What Are Your Favorite Book-To-Movie Adaptations?

This post is sponsored by Audible

In 1994, when the Winona Ryder and Christian Bale version of Little Women came out, my mom told me that if I read the book, she’d take me to see the movie.

I read the book in a few days and loved every second of it (I went on to read Little Men and Jo’s Boys a bunch of times too, and I might actually like those ones even better than Little Women).

True to her word, my mom and I had a special date to go see the movie in the theater, and I’ve loved that movie ever since. It might be one of my favorite book-to-movie adaptations.

My mom loves those kinds of books and movies and I remember many afternoons of her ironing or folding laundry while watching the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice or Anne of Green Gables. I would estimate that I’ve seen both of those at least twenty times.

I inherited both my love of those kinds of movies and my inability to not iron everything I own from her.

Later, after I got married, Bart and I were visiting and she told us she’d heard about a new BBC mini-series called North & South. Two hours later, we were all completely glued to the screen and it became one of my very favorite book-to-movie adaptions (despite the fact I’ve never actually read the book . . . ).

One of my favorite memories from our year in Boston was when Bart and I watched Little Dorrit in our tiny apartment decorated for Christmas – we still quote lines from that one.

And I don’t just like the classics made into movies.

book-to-movie adaptations

When I flew home from New York City earlier this summer, I watched both P.S. I Love You and Something Borrowed on the airplane. I’d read both of those books, but never seen the movie of Something Borrowed (I’d watched P.S I Love You when I was pregnant with Ella, which was a very idea – that movie doesn’t mix well with pregnancy hormones).

When I saw the trailer for The Circle, I immediately downloaded the audiobook and started listening because I wanted to see the movie and I usually like to read or listen to the book beforehand (I’m not quite done with it, and I don’t think I’d particularly recommend it – it’s kind of getting me down, actually. But I still want to see the movie when I finish listening).

Some book-to-movie adaptations, of course, are truly terrible. I think Ella Enchanted has got to be one of the worst ones ever. I loved that book so so much and then the movie was just a complete embarrassment. Shortly after we got married, I told Bart he should read the book and he did and loved it (luckily for him).

Then he wanted to watch the movie and even though I warned him it was a catastrophe, he was sure it couldn’t be THAT bad. After we watched it, he agreed that, actually,  yes, it was pretty abysmal.

And sometimes I think the movie versions are BETTER than the book itself. I listened to Divergent years ago and . . . didn’t really get the hype, but then Bart and I watched the movie together in a tiny hotel lobby outside of Bath, England and I really enjoyed the movie a lot.

And it goes without saying that the movie that I’m most anxious about right now is the adaption of my beloved To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.

I’ve been watching all the behind-the-scenes photos and interviews and I’m just crossing my fingers that it turns out as good as I hope.

Sometimes I think it helps to put a little distance between reading the book and watching the movie version so you’re not so hyper-critical of any differences, but I also probably won’t be able to resist reading the whole series again before the movie comes out.

Of course, the easiest way to read a book before the movie version comes out is by listening to the audio version and no one has a bigger or better collection than Audible.

They have this fun page of books that have been made into movies sorted by genre, and I’ve been loving looking through them (I’d forgotten all about The Book Thief until I saw it over there and I loved both the audio version and the movie version. Also The Help!).

If you haven’t tried out Audible yet, you can sign up for a 30-day trial and get a free audiobook download.

And I’m dying to know what your favorite book-to-movie adaptations are (or which ones made your inner reader die a little inside?). I could talk about this all day!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Audible. The opinions and text are all mine.

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  • Reply Carmen August 22, 2017 at 3:09 am

    There are quite a few book adaptations that I enjoy, like “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “The Outsiders” or “The Book Thief”. Oh, I also love “Diverget” because Theo James is gorgeous. “The Hunger Games” was good as well.

    Carmen / Carmen`s Reading Corner

    • Reply Laurie Scheffler August 22, 2017 at 5:42 am

      Agree! Theo James made Divergent so enjoyable 😊

  • Reply Elaine Doolittle August 22, 2017 at 3:59 am

    I am not a huge reader, at least in part because I am terribly slow. When I was in third grade, however, I was a voracious reader and was very much into the whole Little Women series. I remember walking to the library every week to get another. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the movie version, however.
    Two books that I think have been particularly well done as movies were To Kill a Mockingbird and Hidden Figures.
    One book was made into a play, but I don’t believe a movie as yet. Wicked is one of the most dreadful books I have ever slogged through and I couldn’t believe it became a play that children could possibly watch, but I love the show.

    • Reply Oby Boyce November 13, 2017 at 6:24 am

      There’s a movie version of Little women on youtube

  • Reply Kara August 22, 2017 at 4:40 am

    I loved The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe both as a book and a movie. I thought the movie so closely resembled the book it was amazing. I as well have to difference myself from reading the book too closely to seeing the movie because then I’m whispering to the other person all night, that’s not really how that happened, or in the book there’s also this character…lol

  • Reply Emily C August 22, 2017 at 5:33 am

    I totally love the movie adaptation of Persuasion, and also loved The Help. And I’m a sucker for the Harry Potter movies, too!

  • Reply Emily J August 22, 2017 at 6:43 am

    Harry Potter (the later movies), Hunt for Red October, Lord of the Rings, and Pride and Prejudice (with Kiera Knightley) are some of my favorites. I am looking forward to Murder on the Orient Express. It looks great, but so much can go wrong.

  • Reply Kacy August 22, 2017 at 7:12 am

    The Giver! One of my favorite books and a great movie!! I loved The Help, Pride and Prejudice, Something Borrowed, The Great Gatsby, Harry Potter (Of Course. 🙂

    One I HATED was My Sisters Keeper. They change something HUGE and it completely ruined it for me. I sat there in the theater with my hands out like what?! for at least 5 minutes afterward. I was so disappointed. Of course, if you hadn’t read the book, you probably would have loved the movie. UGH. It was a waste of 2 hours for sure.

  • Reply Melanie August 22, 2017 at 7:13 am

    The Importance of Being Ernest is one of my all-time favorite movies. I think both North & South and The Scarlet Pimpernel films are better than the book versions. And of course, there are the BBC Jane Austen adaptations. I love them all, even Persuasion, with its horribly awkward kiss and storyline that diverges from the book…but that might just be because Rupert Penry-Jones is so beautiful that it makes up for the film’s flaws.

    • Reply Janssen Bradshaw August 23, 2017 at 8:58 pm

      I LOVE The Importance of Being Ernest.

    • Reply Kim August 24, 2017 at 2:02 pm

      100% agree that North & South is better in the film than the book. And I am so happy someone else cringes at that awful, awkward kiss but still loves the movie anyway.

  • Reply Helen Reynolds August 22, 2017 at 8:06 am

    I love so many of the ones already listed! I wasn’t that thrilled with 2 &3 of the Divergent series. I have learned, 1st I like to read the book before the movie and not the other way around, 2nd-remember that the movie is a totally different genre/art form, so it will be different from the book! That being said, Ella Enchanted was so far off it was ridiculous.

    • Reply Janssen Bradshaw August 23, 2017 at 9:00 pm

      Yes! I think it makes a big difference to not expect the movie to be the same as the book.

  • Reply Jen August 22, 2017 at 8:38 am

    The Help movie was really just as delightful as the book! Also, the secret life of bees!

  • Reply Michelle August 22, 2017 at 8:40 am

    The help was great, also the movie of The Devil Wears Prada is incredibly superior to the book. I love the movie and completely hated the book.

    • Reply Liv August 23, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      Agree totally!

  • Reply brianna August 22, 2017 at 9:47 am

    The Book Thief, hands down. Otherwise, I have strong dislike for books made into movies, in that I will always like the book better. Except Nicholas Sparks, the movie version is always better (because I think all his books are exactly the same, just with different character names), yet somehow, when it’s on screen it feels like a success.

    • Reply Janssen Bradshaw August 23, 2017 at 8:56 pm

      I’ve never read a Nicholas Spark book, but I secretly love The Notebook.

  • Reply Kate August 22, 2017 at 9:47 am

    I loved the book The Circle–it was a bit of a downer, but I thought it was so thought-provoking. The movie, though, was awful. It didn’t make any sense, the camera work was uneven, and the ending was just confusing. Skip the movie, read the book!

    I agree about Divergent!

  • Reply Laure August 22, 2017 at 10:01 am

    I have just seen the movie the history of love and prefered it to the book by Nicole Krauss. I preferred as well the movies Wild and A hologram for the king to the books.

  • Reply Betsy August 22, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    I was a huge fan of The Babysitters Club series and thought the movie was great.
    I also enjoyed the movie versions of Eat, Pray, Love & Charlottes Web.

  • Reply Lisa August 22, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    I’ve really enjoyed all the different Little Women and P&P adaptations I’ve seen- there is so much to the books that every movie has something different, and I don’t mind them not being exactly the same as the book. BUT I loved the To All the Boys series so much- crossing my fingers that the movie does the first book justice!

  • Reply Laura August 22, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Oh, man, I haaaaated the movie version of the Divergent series. But I loved the books! Different strokes for different folks, ha. I also didn’t really like the movie version of Eat Pray Love… I wanted to because I loved that book so much, but the movie version, well I didn’t hate the movie but I would have liked it better if I hadn’t read the book first, let’s put it that way.

    I LOVE the movie PS I Love You, it’s one of my all time favourite feel-good movies if I need a good cry. I also really loved The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Hunger Games and the Harry Potter series. I know there are a bunch that I’m missing 🙂

  • Reply Diana August 22, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    I did NOT know they are making a movie of Lara Jean! A little worried about that one, I agree…I kinda like it as a secret (not well known), fantastic series! I will have to pay attention to that one now…

    The Anne movies are great and some of the Harry Potter ones (#3, #7, & #8 are my favorites). The Martian movie, we just rewatched that one this weekend and I don’t like how they changed the ending by otherwise really enjoyed it compared to the book (and on it’s own). I love The Devil Wears Prada movie but have never read the book, mainly because the consensus seems to be that the movie is better.

  • Reply Grace Haynes August 22, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    I felt the same way about The Circle, so I gave up! I also have a problem with the way Eggers writes female characters. Even though Mae is the protagonist, he made her so weak and flakey. My favorite book adaptation is the Emma Thompson Sense & Sensibility – I want to watch it now!!

    • Reply Janssen Bradshaw August 26, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      I’ve never read any of his other books, but that doesn’t make me want to read more.

  • Reply Angela August 22, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    There are tons of great BBC adaptations like Pride & Prejudice… most notably, “Our Mutual Friend,” “Middlemarch,” and “Daniel Deronda” (I tipped you off about Middlemarch on Facebook; hope you enjoyed it). The first in that list is probably my favorite, although I do enjoy the others as well. I’m sure you know about “Wives and Daughters” and “Cranford” (boxed set sold with “North and South”). Such good stuff. I think “Julie and Julia” is better as a movie.

  • Reply Sarah August 22, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    I’m glad you felt the same way about Divergent! I put the book down after I’d read about 40% because I wasn’t liking it at all, but I enjoyed the movie. My husband and I just finished watching Shetland on Netflix, and I had to run to the library to check out the books. I’ve read the first five, and while the TV adaptation makes a lot of changes, it does a fantastic job of maintaining the flavor of the novels. (And it’s just a really well-made show…although we do have to watch with captions because the actors’ Scottish accents are too heavy for our American ears, lol.) And Poldark is another good one (up until the last three episodes of season 2, anyway 🙄), although I haven’t read the books.

    Oh, and after you raved about Lara Jean for most of the summer, I checked out all three from the library and DEVOURED them! ❤️ I can’t wait to see the movie!!

    • Reply Janssen Bradshaw August 23, 2017 at 8:55 pm

      SO happy you loved Lara Jean. She is my favorite. As you know.

  • Reply Shanté August 22, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    After watching North & South at least 3 times I decided it was time to read the book. Don’t read it. I was horribly disappointed. The movie is better. The BBC version of Pride and Prejudice is my all time favorite book to movie adaptation. I like Shannon Hale’s Austenland turned movie. That’s a fun one to watch. Even though some parts of the Harry Potter movies make me cringe (notably movie #5) I love watching them.

    • Reply Janssen Bradshaw August 23, 2017 at 8:55 pm

      Well in that case, I won’t worry about reading it 🙂

  • Reply Carly Adams August 23, 2017 at 11:02 am

    I had no idea To All the Boys I Loved Before was becoming a movie! I loved that book too. You just made my day!

  • Reply molly August 23, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    I LOVE the Charlotte’s Web movie with Dakota Fanning and also the (newish) animated Boxcar Children movie on Netflix…so cute & sweet!

    • Reply Janssen Bradshaw August 23, 2017 at 8:54 pm

      We just watched that Charlotte’s Web version and it was SO darling. I’ll have to check out the Boxcar Children one – my girls love that series (so did I as a kid) and we haven’t watched it.

  • Reply Bethany August 24, 2017 at 12:42 am

    I agree that Ella Enchanted is one of the worst adaptations ever!! It was one of my favorite books growing up, and I was just devastated when the movie came out. And then I had friends who had only seen the movie and never read the book which was about the worst thing I could think of! I always implored them to read the book and try to forget everything about the movie! 🙂 I have fingers crossed about the All the Boys series too!! <3

  • Reply Allison August 24, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    I second Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson. I could watch that over and over. And if you haven’t seen her Oscar acceptance speech for the screenplay, it’s worth finding on YouTube. Even that is creative genius.

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