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The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels

Updated April 28, 2020 66.7k votes 5.0k voters 179.5k 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
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  • 2
    Mary Poppins
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    Mary Poppins

    Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke

    Released1964

    Directed byRobert Stevenson

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  • 3
    Hugo
    854
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    Hugo

    Jude Law, Chloë Grace Moretz

    Released2011

    Directed byMartin Scorsese

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  • 4
    The Hunger Games
    1,785
    1,135

    The Hunger Games

    Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson

    Released2012

    Directed byGary Ross

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  • 5
    The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

    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
    761
    344

    Eragon

    Rachel Weisz, John Malkovich

    Released2006

    Directed byStefen Fangmeier

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  • 7
    The NeverEnding Story
    760
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    The NeverEnding Story

    Gerald McRaney, Limahl

    Released1984

    Directed byWolfgang Petersen

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  • 8
    The Secret Garden
    621
    517

    The Secret Garden

    Dean Stockwell, Margaret O'Brien

    Released1949

    Directed byFred M. Wilcox

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  • 9
    Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

    Released2010

    Directed byChris Columbus

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  • 10
    A Little Princess
    568
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    A Little Princess

    Camilla Belle, Liam Cunningham

    Released1995

    Directed byAlfonso Cuarón

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  • 11
    Divergent
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    Divergent

    Kate Winslet, Shailene Woodley

    Released2014

    Directed byNeil Burger

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  • 12
    Matilda
    962
    442

    Matilda

    Danny DeVito, Mara Wilson

    Released1996

    Directed byDanny DeVito

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  • 13
    Jumanji
    850
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    Jumanji

    Kirsten Dunst, Robin Williams

    Released1995

    Directed byJoe Johnston

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  • 14
    Practical Magic
    451
    362

    Practical Magic

    Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock

    Released1998

    Directed byGriffin Dunne

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  • 15
    The Perks of Being a Wallflower
    897
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    The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    Emma Watson, Nina Dobrev

    Released2012

    Directed byStephen Chbosky

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  • 16
    Race to Witch Mountain
    451
    432

    Race to Witch Mountain

    Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino

    Released2009

    Directed byAndy Fickman

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  • 17
    The Maze Runner
    868
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    The Maze Runner

    Kaya Scodelario, Dylan O'Brien

    Released2014

    Directed byWes Ball

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  • 18
    Escape to Witch Mountain
    431
    415

    Escape to Witch Mountain

    Kim Richards, Kyle Richards

    Released1975

    Directed byJohn Hough

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  • 19
    The Fault in Our Stars
    845
    887

    The Fault in Our Stars

    Shailene Woodley, Willem Dafoe

    Released2014

    Directed byJosh Boone

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  • 20
    The Wizard of Oz
    781
    944

    The Wizard of Oz

    Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton

    Released1939

    Directed byMervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, King Vidor, George Cukor, Victor Fleming

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  • 21
    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
    336
    324

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

    Phil Collins, Dick Van Dyke

    Released1968

    Directed byKen Hughes

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  • 22
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    325
    332

    To Kill a Mockingbird

    Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck

    Released1962

    Directed byRobert Mulligan

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  • 23
    Bridge to Terabithia
    672
    846

    Bridge to Terabithia

    Zooey Deschanel, Josh Hutchersonm

    Released2007

    Directed byGábor Csupó

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  • 24
    The Princess Diaries
    32
    5

    The Princess Diaries

    Anne Hathaway, Mandy Moore

    Released2001

    Directed byGarry Marshall

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  • 25
    Nanny McPhee
    345
    400

    Nanny McPhee

    Emma Thompson, Angela Lansbury

    Released2005

    Directed byKirk Jones

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