When I say ‘I wish somebody would make a movie out of this book’, what I actually mean is ‘I wish somebody would turn this book into a picture with all the characters fitting the book description to the T and no changes in the plot and no added inputs and no deletion of important scenes.’ Nobody seems to get that though. Here is a list of top ten best adaptations of books into movies.
10- Confessions of a Shopaholic
Sophie Kinsella is my favourite author when it comes to chick lit, although I must admit that I did not enjoy this movie as much as the book series. The 2009 movie starred Isla Fisher as Rebecca Bloomwood- a shopping addict whose love for shopping puts her neck deep in debts. The movie did not do well at the box office, although Isla Fisher’s performance received good reviews. It was directed by P. J. Hogan. The book series has six books as of now, although the author might write more as well.
9- My Sister’s Keeper
This movie makes me cry like a baby every time I watch it. The actors did a brilliant job of portraying the family of a leukemia patient struggling to live normally. The movie was adapted from a book of the same name, authored by Jodi Picoult. (US schools tried hard to ban the book for its sexually explicit content, homosexuality, offensive language and drug problem). The plot follows the story of a girl Anna conceived to be the savior of her elder sister who suffers from blood and bone marrow cancer. Thirteen year old Anna seeks legal help to avoid donating her kidney to her elder sister Kate. The movie received mixed reviews from the critics and the audience. It starred Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Sofia Vassilieva and Alec Baldwin. My Sister’s Keeper won the Teen Choice Award for ‘Choice Summer Movie Drama’ in 2009. The ending of the movie was significantly different from that of the book.
8- Pride and Prejudice
I never really understood the craze for Mr. Darcy. Just saying. Anyway, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is one of the most popular semi-classics of all times. It has constantly topped the list of most popular books, success that the movie adaptations could never quite match. Written in the pre-Victorian Regency era, this book has been adapted into various movies, parodies, plays and TV series. The latest adaptation of the romance novel was made in 2005 by director Joe Wright by the British film industry. Keira Knightley played the role of Elizabeth Bennet and Matthew Macfadyen of William Darcy. This movie, interestingly enough, was set in an earlier era to avoid depicting a clean Regency era. The storyline follows the love-hate relationship between Lizzy and Mr. Darcy as they encounter and overcome embarrassing relatives, social inequality, villainous characters and their own pre conceived notions about each other to live happily ever after at the majestic mansion of Mr. Darcy- Pemberly.
7- Twilight series
Stephenie Meyer created a phenomenon when she wrote about the sparkling teenage vampire Edward Cullen and the hunky werewolf Jacob Black. Teenage girls went into a frenzy and Hollywood decided to cash in on the hysteria by adapting the four books into a movie series. The movies were adapted in five parts with the last one – Breaking Dawn- shot and released in two parts (like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) The series are centered around Bella Swan played by Kristen Stewart. The characters of Edward Cullen and Jacob Black were portrayed by Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner respectively. The first part ( Twilight) was released in 2008 and the entire series garnered $3.3 billion worldwide. The movies were directed by Catherine Hardwicke (first part only) Chris Weitz (New Moon) David Slade (Eclipse) and Bill Condon (Breaking Dawn)
6- The Hunger Games series
The Hunger Games is a science fiction trilogy by Suzanne Collins, with the three books being- The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. The books are set in a futuristic era in the fictional country of Panem. It was well received, but criticized for its plot being similar to many literary precedents like Battle Royale. The first book was adapted into a movie and released in 2012, with the other two now under production. The movie was directed by Gary Ross and starred Jennifer Lawrence as the protagonist Katniss Everdeen, along with Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson as Gale Hawthorne and Peeta Mellark respectively. Jennifer was praised widely for her portrayal of Katniss and won the Critic’s Choice Award and the Empire Award for the best actress for her role. The movie was, like the books before it, a success. It is the thirteenth highest grossing film of North America.
5- Othello/ Omkara
The only Bollywood entry in this list. My favouritest (I know that is not a real word but it conveys the meaning so well!) Shakespeare play- Othello, the Moor of Venice- was adapted into a movie ‘Omkara’ by director Vishal Bharadwaj. And what a brilliant adaptation it was. The movie was set in rural India and Indianised to suit the taste of the audience. Othello became Omkara and Iago became Langda Tyagi. Desdemona’s handkerchief became Dolly’s kamarbandh. The basic narrative of lives ruined by jealousy, over vaulting ambition and mistrust remained the same. The film starred Ajay Devgan as the protagonist Omkara and Kareena Kapoor as Dolly. Saif Ali Khan was brilliant in his portrayal of the jealous Langda Tyagi, with his Filmfare award for the role very well deserved. The movie won seven Filmfare awards in all and was screened at the Cannes Film Festival. It was a critical as well as a commercial success
4- Lord of the Rings series
The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien was adapted and directed by Peter Jackson. Tolkien, incidentally, was a professor at Oxford. The books-The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King were published between 1937 and 1949, sold approximately 15 million copies worldwide. The three movies were all shot simultaneously in New Zealand on a magnificent budget of $281 million. The costs, of course, were more than recovered because the movies were one of the highest grossing series of all time. Besides being a massive financial success, the movies were also praised critically. The last movie- The Return of the King (released in 2003) won all the 11 Academy Awards for which it was nominated! The prequel to the book series- The Hobbit- is also being adapted into a movie trilogy by the same director. The first part was released recently in 2012.
3- The Godfather
The 1972 film was so successful that people often forget it was based on a book. The Godfather was a book by Mario Puzo, first published in 1969. It details the story of Don Vito Corleone the Italian Mafia and Michael Corleone. The crime film was directed by Francis Ford Coppola and is regarded as one of the best movies ever made. It became the highest grossing movie of 1972 and has earned over $286 million till date. It remains one of the top twenty five highest grossing movie ever. The movie starred Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone and Al Pacino as Michael Corleone. It won three Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay, along with five Golden Globe Awards.
2- Harry Potter series
Harry Potter is not just a book or a movie, it is a phenomenon in itself. The super duper successful fantasy book series of seven books were adapted into eight movies, with the last book (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) produced in two parts, by Warner Bros. Pictures. The first movie- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone- was made in 2011 and the series concluded in 2011 with the second part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The author of the series J. K. Rowling (the publishers would not let her use her real name Joanne Kathleen for the fear that young boys would not read a book written by a female author) was particularly pleased with the casting for the lead- Daniel Radcliff for the role of Harry Potter. The other two leads for the film series- Rupert Grint and Emma Watson were discovered during auditions for the roles of Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger respectively. The success of the books was matched only by the movie adaptation. The Harry Potter film series are the highest grossing film series of all time, earning over $7.7 billion worldwide.
1- Gone With The Wind
It was a tough call to decide between Gone With The Wind and Harry Potter for the first place in this list. Gone With The Wind won by a very thin margin, and only because I’m in love with Rhett Butler. The character, mind you, not Clark Gable the actor. The book was written by Margaret Mitchell and published in 1936. The plot revolves around Scarlett O’Hara, her obsession with Ashley Wilkes and her passionate love affair with Rhett Butler, set against the backdrop of the American Civil War. The wildly successful book was adapted into an even more successful movie in 1939. Vivien Leigh played Scarlett and Clark Gable, Rhett Butler, in the movie. At the 1940 Academy Awards, the movie won in ten out of the thirteen categories it was nominated for. The movie has also been placed in the top ten movies in the American Film Institute’s rankings. One of the most famous lines of all times- “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” comes from this movie. In the book, the word ‘frankly’ is missing in Rhett Butler’s final dialogue.