A comparison of the book vs. the movie will be written. Then the verdict will show which was better, the book or the movie. “Either” will be written if one is just as good or bad as the other.
Saw the movie first
The Dead- based on the James Joyce story. Reading it, it reminded me of every detail of the movie. It was so exact. Verdict: EITHER are okay.
To Kill a Mockingbird – I read the book by Harper Lee in 5th grade and loved it and wished it could go on forever. But I must have seen the movie first, because it’s my Mom’s favorite. Verdict: BOOK
The Little Princess – My parents bought the Shirley Temple VHS tape for me and I probably saw it five hundred times before I was five years old. I have a pretty good memory of it, even though I was probably ten years old the last time I saw it. I read the book when I was twelve and remember enjoying it. But since I was so much younger I can’t really remember how they compared. Verdict: MOVIE
Stupeur et tremblements/Fear and Trembling – Was a Blockbuster online recommendation. I read an enchanting review on IMDB that mentioned that actress Sylvie Testud learned Japanese for the role. I took a chance. Beautiful film by Alain Corneau. Wonderful book by Amélie Nothomb. There was only one question: the protagonist loved Japan so much, yet the book only explored her difficulties while working there and not what she did in her time off. A few years after I read the book, she released a new book called Tokyo Fiancée that went into this subject matter. In a way, it was disappointing. What was interesting was what happened before she got her job that made her want to stay. Then, when she was there, she was like, “I did laundry on the weekends…” Verdict: EITHER are great
Elia Kazan’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – The movie was nice and all-American. I liked it, but the book was much more inspiring. I didn’t even love the book or movie that much, but I remember thinking of sequel ideas, just so that the story could continue. The movie ends at a point that is halfway through the book, but the book just keeps going. I was a bit surprised, but I’m sure Kazan had limits on how long his movie would be and chose a decent stopping point. Verdict: BOOK
Pay it Forward – This may have been the first Kevin Spacey film I saw. This was also back in the days when cute, little Haley Joel Osment had his whole life ahead of him. I really enjoyed the movie. Osment’s character was loving and embraced everyone. While in the book, which was a bit of a disappointment, the boy was a little bit political and it wasn’t as appealing. Verdict: MOVIE
How could they make a movie out of Lolita? A lot more is in the book, but the movie leaves in the most important details and is a lot less salacious. However, Nabakov’s prose is impeccable and is worth the read. Verdict: EITHER
Read the book first
Life of Pi – the novel has soul (5/5) and the movie has some great cinematography (3/5). BOOK
Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption – the novella by Stephen King is much better, but the advantage of the movie is we get to see a clip of Gilda and the movie posters firsthand Verdict: NOVELLA
Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier’s book is impeccable. While Hitchcock is my favorite director, I felt that one or two of my favorite things in the book were put in the movie coldly, without any emotion and could have done better. Then I saw a BBC version of this film and it was terrible. Verdict: BOOK
The Hours – won a Pulitzer Prize if I remember correctly. They cut out my favorite part in the movie (from the book). The movie was one of my very favorites anyway, but that was before my serious film-watching days. The film has since been cut from my favorites. There are some serious differences, though. Spoiler: Meryl Streep practically licks Allison Janney’s face near the end of the movie and in the book, there is no affection between the two, as their love has faded. In the movie, it seemed out of place, but maybe they wanted to convey to the audience that they were lovers, even though it was apparent that they were, because they lived with each other. Verdict: BOOK
Matilda by Roald Dahl – Book was great, movie was barely okay. Verdict: BOOK
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason – Book was a great read. Movie was rubbish and poorly done. Verdict: BOOK
The Outsiders – heard the movie was bad. They were right. The book’s descriptions worked, but in the movie it didn’t (it was a kid’s book and the author was able to say “they swore” – but in the movie the kids were supposed to be tough, yet they couldn’t swear without a higher rating probably, so it didn’t work). Verdict: BOOK
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand – book was phenomenal. Movie was a dumbed down piece of crap, even though Ayn Rand wrote the screenplay. Verdict: BOOK
Holes by Louis Sachar – was babysitting some kids that convinced me to read the book. It was pretty entertaining, but the movie really suffered. Verdict: BOOK
Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan – Technically, I turned off the movie before I read the book. Then I read the book, fell in love with it. It was not as shocking as I thought it would be, but it was better written. THEN, I gave the movie another chance. Wasn’t sure why parts of it were black and white and parts of it were in color, but by the time it was over, I was loving it. I like Jean Seberg anyway, so I was glad to have finally enjoyed the film. Verdict: BOOK
A Certain Smile by Françoise Sagan – The book made me cry. The movie was supposed to be terrible. It was okay/watchable, but it is for fans only. It is also hard to find and I think I bought some copy on eBay. Verdict: BOOK
Gone With the Wind – As a teenager, I figured that I’d better read this novel. I did, and really didn’t like it. Every page. For 1,000 pages. The first time I saw the movie (while babysitting), I didn’t really even bother paying attention to most of it, just hating it. I explained to the girls that Spoiler: In the book, Scarlett had three children. When Bonnie Blue died, Ms. O’Hara/Mrs. Butler said that she wished her oldest daughter had died instead of Bonnie Blue. “Oh Scarlett, would never say something like that,” the kids said. Well, she did. Upon a repeated viewing of the movie, I realized how well done it was. It seems weird, still, to have Vivien Leigh in the leading role since she is not Southern. Also, her character is detestable, but that is the point. Verdict: MOVIE
Choke – The book was well-written and the movie was a disaster, complete with a cop-out ending due to a low budget. Verdict: BOOK
The movie was better in 3 instances.
The book was better in 12.
The movie & book tied 3 times.
Only read the book
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory – read the book years before the movie was made. Heard the movie wasn’t great and never saw it.
Only watched the movie
We Need to Talk About Kevin – Great film. I have a friend who is raving about the book and afraid to see the movie. That makes me curious.
The Sweet Hereafter – Have always been curious about the Russell Banks novel. Even though it is one of my favorite movies, I always felt something was missing from it.
Heat and Dust – recently watched the movie and was intrigued about the bookRead less