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Movies From Books: The Best Movies Based On Books

Photograph of the blog post author, Jodie Francis

Jodie Francis


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Do you love immersing yourself in new worlds? Well, that’s what reading and films have the power to do – completely transport you to different places and times. Both are great distraction tools from any stress or worry that you’re dealing with in your life. We all have our favourite books and movies, but what about the best movies from books? 


If you’re looking for a new movie to watch that’s based on a great book, then look no further than this article!

You never know, you may just discover your new favourite movie to watch, and it may even prompt you to do some reading! 

So, make sure that you keep reading to discover our top ten best movies based on books. 

What Makes Great Movies From Books?

A great adaptation of a movie from a book requires a combination of elements. Firstly, the movie should remain true to the source material. It also utilizes cinematic techniques to bring the story to life. The movie should also feature strong performances from the cast and a talented director. They should understand the tone and themes of the book.

Additionally, the adaptation should be visually appealing and make creative use of the book’s setting. Finally, a great adaptation should be able to capture the essence of the book. It should make it accessible to a wider audience.

Top 10 Best Movies From Books

Let’s just jump straight into it, shall we?

Here are the best movies based on books!

10. The Hunger Games 

Movies From Books

Based on the novel: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It was published in 2008, and she completed the trilogy with two more novels. 

This dystopian film packs a big punch! Its dark storyline focuses on a group of children fighting to the death in an event called the Hunger Games. Katniss Everdeen willingly volunteers to take part in the event in order to save her little sister from its evil. 

This film is full of twists and turns and translates the plot well from book to movie. It proved a great hit at the box office, as it grossed a total of $694.4 million worldwide. 

If you’re seeking an action-adventure film that you won’t forget in a while, then we recommend this one! Plus, if you enjoy it, there are four other movies for you to get stuck into. 

You can watch the trailer here.

9. Ella Enchanted 

Movies From Books

Based on the novel: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, published in 1997.

Ella Enchanted is an utterly charming film, aimed at the younger generation but is beloved by all age groups! 

If you are seeking romantic movies from books, then this is one for you! It draws from many of the fairy tales that we know and love. This makes it an ideal film to enjoy with the whole family. 

So, what’s it about? Well, a girl named Ella has a spell put on her at birth, and it’s the gift of obedience. However, it turns out to be less of a gift and more of a curse. As she has to do what anyone tells her to! 

It’s a feel-good film and the end song of Don’t Go Breaking My Heart. It’s sung by the entire cast is sure to put a smile on your face! 

You can watch the trailer here.

8. IT 

Movies From Books

Based on the novel: IT by Stephen King, published in 1986.

So, this film is actually split into two – It Chapter One (2017) and IT Chapter Two (2019). If you enjoy great horror movies from books, then you should look no further than the IT saga. The name Pennywise still has the power to strike fear into the hearts of many – and seeing him on screen is absolutely terrifying! 

Here is a brief plot summary for those of you who haven’t seen it yet. It’s set in the town of Derry, where children have started to go missing. It’s no human taking them though, rather a shape-shifting monster (Pennywise the clown). Some of the children decide to band together to take on IT. 

If you’re ready for a good scare then we recommend that you grab the popcorn, turn off the lights and put IT on the screen. Just don’t watch it alone! 

You can watch the trailer here.

7. The Boy In The Striped Pajamas 

Movies From Books

Based on the novel: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by Mark Herman. It was published in 2006. 

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas has to be up there with one of the most emotional watches ever. It manages to capture the essence of the book, and whether you decide to watch or read this masterpiece, we’re sure that it will stay with you for a long time to come. 

The film follows the unlikely friendship between two children, one is a Jewish inmate at a concentration camp, while the other is the son of a terrifying Nazi commander. There are hundreds of films and books depicting the horrors of World War II, but there’s something extra terrifying about watching events unfold through the eyes of children.

We believe that this is a film that everyone needs to watch at some point in their lives, just make sure that you have some tissues handy. 

You can watch the trailer here.

6. Labyrinth

Movies From Books

Based on the novel: Labyrinth: A Novel by A. C. H. Smith, published in 1986. 

When it comes to the Labyrinth film, a commonly asked question is ‘what book is the Labyrinth movie based from’? Interestingly, the book was written to coincide with the release of the movie – so we are cheating a little bit here! 

The movie is a musical fantasy, and it’s a great movie to watch if you want to escape the stresses of the world for a bit. 

So, what’s it about? Well, it’s about a teenage girl named Sarah who is told to babysit her little brother Toby while her parents are away. Toby keeps on crying, and this prompts Sarah to wish that he would be taken away by the Goblin King Jareth. As you may have guessed, her wish is granted, and Toby is taken away to the castle located in Goblin City. 

The rest of the film centres around Sarah attempting to save Toby in time and making some friends along the way. Sounds fun, right? It is! 

The soundtrack to the movie is brilliant, so it’s worth watching this movie just to listen to the great tunes! In fact, the soundtrack is included in many of the lists of the top 50 movie soundtracks – so it’s definitely done something right! 

What’s more, David Buckley (a David Bowie biographer) has stated that the Labyrinth soundtrack was Bowie’s third-best selling iTunes album in the UK. 

You can watch the trailer here.

5. The Hobbit  

Movies From Books

Based on the novel: The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, published in 1937. 

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first film in the trilogy (and in our opinion, it’s the best one!) It follows the journey of Bilbo Baggins on his quest to help the dwarves reclaim the Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor (their homeland). 

Things don’t go to plan, and there’s plenty of action along the way! This fantasy epic is a great one to watch with the whole family, as it will have you laughing one minute and on the edge of your seat the next. 

We don’t know about you, but we think that this is what great movies from books are made of! 

You can watch the trailer here.

4. Forrest Gump 

Movies From Books

Based on the novel: Forrest Gump by Winston Groom, published in 1986.

Forrest Gump has definitely become a classic, and it’s mainly thanks to the fantastic portrayal of Forrest by Tom Hanks! 

So, what’s it about? Well, Forrest is a man with a low I.Q., but he has the best of intentions. He joins the army to serve in Vietnam, but all he can think about is the love that he left back home – Jenny. 

If you haven’t yet, you should definitely give this heart-warming film a watch. It is, after all, one of Tom Hanks’s best performances! 

He actually won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1995, and the film also boasts many other accolades like Academy Award for Best Director, Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, and People’s Choice Award for Favourite Dramatic Movie Actor. 

You can watch the trailer here.

3. Just Mercy 

Movies From Books

Based on the memoir: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, published in 2014.

Just Mercy is one of the best movies based on books. It’s based on the true story of a man called Walter McMillian, a black man wrongly convicted of the murder of a white woman during the ’80s. It’s a powerful movie packed with powerful performances, especially from Jamie Foxx (McMillan) and Michael B. Jordan (Stevenson). 

Watching this film will take you on an emotional roller-coaster, but we certainly recommend that you watch it. 

Both leading men received awards for their performances, including NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture and NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture. 

You can watch the trailer here.

2. Little Women 

Little Women

Based on the novel: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, published in 1868.

While there have been plenty of great film and TV adaptations of this novel, Greta Gerwig’s 2019 version became an instant classic.

Even if you’ve never read the novel, there’s no way you’ve not heard of it! It has remained one of the most popular novels and for good reason! 

The great thing about the film is that it has remained loyal to the plot from book to movie, and this will please die-hard fans of the novel for sure. It follows the lives of the March sisters in the years following the Civil War, as they grow up and follow their dreams.

What’s great about the film is that you’re bound to relate to one of the sisters, as they are all so different! 

You can watch the trailer here.

1. Harry Potter – Is This One Of The Best Movies From Books?

Harry Potter

Based on the series of books by J.K. Rowling, in order of publication: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (1997), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007).

The film series follows the same pattern as the novels, although the last film is split into two parts. We know we’re cheating by including a whole movie franchise, but our list wouldn’t be complete for the best movies from books without it! 

Both the books and films are a major part of many people’s childhoods, and for good reason! They are spellbinding and will transport you to a magical world for the duration of the movie. 

One commonly asked question is ‘are the Harry Potter books different from the movies’? While there are bound to be differences transferring the plot from page to screen, the movies are pretty loyal to the films.

They follow the wizard Harry Potter and his adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, along with his friends Ron and Hermione, as they battle against the evil wizard Voldemort.

If you haven’t watched the movies yet, then you’re in for a treat! So, what are you waiting for? Immerse yourself in this magical world today!

You can watch the trailer for The Deathly Hallows Part 2 here.

That Was Our Review Of The Best Movies From Books


So, there we have it – our list of the best movies based on books! 

We have tried to include a range of genres for you so that you have plenty to choose from for your next movie day! Both films and reading can provide us with some much-needed escapism, so the next time you feel like you need to chill out, why not watch one of the movies on our list? 

Even better, choose a movie that you haven’t seen yet, or try out a genre that you normally avoid – you might discover a new favourite! So, what are you waiting for? Put the kettle on and your feet up and check out some of our movie suggestions. 

If you liked this article, check out some other movie reviews on our blog such as The Best Movie Characters Of All Time, The Most Famous Movie Props and the Best Movie Franchises!

Most importantly, don’t forget to share this review across your socials and tag us @musicgateway! We love interacting with you all!


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