The Best Books Made Into Movies

Mar 20, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Still of Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway in 'The Devil Wears Prada'
Image: Twentieth Century Fox

If you’ve ever loved a book, you know that feeling of trepidation about a film adaptation. Will they get the details of the book just right, the way you envisioned as you read it? Will they stick to the source material, flesh out your beloved characters precisely and make sure every climactic detail gets written in? Nothing is worse than leaving the theater and telling people they’re better off just reading the book, so it's no wonder the book-to-film adaptation business is a tricky one; there's a lot riding on this.

With A Wrinkle in Time and Ready Player One — both based on best-selling books — hitting theaters this month, we got to wondering which other book-to-film adaptations were out there that were truly great and worthy of our spotlight. While the proverbial jury decides where these two new adaptations will sit in the pantheon of book-to-film adaptations, there are already some really good examples out there of the right way to bring a book to the screen. 

Here are 30 movies that rose to the challenge and hit all the right notes of character, plot and scene while keeping things close to the source. A viewer could enjoy these whether or not they’d read the book, and book lovers left the theater satisfied. Whether you’re in the mood for a good read or an interesting watch, you can’t go wrong with these. 

1 /30: The 'Harry Potter' Series by J.K. Rowling

1/30 :The 'Harry Potter' Series by J.K. Rowling

2 /30: 'Gone with the Wind' by Margaret Mitchell

2/30 :'Gone with the Wind' by Margaret Mitchell

3 /30: 'The Godfather' by Mario Puzo

3/30 :'The Godfather' by Mario Puzo

4 /30: 'The Da Vinci Code' by Dan Brown

4/30 :'The Da Vinci Code' by Dan Brown

5 /30: The Lord of the Rings' Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

5/30 :The Lord of the Rings' Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

6 /30: 'The Hobbit' by J.R.R. Tolkien

6/30 :'The Hobbit' by J.R.R. Tolkien

7 /30: 'Misery' by Stephen King

7/30 :'Misery' by Stephen King

8 /30: 'The Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins

8/30 :'The Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins

9 /30: 'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett

9/30 :'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett

10 /30: 'Jurassic Park' by Michael Crichton

10/30 :'Jurassic Park' by Michael Crichton

11 /30: 'The Maze Runner' by James Dashner

11/30 :'The Maze Runner' by James Dashner

12 /30: 'Girl, Interrupted' by Susanna Kaysen

12/30 :'Girl, Interrupted' by Susanna Kaysen

13 /30: 'The Princess Bride' by William Goldman

13/30 :'The Princess Bride' by William Goldman

14 /30: 'The Notebook' by Nicholas Sparks

14/30 :'The Notebook' by Nicholas Sparks

15 /30: 'Bridget Jones’s Diary' by Helen Fielding

15/30 :'Bridget Jones’s Diary' by Helen Fielding

16 /30: 'Fight Club' by Chuck Palahniuk

16/30 :'Fight Club' by Chuck Palahniuk

17 /30: 'The Devil Wears Prada' by Lauren Weisberger

17/30 :'The Devil Wears Prada' by Lauren Weisberger

18 /30: 'The Outsiders' by S.E. Hinton

18/30 :'The Outsiders' by S.E. Hinton

19 /30: 'Les Misérables' by Victor Hugo

19/30 :'Les Misérables' by Victor Hugo

20 /30: 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe' by C.S. Lewis

20/30 :'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe' by C.S. Lewis

21 /30: 'Shutter Island' by Dennis Lehane

21/30 :'Shutter Island' by Dennis Lehane

22 /30: 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest' by Ken Kesey

22/30 :'One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest' by Ken Kesey

23 /30: 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee

23/30 :'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee

24 /30: 'Cold Mountain' by Charles Frazier

24/30 :'Cold Mountain' by Charles Frazier

25 /30: 'A Time to Kill' by John Grisham

25/30 :'A Time to Kill' by John Grisham

26 /30: 'The Martian' by Andy Weir

26/30 :'The Martian' by Andy Weir

27 /30: 'Babe' by Dick King-Smith

27/30 :'Babe' by Dick King-Smith

28 /30: 'The Hunt for Red October' by Tom Clancy

28/30 :'The Hunt for Red October' by Tom Clancy

29 /30: 'The Green Mile' by Stephen King

29/30 :'The Green Mile' by Stephen King

30 /30: 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' by Roald Dahl

30/30 :'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' by Roald Dahl