My ten favorite movies based on books


    Many of the best films ever made have come from literature itself, such as “The Godfather” and “The Exorcist.” Without further ado, here are my ten favorite movies based upon books.


    Honorable Mentions:

    “The Exorcist,” based upon “The Exorcist” by William Peter Blatty

    “Silver Linings Playbook,” based upon “The Silver Linings Playbook” by Matthew Quick

    “Life of Pi,” based upon “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel

    “Fight Club,” based upon “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk

    “Goodfellas,” based upon “Wiseguy” by Nicholas Pileggi


    10. “Die Hard,” based upon “Nothing Lasts Forever” written by Roderick Thorp 

    9. “Shrek,” based upon “Shrek!” written by William Steig

    8. “Psycho,” based upon “Psycho” written by Robert Bloch

    7. “The Green Mile,” based upon “The Green Mile” written by Stephen King

    6. “Moneyball,” based upon “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” written by Michael Lewis


    1. “Field of Dreams,” based upon “Shoeless Joe” written by W. P. Kinsella


    I knew before writing this list that nine of the ten movies here were based on books. The one I didn’t, however, was “Field of Dreams.” The film was released in 1989 and became an instant classic among the slim number of great sports films and even added an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. What makes the film so timeless isn’t the incredible acting, it isn’t the memorable quotes, it isn’t even the great music by the late great James Horner. What makes the film so wonderful is the whimsical, nostalgic tone the film sets up, something that has not only Kevin Costner’s Ray Kinsella looking back on the past, but the audience as well. Even if it wasn’t baseball, “Field of Dreams” will certainly have you examining a pastime of yours with awe and beauty. Even if you are not a fan of baseball, “Field of Dreams” is a film anyone can fall in love with and remember for years to come. Those aren’t the ingredients to a good movie; those are the ingredients to a great movie that will forever be remembered.


    1. “Jaws,” based upon “Jaws” written by Peter Benchley


    In 1975, “Jaws” completely changed the game for cinema forever, becoming arguably the first ever summer blockbuster, a phrase used a little too often these days. What made the film so great, though, wasn’t the action nor the horror, but the incredible acting for the three main stars of the film: Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw. They are so human and have great chemistry together that they feel like your next door neighbors. That being said, the shark scenes are no snoozer. From the girl who gets eaten at the very beginning to the shark’s big reveal at the end, the nature and tone of these scenes are eked with fantastic cinematography and haunting music from legendary film composer John Williams. It’s safe to say just about everyone has seen “Jaws” and even more have heard of it, which gives the film this surreal hype to it. Very rarely do films live up to hype, but this one does and does it gracefully.


    1. “The Social Network,” based upon “The Accidental Billionaires” written by Ben Mezrich


    Honestly, who would have thought that a movie about Facebook would be so good? Or good at all? What elevates “The Social Network” into being such a phenomenal film is the writing by Aaron Sorkin. Sorkin is one of the absolute best screenwriters of all time, with some of his other legendary work being “Moneyball,” “Steve Jobs,” “A Few Good Men,” and “The West Wing” amongst others. In combination with “Se7en” and “Fight Club” director David Fincher, the film becomes a far better movie than something of the subject probably should be. Jesse Eisenberg arguably should have won an Oscar for playing Mark Zuckerberg, a narcissistic, brilliant jerk yet somehow sort of likeable… kind of. Andrew Garfield is also fantastic as Eduardo Saverin. This was Garfield’s big break before “The Amazing Spider-Man,” and still is his best performance to date. How he was not nominated is sort of mind boggling.


    1. “The Shawshank Redemption,” based upon “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” by Stephen King


    So this one is sort of cheating, considering it’s based on a novella and not a full-fledged novel, but without a doubt this has to be mentioned. Usually, you like either the book or the movie more, with the other being noticeably less impressive. In this case, while quite different in a few ways, they are about even in my eyes. “The Shawshank Redemption” tells the story of Andy Dufresne, a banker sentenced to two life terms at Shawshank Prison for killing his wife and her lover. The catch: he didn’t actually do it. I have never in my life seen a movie so dark, yet so happy. It’s incredibly bleak, yet it’s extremely hopeful. It’s very serious, yet also kind of funny. “The Shawshank Redemption” truly is the master of balancing tones and themes in a film. Whenever anyone asks me what I think the greatest movie ever made is, I tend to go with “The Shawshank Redemption,” a film without flaw and simply, utterly perfect.


    1. “Jurassic Park,” based upon “Jurassic Park” written by Michael Crichton



    Last and certainly not least is Steven Spielberg’s 1993 masterpiece “Jurassic Park.” Aside from “Star Wars,” this is the most influential technical film of all time with CGI, puppets, and animatronics that still look amazing today. Stan Winston was the man behind the wonderful effects of the film, and his work was rightfully recognized with an Oscar win. The sound effects are also amazing, from the sharp cry of the raptors to the roar of the T-Rex which still gives me goosebumps to this day. The music is beautiful and is my favorite scores of the previously mentioned John Williams, even over his “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” scores. Even though the technical parts of the film are easily the best, the story, directing, and acting are no slouches either. Jeff Goldblum gives an amazing performance as Dr. Ian Malcolm along with solid acting from Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight, and the late actors Bob Peck and Richard Attenborough. The story is extremely well done and Spielberg’s directing here is top notch. It’s no wonder why “Jurassic Park” is one of my three favorite movies of all time. In my opinion, “Shawshank” may be perfect, but it isn’t quite as perfect as “Jurassic Park.”

    Ever since the dawn of cinema, books have been adapted for the big screen. More times than not they don’t work (“The Da Vinci Code”), but sometimes, every now and then, we get a taste of beauty and stroke of brilliance that crosses along the silver screen.