We can debate the merits of book to screen adaptations all we want but the truth is, it’s still going to happen. We can cross our fingers and watch with baited breath, and sometimes we are disappointed. But sometimes everything works out and despite our favourite scene that got cut, and the discrepancies we find in everything from character ages to dress colour, sometimes we are left with something that can stand on its own and is just as great as its source material (if for different reasons). These are not necessarily the best adaptations, but they are my favourite book and adaptation pairings.
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
VS Gone with the Wind (1939)
I saw the film several years ago and finally picked up the book earlier this year. As I’m sure we can all agree, the film is an epic masterpiece and the book even more so. I didn’t know that it was possible for me to love Scarlett and Rhett any more than I did, but reading the book proved to me that it was possible. I love everything that this story is, whether it’s on a page or a TV.
A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
VS Game of Thrones (season 1, HBO, 2011)
I won’t get started on the sacrifices that have been made to bring this amazing series to the screen (yes, I’m one of those people) so I will say this instead. I am forever grateful to HBO for season 1 of Game of Thrones because it introduced me to the Song of Ice and Fire series. Even with it’s smaller budget it crafted a TV show that so beautifully did the book justice, I don’t know if I have ever seen a better adaptation, and I’m sure it will be a while before I do again.
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
VS Stardust (2007)
Stardust is, I think, the only book I have read that I could describe as a ‘swashbuckling adventure’. Or that’s how it reads to me, anyway. The film captures this exactly. It’s so fun! The characters are so colourful, the magic is brilliant and it was great to see this brought to life on screen.
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
VS Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
I’ll be honest, the film took me by surprise. I watched it because I am a fan of the actors and I was totally bowled over by the story. I had to read the book. It was better; and that’s saying something, the film is one of my favourites! Give me an unconventional love story, a motivated main character and throw in some NFL and apparently, I’ll be there.
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
VS The Importance of Being Earnest (2002)
Like Game of Thrones, I believe this to be a pretty true adaptation. It captures the, dare I say it, absurdity of the story and it pulls it off. It’s a film I can watch over and over again and my very favourite play.
So there you go, some adaptations work out better than others. The STARZ TV adaptation of my favourite book, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, is set to premiere in August and there are further rumours that another of my favourites, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, is slated for adaptation in the near future. Here’s hoping they will make this list, should I revisit the topic in a few years.
But what do you think about adaptations? What are your favourites?