10 Movies That Are Actually Better Than The Books They’re Based On

Despite their banality, film adaptations of books often get a bad rap. Therefore, they are considered “inferior” to their source. Screenwriting and book writing are very different mediums. So, in the eyes of many fans, the changes necessary to make a successful adaptation of a book often weaken stories.

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While the consensus is that most movie adaptations – even good ones – tend to be worse than their source material, some adaptations challenge this stereotype. Whether it’s due to pragmatic writing that preserves the soul of the book, a finer-grained approach to storytelling, or unforgettable performances, some movies are better than the books they’re based on.

ten The Devil Wears Prada is a more satisfying story in the movies

Andy Sachs, Emily and Miranda Priestley in The Devil Wears Prada Movie

Published in 2003, The devil wears Prada was an instant hit and was on the New York Times bestseller list for six months. A semi-biographical tale about an assistant staged in the fashion industry, his staunch realism proved to be one of his greatest strengths (and also one of his stumbling blocks).

Given its partial real-life basis (and although the book ends with a fun full circle), the ending is bittersweet at best – as is much of the story. The movie sweetens that and main character Andrea’s worst moments. Instead, it adds a load of humor, a delightful supporting cast, and an iconic Meryl Streep performance as Miranda Priestley.

9 Fight Club author agrees movie is better

Tyler Durden and the Narrator in the underground movie Fight Club

Fight club, in all of its incarnations, is known as a very controversial story. Some believe it serves to glorify violence and toxic masculinity, while others defend it as some kind of niche satire. It details the seemingly intimate friendship between two men who create a network of titular fight clubs, with many secrets buried underneath.

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The film version is a refined version of the book. This makes his satirical angle slightly clearer and leaves out what is considered to be the novel’s “adoration” for Tyler Durden. It even adds a twisted romance. Even Chuck Palahniuk, the author of the book, agrees that the adaptation is superior to his novel.

8 Mean Girls pulls iconic story from non-fiction book

The 'Jingle Bell Rock' dance from the movie Mean Girls

Rare – but not unknown – are film adaptations of non-fiction books. However, one of the most iconic is Bad girls – a “chick flick” comedy that went on to become one of the funniest and most cited movies of the 2000s.

Cultural touchstone, it has been adapted from Queen bees and suckers, which is a self-help book for parents on how to support their daughters through the complicated social landscape of American high schools. While largely abandoning the parental album, the book exploration of cliques and social techniques turned a somewhat dry but informative read into a fun film.

seven IT: The first chapter is a distillation of real horror work

Losers club together at the end of IT: Chapter One movie

While this is not Stephen King’s first, most famous, or popular book, THIS has always occupied a prominent place in horror fiction. It’s a mix of horror and coming of age and back and forth between two timelines and detailing an unlikely group of friends battling an unimaginable evil.

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Computer Science: Chapter One narrows down the story and focuses exclusively on the actors as children. A stellar cast of young actors connects the story and preserves the essential feel of the horror story and the book’s maturity. He drops the aspects that bog down the book, such as his magical space turtle and infamous sewer scene.

6 Jaws made a solid book a pop culture sensation

The three men hunting the shark at Jaws

Jaws was a bestselling novel when it was released in 1974. However, it received varying reviews from critics who praised its suspense but criticized its lack of characterization and slightly wandering plot. The film, released a year later, has become a massive influence throughout cinema.

Praised for his simple but memorable characters, captivating plot, tension and fun, Jaws has become one of the most successful films of all time, creating the concept of a summer blockbuster as we know it.

5 Blade Runner has become his own beast entirely

Rick Deckard tracks Roy's hiding place in Blade Runner movie

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a renowned science fiction book. Considered a solid story overall, it’s hampered by patchy prose that spends too much time on its subplot regarding John Isidore.

The film adaptation, renamed Blade runner, is one of the most influential science fiction films ever to be made. Blending genre with black and influencing the look of sci-fi cinema in a way that continues to evolve, the writing tighter, the iconic performances by Harrison Ford, Sean Young and Rutger Hauer, and the beautiful composition make the film an all-time classic for a reason.

4 Stand By Me develops its humble origins

Boys walking on train tracks in Stephen King's Stand By Me movie

Stephen King’s adaptations have a wide range of quality. Some are considered excellent and some are considered really terrible. However, one of the most popular iterations is Support me – an iconic film about friendship and growing up in the 1980s, adapted from a King’s short story called The body.

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Using the short story as inspiration, the film develops many elements – particularly the interactions between its main cast which emphasizes the emphasis on growth, rather than the plot involving the titular body. As a result, many more people remember him fondly than the news.

3 The Lord of the Rings reduces the world’s most famous fantasy epic

Poster for the Lord of the Rings films, featuring Frodo, Gandalf, Legolas and Aragorn

the the Lord of the Rings is one of the best-known English-language literary works. The foundational fantasy work in the West, its immersive world-building, iconic characters, and story are instantly recognized everywhere.

The films take a drastically different approach in some areas. While Tolkien treated many Fellowship members as mythological figures with little to no character development, he also devoted long portions of the novel to seemingly unimportant documents. On the contrary, the Peter Jackson films reduce the story and humanize each of the community members as they undergo a distinct growth throughout their quest. Many prefer this approach, although some fans prefer the book and feel the films lack essential themes and material.

2 Trainspotting adapts sensation without excess

Mark Renton fleeing store security in trainspotting film

The two versions of Trainspotting are quite different. The book is a collection of short stories that focus on Edinburgh’s underprivileged working classes and their struggles with drug addiction, disease and relationships. He is renowned for his vulgar content and his flawless outlook on his subject matter.

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The film also stands out for its vulgar black comedy. However, he takes a different approach to storytelling and focuses more on the central character of Renton and his immediate friends. It also cuts down on some of the more distant and over-the-top stories while still capturing the atmosphere of the novel.

1 A good book became Princess Bride’s best swashbuckling movie

Inigo Montoya and Westley fight in Princess Bride movie

Aside from a few modern day flashbacks, the swashbuckling genre stays in the past with many of its colorful hero and derring-do films. The princess to marry has stood the test of time and has remained popular in modern times.

Already an exceptional book, The princess to marry takes its prestigious source material and elevates it further through exceptional choreography and performances from its cast. William Goldman brought Westley and Inigo Montoya to life, but Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin made them immortal.

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