Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock


    Directed byGriffin Dunne

    Practical Magic is a 1998 American romantic comedy film based on the 1995 novel of the same...  more
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  • Race to Witch Mountain15

    Race to Witch Mountain

    Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino


    Directed byAndy Fickman

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  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower16

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    Emma Watson, Nina Dobrev


    Directed byStephen Chbosky

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a 2012 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film, and an...  more
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  • The Maze Runner17

    The Maze Runner

    Kaya Scodelario, Dylan O'Brien


    Directed byWes Ball

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  • The Wizard of Oz18

    The Wizard of Oz

    Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton


    Directed byMervyn 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...  more
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  • Escape to Witch Mountain19

    Escape to Witch Mountain

    Kim Richards, Kyle Richards


    Directed byJohn Hough

    Escape to Witch Mountain is a 1975 film based on the novel Escape to Witch Mountain by...  more
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  • The Fault in Our Stars20

    The Fault in Our Stars

    Shailene Woodley, Willem Dafoe


    Directed byJosh Boone

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  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang21

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

    Phil Collins, Dick Van Dyke


    Directed byKen Hughes

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a 1968 British musical film loosely based on Ian Fleming's novel...  more
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  • To Kill a Mockingbird22

    To Kill a Mockingbird

    Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck


    Directed byRobert Mulligan

    To Kill a Mockingbird is a 1962 American drama film directed by Robert Mulligan. The...  more
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  • Bridge to Terabithia23

    Bridge to Terabithia

    Zooey Deschanel, Josh Hutchersonm


    Directed byGábor Csupó

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  • Nanny McPhee24

    Nanny McPhee

    Emma Thompson, Angela Lansbury


    Directed byKirk Jones

    Nanny McPhee is a 2005 British fantasy film directed by Kirk Jones. The film stars Emma...  more
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  • Mrs. Doubtfire25

    Mrs. Doubtfire

    Robin Williams, Pierce Brosnan


    Directed byChris Columbus, Chuck Jones

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