Movies You Didn’t Know Were Based On Books

Books have always been a major source of inspiration for movies. From classics to new favorites, book-to-movie adaptations are a great way to bring a book’s world to life on the big screen. If certain books are popular both before and after their adaptations, such as the hunger games series or Jane Austen novels, other books behaved differently. In fact, some books that led to great movies might be completely unknown. In some cases, the book might have been overshadowed by the success of its film counterpart. Other films were based on lesser-known books that remained so even with a film adaptation. Here are a few movies you probably didn’t know were based on books, in no particular order.


8 The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Directed by David Frankel, The devil wears Prada stars Anne Hathaway as Andy, a young woman hired as an assistant to fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). Miranda is a tough boss, but Andy comes to navigate the pressured world of magazines and earn her respect. The film is based on Lauren Weisberger’s bestselling 2003 novel of the same name. According to Entertainment Weeklythe studio bought the film rights based on a partial manuscript in 2002, even before the book was published, and went through various script ideas until things were finalized in 2004. The devil wears Prada has been a favorite since its release, with great cast performances, a fun setting, and great fashion.

seven Jaws (1975)

Jaws is Steven Spielberg’s second film as a director, and it remains one of his best known. The film focuses on Martin Brody (Roy Scheider), Chief of Police of Amity Island, who has had tragic deaths due to shark attacks. With no other options, he joins Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and Quint (Robert Shaw) in tracking down the shark. Jaws began as a novel by Peter Benchley, written in 1974. The book received a lot of media attention and was a best-seller, with the rights soon being purchased by the film producers and given to Spielberg. Spielberg eliminated most of the novel’s subplots, including an affair between Brody’s wife and Hooper, and instead focused on suspense and three leads. The film is a tense and dramatic journey that pays off with a great ending.

6 Psycho (1960)

psychology is a classic psychological horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It centers on Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), who visits a motel and is killed by the owner, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). It initially received mixed reviews, but received outstanding box office reception and excellent reviews from audiences, and has stood the test of time as one of the best horror films of all time. The movie is so distinct and iconic that many people don’t know it’s based on the 1959 book, psychology, by Robert Bloch. The film follows the plot closely and is an accurate adaptation. The book was well received, but was likely overshadowed by the film, which later inspired sequels and a TV series.


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5 Blade Runner (1982)

blade runnerRidley Scott’s futuristic sci-fi film, is actually based on Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel, Do androids dream of electric sheep? Although the film has some changes, it fits the general basis of the book, with Detective Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) hunting down the rogue android replicants. The novel is often forgotten in the wake of the film, but many directors wanted to adapt it after its publication, including Martin Scorsese. Interesting way, according to Vulturethe title of the film comes from another novel: Alan E. Nourse’s The Bladerunner, which intended to make it into a movie, but never made it. Screenwriter Hampton Fancher liked the title, and the studio bought the rights to the 1982 film. Regardless of its origins, blade runner has remained one of the best science fiction films of all time.

4 Cabaret (1972)

Film-musical by Bob Fosse Cabaret had many releases before it became the well-known movie. The story began with Christopher Isherwood’s 1939 novel, Goodbye to Berlincovering his time in the Weimar Republic. Goodbye to Berlin was later adapted into the play I am a camera by John Van Druten in 1951, the play becoming the basis for John Kander and Fred Ebb’s 1966 musical, Cabaret. The film draws on all three and centers on Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli), a Berlin cabaret singer engaged in a love triangle during the rise of the Nazi Party. Featuring many great songs including “Wilkommen” and “maybe this time“, the film was a commercial and critical success, and is considered one of the best musical films.

3 Shreek (2001)

Shrek, directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, is a beloved animated film about an ogre named Shrek (Mike Myers), who falls in love with the cursed princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz). However, few people know that the film is loosely based on the 1990 children’s book. Shrek! by William Steig, about an ugly creature named Shrek who meets an ugly princess to live happily ever after. Plans to adapt the book began shortly after its publication, with Steven Spielberg buying the rights in 1991, before selling them to DreamWorks in 1994. The result was a huge hit, with Shrek become one of the highest-grossing films of the year and launch a successful franchise.


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2 Weird Friday (2003)

terrible friday has had several adaptations, the best being considered the 2003 version by Mark Waters, which was praised by critics and fans alike. It stars Lindsay Lohan as Anna and Jamie Lee Curtis as her mother, Tess. Their strained relationship changes as they switch bodies and learn a new understanding of what the other is going through. This adaptation and the others are based on the novel of the same name by Mary Rodgers, published in 1972. The book focuses primarily on Anna’s experiences, her mother being absent for most of the book. The film version also explores Anna and Tess, with excellent characterization and performances from Lohan and Curtis making it memorable.

1 Die Hard (1988)

die hard is an action movie directed by John McTiernan, starring Bruce Willis as John McClane, who must arrest terrorists in a Los Angeles skyscraper. Despite low expectations, the film was a huge success. Audiences appreciated this new take on the action genre and how it showed McClane’s vulnerability as a hero. Before that, however, it was a book called Nothing lasts eternally, written by Roderick Thorp in 1979. The book had a darker tone, with a detective trying to arrest terrorists holding his daughter hostage. The film changed some of that and didn’t go as dark, but retained the favorite action sequences of McClane crawling through the vents and blowing up the elevator. Overall, the adaptation changes worked, because die hard launched a franchise and influenced many subsequent action movies.

About Marcia G. Hussain

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