Entertainment

The Best Movies Based on Books  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
129.9k votes 8.7k voters 352k views 359 items

List Rules Only movies that were adapted from books.

List of the best movies based off books, voted on by cine-bibliophiles everywhere. Many movies are based off of books but whenever a new movie based on a book comes out there is an endless amount of whining about how Hollywood isn't original and why can't they write their own stories? That's simple, it's because these amazing stories are already written and Hollywood has the means to bring them to life, and some times they do it better than even your imagination thought possible. This list looks at the films based on the books - novels, literature, or nonfiction - that made you want to reread the book, started endless "which was better the movie or the book" debates, made you squeal with delight that you pictured it that way in your head, and just blew your frickin' mind.

What are the best movies based on books? Vote on the top movies based on books and share this with your friends to get their opinions, too!

Want to vote on more lists about book adaptations? Check out this list of film franchises based on books.

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26
The Godfather Part II is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Movies Based on Books
Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall
The Godfather (1969) by Mario Puzo The Godfather Part II is a 1974 American epic crime film produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola from a screenplay co-written with Mario Puzo, starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. ...more
27
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Natalie Portman, John Hurt, Hugo Weaving
V for Vendetta (1982-1989) by Alan Moore V for Vendetta is a 2006 American political thriller film directed by James McTeigue and written by the Wachowski Brothers, based on the 1988 Vertigo graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore ...more
28
The Lord of the Rings: The Fel... is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Movies Based on Books
Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler
The Fellowship of the Ring (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is a 2001 epic fantasy film directed by Peter Jackson based on the first volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. It is the first ...more
29
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Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair
The Exorcist (1971) by William Peter Blatty The Exorcist is a 1973 American supernatural horror film directed by William Friedkin, adapted by William Peter Blatty from his 1971 novel of the same name. The book, inspired by the 1949 ...more
30
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nes... is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Movies Based on Books
Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a 1975 drama film written by Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman and directed by Miloš Forman.
31
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Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler
The Return of the King (1955) by J. R. R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is a 2003 epic fantasy drama film directed by Peter Jackson based on the second and third volumes of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. It is ...more
32
A Beautiful Mind is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Movies Based on Books
Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, Ron Howard
A Beautiful Mind (1998) by Sylvia Nasar A Beautiful Mind is a 2001 American biographical drama film based on the life of John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics. The film was directed by Ron Howard, from a screenplay written by Akiva ...more
33
Fried Green Tomatoes is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Movies Based on Books
Kathy Bates, Mary-Louise Parker, Chris O'Donnell
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (1987) by Fannie Flagg Fried Green Tomatoes is a 1991 comedy-drama film based on the novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. Directed by Jon Avnet. It tells the story of a Depression-era friendship ...more
34
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Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter, Ed Bishop
The Sentinel (1948) by Arthur C. Clarke
2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay was written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, and was partially inspired by ...more
35
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Jean Harlow, Boris Karloff, Paul Muni
Scarface (1929) by Armitage Coons Scarface is a 1932 American film starring Paul Muni, produced by Howard Hughes and Howard Hawks, directed by Hawks and Richard Rosson, and based on Armitage Trail's 1929 novel of the same name, ...more
36
The Thing is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Movies Based on Books
Kurt Russell, Keith David, John Carpenter
Who Goes There? (1938) by John W. Campbell  The Thing is a 1982 American science fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter, written by Bill Lancaster, and starring Kurt Russell. The film's title refers to its primary antagonist: a ...more
37
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Malcolm McDowell, Warren Clarke, Steven Berkoff
A Clockwork Orange (1971) by Anthony Burgess A Clockwork Orange is a 1971 dystopian crime film adapted, produced, and directed by Stanley Kubrick, based on Anthony Burgess's 1962 novella A Clockwork Orange. It employs disturbing, violent ...more
38
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JuanGabrielGomezAlvarado added Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers
Shrek is a 2001 American computer-animated fantasy-comedy film produced by PDI/DreamWorks, released by DreamWorks Pictures, directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, featuring the voices of ...more
39
No Country for Old Men is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Movies Based on Books
Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson
No Country for Old Men (2005) by Cormac McCarthy No Country for Old Men is a 2007 American neo-western neo-noir thriller film directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy. Mayhem ensue after a hunter (Josh Brolin) ...more
40
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Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler
The Two Towers (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a 2002 epic fantasy film directed by Peter Jackson and based on the second volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings. It is the second ...more
41
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looksharp added Leonardo DiCaprio, Amy Adams, Jennifer Garner
Catch Me if You Can by Frank Abagnale
Catch Me If You Can is a 2002 American biographical crime drama film based on the life of Frank Abagnale, who, before his 19th birthday, successfully performed cons worth millions of dollars by ...more
42
Who Framed Roger Rabbit is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Movies Based on Books
Kathleen Turner, Christopher Lloyd, Bob Hoskins
Who Censored Roger Rabbit? (1981) by Gary K. Wolf Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a 1988 American live-action/animated fantasy-comedy film directed by Robert Zemeckis. The screenplay by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman is based on Gary K. Wolf's ...more
43
Harry Potter and the Philosoph... is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Movies Based on Books
Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Julianne Hough
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is a 2001 fantasy film directed by Chris Columbus and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. ...more
44
The Hobbit trilogy is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Movies Based on Books
Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom
The Hobbit, or There and Back Again (1937) by J. R. R. Tolkien The Hobbit is a film series consisting of three epic fantasy adventure films directed by Peter Jackson. They are based on the 1937 novel The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, with large portions of ...more
45
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Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Mary Astor
The Maltese Falcon (1929) by Dashiell Hammett The Maltese Falcon is a 1941 Warner Bros. film noir based on the novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett. Directed by John Huston, the film stars Humphrey Bogart as private investigator Sam ...more
46
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Keira Knightley, Benedict Cumberbatch, Saoirse Ronan
Atonement (2001) by Ian McEwan Atonement is a 2007 British romantic drama film directed by Joe Wright and based on Ian McEwan's 2001 novel of the same name. The film stars James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan, Romola ...more
47
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JimJenkins added John Malkovich, Gary Sinise, Sherilyn Fenn
Of Mice and Men (1937) by John Steinbeck Of Mice and Men is a 1992 film based on John Steinbeck's novella of the same name. Directed and produced by Gary Sinise, the film features Sinise as George Milton alongside John Malkovich as ...more
48
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Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain, Bryce Dallas Howard
The Help (2009) by Kathryn Stockett The Help is a 2011 American period drama film directed and written by Tate Taylor, and adapted from Kathryn Stockett's 2009 novel of the same name. Featuring an ensemble cast, the film is about ...more
49
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JuanGabrielGomezAlvarado added Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Elsa Lanchester
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
50
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Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Laurence Fishburne
The Color Purple (!982) by Alice Walker The Color Purple is a 1985 American period drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Alice Walker. It was Spielberg's eighth film as ...more