There are a lot of good movies out there. There are even more good books out there (take my word for it, I’ve asked around). But when it comes to movies based on books, that’s where the area gets a little murky. On one hand you get Into The Wild which wasn’t too bad at all. And then on the other, you get an inexplicable shit-fest that is Eragon. Not going to lie, I kinda loved the books as a kid, but that movie just ripped that to shreds.
And then, there’s another kind of movie. The one that makes you go: “Hey, what an original story made just for film. And wait, it’s based on a book?!”
That’s the type we’re talking about today.
1. Die Hard
Regarded by many as the ultimate action film, Die Hard was actually based on the book, Nothing Lasts Forever, which itself was a sequel to the book (and movie) The Detective. Frank Sinatra starred in the lead role of the original movie, but by the time the script for the ‘sequel’ had been written, he was already in his 70s. Having been refused by a host of action stars at the time, the desperate studio revamped the script and gambled on a then not-really-known-for-his-badass-bald-headed-gun-totting Bruce Willis. We all know what happened next. Yippee Ki Yay, m*therf*cker.
2. Forrest Gump
If you’ve heard of Tom Hanks, you’ve heard of Forrest Gump. But not many people know that the movie was based on a book by the same name. And that’s mainly because the author, Winston Groom, didn’t really receive as much credit and monetary compensation as he should’ve. How much do you say? Well, he was supposed to receive 3% of the film’s net profit. The studio used some accounting wizardry, detailed here, to maintain that the Oscar-winning blockbuster lost money, so he didn’t receive a dime. Tom Hanks meanwhile pocketed a cool $40 million. Also, there were a few differences between the book and the movie, mainly with Forrest being a lot cleaner (read: less sex), and with less profanity. In both versions, however, Bubba knew everything there was to know about the shrimp business.
3. Blade Runner
If you asked Harrison Ford what’s the greatest Sci-Fi movie he’s ever acted in, his answer wouldn’t be any of the Star Wars movies, it’d be Blade Runner. No, not really, it wouldn’t. Honestly, how would I know? But, cult hit that’s getting a much anticipated sequel (still talking about Blade Runner) has long been held as one of the best science fiction movies of all time. And that’s not Harrison talking. The movie though was based on the book Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep. No Blade Runners in the book, however. They were just plain old bounty hunters.
4. Mrs. Doubtfire
For a lot of us as kids, Mrs. Doubtfire was our first experience of the comic genius that was Robin Williams. Remade first as the Tamil Avvai Shanmughi and then the memorable Chachi 420, Mrs. Doubtfire remains a fan favourite. The movie itself however was based on and English book, Madame Doubtfire. Kind of a classy ring to it.
Unlike most (probably) of the movies on this list, Jaws as a book was a fairly big hit. The hardback version stayed on the best-sellers list for almost 44 weeks. In fact, it just took a little over a year for it to go from book (1974) to movie (1975). While there a few changes to the plot, the overall story of the original and its film adaption are largely the same. Except for the cover and the poster. I’m sorry, but that ‘shark’ looks more like a Boeing.
Thank God they changed that.
Yes, yes, we know what you’re thinking. Shrek’s based on almost every fairy tale ever written, we know that. True, but did you know it was based on an original book? We’re guessing you probably didn’t because you’re six movies down a 14-movie list of films based on books and you’re still with us. The original book, stylised SHREK!, was a 1990 book that managed to get Steven Spielberg interested. Apparently, Nicolas Cage was offered the role but he refused because he didn’t want to look like an ogre. (Un)Fortunately, the internet heard him.
7. He’s Just Not That Into You
There are people who swear by this movie and claim that it really helped change their lives. And that’s probably because the movie was based on an actual self-help book by the same name. The book itself was based on a single line from the TV show, Sex And The City. Which just goes to show… something.
8. Requiem For A Dream
The story of the addiction and downward spiral of 4 people, the movie was based on a book by the same name. While the movie is relatively new (2000 release), the book was first printed in 1978. The vast majority of the story remains the same though.
9. The Prestige
The 2006 movie is widely regarded as a well-made mystery thriller or, as most people like to put it, a “brilliant mind-fuck”. Honestly though, the book seems to have a little bit extra. The diary narration device is part of the book as well, however, the narrators are the present-day descendants of Ruper Angier and Anthony Borden. And that’s just the beginning. No, we won’t spoil it for you.
10. Mean Girls
If you’re a millennial, you’ve probably watched Mean Girls at least once in your life (it’s okay to admit it). The high-school movie about a girl who’s ‘different’, trying to keep up with the popular girls and finally figuring out who she really is, is a cliche that’s been done to death, but it’s still popular. Just like He’s Just Not That Into You, the movie is based on a self-help book titled Queen Bees & Wannabes.
11. 1947 Earth
India’s entry to the 1999 Academy Awards, 1947 Earth was based on the book, Cracking India, by Bapsi Sidhwa.
A tale of betrayal, love and family, the 1983 film, Masoom is based on Erich Segal’s Man, Woman And Child. Not much of the story, with just the setting shifting from France to Nainital.
13. Minority Report
Minority Report is based on a book of the same name by author Philip K. Dick. You might remember him from point number 3, the author of the book Blade Runner was based on. The initial setting of the story is similar to the movie, but the movie’s climax is far darker.
14. Total Recall
Yeah, we’re talking about the 1990 movie and not the one where they decided Colin Farrell would be appropriate replacement for Arnold Schwarzenegger. Another movie based on the work of Philip K. Dick, the original book was called We Can Remember It For You Wholesale. The book however, has an ending that I didn’t expect. Go on, have a look at the plot.