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The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels

Updated April 28, 2020 66.3k votes 5.0k voters 178.7k views76 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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  • 1
    Harry Potter Franchise is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
    Harry Potter is a British-American film series based on the Harry Potter novels by author J.... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 2
    Mary Poppins is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
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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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 3
    Hugo is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
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    495

    Hugo

    Jude Law, Chloë Grace Moretz

    Released2011

    Directed byMartin Scorsese

    Hugo is a 2011 American 3D historical adventure drama film directed and co-produced by Martin... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 4
    The Hunger Games is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
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    The Hunger Games

    Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson

    Released2012

    Directed byGary Ross

    The Hunger Games is a 2012 American dystopian science fiction adventure film directed by Gary... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 5
    The Chronicles of Narnia: The  is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels

    Released2005

    Directed byAndrew Adamson

    The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a 2005 fantasy adventure... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 6
    Eragon is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
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    344

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 7
    The NeverEnding Story is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
    751
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    The NeverEnding Story

    Gerald McRaney, Limahl

    Released1984

    Directed byWolfgang Petersen

    The NeverEnding Story is a 1984 West German epic fantasy film based on the novel of the same... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 8
    The Secret Garden is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
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    The Secret Garden

    Dean Stockwell, Margaret O'Brien

    Released1949

    Directed byFred M. Wilcox

    The Secret Garden is a 1949 US drama film. It is the second screen adaptation of the classic... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 9
    Percy Jackson & the Olympians: is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels

    Released2010

    Directed byChris Columbus

    This film is a 2010 fantasy adventure film directed by Chris Columbus. amazon buy button
  • 10
    A Little Princess is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
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    449

    A Little Princess

    Camilla Belle, Liam Cunningham

    Released1995

    Directed byAlfonso Cuarón

    A Little Princess is a 1995 drama film directed by Alfonso Cuarón, starring Liesel Matthews,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 11
    Divergent is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
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    Divergent

    Kate Winslet, Shailene Woodley

    Released2014

    Directed byNeil Burger

    Divergent is a 2014 American science fiction action film directed by Neil Burger, based on the... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 12
    Matilda is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
    955
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    Matilda

    Danny DeVito, Mara Wilson

    Released1996

    Directed byDanny DeVito

    Matilda is a 1996 American fantasy comedy children's film directed and narrated by Danny... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 13
    Jumanji is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
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    875

    Jumanji

    Kirsten Dunst, Robin Williams

    Released1995

    Directed byJoe Johnston

    Jumanji is a 1995 American fantasy adventure film directed by Joe Johnston. It is an... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 14
    The Perks of Being a Wallflowe is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
    888
    969

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    Emma Watson, Nina Dobrev

    Released2012

    Directed byStephen Chbosky

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a 2012 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film, and an... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 15
    The Maze Runner is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
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    The Maze Runner

    Kaya Scodelario, Dylan O'Brien

    Released2014

    Directed byWes Ball

    The Maze Runner is a 2014 American science fiction dystopian action thriller film directed by... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 16
    Practical Magic is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
    445
    360

    Practical Magic

    Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock

    Released1998

    Directed byGriffin Dunne

    Practical Magic is a 1998 American romantic comedy film based on the 1995 novel of the same... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 17
    Race to Witch Mountain is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
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    430

    Race to Witch Mountain

    Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino

    Released2009

    Directed byAndy Fickman

    Race to Witch Mountain is a 2009 science fiction/thriller film and a continuation to the 1975... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 18
    Escape to Witch Mountain is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
    427
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    Escape to Witch Mountain

    Kim Richards, Kyle Richards

    Released1975

    Directed byJohn Hough

    Escape to Witch Mountain is a 1975 film based on the novel Escape to Witch Mountain by... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 19
    The Wizard of Oz is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
    776
    937

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 20
    The Fault in Our Stars is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
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    877

    The Fault in Our Stars

    Shailene Woodley, Willem Dafoe

    Released2014

    Directed byJosh Boone

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  • 21
    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
    332
    322

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

    Phil Collins, Dick Van Dyke

    Released1968

    Directed byKen Hughes

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a 1968 British musical film loosely based on Ian Fleming's novel... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 22
    To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
    321
    327

    To Kill a Mockingbird

    Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck

    Released1962

    Directed byRobert Mulligan

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  • 23
    Miss Pergrines Home for Peculi is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
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    308

    Directed byTim Burton

    Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a 2016 American 3D dark fantasy film directed... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 24
    Bridge to Terabithia is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
    666
    844

    Bridge to Terabithia

    Zooey Deschanel, Josh Hutchersonm

    Released2007

    Directed byGábor Csupó

    Bridge to Terabithia is a 2007 American-New Zealand fantasy adventure family drama film... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 25
    Nanny McPhee is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels
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    Nanny McPhee

    Emma Thompson, Angela Lansbury

    Released2005

    Directed byKirk Jones

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