Entertainment

The Best Movies Based On Books 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated February 21, 2020 139.2k votes 9.4k voters 375.7k views 351 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 sometimes they do it better than even your imagination thought possible. (Then again, sometimes they simply can't do the original book justice or were later also adapted into TV shows to continue the story or do it better)

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.

list ordered by
1
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Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Robin Wright

Released: 1994

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

Forrest Gump (1986) by Winston Groom Forrest Gump is a 1994 American epic romantic-comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Tom Hanks, Robin ...more
2
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Morgan Freeman, Rita Hayworth, Tim Robbins

Released: 1994

Directed by: Frank Darabont

Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption (1982) by Stephen King The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 American drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont and starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. Adapted from the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and ...more
3
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Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Frank Morgan

Released: 1939

Directed by: Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, King Vidor, George Cukor, Victor Fleming

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) by L. Frank Baum The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and the most well-known and commercially successful adaptation based on the 1900 novel The Wonderful ...more
4
Schindler's List is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley

Released: 1993

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Schindler's Ark (1982) by Thomas Keneally Schindler's List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama, directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and scripted by Steven Zaillian. It is based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Thomas ...more
5
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Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck, William Windom

Released: 1962

Directed by: Robert Mulligan

To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) by Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird is a 1962 American drama film directed by Robert Mulligan. The screenplay by Horton Foote was based on the 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Harper Lee. ...more
6
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The Fellowship of the Ring (1954), The Two Towers (1954), The Return of the King (1955) by J. R. R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings is a film series consisting of three epic fantasy adventure films directed by Peter Jackson. They are based on the novel The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. The ...more
7
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Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Tim Brooke-Taylor

Released: 1971

Directed by: Mel Stuart

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) by Roald Dahl Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a 1971 musical fantasy film directed by Mel Stuart, and starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. The film, a film adaptation of the 1964 novel Charlie and ...more
8
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Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall

Released: 1972

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

The Godfather (1969) by Mario Puzo The Godfather is a 1972 American crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the novel by Mario Puzo. The aging patriarch (Marlon Brando) of an organized crime dynasty transfers ...more
9
Jurassic Park is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough

Released: 1993

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Jurassic Park (1990) by Michael Crichton

Jurassic Park is a 1993 American science fiction adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the first installment of the Jurassic Park franchise. It is based on the 1990 novel of the ...more
10
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Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Sam Rockwell

Released: 1999

Directed by: Frank Darabont

The Green Mile (1996) by Stephen King The Green Mile is a 1999 American fantasy drama film directed by Frank Darabont and adapted from the 1996 Stephen King novel of the same name. The film is told in a flashback format and stars ...more
11
The Silence of the Lambs... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Isaak

Released: 1991

Directed by: Jonathan Demme

The Silence of the Lambs (1988) by Thomas Harris The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 American thriller film that blends elements of the crime and horror genres. Directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Scott ...more
12
Stand by Me is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman, John Cusack

Released: 1986

Directed by: Rob Reiner

The Body (1982) by Stephen King Stand by Me is a 1986 American coming of age comedy-drama adventure film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O'Connell. Based on the novella ...more
13
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Harry Potter novels (1997-2007) by J. K. Rowling Harry Potter is a British-American film series based on the Harry Potter novels by author J. K. Rowling. The series is distributed by Warner Bros. and consists of eight fantasy films. A spin-off ...more
14
The Princess Bride is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
Billy Crystal, Robin Wright, André the Giant

Released: 1987

Directed by: Rob Reiner

The Princess Bride (1973) by William Goldman The Princess Bride is a 1987 American romantic comedy fantasy adventure film directed and co-produced by Rob Reiner. It was adapted by William Goldman from his 1973 novel of the same name. The ...more
15
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Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland

Released: 1939

Directed by: Sam Wood, George Cukor, Victor Fleming

Gone with the Wind (1936) by Margaret Mitchell Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American epic historical romance film adapted from Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel. It was produced by David O. Selznick of Selznick International ...more
16
The Lord of the Rings: T... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler

Released: 2001

Directed by: Peter Jackson

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
17
Psycho is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins

Released: 1960

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Psycho (1959) by Robert Bloch Psycho is a 1960 American horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The film centers on an encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane, who ends up at a secluded motel after taking money from ...more
18
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Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider

Released: 1975

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Jaws (1974) by Peter Benchley Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's novel of the same name. The prototypical summer blockbuster, its release is regarded as a ...more
19
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Liam Neeson, Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy

Released: 2005

Directed by: Andrew Adamson

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950) by C. S. Lewis The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a 2005 fantasy adventure film directed by Andrew Adamson and based on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first published ...more
20
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Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers

Released: 1980

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

The Shining (1977) by Stephen King The Shining is a 1980 British-American psychological horror film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, co-written with novelist Diane Johnson, and starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, ...more
21
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Brad Pitt, Jared Leto, Helena Bonham Carter

Released: 1999

Directed by: David Fincher

Fight Club (1996) by Chuck Palahniuk Fight Club is a 1999 film based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk. The film was directed by David Fincher, and stars Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter. Norton ...more
22
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Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler

Released: 2003

Directed by: Peter Jackson

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
23
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Lauren Bacall, Kathy Bates, James Caan

Released: 1990

Directed by: Rob Reiner

Misery (1987) by Stephen King Misery is a 1990 American psychological thriller film based on Stephen King's 1987 novel of the same name and starring James Caan, Kathy Bates, Lauren Bacall, Richard Farnsworth, and Frances ...more
24
The Godfather Part II is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall

Released: 1974

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

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
25
Die Hard is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia

Released: 1988

Directed by: John McTiernan

Nothing Lasts Forever (1979) by Roderick Thorpe Die Hard is a 1988 American action film directed by John McTiernan and written by Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart. It is based on the 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever, by Roderick Thorp. Die ...more