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

Derrick Deane
50.6k votes 9.2k voters 313.7k 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
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1 3,379 VOTES

Stand by Me


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.

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#26 on The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time

#74 on The Best Movies for Tweens

#32 on Movies That Should Never Be Remade

#21 on The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked

3,062 317
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Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Movies That Are Even Better Than the Books They're Based On
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2 3,363 VOTES

Forrest Gump


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 Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies

#28 on The Best War Movies Ever

#1 on The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time

#2 on The Most Rewatchable Movies

2,958 405
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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
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3 2,062 VOTES

Mrs. Doubtfire


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. 

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#12 on The Funniest '90s Movies

#9 on "Old" Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

#12 on The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels

#43 on The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

1,721 341
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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
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4 1,810 VOTES

Die Hard


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

#8 on The Most Rewatchable Movies

#28 on Movies That Should Never Be Remade

#48 on "Old" Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

#7 on The Greatest Movies of the 1980s, Ranked

1,509 301
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