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Book to Movie Debate: Which is better?

February 24, 2009

We’ve all been talking a lot lately about books that have been turned into movies. (My mom now believes that EVERY movie was once a book because so many of them are! I try to tell her there are still a few original screenplays out there, but she won’t listen.)  Almost every review I’ve seen follows the traditional opinion that the book is always better. I always read the book before viewing the movie if I have any intention of ever reading it, because I feel like the movie will ruin the book. But does it happen the other way around? Does the book ever ruin the movie? What movies can you name that you liked better than the book?

I’m having trouble coming up with many movies that I liked better than the books, but the one that comes to mind is Fight Club. Chuck Palanhuik is just so twisted in his writing that even though I enjoy the books, I cringe the entire way through. Fight Club was a great movie, although clearly aimed at young men, and much easier to stomach than the book. I’m interested to see Choke when it comes out.  fight-club-dvd9780091835132


The Lord of the Rings books and movies were right on par and certainly didn’t disappoint! lordoftherings-book97_35566_0_thelordoftheringsthefellowship

Twilight the movie and the book also tied in my opinion, but both had lower expectations from the start.


Which movies did you like better than the book? Which ones were ties? Leave your reply in the comments or leave a link to your blog post so we can all see what you think!

Edit: Other ties include Harriet the Spy and In Her Shoes.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. February 24, 2009 1:13 pm

    Choke was a pretty good movie and I am currently reading Haunted which is another of Palahniuk’s books. I wonder if that one will be put on film also.

  2. andalldatjazz permalink
    February 24, 2009 1:36 pm

    As we go along reading we tend to form an image of the characters, events, places that the author describes and that’s our interpretation. Which is according to the way we want to see it. while a movie is more the directors interpretation and its very rare that someone ells is version is better than ours.
    but two of my favorite adaptations are a walk to remember (the book and the movie made me cry) and Q&A.

    • February 24, 2009 1:50 pm

      That’s very true! I also liked A Walk to Remember, but I only cried at the book, not the movie (but I never cry at movies).

  3. February 24, 2009 1:43 pm

    As for books to movie, I really think that the Gone With The Wind movie was better than the book. It is the only instance I can think of!

    • February 24, 2009 1:51 pm

      Gone With The Wind is a great example. I can’t believe I didn’t think of that one. I still haven’t actually finished the book, but I keep trying periodically. Thanks Stephanie!

  4. February 24, 2009 1:53 pm

    A Walk to Remember is a good one! I think the book and movie were pretty even to me, they seemed to keep a lot to the book. I cried at both.

  5. February 24, 2009 3:22 pm

    I haven’t seen A Walk to Remember – I’m going to go look it up. I’ve read In Her Shoes and have yet to see the flick. Gone With the Wind IS a good example. I think Stardust the movie was better than the book, but I’ve seen it on par on a lot of lists. I doubt if I will ever see Twilight. The Remains of the Day movie is better than the book.

  6. February 24, 2009 6:03 pm

    I just finished reading High Fidelity, and then watched the movie again. I can’t say for sure which one I think was better, I’m going to try and muddle through it as I write my review tonight. Also, I agree with Care, I thought Stardust the movie was better than the book.

  7. February 26, 2009 12:09 am

    I haven’t seen/read “Fight Club” or “Twilight”, but I found that while “The Lord of the Rings” movies were quite enjoyable, they differed drastically from the books, which I liked as well. And I don’t mean in terms of plot/characterization, I mean in terms of mood. The movies felt actiony-exciting. The books felt epic, long, slow. It was a sharp contrast.

    As for most movie adaptations… I haven’t been lucky enough to see many excellent movies based on books and have read the book as well. Usually it’s either a terrible movie that butchered the book, or a good movie where I haven’t read the inspiration (Q&A, Fiddler on the Roof,…). Or it’s a book where I haven’t seen the movie (Gone With the Wind). But I’ll be thinking about this now…

  8. melissapilakowski permalink
    March 1, 2009 6:43 pm

    I think the Lord of the Rings Trilogy is a great example…some adore the books, but I could never get through them. Not interested enough in fantasy, I guess. The movies, though, were entertaining. I read that Stephen King thought that his book Carrie was actually better as a movie–just an interesting tidbit. Unfortunately, I’ve neither read nor seen either.

  9. March 1, 2009 7:51 pm

    Really? that is so interesting! Carrie is one of those movies that just got under my skin, but I’d be surprised if ANYTHING gets to Stephen King!

  10. March 2, 2009 4:00 pm

    I love this post. This is one of the unanswerable questions for me – it just depends. Check out the latest edition of the Bookworms Carnival for more posts on this theme.

  11. andalldatjazz permalink
    March 22, 2009 5:26 pm

    i dont cry at movies either.iv been reading twilight lately..havent watched the movie yet. dont want to be dissapointed. edward is just perfect in my head!

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