We’ve all heard it before: “The book was better than the movie,” but what if we told you that’s not always the case? What if there are instances where the cinematic adaptation not only matches but surpasses its literary counterpart?
We delve into eight surprising instances where the movie outdid the book. From unexpected plot twists to masterful character development, these films have managed to elevate their source material to new heights.
Let’s dive into the fascinating world where the silver screen outshines the printed page.
1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit – A Better Plot Twist
“The book’s plot is very different, and the characters are all unlikeable. Eddie isn’t a tragic character who’s dealing with his brother’s death by drinking his life away and alienating all the toons he used to befriend. He’s a hard-bitten, hard-drinking jerk just because. Roger is dead, and the character who killed him doesn’t really make any sense.
The producers of the movie took the idea of a world with toons and humans and threw away the plot. They made the right choice; the movie turned out amazing.”
The biggest proof that the movie was better than the book is when Gary K. Wolf wrote a sequel following the plotline of the movie and made the story in the book a dream.
2. Jaws – A More Relatable Tale
“Jaws, in my opinion. The book is not bad, don’t get me wrong, but the characters in it are extremely unlikeable. I think Spielberg was right to eliminate some of the subplots and to buff the characters up to be more likable/relatable. Also, the end of the book kinda sucked. I won’t spoil it, but compared to the movie it’s extremely anti-climatic.”
The book version of Jaws was complex. The characters were not the way they were portrayed in the movie. A lot of the elements in the book were excluded by director Steven Spielberg such as racial and homophobic insinuations that will definitely be frowned upon today.
3. Shrek – Surprise Entry
Shrek the movie is a more elaborate world than its book counterpart. It still has lots of similar elements such as some of the characters and plotlines like Shrek meeting a donkey and marrying a princess, but everything else is a result of the creative choices of Dreamworks after buying the rights for Shrek from William Steig.
4. Jurassic Park – Common Misconception
“Jurassic Park threads are always entertaining when the inevitable ‘wait, it’s based on a book???’ posts pop up.”
Before the book was even published, Steven Spielberg, who directed the film, acquired its rights with the help of Universal Studios. The idea was so groundbreaking, as well as the special effects used on the film that it’s no wonder the film was such a massive success.
5. Goodfellas – A Masterpiece
“Goodfellas (based on the novel Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi). Wiseguy is actually pretty interesting, it’s basically Henry Hill telling his own story.
But Goodfellas is a masterpiece.” Directed by Martine Scorsese, the film masterfully blends intense performances, sharp dialogue, and real-life gangster lore to create a compelling portrayal of life in the mafia.
6. Shawshank Redemption – Rare Consensus
“Shawshank Redemption is a great movie. Book is good, as well. This is my go-to answer. Book is excellent. Movie manages to be better.”
While both the book and film still touch on the same storyline, the film’s visual storytelling and performances add depth, which gave the film a bit more of an edge than the book.
7. Stand By Me – Perfect Rendition
“Stand By Me (based on Stephen King’s ‘The Body’)… I loved the book too! But the movie is a classic to me, just perfect rendition.” Stephen King has managed to write best-selling books again and again and plenty have been adapted into films as well. The film Stand By Me, with its perfectly captured childhood friendships and spirit of adventure, is loved better than the book.
8. Godfather – Wise Adaptation
“Godfather. The book was obviously a best seller but it had some really – REALLY — cringey side plots (involving huge private parts; the author seems to have had a fetish about outsized s*x organs) which the director wisely dropped in the film.”
Books usually offer more depth in a story because of the unlimited pages an author can use, but sometimes unnecessary subplots have to be removed to put focus on the central storyline, which the film smartly captured.
The Data Behind the Debate
While our exploration has highlighted specific instances where movies outshine their book counterparts, it’s worth noting that this isn’t always the consensus. According to a survey by SuperSummary, 34% of people enjoyed the book, compared to 27% who preferred the movie. However, an overwhelming 82% agreed that screen adaptations often fail to capture the depth and nuance of the original text.
On the other hand, Basmo argues that movies can be more visually stimulating and that actors can bring characters to life in a way that books can’t. Reviews.org’s analysis of over 1,100 books found that the book was rated higher than the movie in most cases. Yet, a survey by CBS News showed a nearly even split between those who prefer reading the book and those who prefer watching the movie.
The debate between books and movies is subjective and depends on personal preferences. Some people might find that movies provide a more immersive experience due to their visual and auditory elements. Others might argue that books offer a deeper understanding of the characters and plot because they allow readers to imagine the scenes in their own way.
In the end, whether a book or a movie is better can depend on many factors, including the quality of the screenplay, the performances of the actors, the vision of the director, and the expectations of the audience.
Wrapping Up the Reel vs Real Debate
As we’ve journeyed through these eight cinematic gems, we’ve seen how the magic of the silver screen can sometimes outshine the allure of the printed page. These examples challenge the common belief that the book is always superior to the movie, reminding us that storytelling is an art that transcends mediums, whether it’s through the depths of character development, the twist of a plot, or the sheer visual spectacle, movies can offer a unique perspective that enhances the original narrative.
The next time you hear “the book was better,” remember these instances where the movie was a cut above. After all, storytelling is not about the medium, it’s about the message and how it’s delivered.
No matter how many movies are released every year, there are certain films that we keep rewatching over and over. There’s a certain level of comfort and joy brought by seeing something familiar, especially if it makes you feel good and nostalgic.
The people from the Reddit community shared some of the movies they think deserve to be rewatched multiple times in one’s lifetime.
Original Article Source: reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/14addjo/people_always_say_the_books_better_than_the_movie/
Martha A. Lavallie
Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.