The Best Movies Based On Stephen King Books

Over 6.9K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Movies Based On Stephen King Books
Latest additions: The Boogeyman, Children of the Corn
Most divisive: In the Tall Grass

Horror writer Stephen King ranks among the most prolific of contemporary American authors. This is a complete list of feature films and miniseries based on his writings, including work written under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, and the sequels to films based on Stephen King books. The rankings are determined by the votes of Ranker users.

With the second installment of King's classic It hitting screens soon, what better time to look back on the man's long and storied list of adaptations? (NOTE: King's short stories, novellas, and other work have also inspired numerous TV shows, and you can check out the full ranking of all Stephen King adaptations to see where those fall.)

  • This captivating drama explores the themes of friendship, hope, and redemption as it follows the story of two prisoners, Andy Dufresne and Ellis "Red" Redding, who form a deep bond through shared experiences and struggles. Set within the oppressive confines of Shawshank State Penitentiary, the film serves as an allegory for personal resurrection, exemplified by Andy's determination to prove his innocence and regain his freedom. As an adaptation of Stephen King's novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, the movie has earned its place as a timeless classic, showcasing masterful storytelling and unforgettable performances.

    • Actors: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown
    • Released: 1994
    • Directed by: Frank Darabont
    4,030 votes

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  • 2
    3,743 VOTES

    Adapted from King's serialized novel of the same name, this supernatural drama takes place during the Great Depression and delves into the lives and individual stories of death row inmates at a Louisiana penitentiary. With Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecomb, the head prison guard, and Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey, the mysterious and gentle-seeming giant with miraculous healing powers, the film weaves a powerful and emotional narrative that explores themes of redemption, justice, and humanity in a cruel world. The Green Mile's unforgettable performances and heart-wrenching plot make it an enduring work of cinema.

    • Actors: Tom Hanks, David Morse, Michael Clarke Duncan, Bonnie Hunt, James Cromwell
    • Released: 1999
    • Directed by: Frank Darabont
    3,743 votes

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  • 3
    3,407 VOTES

    This chilling psychological thriller brings to life one of King's most terrifying and obsessive villains, Annie Wilkes, played by the phenomenal Kathy Bates. When writer Paul Sheldon (James Caan) suffers a car accident and finds himself incapacitated at the remote home of his self-proclaimed "number one fan," the true depths of Annie's twisted mind become apparent as she subjects him to psychological torture and physical violence. Misery's taut pacing, compelling performances, and masterful direction have solidified its reputation as a standout adaptation of King's work.

    • Actors: James Caan, Kathy Bates, Frances Sternhagen, Richard Farnsworth, Lauren Bacall
    • Released: 1990
    • Directed by: Rob Reiner
    3,407 votes

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  • 4
    3,459 VOTES

    Based on King's novella The Body, this coming-of-age story follows four young friends who embark on a journey to find the body of a missing boy in their town. Set in 1950s Oregon and told through a series of flashbacks narrated by the adult version of main character Gordie Lachance, the film explores themes of friendship, loss, and the transition from childhood innocence to adulthood. Stand by Me has become a beloved classic for its superb ensemble cast and powerful storytelling that resonates with audiences even decades after its release.

    • Actors: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell, Kiefer Sutherland
    • Released: 1986
    • Directed by: Rob Reiner
    3,459 votes

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  • 5
    3,014 VOTES

    In this iconic adaptation of King's first published novel, director Brian De Palma crafts a harrowing tale of adolescent angst, cruelty, and supernatural terror. The story follows the shy and misunderstood Carrie White as she discovers her telekinetic powers while simultaneously being tormented by her abusive fanatically religious mother and cruel classmates. With a memorable breakout performance from Sissy Spacek, this chilling and unforgettable horror film continues to endure as a genre-defining classic.

    • Actors: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, William Katt, Amy Irving, John Travolta
    • Released: 1976
    • Directed by: Brian De Palma
    3,014 votes

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  • 6
    3,924 VOTES

    Renowned director Stanley Kubrick adapts King's psychological horror novel into a visually stunning and haunting exploration of madness and isolation. The film follows writer Jack Torrance and his family as they become trapped in the remote and malevolent Overlook Hotel, descending into a spiral of supernatural terror and psychological unraveling. Despite King's own reservations about the adaptation, The Shining remains an indelible part of cinema history for its stylistic innovations and unforgettable performances by Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall.

    • Actors: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers, Barry Nelson
    • Released: 1980
    • Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
    3,924 votes