My Top 5 Films Adapted from Books

This week I thought I’d talk about the best film adaptations from books. My top 5 are all books that I’ve read and enjoyed, and films that I think have have done justice to those books. I’ve chosen a range of genres and age ranges. Have you read the same books and watched the same films as me? Here are my choices:

Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King

Shawshank cover

The Shawshank Redemption was published in a collection of novellas by Stephen King called Different Seasons. Titled Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, it was made into a film in 1994 staring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins as two prisoners trying to survive the corrupt prison system whilst planning to escape against all the odds.

Although a novella, the film is one of the longest adaptations of a King story. It is one of my favourite films because of how well suited the actors are to their roles and how it doesn’t stray away from the original, utterly compelling story.



Tilly Trotter by Catherine Cookson

Tilly Trotter dvd

Tilly Trotter is the first in a series of books about the life and struggles of Tilly. She has been brought up by her grandparents and is thought to be a witch by the village locals. This first book focuses on her early life and is what the film is based on.

Catherine Cookson is one of my favourite authors, and this adaption of the book was superb. I enjoyed watching the story come to life and was really pleased that it stayed true to the book and didn’t add any extras for a more ‘dramatic effect’. 



Wilt by Tom Sharpe

Wilt dvd

Tom Sharpe is the funniest author I’ve ever read. I’ve laughed so much at his black comedy over the years that I’ve had trouble breathing! There are more Wilt books, but the film is based on the first book of the series.

The film stars Griff Rys Jones as Wilt and Mel Smith as Inspector Flint. Wilt buries a rubber doll in a building site at the college where he works whilst fantasising about murdering his insufferable wife, Eva. When Eva goes missing, Inspector Flint is convinced that Wilt really has murdered his wife and buried her in the college grounds.The mannerisms and facial expressions of both characters are priceless.



The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Huch Fin dvdThis is the only film of my top five that I watched before reading the book. At over three hours long, Huckleberry Finn is a great story that is brilliantly acted, especially by the young actor, Patrick Day, who played Finn.

When I read the book, I enjoyed Mark Twain’s writing style and my understanding of the language of the time was helped by having watched the film. The tale of Huck helping Big Jim escape slavery, and their growing friendship, truly is one of the classics.



Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda dvdWhen my daughters were younger they both loved Roald Dahl books and Matilda was one of their favourites. I enjoyed reading this book to them and I always enjoyed their reactions to the Bruce Bogtrotter chocolate cake scene, and when Matilda used her powers to help Miss Honey.

We enjoyed the film every bit as much as the book. The actors played their parts brilliantly. All of Dahl’s books feature children trying to overcome an adversary, and there was none bigger or scarier than headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, played by Pam Ferris.


Do you have any book – film adaptations to recommend to me? I’d be interested in any that you think I might like.

As always, thank you for reading.

Best wishes,






7 thoughts on “My Top 5 Films Adapted from Books

  1. Do graphic novels count? If yes, my faves are The Watchmen, Fight Club, A Clockwork Orange, The Princess Bride, and The Shining (clearly I’m a Stanley Kubrick fan).

    • Hi Lisa,

      Yes they count! Have you seen the other version of The Shining with Rebecca De Mornay in it? King had more input in that film and it has a bit more backstory before the family arrives at the Overlook.


    • Hi Steph,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I highly recommend Different Seasons. All 4 novellas in it are excellent.


  2. The book Godfather was very well adapted to screen, and to my knowledge I read the book first and then watched the film, other like Bond first watched the movie and then read the book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.