Wednesday, June 01, 2016

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

39 Movies That Are Better Than The Book

13 comments:

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

JAWS and THE GODFATHER were the first ones that came to mind.

THE SHINING? Not. Even. Close.

DRIVE was good but I wouldn't say it was better than the book.

Bill Crider said...

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST is a fine movie, but no way is it better than the book. Same for PRINCESS BRIDE and several of the others.

Tom Johnson said...

CHILDREN OF MEN? The book would have to be better than the movie.

Patrick Murtha said...

The whole piece is ridiculously cinecentric and anti-literary. I mean, I love movies, too, but come on!

Todd Mason said...

Sorry, Tom, no...as smugly Boomer self-congratulatory as CHILDREN OF MEN is, THE CHILDREN OF MEN is both sullen and stupid. PD James doing her best , if even winier, Taylor Caldwell impersonation.

Todd Mason said...

However, the list is in trouble from the first entry. "Why it’s better: The film subverts audience expectations by starting with the story of Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) instead of Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), making her death a surprise and upping the suspense that has made Psycho a classic. Plus, Norman is a more complex and ultimately sympathetic character in the film." Well, no, because the book does rather well with that, too, and no, because the film's version isn't.

Todd Mason said...

Sorry, that should be "windier" above.

Bill Crider said...

You nailed it on PSYCHO, Todd.

Don Coffin said...

I'll add two--THE BIG FIX and THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR. Both of the movies were tauter and more suspenseful (and better plotted) than the books--and I like both the books. And strongly disagree with LOTR. The movies were good, mind you, but the depth of the story sort of got last (although excising the Tom Bombadil episode was a good choice--Tolkien's editors should have done the same).

Don Coffin said...

I should not that in both of the cases I mention, the authors of the novels worked on the screenplays (each on his own book-to-screenplay, of course).

Patrick Murtha said...

I fervently disagree about Bombadil - but that would be a long argument. More damaging still is the omission of "The Scouring of the Shire". But I loathe the Jackson films in toto - they do not remotely match my own mental picture of Tolkien - so I'll skip going into greater detail.

Even in the most supportable examples of the movie being "better" than the book, the author still invented the story and the characters.

Here are two heretical beliefs: Booth Tarkington's "The Magnificent Ambersons" is greater than the Welles movie - or perhaps I should say, everything good in the film is straight out of the book (yet I bet that 99% percent of Wellesians have never read it).

MacKinlay Kantor's "Glory for Me", even less read, is deeper and more adult than "The Best Years of Our Lives", although both are wonderful, and the comparison between them is instructive about the limitations of Hollywood film-making at the time. "Best Years" went as far as it could, but no farther.

Anonymous said...


Always annoying to see Starship Troopers on these lists (or any internet list really). No one seems to have actually read it. They just read a couple of i09 posts calling it "fascist", written by i09 writers who couldn't define the word if their life depended on it.

And yes, they're also wrong about LotR and, possibly, Casino Royale.

Fred Blosser said...

"Clockwork Orange," really? Give me a break. Kubrick is the most overrated director in history. The movie wrongs Burgess in so many ways. "Last of the Mohicans," really? The Classics Illustrated comic was more respectful of James Fenimore Cooper, merely one of the founding father of at least three categories of American genre literature. The other examples are nearly as bone-headed.