vote on everything
Watchworthy
10.8k voters

The Best Movies Based On Books

Updated September 23, 2020 136.8k votes 10.8k voters 410.9k views364 items

List RulesOnly movies that were adapted from novels or short stories—no comic books.

Here is a 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). It's no surprise that popular movies are often inspired by good books, but which one is the best?

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, and our roundup of movie adaptations that the book authors loved.

Photo:
...more
  • 1
    Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    2,868
    823

    Forrest Gump

    Tom Hanks, Sally Field

    Released1994

    Directed byRobert Zemeckis

    Forrest Gump (1986) by Winston Groom
    amazon buy button

    More Forrest Gump 

    The ‘Forrest Gump’ Book Is Weirder And More Offensive Than The Movie#6 of 50 The 50 Highest Grossing '90s Movies, Ranked

  • 2
    To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    1,814
    815

    To Kill a Mockingbird

    Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck

    Released1962

    Directed byRobert Mulligan

    To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) by Harper Lee
    amazon buy button

    More To Kill a Mockingbird 

    'To Kill a Mockingbird' Quotes That'll Change How You Think#45 of 84 Great Movies That Take Place in Autumn

  • 3
    The Godfather is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    2,061
    940

    The Godfather

    Al Pacino, Marlon Brando

    Released1972

    Directed byFrancis Ford Coppola

    The Godfather (1969) by Mario Puzo
    amazon buy button

    More The Godfather 

    20 Fun Facts About the Godfather TrilogyHow 'The Godfather' Became An American Classic Even Though It Was 'Nightmarish' Behind The Scenes

  • 4
    Schindler's List is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    1,490
    636

    Schindler's List

    Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes

    Released1993

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Schindler's Ark (1982) by Thomas Keneally
    amazon buy button
  • 5
    The Lord of the Rings film tri is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    The Fellowship of the Ring (1954), The Two Towers (1954), The Return of the King (1955) by J. R. R. Tolkien
    amazon buy button

    More The Lord of the Rings film trilogy 

    The Best Insults from The Lord of the RingsSmall Details From 'The Fellowship Of The Ring' That Would Make Tolkien Proud

  • 6
    Jurassic Park is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    1,702
    758

    Jurassic Park

    Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum

    Released1993

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Jurassic Park (1990) by Michael Crichton

    amazon buy button

    More Jurassic Park 

    Here's Just How Wrong Jurassic Park Is About Dinosaurs27 Memes About 'Jurassic Park', Still The Only Good Movie Ever Made

  • 7
    Psycho is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    921
    369

    Psycho

    Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh

    Released1960

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

    Psycho (1959) by Robert Bloch
    amazon buy button
  • 8
    The Wizard of Oz is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    1,583
    682

    The Wizard of Oz

    Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton

    Released1939

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

    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) by L. Frank Baum
    amazon buy button

    More The Wizard of Oz 

    The Original 'Wizard of Oz' Books Are Shockingly Violent Compared To The Judy Garland ClassicStrange Things You Definitely Didn't Know About 'The Wizard of Oz'

  • 9
    Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Fa is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    1,357
    574

    Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

    Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson

    Released1971

    Directed byMel Stuart

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) by Roald Dahl
    amazon buy button

    More Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory 

    Grandpa Joe Was The Worst Person In ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,’ And We All Know ItThere's A Theory That 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory' Is Actually About A Tormented Killer

  • 10
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nes is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    719
    294

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito

    Released1975

    Directed byMiloš Forman

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962) by Ken Kesey

    amazon buy button

    More One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 

    #19 of 46 Movies That Won Best Picture at the Oscars and Golden Globes#59 of 149 Movies That Should Never Be Remade

  • 11
    The Princess Bride is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    1,477
    584

    The Princess Bride

    Billy Crystal, Robin Wright

    Released1987

    Directed byRob Reiner

    The Princess Bride (1973) by William Goldman
    amazon buy button

    More The Princess Bride 

    Who Would Star In 'The Princess Bride' If It Were Made Today?Small But Poignant Details Fans Noticed In 'The Princess Bride'

  • 12
    The Silence of the Lambs is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    1,762
    653

    The Silence of the Lambs

    Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins

    Released1991

    Directed byJonathan Demme

    The Silence of the Lambs (1988) by Thomas Harris
    amazon buy button

    More The Silence of the Lambs 

    Small Details And Trivia From 'The Silence Of The Lambs' That Left Us Hungry For MoreYou've Been Watching Silence Of The Lambs Wrong For Years: It's A Comedy

  • 13
    Stand by Me is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    1,233
    376

    Stand by Me

    Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman

    Released1986

    Directed byRob Reiner

    The Body (1982) by Stephen King
    amazon buy button
  • 14
    Gone with the Wind is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    1,185
    553

    Gone with the Wind

    Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh

    Released1939

    Directed bySam Wood, George Cukor, Victor Fleming

    Gone with the Wind (1936) by Margaret Mitchell
    amazon buy button
  • 15
    The Shawshank Redemption is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    2,936
    1,315

    The Shawshank Redemption

    Morgan Freeman, Rita Hayworth

    Released1994

    Directed byFrank Darabont

    Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption (1982) by Stephen King
    amazon buy button
  • 16
    Catch Me If You Can is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    546
    180

    Catch Me If You Can

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Amy Adams

    Released2002

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Catch Me if You Can (1980) by Frank Abagnale

    amazon buy button

    More Catch Me If You Can 

    Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'Catch Me If You Can'#9 of 26 The Best F-Bombs In Movie History

  • 17
    Jaws is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    1,432
    597

    Jaws

    Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss

    Released1975

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Jaws (1974) by Peter Benchley
    amazon buy button

    More Jaws 

    Behind The Scenes Of Every Death In ‘Jaws’Surprising Facts, Small Details, And Trivia Most People Don't Know About 'Jaws'

  • 18
    The Godfather Part II is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    687
    337

    The Godfather Part II

    Al Pacino, Robert De Niro

    Released1974

    Directed byFrancis Ford Coppola

    The Godfather (1969) by Mario Puzo
    amazon buy button
  • 19
    The Green Mile is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    1,965
    442

    The Green Mile

    Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise

    Released1999

    Directed byFrank Darabont

    The Green Mile (1996) by Stephen King
    amazon buy button

    More The Green Mile 

    #555 of 714 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time#85 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movies

  • 20
    Harry Potter series is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    Harry Potter novels (1997-2007) by J. K. Rowling
    amazon buy button

    More Harry Potter Franchise 

    #1 of 76 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels#23 of 45 The Greatest Action Film Franchises, Ranked

  • 21
    Goodfellas is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    829
    401

    Goodfellas

    Robert De Niro, Samuel L. Jackson

    Released1990

    Directed byMartin Scorsese

    Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family (1986) by Nicholas Pileggi
    amazon buy button

    More Goodfellas 

    15 Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The Making Of 'Goodfellas'#506 of 1,189 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

  • 22
    The Lord of the Rings: The Fel is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    1,250
    488

    Released2001

    Directed byPeter Jackson

    The Fellowship of the Ring (1954) by J. R. R. Tolkien
    amazon buy button
  • 23
    The Shining is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    1,407
    841

    The Shining

    Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall

    Released1980

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

    The Shining (1977) by Stephen King
    amazon buy button

    More The Shining 

    16 Utterly Bizarre Things You Didn't Know About The ShiningBehind-The-Scenes Stories About Shelley Duvall From 'The Shining'

  • 24
    The Lord of the Rings: The Ret is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    1,098
    375

    Released2003

    Directed byPeter Jackson

    The Return of the King (1955) by J. R. R. Tolkien
    amazon buy button
  • 25
    Misery is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies Based On Books
    977
    463

    Misery

    Lauren Bacall, Kathy Bates

    Released1990

    Directed byRob Reiner

    Misery (1987) by Stephen King
    amazon buy button

    More Misery 

    Behind The Scenes Of Annie Wilkes Hobbling Paul Sheldon In 'Misery'#4 of 242 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time

FilmsFilmBooksEntertainmentLiteraturepollBest Movies