10 of the Best Novel to Movie Adaptations Ever!

You'd be surprised at just how many movies are taken from books. In our unmissable list we give you the inside track on the best novels to read that produced incredible movies.

“The book is better” may be a snobby sentence you’ve heard from your bookworm mates but in many cases they are actually right! A huge percentage of Hollywood blockbusters come from books written sometimes decades before the movie is even made.

Some of the most vintage cinema has been based on novels and have gone on to see huge box office success. Many times without a mention of or credit given to novel that birthed it. Fight Club and Lord of The Rings to name two. Some aren’t so great Twilight, we’re looking at you.

To help you navigate through the sea of novel to movie adaptations we’ve gathered in no particular order 10 of the very best books along with the movies that came after.

  • To Kill A Mockingbird
    To Kill A Mockingbird

    Book Price:£7.99

    Movie Price: £5.99

    Starting the list with one of the most poignant book and film combo’s on the list, Harper Lee’s tale became an instant classic upon it’s release and had its big screen adaption just 2 years later.
    The story and characters are loosely based on Lee’s family and neighbours, as well as an event that occurred in her childhood. Dealing with serious issues of rape, racial inequality, ethics and more, the book has gone on to become a pivotal teaching in American classrooms.

    Both movie and novel are critically acclaimed with the movie winning 3 Oscars and 3 Golden Globes as well as others. As for the book, there’s no higher compliment that when British librarians ranked the book ahead of the Bible as one “every adult should read before they die”.

    The story’s message of tolerance and compassion within the midst of racial hatred and violence is still as important today as it was in 1960.

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  • Lolita
    Lolita

    Book Price:£6.99

    Movie Price: £18.47

    Arguably the book and movie duo to cause the most controversy on this list, Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita deals with lust, self-exploration and most notably paedophilla. When Stanley Kubrick picked up the novel to turn it into a movie he was faced with a mountain of challenges – namely how he was going to get round all those graphic sexual scenes that lead to the novel being temporarily banned in the UK and France.

    So provocative, one poster for the 1955 movie asked “How did they ever make a movie of Lolita?”. A good question indeed. However, thanks to the sheer genius of Kubrick, compelling characters and a story with a lasting message we couldn’t have this list without mentioning it.

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  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

    Book Price:£8.99

    Movie Price: £7.99

    Set in post-apocalyptic January 2021, the main plot follows bounty hunter Rick Deckard who is faced with the challenge of hunting down and killing or “retiring” six escaped Nexus-6 androids. Sound familiar? Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by a master of the psychedelic sci-fi genre, Philip K. Dick is the basis for cult classic Blade Runner.

    The novel, which actually follows a number of subplots was first published in 1968 with the movie coming almost 20 years later in 1982. The movie did so well the title Blade Runner was also used for some later editions of the novel.

    Although some may argue against Philip K. Dick’s idiosyncratic style of writing, the imagination and sheer scale of the world created in both movie and book make this an unmissable duo.

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  • The Godfather
    The Godfather

    Book Price:£7.99

    Movie Price: £4.99

    Mario Puzo’s The Godfather is an example of the brilliance that can happen when an author and director work together. Puzo helped out quite a bit with the screenplay when Francis Ford Coppola took on the Italian mafia epic in 1972. Together the tag team cut some parts out, relegated parts of the story to the sequel and made some scenes much more dark and gloomy than originally written in the 1969 novel.

    The movie stays true to the novel in terms of both story and quality and if you’re a fan of one it’s most likely you’ll be won over by the other.

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  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
    The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

    Book Price:£6.99

    Movie Price: £3.00

    Both movie and novel can best be described with the word ‘unsettling’. This psychological thriller was written as the start of a trilogy by late Swedish journalist and author Stieg Larsson but was the only one to make the move to silver screen.

    Following financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist in the midst of a career crisis, Mikael is offered a chance at resurrecting his tarnished name. The catch (because there’s always a catch) is that Mikael must spend a year researching a disappearance that occurred and has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. Desperately accepting the offer he enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood private investigator with demons of her own.

    The book has seen 2 movie adaptations – 2009’s Swedish language version and 2011’s English language flick starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara. Unless you’re a Swedish speaker we’d recommend the latter.

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  • American Psycho
    American Psycho

    Book Price:£6.99

    Movie Price: £2.69

    Christian Bale’s incredible performance in the Mary Harron’s 2000 adaptation perfectly captures the dark humour and satire of Bret Easton Ellis’ 1993 novel. Charming, handsome and intelligent Wall Street investment banker, Patrick Bateman seems to have it all. However, apart from wealth and a host of material possessions, Bateman has something else. A taste for blood.

    Both book and film puts American culture and the idea of the American dream under the microscope as we follow Bateman as he moonlights as a serial killer. Worth a read and definitely worth a watch.

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  • The Silence of the Lambs
    The Silence of the Lambs

    Book Price:£7.99

    Movie Price: £4.58

    Winner of five Oscars for best film, best director, best actor/actress and best writing it goes without saying The Silence of the Lambs is a great movie. The tale of a trainee investigator who enlists the help of an imprisoned cannibalistic serial killer to help catch another serial killer is as chilling and uncomfortable as it is enjoyable.

    Both the 1991 film and 1988 boast a whole range of reasons why they should be on your watch/reading list. Incredible performances by Jodie Foster and Sir Anthony Hopkins, a plot that’ll keep you guessing till the very end and a highly quotable and disturbed antagonist. This isn’t the first time DR. Hannibal Lecter has been seen on screen or in a book but The Silence of The Lambs is definitely the most unforgettable of his exploits.

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  • Trainspotting
    Trainspotting

    Book Price:£8.99

    Movie Price: £3.00

    Due to it being written in Scottish dialect makes this one of the tougher reads of this list. So, if ye avin problems readin dis, ye mite find Trainspotting a wee bit of a challenge. Poor Scottish aside, this is a collection of tales about a ragtag band of misfits trying to escape the harsh realities of life through hedonistic and heroin riddled lifestyles. The 1993 book and 1996 movie share characters that are dark but yet appealing and funny.

    Full of criminal activity, addiction, sex and a hell of a lot of c-bombs, Irvine Welsh’s novel brought notoriety to a genre losing cool points at the time and Danny Boyle’s remarkable big screen adaptation gained a cult following that have been anticipating a sequel for over 20 years.

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  • Gone With the Wind
    Gone With the Wind

    Book Price:£9.99

    Movie Price: £4.99

    You’re making a bit of commitment when picking up either the film or novel Gone With the Wind. The 1936 book runs over 1,000 pages and the 1939 movie spans near 4 hours. The coming-of-age tale depicts the struggles of Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled daughter of a plantation owner who attempts to claw her way out of the impoverished state she’s found herself in.

    Set in America’s deep south during the American Civil War and Reconstruction era the story touches on many themes including race, gender and wealth.

    Upon the movie’s release it courted some criticism for its depictions of marital rape and glorification of slavery. However, it has gone on to be widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time and sits firmly on the top ten of the American Film Institute’s list of top 100 American films since the list’s inception in 1998. The book has also enjoyed huge success and in 2014 a Harris poll found it to be the second favourite book of American readers, just behind the Bible.

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  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    Book Price:£5.99

    Movie Price: £3.99

    One of today’s most recognisable book and flick combinations due to its immense popularity with younger audiences. That’s not to say the 2004 movie and its 1999 novel of the same name were widely loved by adults too. Harry Potter returns as the lead protagonist along with mates Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Harry Potter’s entered his third year at Hogwarts as he is informed that a prisoner has escaped from the Azkaban prison and is hellbent on killing him.

    The book’s author J.K. Rowling wrote the 3rd instalment of her Harry Potter series in just a year and sold 68,000 copies in just 3 days. The book would later go on to sell over 3 million copies in the UK alone. Winner multiple awards and shortlisted for even more.

    The movie, had an all-star cast including returning faces Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Gary Oldman, Emma Thompson and Timothy Spall David Thewlis and introduced Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore.

    Box office receipts have it as the lowest-grossing of the Harry Potter films and despite it being only the second-best-reviewed film of the series, review aggregators, critics and fans alike view the Prisoner of Azkaban as the best Harry Potter film.

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