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

Derrick Deane
58.7k votes 10.7k voters 365.5k views 37 items

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

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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 4,035 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.

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

#74 on The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

#76 on The Best Movies for Young Girls

#17 on The Best Movies Based on Books

3,673 362
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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 3,927 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.

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#33 on The Best War Movies Ever

#1 on The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time

#1 on The Most Rewatchable Movies

#1 on Movies That Should Never Be Remade

3,484 443
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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 2,473 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. 

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#62 on The Most Rewatchable Movies

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

#7 on The Funniest '90s Movies

#55 on The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

2,069 404
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see more on Mrs. Doubtfire
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 2,115 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

#8 on The Most Rewatchable Movies

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

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

#22 on The Best Movies Based on Books

1,776 339
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see more on Die Hard