13 Books That Were Better than the Movies.

Via Kate Bartolotta
on Jan 9, 2012
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And 13 movies that lived up to the books.

(Photo: Hipster Kitty)



It’s not cool to say the movie was as good as the book.

Everyone knows you are supposed to defer to the book–the original inspiration–as the better version. Often, that’s the case. But every once in awhile, a filmmaker gets it right. Most of the time though…


13 to read and skip the movie:


1. Breakfast of Champions ~ Kurt Vonnegut. It’s not “cool” to say so, but I’m not a huge Vonnegut fan. Breakfast of Champions is actually the only Vonnegut book I enjoyed. I had high hopes for the movie. High hopes that were immediately dashed to pieces.

2. Bonfire of the Vanities ~ Tom Wolfe. Tom Hanks was great in many movies. This is not one of them. Fantastic book, though.

3. The Virgin Suicides ~ Jeffrey Eugenides. Bittersweet, darkly beautiful book. Slightly artsy Lifetime-worthy movie version.

4. The Cider House Rules ~ John Irving. The film version was lovely and enjoyable and left out the most important parts of a brilliant book.

5. Huckleberry Finn ~ Mark Twain. Isn’t it time for a remake of this? Please?

6. Water for Elephants ~ Sara Gruen. Full disclosure: I saw the movie first with this one. I had no idea what I was getting into and the scenes of animal abuse and domestic abuse, well, let’s just say it’s a good thing I wear very little makeup. I was bawling. A friend talked me into reading the book afterwards. Still sad, but truly wonderful too.

7. Beloved ~ Toni Morrison. Read this one in college and liked it well enough. Not a favorite, but enjoyable. I decided to watch the movie when it came out. Didn’t make it all the way through.

8. Everything is Illuminated ~ Jonathan Safran Foer. I watched this a few nights ago. Loved the book. Didn’t love the movie. Sorry Elijah Wood, you will always be Frodo to me.

9. Cold Mountain ~ Charles Frazier. Amazing poetic love story set during the Civil War. Of course, an Australian female lead, British male lead, and Romanian countryside are the ideal ingredients to portray this, right? Wrong. The movie was lovely on it’s own merits, but nowhere near the caliber of the book.

10. Great Expectations ~ Charles Dickens. Gwyneth Paltrow, Ethan Hawke and Robert DeNiro in one of my faves? I wanted to love it. Failed.

11. Lord of the Flies ~ William Golding. Same as Huck Finn. A classic in need of a better film version. Can we skip that whole Hunger Games thing and just have someone make a great version of Lord of the Flies instead?

12. White Oleander ~ Janet Fitch. Am I alone on this one? I loved the book, hated the movie. Everyone else I’ve asked loved both.

13. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ~ Steig Larsson. Loved the Millenium Trilogy. The Swedish version didn’t do it for me. Haven’t seen the U.S. version yet. Fingers crossed that it’s better.

13 to read and watch:

(Photo: Veggiefrog)

1. Fantastic Mr. Fox ~ Roald Dahl. Roald Dahl writes children’s books for the quirky child that still exists in all book loving adults. Roald Dahl + Wes Anderson + stop motion + George Clooney + Meryl Streep (and the rest of the fantastic cast) = Genius! (I would have watched it even if I didn’t have kids.)

2. The Lord of the Rings (Trilogy) ~ J.R.R. Tolkien. I loved this series as a kid (and The Hobbit as well.) The films transport you to Middle-earth in the same magical way the books do.

3. The Princess Bride ~ William Goldman. Movie as good as the book? Inconcievable! That would take a miracle maker. Rob Reiner is that miracle maker. (I think I actually enjoy the movie slightly more than the book in this case…shh…don’t tell anyone!)

4. Fight Club ~ Chuck Palahniuk. We can’t talk about it. But if we were going to talk about it, both the book and the movie are brutal and brilliant.

5. The Lovely Bones ~ Alice Sebold. You wouldn’t think that the story of a young girl being murdered could have any beauty to it. Alice Sebold manages to do this in the novel, and Peter Jackson succeeds equally well in the film.

6. The Maltese Falcon ~ Dashiell Hammett. Classics on both fronts. Would recommend a read and watch to everyone who has missed it so far.

7. Chocolat ~ Joanne Harris. If a story could be flirtatious and charming, this is it in both versions. Johnny Depp doesn’t hurt either.

8. The Shawshank Redemption ~ Steven King. I think I’d like Morgan Freeman to narrate my life. Both classics. If you only saw the movie, do yourself a favor and read the book too.

9. Room with a View ~ E.M. Forster. E.M. Forster’s best novel. Merchant-Ivory’s best film. All around gorgeous to read or watch.

10. Out of Africa ~ Isak Dinesen. Meryl Streep. Robert Redford. Kenya. Love all of it. I think I need to re-read and re-watch this year.

11. Schindler’s List ~ Thomas Keneally. Both amazing and powerful; read and watch.

harry potter funny12. Harry Potter (all) ~ J. K. Rowling. Yes to all. Have yet to see the last part of Deathly Hallows, but am getting to enjoy the books all over again now that my seven year old has started reading them.

13. Gone with the Wind ~ Margaret Mitchell. “You should be kissed and often and by someone who knows how.” Whether you watch and read for Rhett and Scarlett, or you just like historical fiction, it’s epic however you look at it. (But come on, it’s totally for Rhett and Scarlett.)

What did I miss? What did I get wrong? Let me know in the comments!


About Kate Bartolotta

Kate Bartolotta is a wellness cheerleader, yogini storyteller, and self-care maven. She also writes for Huffington Post, Yoga International, Mantra Yoga+ Health, a beauty full mind, The Good Men Project, The Green Divas, The Body Project, Project Eve, Thought Catalog and Soulseeds. Kate's books are now available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. She is passionate about helping people fall in love with their lives. You can connect with Kate on Facebook and Instagram.


35 Responses to “13 Books That Were Better than the Movies.”

  1. Rosie says:

    You can include Memoirs of a Geisha. The setting and costumes in this movie were beautiful but a lot of the content of the book was left out. This is one of my favorite books. Trasports you to a different world and era.

  2. Thanks Rosie! I read but didn't get around to watching.

  3. Nancy says:

    I agree.

  4. Nancy says:

    Oh! I read The Lightening Thief with my kids before we saw the movie and my kids were VERY disappointed with the movie. It was not nearly faithful enough to the book. They were particularly annoyed that Annabeth, who is consistently described in the books as having long, curly, caramel-colored hair and stormy grey eyes was portrayed by a brunette with long, straight, dark hair. The movie also took many liberties with the plot.

  5. Unbearable Lightness of Being: I liked both but I think you need to take them as totally separate entities. Although, I saw the movie a long time ago (and was prob a little too young to have been watching & just thought it was sexy & exciting.)

    Thanks Nancy!

  6. allison says:

    The Help! Read and See 🙂

  7. Read & liked…haven't watched it yet. Thanks!

  8. Dana says:

    Eat Pray Love. The book was great. The movie was flat and lifeless compared to the book (the scenery was the star of the movie) and they left out all of my favorite parts of the book in the movie. Couldn't believe how truly disappointed I was with the movie. Almost wish I had never watched it.

  9. I started The Hunger Games after friends raved about it , but couldn't get into it & brought it back to the library. The trailer looked interesting enough that I want to give it another try.

  10. Mark says:

    I'm going to go way back and include "To Kill a Mockingbird", great movie, great book!!

  11. Is that kitty wearing panties on its head??

    Chocolat, definitely. And Gone With The Wind. But I kinda thought Tom Hanks was good in Bonfire…I really loved both the movie and the book.

    But you missed the pearler of them all: To Kill A Mockingbird…!!!! Both brilliant, matched perfectly, and unfolded expertly….

  12. omg i wrote my comment and then just noticed (like duh, right above mine) that you'd already said TKAM….good taste, man, good taste 🙂

  13. Sabol says:

    Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby is a fantastic book. Unfortunately, I can't say the same about the film adaptation.

  14. Suri says:

    Fight club , loved the movie but didnt like the book… I really liked the 90s version of Romeo and Juliet with Dicaprio and ClaireDanes. I usually loose interest in reading the book after watching the movie but not so much the other way around

  15. Yes…Nick Hornby is great. The film adaptations of About a Boy and High Fidelity were great. Didn't love Fever Pitch.

  16. Robin Turner says:

    Call me a Philistine, but I thought the movie of The Unbearable Lightness of Being was much better than the book, which I found rather pompous. And the book didn't have Juliette Binoche in it either.

  17. Rick Gilbert says:

    I know many people disagree, but I liked the film version of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." I thought it did the book justice, and Depp does a mean Hunter S Thompson.

  18. I liked both! Still haven't seen Rum Diaries, but that looks promising too.

  19. The American…didn't know about the British one.

  20. mccubma says:

    I almost always say book over movie, but this is one exception. One Day. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1563738/ The book was really not great but I enjoyed the movie.

  21. Alli says:

    I agree. Watching the movie actually left me pissed off that they could make such a mess of it.

  22. I wanted to see that one…didn't know it was a book first!

  23. john says:

    Catch-22. Brilliant book, disastrous film.

  24. […] connected me with), in history (Winston Churchill, FDR), through fiction (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Huck Finn, Tintin), baseball (Dave Winfield, Lou Gehrig), Buddhism (Trungpa), through basketball (Magic), […]

  25. narj says:

    "Lord of the Flies ~ William Golding. Same as Huck Finn. A classic in need of a better film version. Can we skip that whole Hunger Games thing and just have someone make a great version of Lord of the Flies instead?"

    I agree. We need a new version of this classic novel. And there's really no need to align the film with the current YA trend. It's a classic book, not a YA book.

  26. judy says:

    You lost me at "not a huge Vonnegut fan." I will now question the wisdom of anything else you have to say. However, I would also like to see a good remake of Lord of the Flies! And, it's probably healthy to question the wisdom of everything everyone says.

  27. Kbyoung says:

    The British Fever Pitch with Colin Firth was good.

  28. ajhitchcock says:

    How about the rare ones where the movie is actually better than the book? Into the Wild by: Jon Krakauer. The movie was beautiful, and the soundtrack by Eddie Vedder was over the top. The book I found unsettling.

  29. KristinSLuce says:

    The Time Traveler's Wife—best book ever, movie was pretty close to the worst ever.
    Life of Pi—best book ever and also one of the best movies ever.

  30. Gaurav says:

    The inheritance cycle by Christopher Paolini! The books are so so awesome and the movie (Eragon) sucks! Also Dan Brown books are awesome and movies bad! For both, The godfather by Mario Puzo- awesome movie and awesome book!

  31. inthedarkiwrite says:

    Misery by Stephen King. I loved the book but the suspense, anticipation and thrill of the book was lost in the movie. Although I love Kathy Bates the movie was such a let down for me.

  32. Shani says:

    Book-Jurassic Park, even with the amazing effects and dinosaurs, I couldnt get over the inaccuracies and changes from the book.
    Movie-The Silence of the Lambs, the chemistry between the two main actors lent so much more to the movie than I encountered in the book.

  33. Amanda says:

    You missed a big one. Many people even go as far to say the movie was better than the book…… Ordinary People. I’m one of those people.