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This is an edited, updated version of a similar diary I posted a year ago

Lots of books get made into movies.  Usually, at least in my opinion, the movie is worse.  Often much worse.  Sometimes it's just as good.  On very rare occasions, the movie is better.

Less often, movies get made into books.  

Below the fold, let's discuss books and movies

I am not nearly as much of a moviegoer as a book reader, so a lot of this will be in comments.....

Book into movie and the movie is BETTER

The Princess Bride.  The movie is WONDERFUL.  One of the very few movies that you can take your kids to (starting at, say, age 6 or so) and could also enjoy alone.  Perfect casting, wonderful lines, stuff for kids to laugh at, stuff that adults will get.....just....well go see it.  Having loved the movie, I read the book.  Feh.  It's a nothing.  I think this is the only pairing I know of where the book is just MUCH worse than the movie.  

Tag lines: "This man is only mostly dead!"
"My name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die"
"As you wish"
"Liar! Liar Liar Liar Liar!"

Schindler's List.    The book (in some editions entitled Schindler's Ark) was very, very good.  The movie is magnificent. One of the great films of all time.  Go.  But expect to be haunted.   (Very brief synopsis: This is the story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who, before WW 2 was more or less a jerk, but rose magnificently to save many Jews from Hitler).

MASH  -- I am not sure if this started as a book, but the movie was better

Book into movie - both great

The Godfather  One of the rare pairings where each form (book and film) takes great advantage of the strengths of the medium.  The movie follows the book very closely, but each offers different strengths.  

The book makes the Corleone saga into the American Dream in a way that the movie does not.  The book also gets into the minds of the leads in ways the movie cannot.  But the movie!  

  1. A Space Odyssey  I thought the beginning (where the monkeys discover the monolith, was better in the book.  But the visual effect of the movie is stunning.  Both are great.

Get Shorty:  Both were good and funny

Sophie's Choice - the film was amazing; the book also.

Mentioned by others, but where I have no opinion (in comments last time):

African Queen  

Blade Runner/Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Bridges of Madison County  


Day of the Jackal

Dr. Zhivago

Flight of the Phoenix

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Harry Potter books/movies

Jane Eyre

Lonesome Dove (mini series)

Lord of the Rings

Losing Moses on the Freeway

Love Story  

Maltese Falcon

Moby Dick (different versions mentioned)

Mystic River

Naked Lunch

Nobody's Fool

Of mice and men  

Out of Sight

Paper Moon

Postman Always Rings Twice (original movie version)

Pride and Prejudice

Rear Window

Red October

Return of the Native

Roots (mini series)

Shawshank Redemption

Stand by Me

Strangers on a train

The Big Sleep

The Color Purple

The Last Tycoon

The Pianist

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

The Thin Man (several movies)

The Thirteenth Tale

They Shoot Horses Don't They

To kill a mockingbird  

Tom Jones

Treasure of the Sierra Madre For whom the Bell Tolls  

Women in Love

Wuthering Heights

Originally posted to plf515 on Fri Sep 26, 2008 at 03:17 AM PDT.

Also republished by Readers and Book Lovers.

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