Six Best Film Adaptations of Books

Making a book to film adaptation can be highly challenging. The loyal fanbase of a good book tends to have a high expectation from the movie version of their favorite reads. There have been many high budgeted movies that spectacularly failed to achieve success.

However, there are also examples of films that raked in humongous sums of money when they made a good adaptation of famous books. Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland, and The Hobbit are examples of some of the highest-grossing film adaptations of books in history.

The question is: what makes a book to film adaptation so successful? One of the interesting insights from Betway Insider is that only an iconic book series is most likely to ensure that the movie remakes are a financial hit. For example, Harry Potter was already an iconic book series before it was made into movies. And so is the case with the Lord of the Rings and Alice in Wonderland.

1- Little Women

Greta Gerwig’s creation Little Women is one of the best book-based movies that you can get your hands on. Based on Louisa May Alcott’s novel of the same name, the American coming of age period drama film follows the lives of the March sisters during the 19th century.

Jo March (played by Saoirse Ronan) is a writer and her sister Amy March (portrayed by Florence Pugh) studies painting in Paris. Emma Watson has played the character of Meg March who is the oldest sibling and is married to a schoolteacher. While Eliza Scanlen has shown Beth March, who develops a devastating illness during the film.

Little Women hit the screens in December 2019 and grossed $218 million worldwide. It was also very well received by the critics who praised the acting, direction and screenplay. The film received six Academy Award nominations and ultimately won for Best Costume Design.


2- Sense and Sensibility 

Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility is one of the most loved books of all time. The pressure was on director Ang Lee and screenplay writer & lead actress Emma Thompson to produce an equally brilliant film adaptation. However, the 1995 film adaptation won over the hearts of the audiences and critics alike.

The film was made on a budget of $16m but garnered $135m at the box office. It also received almost universally positive reviews from critics. Emma Thompson’s performance was highly praised while Ang Lee’s direction was also mentioned in glowing terms by the commentators. The 1995 period drama film received seven Academy Award nominations and won for Best Adapted Screenplay.


3- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 

The Harry Potter book series broke all records of popularity, creating a phenomenon in the world. To satisfy the loyal fanbase of the book series was very difficult but Alfonso Cuaron, Chris Columbus, David Heyman and Steve Kloves proved themselves up to the task.

And their efforts for making Prisoner of Azkaban paid them huge dividends as the film grossed $796m at the box office, becoming the second-highest-grossing film of 2004.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban follows protagonist Harry Potter’s third year at Hogwarts. A notorious mass murderer Sirius Black has escaped from the wizarding prison Azkaban and is also said to after Harry’s murder.


4- The Godfather

The Godfather is widely regarded as one of the greatest movies ever made. It is based on Mario Puzo’s novel of the same name and first hit the screens in 1972.

The film recounts the story of the Corleone family, mainly focusing on patriarch Vito Corleone (played by Marlon Brando) and his young son Michael Corleone (portrayed by Al Pacino) who undergoes a great transformation. The Godfather was made on a budget of around $7 million and was first released in 1972. The movie became a huge financial hit, becoming the highest-grossing film of the year.

The American crime film also won three Oscars at the 45th Academy Awards. While critics raved about the direction, screenplay, editing, cinematography and performances of the cast.


5- The Shawshank Redemption

The 1982 novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption is the creation of famous American author Stephen King. However, director Frank Darabont decided to make it into a film in 1994 and it became greatly popular. The Shawshank Redemption movie, which was made on a budget of $25 million, stars Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, and Bob Gunton in the lead roles.

The highly rated movie recounts the story of a banker who ends up in jail for two murders he claimed he didn’t commit. Initially, he struggles to adapt to his new environment but slowly his status increases after he proves himself very instrumental in a money-laundering operation led by the prison warden.

Although the movie was a box office disappointment, it received critical acclaim, with commentators particularly praising the performances of Robbins & Freeman. The Shawshank Redemption also won seven nominations at the Academy Awards in 1995.


6- The Remains of the Day

Kazuo Ishiguro’s Booker Prize winning novel The Remains of the Day follows the life of a butler named Stevens who has a long record of service at Darlington Hall. While the book tells the story from the point of view of Stevens only, the film adaptation of James Ivory tries to give a more comprehensive view by keeping all the characters at equal length.

The Remains of the Day hit the screens in 1993, with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson in the lead roles. It received almost universally positive reviews from the critics who heaped praise on its direction, acting, and screenplay. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress. It also received nominations in several categories at the Golden Globe Awards in 1993.

Making a book-based movie is as difficult as making a film about football and famous EPL top scorers because both are already highly interesting, making the task of matching their levels in films very difficult. That’s why so many films about football have failed. There are the examples of movies like Mean Machine, Ladybugs, and The Match that all failed to fulfill the expectations of the football loving audience.

Soccer is enormously popular around the world, with millions of fans following the matches of their favourite clubs regularly. Those who can afford it travel even great distances just to see their stars perform. While for a great majority that’s not convenient and so they watch their favourite footballers in action on television. These passionate fans also like to keep themselves updated on all the transfer news through sites like, besides watching the matches.


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