How about The Sweet Hereafter? The Russell Banks novel isn’t bad by any means, but its approach to the story (five sections=five stages of grieving) seems much more obvious than Atom Egoyan’s scattered chronology in the film. I can appreciate the book, but only the film really haunts me.
I also greatly prefer Bertolucci’s version of The Conformist to the Alberto Moravia novel. The book just irks me, actually. It relies on cheap psychology a bit too much (childhood trauma=fascist!), while Bertolucci’s extreme stylizing of everything tends to render psychology moot (childhood trauma=pretty pictures!).
My preferred version of Dracula is Guy Maddin’s, not Bram Stoker’s. Fleshpots!!!!!
the GODFATHER….. is a perfect instance of the film being much better than the book….also ABOUT A BOY…starring hugh grant.
the opposite would be a film like ZORBA THE GREEK….WHICH COULD NOT DO JUSTICE TO THE BOOK…THOU MY DAD LOVES THIS FILM.
Am I the only person who thinks American Psycho was better as a movie than a novel?
The book was about 50 pages too long, and his constant observations of what outfits people were wearing wore thin early on.
Obviously I have to add The Shining as well.
The book was one of the worst I’ve read. The movie is my all-time favorite.
Stephen King begs to differ.
I’m with Andy E. about AMERICAN PSYCHO … I hated the book but the movie is quite good. And THE GODFATHER is the best example of a movie improving on a novel (the book is a marginally interesting potboiler at best). And while a bunch of people have mentioned THE SHINING, how about CARRIE? I thought DePalma’s movie was wittier and more compassionate than King’s book.
I loved the film American Psycho but I have to disagree, the book is far better. I found it so funny and disturbing at the same time. I often laughed out loud because of the novel.
Paranoid Park and The Godfather
I thought the film version of American Psycho was mediocre at best.. the movie didnt come close to touching the book on any level, in fact the only thing I liked about the movie was Christian Bale as Bateman.
A Clockwork Orange, Fight Club, The Godfather, Snow Angels
blade runner, american psycho, jurassic park
the shawshank redemption wasn’t much different than the book, but the characters in the movie were portrayed so well it was almost an improvement on just seeing the words on paper
and bram stoker’s dracula
The Manchurian Candidate
THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy.
I spent (wasted?) a summer in college wading through the damned thing & was completely nonplussed at the book’s reputation.
The movies are magnificent, however, though the ending of the final one is a bit lopsided.
And I agree about the HARRY POTTER books/movies, too.
I think Cocteau’s La belle et la bete is one of the very few works of film that adds to its literary origins.
And while it’d be a dubious move to say Short Cuts improves upon the Carver short stories, what Altman does in orchestrating the separate tales into an interweaving whole is pretty remarkable.
Also, I have to echo the others who cast their votes for Jackson’s Lord of the Rings adaptations. Those films did a brilliant job of visualizing the excitement of the stories, while losing Tolkien’s plodding, mannered prose.
Not that I have anything againt the novella (Traumnovelle), but I really love Eyes Wide Shut.
I think this is a very difficult question to raise, because it seems to me that one has to confront the aesthetic specificity of both literature and film and pay attention that to the question as to either’s means of signification (something Metz tries to do)…but it’s an enjoyable conversation.
I agree with, of course “Jaws” and “Silence of the Lambs” and I’ll add “The Exorcist” and “The Planet of the Apes” although I enjoyed the books as well.
Blade Runner?! The film was so overrated that I didn’t read the novella for a long time – a mistake.
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY
JULES AND JIM
The Clockwork Orange, for me is better that the book. The Book, is just a Sci Fi, story, but the incredible Stanley Kubrick made whit this a fucking good movie, more interesting.
Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, is another, better than the book, from Hunter S. Thompsson, for me is more delirious, and because act Johnny Deep
I find Nick Hornby’s writing dull and his characterizations even duller, thank the lord for the talent invested in the film because they truly rose above their material.
Julian-The moral quandry A Clockwork Orange provides is in the book-to dismiss it so easily is an injustice to Anthony Burgess-one of the best novelists of the late 20th century. I love the film version equally. Kubrick certainly added visual touches and made it his own. but the themes are there in the source material.
I wonder how many people know what a white oleander is – I’d never heard of it so I looked it up.
Its a lovely,small white flower,and one of the 3-4 deadliest plants on earth. One petal or one leaf and you’re outta here, and pretty awfully. People grow these in their backyards – great for the kids.
Psycho the movie is 10 times better than the book it’s based on.
Kazan’s EAST OF EDEN is profoundly superior to Steinbeck’s novel.
My best and worst:
(adaptation from literature of romance)
ONEGIN (Fiennes) … lush adaptation of Pushkin’s novel-in-verse
AGE OF INNOCENCE (Scorsese) … criminal ruination of Wharton’s Old New York saga
Fearless- Saw and loved the film so read the book it was based upon. not a good experience. A bloated, meandering novel.
Agree with hopelessly addicted on Blade Runner. The film is okay (I think its very over-rated, not in the same class as 2001, Solaris, Stalker, Dark Star to name four off the top of my head) but the book is brilliant, multi-layered, moving.
Mostly the books are much better and I dunno if I have seen some adaptaion that beats the book. Right now I just can think about movies that are as great as the book, like The Virgin Suicides, Breakfast at Tiffany´s, Christiane F. and Lolita (not the enterily movies, but parts and aspect of both versions – Kubrick´s and Lyne´s – even if in any of them Humbert is pictured as the pedophile he was in Nabokov´s novel).
The Prestige (good book, excellent film, they condensed the narrative and improved the ending)
The Green Mile (faithful but the ending was conveyed better in the movie)
V for Vendetta (I love Alan Moore but I must admit I enjoyed the movie more. Watchmen is a different story. The movie is nowhere near as powerful as the book.)
The only thing is though, is that I really wouldn’t consider Adaptation as an adaptation but I posted it on my list only because I find it funny that Charlie Kaufman was nominated for best adapted screenplay.
There is also TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT, one of Hemingway’s lesser works, made into another entertainment by Hawks, though the reworking had more to do with CASABLANCA than with Hemingway.
And I also thought CONTEMPT was a slight bit better than Moravia’s THE GHOST AT NOON. That makes two strikes here against Moravia, which is too bad, because he was a fine writer.