Favorite Book-to-Movie Adaptations

November 20, 2013 2013, discussion post, films, K., Uncategorized 65

books into movies (1)


Hello friends and welcome to our November Favorites Feature! The film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ Catching Fire is opening this week,  so we thought it would be interesting for this month’s topic to be our favorite book-into-movie adaptations. We are readers and when we’re told our books are going to be made into film, there is always a mix of excitement, anticipation, and dread. But which have impressed you, surpassed your expectations? Which have not? This is our list. Enjoy!
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Books to movies

K.’s Top Books-into-Movies

Boy, did this topic shame me or what! Reading the other ladies’ picks, I realized with terrible embarrassment that I have not read-and-watched-book-and-film nearly as much as I should have. And I call myself a book and film fanatic! My pool was shallow indeed.

Nevertheless, I do have a list. For myself, not keeping in complete fashion with a book does not mean a bad adaptation. It is impossible to translate entirely a written story into a live action narrative. It is, simply, the spirit…or essence or idea or goal of the story that must be preserved. The bones, not necessarily the flesh. The soul, not the body. And I feel these films did a commendable job in reaching my obviously pretentious standards.

The Secret Garden — Wendy and I have mentioned this book and film quite a few times now. For good reason. This movie most often tops my favorite films list. And it does so here. This film, directed by Agnieszka Holland, is pure magic. The story, the characters, the music, the cinematography, the sound, the art direction, it all combines to tell a quiet but painful, beautiful and hopeful story of a lonely girl needing to heal, grow and find a place to belong. Soft and perfect.

Harry Potter — All of them but most especially happy with the last three. Yes, I loved these films. Harry Potter is my childhood so to even suggest they be made into film, you are already walking on a very thin line with me. But considering how butchered other books have been by their movie counterparts, this franchise is a masterpiece in comparison. But they are legitimately good. John Williams’ brilliant score helped a great deal in conjuring (heeey) an atmosphere of childhood wonder and delight. And then it gets really dark.

Pride and Prejudice — One of the best. It infuses such substance and zeal into Jane Austen’s classic novel. It’s lush and elegant. Everything in it is exquisite. I’m not even exaggerating.

The Outsiders — Nostalgia. When I watched this movie very closely after reading the book, I thought the movie had come to life.

Movies I loved but afraid to read the book in case it isn’t as good:

Trainspotting — I shouldn’t have enjoyed this film as much as I did at the age I saw it in. Hell of a ride. Again, another of my favorites. But anything Boyle does, I love.

Never Let Me Go — I think I held my breath the entire time I was watching this.

Movie adaptations I’m looking forward to:

Catching Fire — Like I said before, considering how bad some books have been translated into film, I think the studio made the right decisions when producing the Hunger Games. I believe they captured just the right nuances that truly represent what Collins was trying to achieve with her series.

The Book Thief — A great opportunity to let someone else figure stuff out and explain them to me.

If I Stay and Jellicoe Road — We shall see.


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Tonya’s Top Books-into-Movies

To be honest, it would be much easier for me to list my least favorite book to movie adaptations than my favorites. Though I loved the book, I wasn’t a fan of the Hunger Games adaptation – from casting to pace, it just rang false for me. But, I’m one of those purists who require 100% authenticity–or at least an understanding as to why things needed to be changed– in order to be happy with a bookish film.


Anne mini-series (1985) – okay, so it’s not exactly a movie, but close enough. It’s pretty much a page by page reproduction of Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea. Megan Follows is Anne, And Glibert Blythe is exactly as swoony on screen as in the book. (And we won’t speak of the abomination that is the 3rd movie).

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – while I’m not sure it’s the most faithful of the franchise, I do think it was one of the better films. The dark tone and the deeper look into the characters (Draco especially), make this a favorite of mine.

Lord of the Rings series – Peter Jackson did a phenomenal job bringing one of my favorite childhood stories to life on the screen. The scope of them still takes my breath away, ten years later. (Now if only he’d been able to maintain that brilliance in The Hobbit...)

Atonement – sexy, sad, and visually stunning, this is one of the only movies I prefer over the book, perhaps for the cinematography alone. The book itself was a little heavy and tragic for my tastes, but I couldn’t tear my eyes from the film. (James McAvoy + library sex is all I am saying.)

There are a few upcoming book to screen adaptations I’m (cautiously) looking forward to:
If I Stay – oh god oh god please be as good as I’m hoping you will be. Don’t make me write an angry song about you, movie.


Outlander series on Starz – they have been threatening Outlander fans with a movie for years, and I’ve been dreading it. But this TV series a la Game of Thrones actually looks like it might be good–and seems to have done the impossible; casting a worthy Jamie Fraser.

On the Jellicoe Road – the mere mention of a film version of one of my favorite books of all time gives me chills and hives, but the fact that Marchetta has penned the script and has such a hand in the production is giving me hope.

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kate movie posters
Kate’s Top Books-into-Movies


The Hunger Games– I thought they did a really good job with the first movie.  I didn’t love all of the casting, but the supporting cast, like Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, and Stanley Tucci was really excellent, and child actors seem to be getting better and better.


The best part of the experience of seeing the movie in theater was that the audience at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood was really into it (apparently a lot of people had not read the book), and when the part came where we saw Peeta’s face in his fancy camo makeup, everyone started guffawing because it was so much better than it should have been, and we were all a bit on edge.  It was such a lovely moment of crowd kinship.

Future movie adaptations:

I’m so skeptical because I’ve been burned too many times in the past.  That said, Child 44, a really good serial killer story set in Russia, was, I believe, originally written as a screenplay.  Tom Rob Smith couldn’t sell it in that medium, so he turned it into a novel, and now that the movie is being made, it has the best possible cast and creative team attached.  So that’s exciting.

They’re in the process of adapting one of my all-time favorite children’s books, The Little Prince, and I have my fingers crossed that they will do the tiny, sweet story justice.  They certainly have an amazing cast assembled, and I tend to prefer animated adaptations.  My sister and I each have a tattoo of a quote from the book on our left shoulder, and I love it enough that I may not see the movie even if it isamazing, because it’s so perfect to me in the original form.

Blade Runner, 1982 – This is, for my money, the best movie adaptation from a novel ever.  Ridley Scott in his prime!  Directing Harrison Ford in his prime (Blade Runner was released between Raiders and Jedi)!  And the supporting cast!  And it contains the best death scene from any movie ever in Rutger Hauer’s “Tears in Rain” speech.  This is one of my favorite movies of all time, and my husband and I bonded over it on our first date.

A huge part of why I think the adaptation is so perfect is that the filmmakers were not afraid to take certain liberties with the source material (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick, which I have read maybe 20 times since I first encountered it in the sixth grade).  They removed the weird religion that had taken over the world, and the main character’s home life with his wife, and basically anything that didn’t fit into a tight, suspenseful action movie.  I still prefer the book, because I like books better that films, but what a gorgeous movie.

The Last Unicorn, 1982 – I watched this movie every single day when I was a kid.  The voice cast is perfect (Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow, Alan Arkin, Angela Lansbury, Christopher Lee…), and it is a really lovingly-done adaptation of a truly great Fantasy classic.  When I read the book as an older child, I was able to appreciate the plot points that had been left out of the movie, but they don’t feel extraneous in the novel.  The movie and the book are perfect in their own rights.

BTW, nerd alert-wise, I have the theme song, performed by America, on my ipod, and I listen to it almost every day.  And my little sister has a tattoo (we get a lot of tattoos, Maggie and I) of one of the scenes from the book on her arm.

The Princess Bride, 1987 – This one is almost unfair, because the novel was written by one of the greatest screenwriters of all time, William Goldman, who adapted his own work for the movie.  I give this book as a gift a lot.  It’s written from the perspective of a man who is reading a novel, The Princess Bride by S. Morganstern, to his child.  The narrator’s father had read the book to him when he was young, and it’s presented as an abridged version of a classic (the original book never existed).  Basically, as the father is reading to his child, he realizes that his father had skipped all the boring political and fluffy bits from the original when he read it, and this narrator is doing the same… up until the end, where he realizes that his father has always clipped off the true ending.


And the movie clips the ending, too, guys.  The get the real ending you have to read the book.  It’s so, so perfect, but again, unfair to judge other adaptations against, because of who the author was.

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books to film
Wendy’s Top Books-into-Movies


My apologies up front for the length of my post. I usually try to keep my pieces for our monthly discussion topics fairly short, but in this case I couldn’t stop myself. I genuinely love and feel strongly about every one of these picks, and since I used to work in movies, book-to-film adaptations are something I have particularly passionate feelings about.

I believe that the best adaptations are the ones that don’t follow the book too faithfully. My favorites tend to be the ones that capture the spirit and themes of their source material, but breathe new life into them in order to suit the new medium. So here are the films that I think do that really well.

Fave adaptions for or of MG/YA: 

  • Mean Girls “Her hair! It’s full of secrets!” This hilariously quotable movie is based on Queen Bees and Wannabes, which is actually a non-fiction book. I wish Tina Fey did more material like this.
  • The Secret Garden (1993) Kate Maberly has perfect diction. And the film and soundtrack are so lovely, filled with the promise of rebirth, both physical and spiritual.
  • Return to Oz Still one of the scariest films I have ever seen, and better than the original Wizard, in my opinion. “Dorothy Gaaaayyylle…” *shudder*
  • Peter Pan (2003) My favorite Pan. The “I do believe in fairies!” scene makes me thrill very time, and it still makes me wistful over this upsetting idea of having to grow up.
  • Mary Poppins This is so very different from the books, but I love it just the same. DANCING PENGUINS. I wish they’d kept the gingerbread stars scene from the books, though, it’s one of my favorites.
  • The Witches Anjelica Huston is superb as the Grand High Witch, and Bruno as mouse is adorable.
  • Anne of Green Gables This series changes some things, but it’s faithful to Anne’s character, which is most important. And seeing PEI onscreen is breathtaking! Avonlea was great, too.
  • The Velveteen Rabbit This version, with Meryl Streep narration, David Jorgensen illustrations, and George Winston music, is absolutely perfect. I give this DVD a lot as Christmas or Easter gifts.
  • The Nutcracker I first saw this version last year because of Claire LeGrand. I love many Nutcracker adaptations, but this one, conceived with Maurice Sendak, is particularly dark and surreal and romantic.
  • The Parent Trap I wanted so badly to be a twin when I was little, and I love Hayley Mills. That ranch house in Carmel and the lovely mother were incredibly appealing, too. One of the best films to come out of those sunshiny Disney days.
  • Clueless The might be the most brilliant adaptation ever, based on Jane Austen’s Emma. “I believe that was your designer impostor perfume.” It’s the ultimate movie to watch with girlfriends.

Honorable mentions: Sleeping BeautyPonyoBridge to TerabithiaThe Secret of Nimh

Favorite Adult Fiction adaptations: Sense and Sensibility (1995), Emma (1996), Rebecca (1940), To Kill a Mockingbird, Gone With the Wind, Maurice, The Birds, The Shining, Of Mice and Men (1992), Children of MenMy Fair Lady (1964), The Remains of the DayNever Let Me Go, Jane Eyre (2006)

Adaptations I think are better than the books: How to Train Your Dragon, The Princess Bride, The Silence of the Lambs, The Last of the Mohicans, The Hunt for Red October, Babe, Pollyanna, A Room with a View


Other bookish films I loveShadowlands (that scene when young Douglas approaches the wardrobe in CS Lewis’ home is lovely–you know exactly what it would feel like to feel such hope against hope that Narnia is real), Young Sherlock Holmes (this film imagines Holmes and Watson as young schoolboys and is SO good. Dark, mysterious, and sad, with great mystery, romance, and adventure.)


So those are some of my faves! I have to admit, I liked the first Hunger Games movie but didn’t love it. The most upsetting thing was cutting out the brief, poignant scene with the gift from Rue’s district. You could distill the entire meaning of this series down into that beautiful single moment–it was such a pivotal point for Katniss, because I think it’s when she first begins to look upon her survival in the Games differently. Excluding it was to miss out on infusing the film with much-needed emotion, depth, and greater purpose.

I am hopeful that the new director of Catching Fire and Mockingjay will better explore the themes and characters we know so well, though. I thought his adaptation of I Am Legend was excellent, and he seems capable of giving the series the tension and gravity and drive that it needs.

Other upcoming bookish films I’m especially excited about: Saving Mr. Banks! I love Mary Poppins and Emma Thompson, so I have my fingers crossed, though I am probably as equally afraid it will make me dislike P.L. Travers. And I’m curious about Vampire Academy, even if I don’t have high hopes for it. Just don’t butcher Rose’s character, that’s all I ask.


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There you have it. A long but very thorough list of books-into-movies we’ve loved and would recommend, as well as movies we are all looking forward to. Now, what’s on your list?


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65 Responses to “Favorite Book-to-Movie Adaptations”

  1. Jasprit

    There was I thinking that I had seen a lot of book to movie adaptations, but after reading your post I haven’t seen that many at all. I have to agree that the Harry Potter movies were incredibly done, I could watch them over and over. I also love Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley, when my sister was studying this book for college she had to watch some of the adaptations and of course I bought her this copy and used to sit there watching it with her every single time. I think the thing with me is, I always end up watching the film first and then can never get back to the books, I did this with the Lord of the Rings films and Percy Jackson. However there are still so many films that I need to watch; The Hunger Games and The Hobbit. And of course I’m extremely looking forward to If I Stay, have you seen the movie stills so far? *sigh*. And Wendy “I do believe in fairies I do I do!” is my favourite line ever, I’m known for shouting it out at random times, much to the annoyance of my sister! Another great post ladies!
    Jasprit recently posted…Bookish Survey: Cast a Harry Potter Spell: Part one.

  2. Nikki

    Wow there are so many good ones listed here! I’m super excited to see that The Witches, Atonement and Blade Runner made it to your lists :) I also really appreciated the Anne of Green Gables adaptation. I thought it was well done. I’m very excited for Catching Fire since it was my favorite of the Hunger Games books. Being that Hunger Games was done so well as far as an adaptation, I’m hoping for the same with Catching Fire. Another that I would like to add to this list is the new Ender’s Game. This is by far one of my favorite series of all time. Although the movie doesn’t have as many details (they never can) it stayed very true to Ender’s life and what he goes given that the book is entirely from his internal monologue. Wendy, I totally agree with you. Return to Oz still scares the crap out of me!

  3. Lovisa

    I love Atonement (the film), and I have the book standing on my book-shelf, but I’m scared I will be disappointed, so I’m constantly putting off reading it…
    I also really like the movie adaptation of The Hunger Games even if I wish they had casted someone else as Peeta. Jennifer Lawrence is such a strong actress, and next to her Josh Hutchinson just feels very pale.

  4. Tanja

    Uh I haven’t seen plenty of these. Anyhow K. I think you should read Never Let Me Go, even though movie is great the book is great too. Also I hope you’ll enjoy Catching Fire! It was amazing to me. I’m not sure I’ll ever be brave enough to watch Jellicoe Road. I simply love the book so much. These older movies on your list are the ones I haven’t seen, sadly. Great post ladies :)
    Tanja recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (#71)

  5. Lisa Farhana

    Whoa, I probably haven’t seen half the movies mentioned in this post. /mentally jots down all movie titles

    I recently saw Catching Fire and I LOVED it. It is so much better than the first movie. Francis Lawrence did a great job with it. Seeing what he did with Catching Fire, I’m eager (and scared, too) to see how he’ll fare with Mockingjay.

    I’m excited to see that you ladies are looking forward to Jellicoe Road too! It’s one of my favourite reads this year, and I can’t wait to see it on screen. Have any of you seen the movie Looking for Alibrandi? It’s an adaptation from Marchetta’s novel too, and I think it’s pretty good.

    Other movies I’m looking forward to: Vampire Academy, The Book Thief, Divergent, and If I Stay (!!!).

    Great post!
    Lisa Farhana recently posted…steps to moving on: acceptance.

  6. Molly McB

    Great post ladies! A little late in saying I love the new format.

    A big Amen, Tonya! Loved all of them, but Atonement was insanely beautiful.

    K, every time that version of P & P is on the tv, my husband knows he has lost whatever battle we have waged, because I am immediately sucked in. I actually think I like that version better than the book.

    Wendy, you may know, but Anne of GG was a serious addiction I had in my youth. I have to wonder what Megan Follows could accomplish today with a big budget and some insane cinematography. K, you seriously haven’t read Anne of GG? **slaps face** Shocked and dismayed!!

  7. Alexandra

    I loved the book, The Secret Garden, when I read it, but I never knew it was a movie. I will probably watch that soon. I’m also looking forward to seeing Catching Fire and the Outlander series.

  8. Sunny

    This is such a fantastic post, ladies! I was nodding my head the entire time. We have many similar ones like Anne (I always considered them movies!), Pride and Prejudice (HELLO, MR. DARCY), and the Princess Bride. I really liked Catching Fire, I thought it to be way better than the first movie and they included word for word quotes in there as well. Very excited for If I Stay and The Book Thief too…hopefully I’ll be able to read Jellicoe Road before it comes out. Oh! And I can’t wait for Time Between Us to come out :) Love this post! Movies and books are my things.
    Sunny recently posted…Review: A LONG, LONG SLEEP by Anna Sheehan

  9. Kelly @ Diva Booknerd

    I’m looking forward to TFioS. Quite often books and their movie counterparts just don’t match up for me, I usually love one and loathe the other. Apart from The Host, I hated the book and movie. Under The Dome was one where the book felt all over the place for me and I didn’t really enjoy it, but loved the mini series.
    Kelly @ Diva Booknerd recently posted…Stacking The Shelves #003

  10. Lucy @ The Reading Date

    You all have fabulous taste in movies. I LOVED Catching Fire- hope you are pleased with it as well.

    You know what’s so weird is that The Secret Garden was my favorite book as a child but I’ve never seen the movie. Time to remedy that!

    Some of my faves from your list are: The Outsiders, Trainspotting, Mean Girls, Clueless, Peter Pan and Blade Runner. The Book Thief was amazing too.

    None of you mentioned looking forward to Vampire Academy…I hope it doesn’t suck, but you know I’ll still go see it. The trailer got a very lukewarm reception before CF. And I’m with you hoping that If I Stay delivers.
    Lucy @ The Reading Date recently posted…The Movie Date: Catching Fire

  11. Ariel Tam

    Those are some awesome book to movie adaptions! Harry Potter is one of my all time favorites as well. I loved the Outsiders, Mean Girls, and the Hunger Games too. I’m super excited to see Catching Fire and The Book Theif, both of them look amazing!

  12. Paola Benavides

    I love Pride and Prejudice! I’ll watch any adaptation. I also really love The Princess Bride. It’s my favorite movie of all time.

    • K.

      Oookay I’m going to get stoned for saying this but here it is — I may have to watch the Princess Bride again (I saw it once and I was very young) because I just do not have the same undying devotion as everyone else seems to have. *DUCKS*

  13. Kate (@imlostinabook)

    So many of the ones included above are my favourites, too! I especially loved Atonement and The Hunger Games. I also really loved Life of Pi – it’s arguably my favourite novel, and I thought the way they adapted it was beautiful.

    • K.

      I haven’t read Life of Pi but I did see the movie. I thought it was visually stunning — the story itself though, not quite as spectacular. The premise is very intense for sure but it just lacked…something. But maybe I’ll need to read the book to understand more.

  14. Stephanie Moore

    I agree with so many of these but I’d have to say my favorite adaptions are Hunger Games and the Twilight Saga and some that I’m DYING to see are Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars :)

  15. Julie@my5monkeys

    Yes i agree with so many of those adaptations..my faves so far : Harry Potter , Hunger Games, Pride and Prejudice & Anne of Green Gables. I have high hopes for OUtlander but I hope that they don’t ruin Jaime. But the same people behind BSG are doing it and they did an excellent job with that reduex. I loved The secret Garden too :) I liked the Wuthering Heights with Fassbender .
    Julie@my5monkeys recently posted…The Wicked Game & Maybe One day Book Reviews

  16. Kristi

    I agree with basically all of these. However, I’m super excited about If I Stay, but I’m so afraid of being let down. Also, Catching Fire. Tonight. I’m actually leaving to go see it in… oh… I should have left ten minutes ago. Anyway, you ladies are lovely, because I agree with all of this. Good books turned into movies are always the best.
    XO, Kristi

  17. Karen

    I rarely like the adaptations but I LOVE The Secret Garden. It makes me sad that it’s not more popular with children.

    If I really, truly love a book I won’t see the movie. I can never unsee it. Even if it’s good – all my interpretations are wiped away and I only see the actors. I won’t see THG for that reason. The actors seem too old for what I had imagined and front he few clips I’ve seen it’s lacking that rawness and horror that the books had for me.

    I’ve enjoyed quite a few of the movies you mentioned (The Princess Bride, Clueless) bt I haven’t’ read the book so I can’t say if they were a good adaptation.

  18. Savannah

    I love your new site! It looks so snazzy! One of my fave book to movie is Great Expectations. I loved the new modern version of it with Ethan Hawke. Totally made me cry. I also love Stardust and City of Ember. Both fantasy movies that I can watch over and over again. Lets see…I also like Willy Wonka and Rose Red. Love both of those movies. There are probably many more I can name, but these are just a few of my favorite.
    Savannah recently posted…Review: ICONS

  19. Jaz

    That whole list! I haven’t read Trainspotting but I loved the movie. I also haven’t read The Princess Bride but I love the movie. I LOVE that version of The Secret Garden (only one I’ve seen actually, but multiple times).

    HP is a given and I just saw Catching Fire (literally just got home from it) and it was AMAZING. One of the best book series to film adaptions ever – I think second only to Harry Potter. CF was better than THG!

    I adore Clueless, but I have to say I hated the book Emma. We studied Emma and Clueless in high school, also Frankenstein vs Blade Runner.

    So excited for If I Stay and On the Jellicoe Road! Not to mention Vampire Academy, Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars – I have high expectations for them both.

    I reckon She’s the Man is a cute adaptation of Twelfth Night. I also quite enjoyed The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe! I haven’t read the other CoN stories nor seen the other movies but I would love to see Voyage of the Dawn Treader one day because Ben Barnes omg :D

    I’ll be honest, I have only seen the first LotR film and haven’t read any of the books. I also need to finish reading The Book Thief so I can watch the movie.
    Jaz recently posted…Mini-Review: Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan

    • Wendy Darling

      Ugh, you are emailing us from the future! You Aussies and your jump on everything–These Broken Stars release and now the Catching Fire movie, too. :P I’ve been seeing very positive reactions on Twitter from down under, so I am very hopeful.

      Yay for more Secret Garden love…and Clueless! So funny, Emma’s one of my favorite Austens, hah. Easier to take when it’s Cher, I guess. I never saw She’s the Man though, somehow most of the redos from around that time passed me by.

      I’m curious about If I Stay, too–and I think Divergent could be fun. It’s so hard to tell until you actually see the movies, but the trailer was well done.

      I worked on the first Narnia film–I wish they had been better, but I thought they were still enjoyable. My friend (somewhere in the comments I talk about a friend who got drunk during P&P and got very annoyed with it, this is the same friend I screened this movie with) also got tipsy during CoN and was angry at this one, too, muttering pointedly about it raping his childhood. Um…I swear he’s not an alcoholic nor an angry person, hah.

      Secret: I can’t really get on board with the LOTR films. I’ve seen them all (well, at least the first three original films) and I just don’t feel anything for them. It doesn’t help that I worked a pretty big press screening for ROTK and got up a full half hour to stand at the door before the film ended because I misjudged when it would stop. And it just would NOT STOP, Jaz, I swear it had like six false endings.

  20. Jaz

    That whole list film adaptions ever – I think second only to Harry Potter. CF was better than THG!

    I adore Clueless, but I have to say I hated the book Emma. We studied Emma and Clueless in high school, also Frankenstein vs Blade Runner.

    So excited for If I Stay and On the Jellicoe Road! Not to mention Vampire Academy, Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars – I have high expectations for them both.

    I reckon She’s the Man is a cute adaptation of Twelfth Night. I also quite enjoyed The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe! I haven’t read the other CoN stories nor seen the other movies but I would love to see Voyage of the Dawn Treader one day because Ben Barnes omg :D

    I’ll be honest, I have only seen the first LotR film and haven’t read any of the books. I also need to finish reading The Book Thief so I can watch the movie.

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh, PS–are you the only Aussie on earth who hasn’t read The Book Thief? Can’t they revoke your citizenship for that? I tease K about not reading Anne of Green Gables all the time!

  21. Ann

    Great list! I totally agree with the Harry Potter series and Lord of the Rings. Though, I thought The Half-Blood Prince was one of the weaker adaptions. There was just so much that was not covered.

    • K

      Oh, believe me I know but unfortunately that’s just something we can’t ever avoid…maybe unless they made each book into two films.

  22. Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

    YES YES YES!!! to: The Harry Potter films, The Secret Garden (I watch it at least once a year), the Lord of the Rings films, Mary Poppins, the first Anne of Green Gables miniseries, and The Princess Bride. And several others, too.

    But where are:
    1. A Child’s Christmas in Wales (I can’t say enough good things about this one!)
    2. A Little Princess (not the movie, the TV version produced by LWT, with Amelia Shankley)
    3. The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends, charming TV adaptations of Beatrix Potter’s tales, done by TVC London and the BBC

    They’re all a bit obscure, but really very well done. (Even if Amelia Shankley is a little too old to play Sara Crewe at the start of the movie.)
    Lark @ The Bookwyrm’s Hoard recently posted…GUEST POST, REVIEW, and GIVEAWAY: Murderous Matrimony, by Joyce and Jim Lavene

    • Wendy Darling

      I watch Secret Garden every spring, too! It invigorates me.

      1. I need to watch this, have always meant to! I have friends in the UK who have told me I’d love it.
      2. When you first mentioned this, I was thinking “Oh, but that wasn’t a favorite of mine,” but then I saw it wasn’t the film you were talking about. I have never seen that version, but clearly I need to. I’ve bookmarked it so I remember.
      3. Again, another series I’ve heard was charming but have never gotten around to.

      Thanks so much for these recommendations! One of my favorite things about these posts is hearing what everyone else loves and adding to my pile.

      And now I’ve realized I’ve forgotten another favorite: The Velveteen Rabbit! I am shamelessly editing my post right this minute.

    • K

      I’m so glad The Secret Garden has so many admirers. It truly is just a gem.

      I never saw the version of The Little Princess you’re talking about but I do have the movie and I really love it, too. The little girl inside me is obsessed with it, ever since I saw it.

      And YES to The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends. I LOOOOOOVE that show! It is just so charming and I don’t know, there’s just something about it. I love the live action in the beginning (Beatrix Potter’s house, her letters, her tea!) and then the lovely animation. Also, I love the theme song, I actually scoured the net for it and have it in my ipod :)

  23. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    I used to watch The secret garden all the time with my sister. It has been such a long time since I’ve seen it, might be fun to try it again and see how I feel about it now. Despite the fact that the HP aren’t as good as the books, I still love the movies. They butchered part 6, but the last 2 movies were great! I love the whole vibe and the casting. It’s one of my favorite worlds coming alive on the screen. And oh boy, I can’t wait for Catching fire and I’m looking forward to The book thief (but I’m also scared. Like you know, one of my favorite books)
    You know, I can’t get through the LOTR books, but I ADORE the movies. I’ve seen them a couple of times now, but every time I see it mentioned I feel like watching them all over again. The outlander series sounds very interesting. I liked the first couple of books and I’m thinking about re-reading them so I can continue.
    I definitely agree, I liked The Hunger Games a lot. I think I even liked the movie better than the book, because it felt more action-paced. Woody & Stanley are my favorite casting members. I love The princess bride and I’m ashamed that I still haven’t read the book.. Will be changing that soon!
    Wow.. I didn’t know Mean girls was based on a book! It’s really a guilty pleasure to watch this one, haha. The witches is great, I always found it a bit creepy when I was younger. The nutcracker is a fantastic tale and haha, The parent trap is a movie I’ve watched a lot with my sister too.
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Review 216. Aimee Carter – Pawn.

    • Wendy Darling

      I’m curious about The Book Thief as a movie, too–the reviews haven’t been great, but I’m still interested in seeing how they adapt the story.

      I don’t feel guilty about watching Mean Girls at all. :D So happy to hear you love so many of the same movies we do, Mel!

    • K

      I don’t know if I’ll be reading LOTR. I want to since there would be so much more in it than in the films but Peter Jackson has done such a powerfully epic job that I think I’m satisfied, haha!

      I really enjoyed the Outlander series…what I’ve read of it so far, at least. Not sure if I want there to be a show. I don’t find the actor playing Jaime all that attractive — and you know how important that casting must be ;)

      I really like that version of the Parent Trap. Alas, I grew up on the Lindsay Lohan version and prefer that one.

  24. Meg

    Ahhh! The Secret Garden! I haven’t seen it in so long but I remember loving it. It was so beautiful and I recall driving my mom nuts about building a gigantic walled garden.

    I love the Harry Potter movies. I don’t care what anyone says. Same with the Kiera Knightly Pride and Prejudice, especially the soundtrack and cinematography.

    I can’t wait for the Jellicoe Road movie!

    I didn’t know they were adapting The Little Prince. Please, oh please let it be amazing. I’ll be heartbroken if it’s anything but.

    The Princess Bride is perfect, and I think you’re right, it had a lot to do with Goldman knowing how to write for the screen and then knowing how to adapt it.

    I didn’t know Mean Girls was based on a book! Such a great movie. Lizzie Caplan remains one of my favorite actresses to this day.

    The 2003 Peter Pan was amazing, it’s also my favorite version. In addition to being a great adaptation, the cinematography and soundtrack were amazing. It was so vivid and magical.

    I’m so glad The Secret of Nimh made your Honorable Mentions! That’s another one I forget was originally a book.

    I’m trying to think of anything I’d add, but I think you’ve covered it. Oh! I loved the Scott Pilgrim adaptation. I haven’t read the graphic novels so I can’t compare the two, but it was great movie. Excellent lists! Now excuse me, I have to go rewatch a bunch of movies.
    Meg recently posted…Review: Croak by Gina Damico

    • Wendy Darling

      I want a beautiful English garden so much. I love the informality of them vs the more manicured, “perfect” gardens–I refuse to believe any sort of magic or rebirth could happen in such tidy surroundings.

      It’s so funny you and K love the Keira P&P–I went to see that with my friend and he got so wasted during the movie and made horrible fun of the whole thing. I don’t remember much about it except that I was incredibly annoyed by Lizzy’s sisters. Matthew MacFayden was a dreamy Darcy, though. BUT OH CRAP, now I’ve realized I haven’t included my favorite versions of Jane Eyre! I’m going back into edit later, shhh.

      Love Lizzy Caplan (you’ve seen Party Down, right?), and I totally agree with you on how well put together Pan was, too. And YES, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh had a very different feel/story, but I liked them both very much.

    • K

      I wish I had an English garden, too!

      P&P is breathtaking. Even if you’ve never read the book, the movie on its own is just a piece of art. And Wendy, oh my! What an experience, haha. I did sort of hate Jenna Malone as Kitty. Super annoying yes. And I can’t believe that that was Carey Mulligan — who I am in love with now. Everyone else, though, is pitch perfect.

      I love Lizzy Caplan. She did a sitcom that was canceled after one season and I didn’t understand why. It was sooo funny.

      • Wendy Darling

        It’s weird because I usually like Jena Malone a lot, but not in that film. Nope nope nope.

        I adore Carey Mulligan. Have you seen An Education? That’s one of those films that feels like it might’ve been a book first, but I don’t know that it actually was. She was so lovely in Never Let Me Go as well.

    • Wendy Darling

      I knew that one was going to make Tonya’s list, too! She is right about the third series, though–I bought it as soon as it came out, but never could bear to actually watch it. So glad you are a kindred spirit. (Also, your blog title is hilarious.)

  25. Kim

    Haha, I saw the title of this post and I was like “I’m going to talk about The Secret Garden!!!!!” and then, of course, first listed on the first list :) One of my all time favorite films. I feel like I will always just adore it for all the reasons you and Wendy have put much better than I can. But I also have such a sentimental attachment. I first saw it in theaters with my mom, aunt, sister and cousins on school night. Are you kidding me? What a treat! It was my favorite film I saw that year and went on to be one of the handful of VHS tapes I had growing up. I consider it a foundational contributor to my lifelong love of all things English. I just want to hang out on some English moors, okay? At the end of that school year my teacher gave me a copy of The Secret Garden book with a handwritten note about how much she loved my enthusiasm for reading and thought I’d especially love The Secret Garden :) And so, both book and movie have such lovely connotations for me all around.

    I’m also rather fond of the HP movies, especially #1 (but especially NOT #3, that travesty). I’m especially fond of HP1 mostly because it finally drove me to read the books. I was 15 in 2001 and had purposely resisted reading Harry Potter so far despite the ravings of my friends and the entire world. For whatever reason I can sometimes be a bit of a contrarian jerkface. With all the publicity surrounding the release of film I finally caved, all skeptical like “Alright, fine. I’ll read it. But I bet you I won’t like it!” I remember being at the mall with my friends much less than half way done and asking so cockily “So, uh, when does it actually get good?” Hahahahaha, teenage Kim. Silly! Needless to say of course I ate crow. But I was very happy to be wrong! I saw the movie several times in theaters as well. I thought it really captured the feeling and spirit of the book so well. Additionally, I’m really glad I read HP at Christmastime because it really just infused some extra magic. I’ve had a penchant for reading lots of fantasy in Nov/December ever since.

    Wendy, you’ve successfully pointed out two of the greatest sources of nightmare fuel from my childhood: Return to Oz and The Witches though I think Return to Oz really took the cake. That is the exact scene I think of when I think of the terrors! Now I’m also reminded of the 80s TV adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. I really enjoyed it as a child but haven’t seen it since so I can’t really speak to how it holds up. But, I noped right out of “Through the Looking Glass” after the jabberwocky scene. Please someone tell me they share in having been terrified by this! http://youtu.be/g7dxhbHAGRE?t=2m23s

    Also, true story: I once dressed up as Gretchen from Mean Girls for a fancy dress party, made my hair huge, and put pieces of index card all throughout it that said “Secrets”. Yep. true. story.

    • Wendy Darling

      KIM, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL OUR LIVES. I sent K and Tonya Secret Garden packages earlier this year (this was before Kate joined us), here are a couple of photos:

      key to the garden

      Have you seen the Broadway show? It is so, so, so, so lovely. They actually add quite a bit (Colin’s mother is a ghost and has a few songs, among other things), but I didn’t mind the additions at all! Totally in keeping with the book, whoever adapted it understood the source material very well.

      I love that story about mid-week movie outings–a treat indeed! And I LOVE the one about your teacher, I had a couple of English teachers who meant a lot to me and I was very close to as well.

      And hah re: Azkaban. I actually worked on that movie promotionally, which was a lot of fun. I have to confess I haven’t seen anything after the fourth one, though.

      Return to Oz freaks me out. I still sort of dread watching that scene, but I love it as well. Delicious!

      I have not seen that Alice adaptation yet, but obviously now I must. Creeeepy.


      • Kim

        *as the 10th Doctor* what…What…WHAT?!? There is a musical version of The Secret Garden?! How did I not know about this? Sadly, no, I’ve never seen it. I will have to keep my eyes peeled for any productions.

        And look at you, Miss Crafty! Those bookmarks are really gorgeous too.

        After posting my comment I was actually reminded of The Secret Garden remix that Pogo did. Are you familiar at all? He does really delightful mashups of movies and other pop culture things. I thought perhaps you’d find them enjoyable and charming as I do.

        This is Mary’s Magic: http://youtu.be/5GkjMZu2FrQ

        But these two are my real favs: A Mary Poppins http://youtu.be/3Za-V_lhwGg

        and several Disney ladies together: http://youtu.be/t_htoSaQFf4

        • Wendy Darling

          I love that Pogo does those remixes! I hadn’t seen the last one, and of course it’s perfect for meeeee.

          And YES you must seek out the Broadway musical version of The Secret Garden–the music and lyrics are wonderful, and of course it’s Mandy Patinkin! It’s still available as a CD, and is also on iTunes. From those, I’d recommend sampling “I Heard Someone Crying,” which is Archibald yearning for his wife, “Race to the Top of the Morning,” Archibald’s lovely song he sings to his sleeping son, “Come to the Garden/Lift Me Up” which is Lily’s song, “How Could I Ever Know,” which is a beautiful resolution. There are many other ones I love, but I think those are sampled best there!

    • K

      Kim, join the cluuub. It’s so nice you have such attachment to it. And I’m pretty sure the day I saw this film was the day I became an Anglophile.

      Wendy’s package was like opening spring in a box! It was such a lovely thought and it was filled it with so many adorable things. I love my key. It sits atop my bookshelf at this very moment.

      And believe me I saw HP1 opening night! I lined up for the last 4 books and lined up for quite a few of the films as well. They did an impressive job with the films I think. You can tell that they understood this was a series people really cared about and they made all the right choices. It was done with respect and admiration and we as fans couldn’t have asked for more.

  26. Rashika

    eek I hardly watch book-movie adaptions because I feel like it affects my own imagination. It gives faces to characters and makes me perceive characters in a different way. With that said, I really do want to watch the Princess Bride movie :P William Goldman is a genius.

    Also.. I didn’t know Mean Girls was based on a book… :D
    And that The Little Prince was being adapted for a movie… I am a little worried about that one. It’s a wonderful book and I would hate it if they ruined it :(

    Great post girls :)
    Rashika recently posted…Cover Revel Copper Ravens

    • Wendy Darling

      You have stronger will than I do, Rashika–I am fascinated by adaptations, not only because I love movies but I wanna see what they’re going to do with it. It’s interesting how most of our picks reach further back, though–I haven’t loved most of the adaptations in recent years.

      And yes, Mean Girls was based on a pretty serious look at how clicques form in high schools among girls. It’s a pretty fabulous (if loose) adaptation, and a truly great example of creativity transforming source material.

      Definitely watch Princess Bride! Also an extremely fun, romantic, and quotable film.

  27. Rebecca @ Bending The Spine

    All of your list are great! I wasn’t a huge fan of The Hunger Games movie *ducks head* but I am very hopeful for Catching Fire.

    One adaptation that I watched over and over again as a child that I don’t think I saw above in The Never ending Story. I loved that movie.

    I also loved Anne of Green Gables. Now my own three girls have watched and enjoyed it many times over.

    I loved looking through this! What a fun post.
    Rebecca @ Bending The Spine recently posted…Audio Review: On the Edge by Ilona Andrews

    • Wendy Darling

      Yeah–I have lukewarm feelings about THG as well, Rebecca. I mean, I think they got a lot of things right, but on a deeper, emotional, thematic level, I don’t think it got there. Plus as much as I like Jennifer Lawrence (and I do, I like her SO much), I still wish Saoirse Ronan had been cast at Katniss. And then Hanna came out and I was like, “Seeeee? She would’ve been perfect!”

      I’m so glad you love Anne, too! I need to rewatch NeverEnding Story someday, I haven’t seen it since I was little.