10 Movie Adaptations That Are Better Than Their Source Material

There is a common idea that the movie is never as good as the book; some films did not receive the memo. On rare occasions, movies improve on the novel, and some stories are better suited for the big screen.



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These selections focused on beloved films based on less acclaimed and less popular books. So some of the best movies of all time were omitted from this list because the books they adapted were just as gripping and successful. Conversely, each of these films improved upon the book and achieved greater success.

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“Die Hard” (1988)

Although it may be the most iconic action film of the 20th century, most people are unaware that die hard was based on a 1979 novel titled Nothing lasts eternally. The film is largely faithful to the book although it adds a troubled marriage subplot and offers a less grim ending.

The shows of Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman alone are enough to elevate the film above its source material. It’s also relentlessly entertaining, with rarely a moment that isn’t tense, emotional, or action-packed. The Christmas classic earned four Oscar nominations, a rarity for action movies, and spawned four sequels. Overall, Die Hard is one of the most scripted, best-directed, and most-viewable action films ever made.


“Children of Men” (2006)

children of men is a science fiction novel by PD James, published in 1992. The story centers on a dystopian future in England, where human beings have become sterile and are therefore hurtling towards extinction.

The film took the basic story and premise but reworked its plot. Although this is usually a recipe for disaster, Alphonse CuaronThe film is considered a masterpiece by many, and even the author of the book was thrilled with the adaptation. With striking visuals, heartbreaking action sequences and an emotional spine, children of men is a must-have for fans of dystopian sci-fi.

“Fight Club” (1999)

Unfortunately, the first rule of fight club will have to be broken. Based on the lesser known 1996 Chuck Palahniuk novel of the same name, David FincherThe 1999 classic is largely true to its source material. Both the book and the film are often misunderstood and labeled as misogynistic and pro-violence, despite vilifying those same things. Both also offer biting critiques of consumerism and the American dream.

However, the film became a cult classic, propelling itself to far greater fame than the book. The fantastic performances and masterful direction are a big reason for that, as is the reworked ending which was more gripping and satisfying for the audience.

“Psycho” (1960)

psychology is a 1959 horror novel by Robert Bloch, which tells the story of motel attendant Norman Bates and his overbearing mother. Filled with tension and shocking twists, Blotch’s novel immediately caught the attention of the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock.

Hitchcock was largely faithful in his adaptation but added more depth to the main female character (Marion/Mary in the novel) and removed an unnecessary romantic subplot with her sister and her boyfriend. These changes, combined with its groundbreaking editing and Bernard Hermann’s signature musical score, elevated the film to legendary heights.

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‘Jo Jo Rabbit’ (2019)

Caged Skies is a novel about a child of the Hitler Youth who discovers that his mother is hiding a Jewish refugee. It inspired Taika Waititithe award-winning film JoJo Rabbitwhich shares the basic principle but is extremely different in tone.

The book is a dark exploration of masculinity, social norms, obsession and bigotry. By contrast, JoJo Rabbit is a dark, comedic satire that shows how juvenile and ridiculous hatred and prejudice are. The two are interesting companions to each other, offering explorations of light and dark in equal measure. However, the film’s expert balance of humor and pathos hits harder, and the addition of Taika Waititi as JoJo’s imaginary friend version of Hitler is genius. Additionally, he portrays hate as an illogical manifestation of fear/ignorance, the impact that indoctrination can have on young people, and the sense that people can learn to change are all essential and timeless messages.


‘Jaws’ (1975)

Often dubbed the world’s first blockbuster, Steven Spielbergit is Jaws was based on a 1974 novel of the same name by Pierre Benchley. Both tell the story of a great white shark that preys on tourists at a small town resort and the trials of three men trying to kill it.

However, the book and the film are concerned with telling different themes. The film celebrates the human capacity for strength and bravery, while the book portrays men as real monsters, writing the human characters as greedy, elitist, liars. Spielberg’s film makes the central characters much more likable and cuts out major subplots involving a case and the mob. As a result, the movie is much more fun, as it’s hard not to get emotionally invested in the fates of the characters and be captivated by the epic climax. John Williams‘ the musical score is also a fantastic addition.

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“No Country for Old Men” (2007)

There is no country for old people is a 2005 novel by Cormac McCarthy. The story concerns the aftermath of an illegal drug trade gone wrong in the desert backcountry of Texas near the Mexican border. The film is perhaps one of the most faithful adaptations of all time, as the stories are almost identical.

However, the novel was originally written as a screenplay, which gave it an unusual and polarizing writing style that divided critics. Conversely, the Coen Brothers‘ The Best Picture winning film has the advantage thanks to Roger Deakins‘ breathtaking cinematography and the legendary performance of Javier Bardem. It also features some of the tensest scenes ever to screen, which aren’t quite as exciting on the page.

“Forrest Gump” (1994)

Forrest Gumpone of the most beloved films of the 1990s, was based on a 1986 novel of the same name by The groom Winston. Both share the same overarching plot: A man with a low IQ recounts all the fantastic things he’s accomplished in his adventures ranging from championship shrimp boating and ping pong to the Vietnam War and college football.

However, the similarities end there, as the characters, ending, and themes differ. The book is fun but a little too unbalanced and chaotic and has a downright depressing ending. Robert Zemeckis wisely leaves out plenty of adventures to develop supporting characters like Jenny, Lt. Dan, and Mrs. Gump, all of whom are fleshed out more in the film. tom hankForrest’s portrayal is also much more endearing, and the film as a whole is more charming and cathartic, resulting in a huge box office comeback and six Oscars, including Best Picture.

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“Jurassic Park” (1993)

jurassic park is a 1990 science fiction novel written by Michael Crichton and a 1993 film directed by Steven Spielberg. Both present to the public an amusement park where genetically recreated dinosaurs exist. While both function as thrilling action-adventure stories, they also serve as cautionary tales of genetic engineering and examples of chaos theory.

However, the film contains a few key additions that the book cannot match: the awe-inspiring spectacle of seeing realistic dinosaurs on the big screen, John Williams’ wonderful theme song, and the charisma of Jeff Goldblum.

“The Godfather” (1972)

The Godfather is a detective novel by Mario Puzo, which tells the story of a fictional mafia family in New York, led by the godfather, Vito Corleone. The book is fantastic and Francis Ford CoppolaThe film wisely sticks to its story.

However, the film still stands out as the better version, thanks to the sheer mastery on display. The direction, performance, cinematography, lighting, sound and everything else is spot on. It is rightly considered a masterpiece, earning eleven Oscar nominations and three wins, and is often ranked as one of the greatest films ever made.

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