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A book is a literary compass that has the potential to direct our thoughts and actions:

"Everything we read stimulates our mind to think, and what we think determines what we desire, and desires are the seedbed of our actions. Given this iron law of human nature--from reading to thinking, to desiring, to acting--we are shaping our destiny by the ideas we choose to have enter our minds through print." - Fr. John Hardon, S.J., The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The 15 Greatest Movies with Novels as Source Material

Not only are these great movies, but the novels on which they are based are classics, too. If you're in a reading group, why not read the book, then watch the movie? I only chose novels, no non-fiction (i.e., A Beautiful Mind) or drama (i.e., Much Ado About Nothing). Movies are listed alphabetically.
  1. Ben-Hur - Novel by Lew Wallace
  2. The Bridge on the River Kwai - Novel by Pierre Boulle
  3. Field of Dreams - Based on Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella
  4. The Godfather - Novel by Mario Puzo
  5. Gone with the Wind - Novel by Margaret Mitchell
  6. The Grapes of Wrath - Novel by John Steinbeck
  7. The Lord of the Rings - Novel by J.R.R. Tolkien
  8. The Maltese Falcon - Novel by Dashiell Hammet
  9. Master and Commander - Novel by Patrick O'Brian
  10. The Natural - Novel by Bernard Malamud
  11. A Room with a View - Novel by E.M. Forster
  12. The Searchers - Novel by Alan Lemay
  13. Shane - Novel by Jack Schaefer
  14. To Kill a Mockingbird - Novel by Harper Lee
  15. 2001: A Space Odyssey - Novel by Arthur C. Clarke
What are your favorite movies based on novels? Leave a comment and let me know.

Related posts:
The Best Old Movies for Families

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posted by Nick Senger at 5:34 AM

Comments on "The 15 Greatest Movies with Novels as Source Material"


Blogger Love2Learn Mom said ... (Wednesday, May 30, 2007 10:32:00 AM) : 

I would add Pride and Prejudice and the Scarlet Pimpernel.


Blogger Rohan said ... (Thursday, May 31, 2007 6:04:00 AM) : 

Although strictly speaking it is a short story, I would add "The Dead" by James Joyce adapted by John Huston


Blogger Nick Senger said ... (Thursday, May 31, 2007 6:26:00 AM) : 

love2learn mom: Which version of Pride and Prejudice? I love the A&E miniseries version best, but I also like the one with Keira Knightley.

rohan: I'm not familiar with The Dead--I'll have to look it up.


Blogger Love2Learn Mom said ... (Thursday, May 31, 2007 4:59:00 PM) : 

I was thinking primarily of A&E, but I too enjoyed the new one. I'm not sure if the newer one would qualify as one of my favorites strictly speaking - I thought some things made more sense in it than the A&E one (such as the more sympathetic interpretation of Mrs. Bennett - though I LOVE Mrs. Bennett in the A&E one) and I sort of liked that my visualizations of the book wouldn't be based solely on one movie (I didn't read the book until after I saw the A&E one).


Anonymous Faith said ... (Saturday, June 02, 2007 6:02:00 AM) : 

I did not care for the P&P movie. I thought it turned an ironic study of character into a run of the mill love story. But I did LOVE the A&E version.

If you are including mini-series, here are some I have enjoyed:

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (took some liberties, tho)
Bleak House by Dickens
A Town Like Alice based on The Legacy by Nevil Shute
To Serve Them All My Days by Delderfield
Ivanhoe by Scott (took lots of liberties!)
The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas (The latest version with Jim Caviezel; this takes very great liberties with the story and in fact I think it misses some of the points the novel was trying to make, BUT the book is so massive and complicated, I still think they did a good job retelling the story.)

Some movies:

Captains Courageous by Kipling
Little Women by Alcott (I like the version with Winona Rider)
Persuasion by Jane Austen (with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds)
Sense and Sensibility by Austen (Emma Thompson's masterpiece!)
Emma (I didn't care for Gwyneth whatsherface version. I liked the A&E better. Just truer to the characters)
David Copperfield by Dickens(the old 1930's version is the best!)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (the old one with Orson Welles)
Horatio Hornblower by C.S.Forrester (the old Gregory Peck version; I didn't care for the newer A&E version because I think it really dumbed Hornblower down. He's much cleverer in the novels!)
The Third Man by Greene
The Railway Children by Nesbit
The Robe (can't remember the author)

I could go on and on, but I'll keep myself from getting too longwinded! You have touched on a subject close to my heart!


Anonymous Faith said ... (Saturday, June 02, 2007 6:03:00 AM) : 

Oops sorry! The Count of Monte Cristo should go in the movie category, not the mini-series category!


Anonymous Faith said ... (Saturday, June 02, 2007 6:05:00 AM) : 

I am sorry, I am being compulsive here. I promise I'll stop after this! But the mini-series Middlmarch is a wonderful adaptation of George Eliot's great novel. It does miss some of the nuances but what adaptation doesn't? Anyway, I don't know how I forgot about it as it is one of my absolute favorites!


Blogger Nick Senger said ... (Saturday, June 02, 2007 7:02:00 AM) : 

Faith: I can't believe I missed mentioning The Third Man! It's one of my absolute favorites. I probably forget about it since I haven't read the book yet.

You've mentioned some great movies. I can see I'm going to have to watch some more A&E. Thanks for your comments, and don't worry about sounding compulsive. Most of the visitors here have at least a mild case of Manchegan Madness.


Blogger carrie said ... (Sunday, June 03, 2007 7:01:00 PM) : 

Most of my favorites have been named, but I don't think I saw the mini-series Wives and Daughters based on the novel by Elizabeth Gaskell.


Blogger Nick Senger said ... (Monday, June 04, 2007 5:31:00 AM) : 

Carrie: Thanks for the recommendation. I'll have to check it out.


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