“The book was better.” This is a phrase that is often heard when some whiney bookworm leaves a theater. It’s easy to see how a book could be better than a movie. There are no time constraints on a book and there are no bad actors or special effects, unless you have a really bad imagination. However, there are some exceptions when a movie is better than the book it is based on.
Movies Better than the Book: Blade Runner
Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is loosely based on the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep?” by Phillip K. Dick. The novel is well liked but did not even win the Best Science Fiction Novel of the year but the movie is possibly the best science fiction movie of all-time.
Movies Better than the Book: Bourne Trilogy
The Bourne Trilogy by Robert Ludlum is considered one of the best series of spy novels of all-time but the movie is one of the few times when the actor, Matt Damon, was as good as anybody could have imagined the main character while reading the novels.
Movies Better than the Book: Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump was originally a novel by Winston Groom in 1986. One of the biggest problems with movie adaptations is that a movie just isn’t long enough to contain the entire novel. This was not the case with the Forrest Gump movie though, that movie went on for about seven hours.
Movies Better than the Book: The Maltese Falcon
The Maltese Falcon is a very significant novel because the main character of Sam Spade is considered the classic private detective but Humphrey Bogart did the same thing for the private detective movie genre also.
Movies Better than the Book: Mary Poppins
Mary Poppins is a series of children’s books by P. L. Travers. It’s understandable that Mary Poppins is better on film because of all the classic musical numbers that would not come across as well in literary form.
Movies Better than the Book: The Neverending Story
The Neverending Story is a movie about a boy that finds a book. In the movie the boy then enters the book and must save the world that is in the book in the movie. But this movie about a boy that finds a book is actually based on a book by the same name of the movie. Well, technically the name of the book is Die endliche Geschichte because the book is German, which is why you are better off watching the movie.
Movies Better than the Book: Stand By Me
The classic 80’s movie is based on a novella written by Stephen King called “The Body”. Stephen King is clearly an excellent writer but at the time Rob Reiner was even better at directing as he cranked out movies such as This is Spinal Tap, Stand By Me, When Harry Met Sally, Misery, A Few Good Me and Sleepless in Seattle.
Movies Better than the Book: The Princess Bride
I left one Rob Reiner film off that list on purpose. The Princess Bride is another novel that was very good but Rob Reiner turned it into one of the best movies of the 1980’s era.
Movies Better than the Book: Psycho
Psycho was a good suspense novel by Robert Bloch but in the hand of one of the greatest directors of all-time, Alfred Hitchcock, it became what most people would agree is one of the 25 best films of all-time.
Movies Better than the Book: The Shawshank Redemption
The Shawshank Redemption is a lot like Psycho. Even though the book is well liked, The Shawshank Redemption is arguably one of the 10 best movies of the last 20 years.
Bonus Movie Better than the Comic Book: Iron Man
The Iron Man book was adapted from a comic book series that is decades old so it’s hard to compare it to a specific issue or storyline. However, Iron Man has never been Marvel’s number one comic ahead of titles like Spider-man, X-Men, Avengers, Captain America and Hulk but so far it is Marvel’s number one movie adaptation.
The Mid-Continent Public Library has a full database of movies that are based on books.