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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.

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  • Harry Potter Franchise1
    2,055
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    Harry Potter Franchise

    Danielle Radcliffe, Rupert Grint

    Released2001 - 2011

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

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  • Mary Poppins2
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    Mary Poppins

    Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke

    Released1964

    Directed byRobert Stevenson

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

    Jude Law, Chloë Grace Moretz

    Released2011

    Directed byMartin Scorsese

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  • The Hunger Games4
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    The Hunger Games

    Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson

    Released2012

    Directed byGary Ross

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  • The Chronicles of Narnia Franchise5
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    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
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    Eragon

    Rachel Weisz, John Malkovich

    Released2006

    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
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    The NeverEnding Story

    Gerald McRaney, Limahl

    Released1984

    Directed byWolfgang Petersen

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  • The Secret Garden8
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    The Secret Garden

    Dean Stockwell, Margaret O'Brien

    Released1949

    Directed byFred M. Wilcox

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  • Matilda9
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    Matilda

    Danny DeVito, Mara Wilson

    Released1996

    Directed byDanny DeVito

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  • A Little Princess10
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    A Little Princess

    Camilla Belle, Liam Cunningham

    Released1995

    Directed byAlfonso Cuarón

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  • Divergent11
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    Divergent

    Kate Winslet, Shailene Woodley

    Released2014

    Directed byNeil Burger

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  • Jumanji12
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    Jumanji

    Kirsten Dunst, Robin Williams

    Released1995

    Directed byJoe Johnston

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  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief13

    Released2010

    Directed byChris Columbus

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  • Practical Magic14
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    Practical Magic

    Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock

    Released1998

    Directed byGriffin Dunne

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  • Race to Witch Mountain15
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    Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino

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    Directed byAndy Fickman

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  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower16
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    The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    Emma Watson, Nina Dobrev

    Released2012

    Directed byStephen Chbosky

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  • The Maze Runner17
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    The Maze Runner

    Kaya Scodelario, Dylan O'Brien

    Released2014

    Directed byWes Ball

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  • The Wizard of Oz18
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    The Wizard of Oz

    Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton

    Released1939

    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
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    Kim Richards, Kyle Richards

    Released1975

    Directed byJohn Hough

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  • The Fault in Our Stars20
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    The Fault in Our Stars

    Shailene Woodley, Willem Dafoe

    Released2014

    Directed byJosh Boone

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  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang21
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    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

    Phil Collins, Dick Van Dyke

    Released1968

    Directed byKen Hughes

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  • To Kill a Mockingbird22
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    To Kill a Mockingbird

    Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck

    Released1962

    Directed byRobert Mulligan

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  • Bridge to Terabithia23
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    Bridge to Terabithia

    Zooey Deschanel, Josh Hutchersonm

    Released2007

    Directed byGábor Csupó

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  • Nanny McPhee24
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    Nanny McPhee

    Emma Thompson, Angela Lansbury

    Released2005

    Directed byKirk Jones

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  • Mrs. Doubtfire25
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    Mrs. Doubtfire

    Robin Williams, Pierce Brosnan

    Released1993

    Directed byChris Columbus, Chuck Jones

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