In last months newsletter I asked reader their favourite book to TV & Movie Adaptations. Here are the responses:

Cita: Is it too late or can I just add the Montalbano books by Andrea Camilleri?

B: Hi

Best movies from books list, imho, and limited by all the adaptations I never watched. Also, most are rather obvious choices.

Atonement by Ian McEwen

Life of Pi by Yann Martel: After I read it I thought it impossible for anyone to make this book into a decent movie. Ang Lee proved me wrong and made a great, beautiful movie.

Jaws by Peter Benchley: All through reading it I thought, this would make a great movie. It did.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton: The book was great, but how could it beat seeing those huge dinosaurs come to life?

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane: captured all the gothic atmosphere and suspense from the book.

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King: I liked the movie better than the book. I think the actors had a lot to do with that.

The Martian by Andy Weir: Hope they also make a Project Hail Mary movie.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

The Cider House Rules by John Irving

Misery by Stephen King

The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy

About a Boy by Nick Hornby

Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

The Ghost by Robert Harris

Magic by William Goldman

Tracey: 1. The Stand (the original – haven’t seen the remake)
2. It (the original – hated the remake)
3. Misery
4. Outlander
5. The Godfather

Nancy G: I would have to say my favorite TV adaptions of books are the BBC’s Sherlock Holmes series (starring Jeremy Brett), the Poirot series (with David Suchet), and the Miss Marple series (with Joan Hickson), plus the series that began in 1988 of the first four Narnia books (even though the “special-effects” are sometimes laughable). Fantastically well done, even when they deviate from the books. I also thought the Canadian television mini-series of Anne of Green Gables (1985) was very good.

Most books-as-movies annoy me because they seem to be changed too much for no discernible reason. After watching them, I tend to spend a lot of time griping about the changes!

Chris: Hi Graeme. I never expect a movie or series to follow the book slavishly. They are operating with different mediums, of course. Like you, I felt the movie “The Firm” from the book by John Grisham did a good job at recreating the personalities and the motivations of the main characters. I also really feel the producers of the Harry Potter movies did the same with their adaptations of the books. Things were changed or cut back in the movies, but fans of the books probably didn’t feel cheated or confused, at least I didn’t! I think the producers and directors of the different movies portrayed Hogwarts in an amazing fashion. I fully accepted the world of Harry Potter as it was revealed to me onscreen, in a way that I didn’t while reading the books-that’s how powerful the visual medium is.

John: Books to movies/TV
Lord of the Rings/Hobbit
Harry Potter
Game of Thornes
I am an old fart and enjoy the fantasy books/movies as an escape
On a side note. Read the latest Reacher and was not impressed. Something missing
Bosch has always been a favorite. After the Bosch episodes go straight to Bosch Legacy.

Christine: My two favorite book to movie/T.V. adaptions are: Call the Midwife (a PBS series) that was one that I originally watched the show first, and then read the books and was impressed with how they were able to extract the experiences and the characters and bring them to life. Of course, the series has moved further along than what the books covered, but the show is wonderful!
My second favorite is the Outlander series. Again, in this case I started watching the shows, but since they didn’t move along fast enough for me and I had to know how things turn out I listened to the audiobooks which were beautifully narrated and of course go into way more detail. I like how the author was closely involved with the making of the shows and even played a cameo in it.

Kacey: I haven’t watched a movie or much TV in many years except what’s listed below. I wouldn’t watch an adaptation until I had read the book though. I thoroughly enjoy all the early Stephen King books to movies. The Stand was my favorite. I dont read anything by him anymore. Dr. Sleep was the last one.
I watched Longmire till it was cancelled. Now I am watching the Bosch series. I wait until they have posted all episodes then I binge watch.

Connie: I think some of the best movies were based on great books: Gone With The Wind (1939), The Maltese Falcon(1941), Great Expectations (1946), Cool Hand Luke (1967), The Godfather (1972), The Great Sandinista (1979), The Right Stuff (1983). The Right Stuff was a surprise for me because it was based on a nonfiction book that contained a lot of information and people over a 15 year period. Phillip Kaufman who wrote the screen play and directed the film did an incredible job on consolidating characters and events without losing any of Tom Wolf’s marvelous writing in the book. Books, plays, film, and TV are totally different mediums from each other. Traditionally a film was 90 minutes to a maximum of 120 minutes … before directors were allowed to indulge themselves … and you had to choose what to include without losing the plot, character, etc. while keeping the audience engaged and entertained. This is what makes the difference in the quality of a film. TV can cover much more because of the series – long form. I usually prefer to see the film before I read a book because most often I am disappointed. There are great movies and series made that are their own entity. Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul two examples written specifically for series TV/streaming medium, but to translate a great book into a film is truly art.

Rich: I hated The Grey Man movie! The Terminal List was much better. Neither as good as The Old Man.

Phoenix: Great question this month, as usual. Best book-to-movie adaptation…it’s not easy. While I loved all the Harry Potter, Narnia, and Lord of the Rings movies, they all had to leave out so much of what was in the books. Still, good stuff.
Now, I liked Stephen King’s “The Green Mile,” and to tell you the truth, I enjoyed the ending of the movie much better than the ending of the book.
I liked the adaptation of Anne of Green Gables as well.
I confess I did NOT watch Jan Karon’s Mitford series on tv as I had read that the main characters didn’t match the books at all, so I gave that a miss. I’m a little surprised she allowed that to happen.
And of course, there’s Outlander. Pretty good adaptations of the books, a bit cringe-worthy in some of the bloodier scenes.
I loved the Cadfael movies, but they weren’t always very true to the books. But Derek Jacobi is positively brilliant, so anything he’s in is worth watching.
I would love, love, LOVE to see Margaret Frazer’s Sister Frivesse tales as a series, but considering that the author has passed away, I doubt that will happen.
Did I mention Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Miss Marple books and movies? Them, too! Oh gosh, the list goes on and on!

Tom: Hope you’re doing well. How about Ben Hur, Rambo, The Guns of Navarone, Bosch, Jaws, Shane, Shawshank Redemption, and probably a 100 more if I could think straight. Watched “Joe Picket” series which as fairly decent. The series 1883 would make an excellent book. Watched “The Gray Man” but really didn’t care for it enough to watch it again. Waiting for the movie “The Real Anthony Fauci” from the book which should be a real killer-diller. Read “Upgrade” by Blake Crouch which might make a decent movie for many…not for me though. I don’t care for the premises and the settings

Sven: Stephen Hunter’s Point of impact both the movie and the TV show are good

Deb: I loved the Reacher series on Netflix. From the opening scene of Reacher walking down that country road they absolutely nailed it. Alan Ritchson is Reacher.

I liked the Bosch series okay, but never felt like Titus Welliver really got Harry right. It was entertaining, but it wasn’t Bosch.

And The Martian was a total win on all levels.

Sue: 1. I am so with you on Bosch. I had read some of the books and one of my friends told me about FreeveeTV (I don’t have Prime, I think that is where it originated). I watched all the Seasons. including the one, so far, of Bosch Legacy. Totally good thing I am retired. I watched days and nights like a kid in a candy store. I couldn’t stop. I loved the series. I thought it was more “real” since everything was not wrapped up in a one hour epsode. I don’t remember how closely they follow the books, but at least the main characters were there.

Phillip: Hi Graeme – For me it’s Stephen King’s “The Dead Zone” which ran from 2002-2007 (80 episodes) on the USA Network. The series was shot in Vancouver.

N: Re: best book to tv adaptation has to be the original Bosch series starring Titus Welliver plus the latest series when Harry’s retired. But geez ‘gotta’ admit the Reacher series; the one with Alan Ritchson as Reacher; darned that was good. It put the Tom Cruise movies to shame!

Madeleine: My favorite from book to movie/tv adaptation is still Gone With the Wind. Winds of War and War and Remembrance are super tv adaptations.

Donna: The Great Escape from the book by Paul Brickhill.

Ed: You can’t have a book to movie list without the two heavy weights. Gone With the Wind and the Godfather. Unlike many people, I liked both books over the movies

Ed W: Bosch

GeneAnn: I’ve just signed up for your newsletter – advised by my husband! And I can’t resist answering the question of my favorite best book to movie adaptation.

It has to be ‘The Green Mile’ by Stephen King. I’ve long been a King fan and read ‘The Green Mile’ when it first came out in serial form. It’s rare for a movie to surpass the book, but in this case, it certainly did for me. The casting was phenomenal and the cinematography exceptional. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve watched that movie, along with ‘The Shawshank Redemption, and will do so again!

On the other side of the coin, I absolutely hated the first movie adaptation of ‘The Stand’. The casting of Molly Ringwald as Frannie Goldsmith was just so wrong!

Ginny: Good book to movie adaptations: I don’t watch many movies any more, as they are mostly disappointing. But here are some good adaptations from years gone by: Zeferelli’s Romeo and Juliet. The Godfather. To Sir, With Love. Cabaret. Valley of the Dolls. Soylent Green. Planet of the Apes. The Right Stuff. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The Reivers. All the President’s Men. A Clockwork Orange. The Green Mile. Alice’s Restaurant (from the song). The Help. On the Basis of Sex. I think the all-time great is Fried Green Tomatoes.

Jessica: I haven’t read the books yet, but I love Game of Thrones. I will eventually get around to reading the books. My other favorites are the Narnia movies and Lord of The Rings movies. I not long ago read both book series. I love Father Brown and Grantchester mystery shows.

Linda: My favorite books made into movies. Because it is so current, I would have to mention “The Lincoln Lawyer”. Even though it was not totally book accurate, it was a great movie. Then there was the movie “Time Travellers Wife” which made a very good movie. The series on HBO was not so good. A big dissapointment. “Zoo” by Patterson. Great series. I loved it. “Under the Dome” by Stephen KIng. The series was great until it got to the end. I did not like the series ending. The Coben books that are being done by Netflix are also very good. Too many to name. Right now I am reading the “Victor the Assassin ” series by Tom Wood. Just finished book #1 and cannot wait for the rest. Victor is like a Gray Man and Mitch Rapp character. Hope your gall bladder problem is solved quickly. In the meantime, watch what you eat. I had mine out when I was 23. Back then it was a big old incision. Now it is just a small hole and much easier. Too bad you have to wait. We could get you in quickly down here. Take care and enjoy September. Love your new venture. Happy reading.

Order of Books » Newsletter » Reader Mailbag: Best Book to Movie Adaptations II

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