Most people tend to prefer books over the movies that they’re turned into. In a couple instances, though, the movie winds up being better. Here are five examples of movies that surpassed the books they were based on.
- Stand By Me (Based on ‘The Body’ by Stephen King)
Just about everything Stephen King writes is great and ‘The Body’ is no exception, but the movie managed to blend a ton of different elements together (humor, childhood innocence, adventure, etc.) and each worked perfectly. Add to that an incredible cast and you see why the movie makes an already good story even better.
- The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (Based on ‘The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald)
This was originally a short story, which didn’t allow Fitzgerald to develop the characters and story behind the premise the same way the movie did. One of the nice things about the movie is that it allows scenes to play out slowly so the impact of each scene is more fully appreciated. In a short story of such scope, that just isn’t possible.
- The English Patient (‘The English Patient’ by Michael Ondaatje)
Ondaatje’s book is good but the movie is great. Whereas the book manages to convey the beauty of scenes with its descriptive language, it isn’t able to convey the raw emotion that the movie possesses. Both the book and movie have good paces, good character development, and nice scenes, but the acting and cinematography in the movie push it into a different category of excellence.
- Atonement (‘Atonement’ by Ian McEwan)
Something about McEwan’s writing didn’t connect with me. I liked the book but it felt cold, like someone recounting a series of events after they had long since gotten past them. The movie was the opposite. While watching it I found myself irritated, interested, sad, etc. That’s the sign of a powerful movie.
- Blade Runner (‘Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?’ by Phillip K. Dick)
This was by far the easiest pick. Whereas the movie is one of my favorites of all time, I didn’t enjoy the book at all. Ridley Scott’s direction and the tone of the movie are perfect. Dick’s version felt like pulp writing meant for young adults rather than a serious attempt at telling a fully developed story.
Have an example of your own? If so, I’d love to hear them.