Adaptations Movies That Are Even Better Than the Books They're Based On  

Derrick Deane
60k votes 10.9k voters 373.5k views 37 items

List Rules Vote for the movies that turned out to be even better than the books they were based on

Sometimes, the book isn't better than the movie. With film's added benefits of visuals, music, sounds, and a more confined, focused narrative, it creates the opportunity to tell a more compact and captivating story. Here are just a few instances where cinema trumped the novel.

Do you agree with these selections, or was the book ultimately the better version of these stories? Vote up the movie adaptations that you thought were better than the book, and vote down the ones where the book just may have been better after all. 

Stand by Me is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Movies That Are Even Better Than the Books They're Based On
Photo:  Columbia/Sony Pictures/Amazon/Fair Use
1 4,163 VOTES

Rob Reiner took the best elements of Stephen King's novella The Body and created one of the greatest coming-of-age movies ever. King even went so far to say that the film was the first successful translation of any of his works to film.

Also Ranked

#17 on The Best Movies Based on Books

#74 on The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

#78 on The Best Movies for Young Girls

#12 on The Most Inspirational Movies Ever

3,795 368
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see more on Stand by Me
Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Movies That Are Even Better Than the Books They're Based On
Photo:  Paramount Pictures/Amazon/Fair Use
2 4,026 VOTES

Author Winston Groom commented that the film version of his book "took some of the rough edges" off of Forrest. As a result, the movie version featured a more genuine and warmer title character, which was executed with Oscar-winning excellence by Tom Hanks.

Also Ranked

#2 on The Best Movies Based on Books

#32 on The Best War Movies Ever

#1 on The Most Rewatchable Movies

#1 on The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies

3,574 452
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Mrs. Doubtfire is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Movies That Are Even Better Than the Books They're Based On
Photo:  20th Century Fox/Amazon/Fair Use
3 2,545 VOTES

This simple, charming story by author Anne Fine became a comedy classic, thanks to the whirlwind of energy breathed into it by the late Robin Williams. 

Also Ranked

#12 on The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels

#63 on The Most Rewatchable Movies

#16 on 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

#7 on The Funniest '90s Movies

2,133 412
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Die Hard is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Movies That Are Even Better Than the Books They're Based On
Photo:  Silver Pictures/Amazon/Fair Use
4 2,167 VOTES

Bruce Willis's big break came in this adaptation of Roderick Thorpe's novel, Nothing Lasts Forever. The book is grittier than the movie and primarily tells the story from the detective's point of view. The movie adds the two arrogant FBI agents, and Alan Rickman's performance helps flush out the villain's character.

Also Ranked

#22 on The Best Movies Based on Books

#8 on The Most Rewatchable Movies

#14 on 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

#25 on The Most Quotable Movies of All Time

1,823 344
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