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.