Extras: HAVEN’T READ, BUT WILL SEE THAT (The Best Film Adaptations of the Classics)

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by Aveline MacQuoid on March 1, 2021

in Extras


Most of the time, when you ask someone how a movie was that’s based on a book that they’ve read before, you’ll hear them say that the book was better. This is the case in most of today’s movie adaptations, where a long and brilliantly written novel is condensed into a two-hour-long movie. As you may expect, a lot of the story is cut to make such a movie, and hence people are led to believe that all movie adaptations of books or screenplays are bad.

However, that is not always the case. Many classic novels have great movies based on them. But the question is, why would anyone want to take the risk of ruining a story for themselves by watching a bad movie when they could just read the original book?

Reasons to Watch Movie Adaptations

If you’re thinking about why you should watch the movie version of a classic novel or screenplay, here are some reasons:

  • Many classic English novels have very difficult language. You may not be able to comfortably read such a book or enjoy it as a result. Watching a film based on it allows you to enjoy the story.
  • Even if you’ve read the book before, watching its film version will give you a different look at the story.
  • There are many classic books written in other languages, and watching a film based on them might be the only way for you to know the story unless you learn a new language.

As you can see, there are legitimate reasons why you would see a story play out on the big screen rather than reading the written version of it. This doesn’t relate to books only, either. Some plays have been turned into movies too. One example of these is Death of a Salesman, a stage play written by Arthur Miller that was shown on the big screen as a movie later on. This is such a good adaptation that you can even find Death of a Salesman essays written by students today who analyze the story for their research after watching the film version.

The Best Books-Turned-Movies to Watch

●      Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

While there are a whopping six versions of this classic novel that have been shown on the big screen, the best one you should watch is the 1994 movie adaptation. The story shows the life of four sisters who have a very close bond with each other. It revolves around their troubles with family, in a country that is torn because of the Civil War, and their love lives as well. The main underlying theme of this great classic story is the importance of family.

●      The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

One of the most popular and successful films based on a classic book came out in 2013, showing the life of Jay Gatsby who seems to have everything in control. From having a beautiful woman by his side to holding regular fancy parties, there’s nothing that seems wrong with his life. But is it all real or just a fantasy? If you’re interested in such captivating stories, then you should watch this one.

●      Dracula – Bram Stoker

How can anyone talking about a classic story forget about Bram Stoker’s Dracula? There have been so many movie adaptations of this excellent title that it’s hard to pick the best one. The two best ones to consider watching are the 1992 and 1979 versions. Both of them revolve around the story of an Englishman and his fiancé, who are introduced to the world of vampires when they meet Dracula.

●      The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien

As far as stories being told on the big screen go, this one might have been the most famous on a global scale. With its first of three parts released in 2001, The Lord of the Rings follows the life of a hobbit and his companions as they seek to destroy a ring that is essentially endangering the world. This is the perfect example of how a very long story can be turned into an excellent movie series that is easy and fun to watch.

●      To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird is still taught in schools to teach students about discrimination against African Americans in the USA. The movie that came out in 1962 shows the story of a white lawyer who has to defend a black man against an undeserved rape charge. This is one of the most important films to watch if you want to gain some life lessons and learn about serious topics such as racism.

●      The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis

In 2005, The Chronicle of Narnia was released, which was based on C.S. Lewis’ beloved book. This is a story about four children who find themselves in a magical world that needs to be saved. To save it, however, the children must overcome their fears and become the heroes that this world has been waiting for. The movies based on this book series are absolutely magical, doing justice to the original magical world created by the author.

●      The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

The film based on this classic book came out in 1993 and is a great lesson about life and friendship, especially for younger people. It shows the story of a young girl and a boy in a wheelchair who overcome various personal obstacles and learn from each other. If you are into movie adaptations that inspire you to do better, this is one to watch.


There are many reasons that you might want to watch the film version of a classic story, no matter how great the novel is. For many people, it’s just easier to understand a story by watching it on the big screen rather than reading. While there are a lot of classic titles that have not been adapted to the big screen or those that have very bad movies made on them, there are also many that have excellent movies. So, the next time you feel like introducing yourself to a classic story but don’t feel like reading the book, watch the movie version, and you might end up learning quite a lot.

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