(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish. Want to make your own list? Clicking the image will take you to this week’s post. Happy listing!)
Early in January I talked about how the book is always better than the movie — and now here I am, having to list film adaptations that I liked. This may end up being the shortest list ever, but I’ll give it the college try.
1. “The Scarlet Pimpernel” (1982) – Old movies are practically the only thing my dad and I can talk about, and the 1982 TV serialization of The Scarlet Pimpernel is one of our favorites. Whether you’re into romance, adventure, danger, intrigue, close calls, daring deeds, disguises, trickery, a bit of silliness, or good triumphing over evil, this film has something for you. And the books are fabulous.
2. “Clue” (1985) – Okay, so this movie was adapted from a game, rather than a book. But it was done creatively, and with a fantastic cast. It’s funny, super quotable, and makes the perfect party movie. Just make sure no one cuts the electricity…
3. “Fried Green Tomatoes” (1991) – I saw this movie before I read the book, and so I’m kind of partial to it. Jessica Tandy, Cathy Bates, Mary-Louise Parker, and Mary Stuart Masterson. The story flits seamlessly back and forth through time, chronicling the life of Whistle Stop Alabama, and the friendship between two women. A friendship to die for.
4. “Little Women” (1994) – I hope this is on lots of people’s lists. Yet another instance of excellent casting, plus a fabulous story that leaves plenty of room for character development. A grab bag of love, hate, war, comedy, drama, history, and a hint at the future. Louisa May Alcott hated writing this book, but I’m glad she did. And I’m glad it’s been adapted to film several times. It’s a great story.
5. “Pride and Prejudice” (1995) – My mom bought this on VHS (ooh, throwback!) when it first came out, and I think I may have actually seen it hundreds of times. The casting was perfect. I loved seeing the characters I’d read about come to life, including Mrs. Bennet, whose insipidity is rivaled only by that of Frederick Fairlie in The Woman in White. The main reason I didn’t enjoy the Kiera Knightley version (other than the fact that it was Kiera Knightley) is that it was too short, and too much was left out. I much prefer the mini-series. Okay, and Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy might be the hottest thing ever.
6. “You’ve Got Mail” (1998) – One of my favorite Christmas movies, even though it’s not really a Christmas movie. This story has been through several remakes, and its original incarnation was as a play — written in 1940 by Hungarian playwright Miklos Laszlo. I’ve never read the play, but “You’ve Got Mail” makes it on the list anyway.
7. “The Count of Monte Cristo” (2002) – I saw the film before I had to read Dumas’ novel for an English class. Although the film was fairly radically different from the book, I enjoyed them both for various reasons. Dantes’ toast at Albert’s party still gives me goosebumps.
Gazing back at my list, it seems to be the casting that makes me love the movie. I like seeing characters come to life, and I hate it when they get the casting wrong.
What book-to-film adaptations made your list?
18 thoughts on “Top 10 Tuesday: Best Movie Adaptations”
I agree that casting can make or break the movie. You have some good films on your list! I am also a fan of Clue – so funny! Little Women is on my list too, the same version. Fried Green Tomatoes is another good one. I am looking forward to finally watching Pride & Prejudice. Love Colin Firth!
Thanks for sharing your list.
You haven’t seen the Colin Firth version? You are really missing out! Drop everything and watch it, right now. 🙂
The Colin Firth version is the OFFICIAL version, in my book. ; ) But I didn’t add it to my 10 because it was made as a series.(I’m anal about these things, I know.) But I did mention it at the end of my list of movies. Special Mention.
I love most versions of THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL. (The book is terrific too!) Especially the Leslie Howard one. But I also loved the Anthony Andrews AND the Richard Grant versions. In fact, I think I’ll go reserve them on Netflix.
The official version. I like that, Yvette. I think it should say that on the DVDs. I haven’t seen any other film versions of The Scarlet Pimpernel mainly because I love Anthony Andrews so much, and couldn’t bear to like another Scarlet Pimpernel better. You can find that version on Amazon, if not Barnes and Noble — it’s totally worth buying.
Oooooooooo! I forgot The Scarlet Pimpernel! *runs off to amend list*
Glad I jogged your memory, Gypsi! I’ve found a few lists with movies that I wish I had included in my original list. Namely “The Princess Bride.” Hopefully I’ll think of it next time.
I LOVED that movie! In fact they were showing it the other day on television. Dagmara was excellent as well as Jim Caviezel. It’s such an exciting story…
I haven’t seen many movies with Caviezel. I think the last thing he did was “The Passion of the Christ,” and there are a million things I would rather do than watch that film. “The Count of Monte Cristo” made a good movie because it has a little of everything: action, adventure, mystery, comedy, romance…it’s got something for everyone.
Clue! Dude, high five, that is the funniest movie of all time, y/y? I’m with you on P&P, too, I really don’t…dislike Keira Knightly, exactly, but her as Lizzie rubbed me every frickin’ wrong way. I could barely force myself to watch it, but you’re right, it was just too short 🙁 and that Darcy had nothin’ on Firth! 😀
I had no idea You’ve Got Mail was based on a book! I thought it was just a remake of the old movie, but good choice 🙂 It’s really cute.
I loved “Clue” from the first time I saw it. I played the board game a million times as a kid, and it was fun to see the characters come to life. Miss Scarlet’s characterization was no surprise, but I enjoyed Mrs. White and Mr. Green. And Mrs. White! I think she’s everyone’s favorite.
Yep, “You’ve Got Mail” was based on a play. I haven’t been able to find a copy of it, but then I haven’t looked very hard. Maybe when I have some free time.
Madaline Kahn is brilliant! I love her performance in both this and Blazing Saddles – and they’re so different. She’s awesome 🙂 And yeah, Mr. Green’s pretty hilarious too. Of course, Tim Curry takes the cake!
That whole movie is filled with ridiculously over-the-top characters, and it’s hard to pick a favorite. Mrs. Peacock is fabulous, though.
All this discussion of “Clue” makes me want to watch it again! 😀
I had no idea Louisa May Alcott hated writing Little Women…wow! It’s such a great story in both book and movie format. I totally agree about the Keira Knightley version — I just thought too much was altered from the original, and plus I didn’t like Keira as Elizabeth. Love the longer BBC Colin Firth version though! 😀
I’ve read several of Alcott’s books, but I didn’t know much about her life until I read Louisa May Alcott: A Personal Biography (Susan Cheever). She was an interesting person. Abused, certainly, and with some psychological and physical problems too. She didn’t lead a particularly happy life. Most of her writing was done under the pseudonym A.M. Barnard, and was the kind of “thrilling stories” that Jo March writes. She wasn’t a big fan of that genre either, but that’s what sold. She delayed writing Little Women, and got really mad when little girls wrote to her asking for her to make Jo and Laurie get married. She was kind of a feminist, Miss Alcott was. 🙂
I think a lot of people feel the same as you about Pride and Prejudice, Danya. I just couldn’t enjoy Knightley as Elizabeth. She’s…pouty, and just kind of blah. She didn’t bring the same energy to the role as did Jennifer Ehle. And nobody does better than Colin Firth at anything. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by!
I’m a huge fan of Alcott’s thrillers (as opposed to her conventional works). Matter of a fact, Victorian sensationalism is my favorite genre to read. 😛 She writes a good (if you consider the era) shocking tale.
Did you know that vanity got the best of Firth and he’s been keeping his hair dyed black since no one recognized him after Darcy when it was his natural color? I think that’s hilarious.
I’ve never read any of Alcott’s thrillers. I’m not entirely certain that melodrama is my forte. Although the excerpt of “The Masked Marriage” that is presented in Little Women sounds like it’s something I’d enjoy. Maybe I should give Barnard’s work a shot.
I think the story of Firth dyeing his hair is funny, but also totally understandable. Acting is all about being recognized (and about not aging), and if that role is what catapulted him into his career, I’m not at all surprised he did it. But I think he’s just as handsome in “The King’s Speech” as he was in “Pride and Prejudice.” He’ll always be one of my favorites.
When I was a kid, me and my friends loved reading the contemporary pop literature from Michael Crichton, John Grisham and Tom Clancy. Most of us took to Crichton and Grisham, so the two on this list for me have to be The Client and Jurassic Park.
What was actually pretty cool about these movies was that there are some pretty big details that are changed, but each has it’s own identity.
I know how scared you get with the raptor scene in the kitchen, so I wouldn’t recommend the book. And don’t even bother picking up The Lost World. I remember being actively scared when I read that as a kid.
I actually finally read Jurassic Park during college. It was interesting, but the Chaos theory parts went mostly over my head. Plus it’s just not a favorite story of mine. Probably because those stupid raptors have scarred me for life.
The movie and the book are very different, and I think I like the movie better (though only marginally). Not only is there less math, the ending is happier (and I love happy endings).
I’ve never read any Tom Clancy — is it along the same lines as Clive Cussler? I’ve been told that Grisham’s The Summons might interest me, so it’s on my TBR list. Not sure when I’ll get to it, though.