Share on Facebook

A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

40 of the All-Time Greatest Book-to-Movie Adaptions

Nothing beats a great book—not even great movies based on books. Get your fill of both with the top books made into movies.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

Books To Movies, Via (7)

The book is always better

If you’ve ever watched a book-to-movie adaptation with an avid reader, you’ve likely heard the book lover’s common refrain: “The book was better.” That’s not universally true, but in the case of the best books made into movies, rarely does the film compare to its original source material. Books are difficult to transition to the screen because the screenplay must make choices to advance the story visually and whittle it down to fit the traditional 90- to 120-minute running time. Often these changes cheapen the experience or take away the power of the words on the page.

We’ve rounded up 40 of the greatest books made into movies, from classic works of fiction, mystery books, and thrillers to fantasy books, romance novels, and teen reads. The books are all stellar—we chose those that are best sellers, highly acclaimed, or otherwise influential to modern literature and pop culture. And the movies? Well, some stand on their own as fine works of art. Others were easily forgotten, though the books that inspired them endure in readers’ minds forever.

Join the free Reader’s Digest Book Club for great reads, monthly discussions, author Q&As and a community of book lovers.

The Invention Of Hugo Cabret BookVia

1. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Book published: 2007

Movie released: 2011

Evoking graphic novels, picture books, flip books, and films, The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick is utterly brilliant. It’s a thick hardback—mostly full of pencil sketches—that tells a truly magical story of a boy in 1930s Paris, an automaton built by his dad, and a secret from the early days of cinema. In 2011, Martin Scorsese released Hugo, an adaptation starring Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Chloë Grace Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen, Emily Mortimer, and Jude Law. Though Selznick’s novel was written for children, adults adore both the book and the film, awarding the former a 2008 Caldecott Medal and nominating the latter for a 2012 Best Picture Academy Award.

Shop Now

Looking for your next great book? Read four of today’s bestselling novels in the time it takes to read one with Reader’s Digest Select Editions. And be sure to follow the Select Editions page on Facebook!

My Abandonment BookVia

2. My Abandonment by Peter Rock

Book published: 2009

Movie released: 2018

Inspired by a true story and told through the vantage point of its teenage protagonist, My Abandonment is a tale of survival, family, and what it means to have a loving home. Directed by Debra Granik, the adaptation is beautifully filmed and is among the books made into movies that feature a completely different title. You may recognize it as Leave No Trace. Actress Thomasin McKenzie (Last Night in Soho, JoJo Rabbit) garnered praise for her portrayal of a homeless teen living off the grid in the woods of Oregon with her veteran father. It’s a story told with quiet intensity and impossible grace. If you love books based on real life, pick up one of these autobiographies.

Shop Now

The Help BookVia

3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Book published: 2009

Movie released: 2011

This novel is one of the best historical fiction books ever written, and as far as books made into movies go, both have made an impact on readers and viewers alike. Set in Jackson, Mississippi, in the early 1960s, The Help tells the story of two Black maids working in white households who struggle with holding their tongues in the face of blatant racism. When they team up with a white socialite to tell their stories, it awakens folks along the racial divide during the birth of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. The movie adaption received plaudits during awards season, with Octavia Spencer winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Next, check out these book recommendations based on fan favorite TV shows.

Shop Now

The Cider House RulesVia

4. The Cider House Rules by John Irving

Book published: 1985

Movie released: 1999

Set in a Maine orphanage, this classic by John Irving is harsh and dark—and essential. Touching on illegal abortions, bigotry, and the struggle women still have with autonomy over their bodies, the novel is riveting and eye-opening. It’s generally a smarter idea to watch movies based on books after reading the source material, but in this case, you may want to start with the gentler film, which stars Tobey Maguire, Charlize Theron, and Michael Caine. And be sure to pick up these feminist books on your next trip to the bookstore.

Shop Now

David Copperfield BookVia

5. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Book published: 1850

Movie released: 2019

Charles Dickens’s books are classics for a reason, and if you found them a bit of a chore back in high school, it’s time to give them another read. This one chronicles the many adventures of young David Copperfield on his path from impoverished child to successful novelist. And while you may not be able to read this book for free online, you can buy the eBook for as little as 99 cents. Follow it up with the riotously funny The Personal History of David Copperfield. A lot has changed in the 169 years between book and movie, and that’s abundantly clear when you sit down to watch the brilliantly inventive and thoroughly tongue-in-cheek film. Dev Patel shines as Copperfield himself, and he’s joined by powerhouses Peter Capaldi, Tilda Swinton, and Hugh Laurie.

Shop Now

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory BookVia

6. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Book published: 1964

Movies released: 1971 and 2005

Thanks to a pair of remarkable films, starring Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp as the famed mad chocolatier, you likely already know the premise and plot of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book. The doors to Willy Wonka’s mysterious chocolate shop will be thrown open—but only to five lucky children who find a coveted golden ticket tucked into the wrapper of their Wonka bars. Four brats and the hero of the story win, and what happens next is childhood lore on the page and the screen. Gather the kids for a veritable Wonkafest: Read the book, follow it with the films, and then hit theaters for the prequel, Wonka, when it releases.

Shop Now

One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest BookVia

7. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

Book published: 1963

Movie released: 1975

Before there was Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, and Christopher Lloyd in hospital whites, there was Ken Kesey’s internationally best-selling novel. The comedic yet empathetic look at a mental hospital misfit and the cruel conditions he and the other patients endure makes this one of the best books made into movies. It’s one of the best fiction books in modern history.

Shop Now

The Orchid Thief BookVia

8. The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean

Book published: 1998

Movie released: 2002

The Orchid Thief is part of a nesting doll of adaptations: The film is based on the book, which is based on an article author Susan Orlean wrote for The New Yorker. Yes, the book is actually about a flower, but it is so much more than that. With themes of passion, obsession, lust, and criminal justice, The Orchid Thief hits so many elements of the human condition with panache and originality. It’s the sort of engrossing beach read you’ll get sucked into and be hard-pressed to put down. The movie, appropriately called Adaptation, is easily one of the best books made into movies—not only is it inspired by the book, but it also uses the original book in its plot. Featuring star performances from Tilda Swinton, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, and Nicolas Cage, it’s one of the most remarkable movies ever attempted and made.

Shop Now

Jurassic Park BookVia

9. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Book published: 1990

Movie released: 1993

At its release, Michael Crichton’s 1990 action-adventure novel was wholly original. It may not seem that way after six movies, but the book became a number one New York Times best seller for a reason. The compulsively readable novel tells the thrilling tale of an island populated by the fiercest predators to ever walk the earth, brought to life thanks to some discovered dino DNA and opportunistic scientists. It’s the perfect Father’s Day book for dads who’ve seen the flicks but never cracked open the novel. If you’re going to follow it up with any of the movies, make it the 1993 Steven Spielberg movie with Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum. Like the book, it’s a classic.

Shop Now

The Hate U Give BookVia

10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Book published: 2017

Movie released: 2018

The best-selling teen novel by Angie Thomas is a tour de force and should be required reading in high schools across the country. It’s a modern story about the battle over civil rights still being fought today in the streets, school hallways, courthouses, police stations, and government buildings across the country. The 2018 film, starring a remarkable Amandla Stenberg, brings The Hate U Give‘s anti-racist message to a wider audience.

Shop Now

Dune BookVia

11. Dune by Frank Herbert

Book published: 1965

Movies released: 1984 and 2021

Dune is a masterpiece of the science fiction genre that was originally published as two separate serials in a magazine. Set in a desert world, the action centers on the heir to a family charged with ruling a world with only one valuable thing to its name: a drug that can extend life and enhance consciousness. The story mixes environmentalism and politics and lays the groundwork for much of the sci-fi that has been written in the half century since its publication. While you may have a hard time taking the ’80s flick seriously, Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 film adaption, starring Timothée Chalamet and Oscar Isaac, was released to wide acclaim.

Shop Now

The Shining BookVia

12. The Shining by Stephen King

Book published: 1977

Movie released: 1980

Stephen King is one of the best writers of all time, and while many of his horror novels and short stories have made their way onto big and small screens over the past four decades, few of the films outshine the written word. The Shining tells the expansive yet claustrophobic story of Jack Torrance, who’s spending the winter with his family in a massive remote mountain resort. He’s the caretaker of the property, but since it’s the off-season, he’s banking on having plenty of time to write. Instead, madness descends, and the result is bloody and horrific. Stanley Kubrick’s masterful adaptation features chilling cinematography, a heart-pounding score, and one of the greatest acting performances of all time by Jack Nicholson.

Shop Now

High Fidelity BookVia

13. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

Book published: 1995

Movie released: 2000

Perhaps you know Nick Hornby from his other stellar novels. Or maybe you’ve just heard of the various movies based on his books: About a Boy, A Long Way Down, Fever Pitch, and, of course, High Fidelity. This story of a record store manager’s love for vinyl, lists, and his past girlfriends is a modern classic and a novel music lovers will appreciate. It’s a funny, sarcastic look at the many flaws of men in love. The film stays true to the book’s rock ‘n’ roll roots, as does the new High Fidelity Hulu series.

Shop Now

Lord Of The Rings Series BooksVia

14. The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien

Books published: 1937 to 1955

Movies released: 2001 to 2014

This sprawling fantasy epic, published between 1937 (The Hobbit) and 1955 (The Return of the King), is one of the best-selling series ever written. The Hobbit alone has sold over 140 million copies. Featuring elves and orcs, dwarfs and trolls, humans and wizards, and so much more, this is one of the finest examples of world-building ever seen in literature. The Lord of the Rings series has been adapted in many ways: for radio, for theater, and most famously as a series of beloved films. Want more great book recs? Find the best book for you, based on your zodiac sign.

Shop Now

The Chronicles Of Narnia BooksVia

15. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Books published: 1950 to 1956

Movies released: 2005 to 2010

Beginning chronologically with The Magician’s Nephew followed by the wildly popular The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels by British author C.S. Lewis. It features epic tussles between good and evil, stunningly imaginative creatures, unexpected betrayals, and beautiful friendships, all set in an enchanting, fantastical world. This great book has been adapted for film as well as for radio, television, the stage, and even computer games.

Shop Now

If Beale Street Could Talk BookVia

16. If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

Book published: 1974

Movie released: 2018

In James Baldwin‘s fifth novel, a pregnant teen and the father of her child take an emotional journey from the hope of a marriage to the despair of a false accusation. This is a love story as only the great James Baldwin could deliver, with intensely profound and moving prose and an eye on injustice. The book was adapted into a film of the same name, written and directed by Barry Jenkins and garnering a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for Regina King. Don’t wait for Black History Month to read the best books by Black authors.

Shop Now

The Godfather BookVia

17. The Godfather by Mario Puzo

Book published: 1969

Movies released: 1972, 1974, and 1990

Make your book club an offer it can’t refuse: If the group reads Mario Puzo’s 1969 crime novel, you’ll host a movie night to watch the Godfather films. It could be argued that of all the books made into movies, this one reigns supreme. After all, it’s a classic work of fiction and a best seller that spawned not one but two of the best films ever made. Both the book and flicks—which filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola co-wrote with Puzo—center on the Corleone family and the ruthless underworld they inhabit as the center of the American mafia.

Shop Now

The Glass Castle BookVia

18. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Book published: 2005

Movie released: 2017

In her 2005 memoir, The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls highlights the unconditional love that can be found within the family dynamic. With nonconformist parents, Walls had anything but a traditional childhood. The family’s nomadic struggles and financial perils helped shape the woman she would become. She writes of triumph against the odds, fierce determination, and tenderness for the flawed people we love.

Shop Now

To Kill A Mockingbird BookVia

19. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Book published: 1960

Movie released: 1962

The Pulitzer Prize–winning To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic of modern literature and a book that nearly every child will be assigned to read before finishing high school. And for good reason! This masterpiece gets at the heart of the human experience, with themes of innocence and cruelty, love and hate, race, and what it means to be a good person in a complicated world. The black-and-white film, starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, is just as worth your time. It won three Academy Awards, including Best Actor, and was nominated for five more, including Best Picture. Add these other books by female authors to your to-be-read list.

Shop Now

The Princess Bride BookVia

20. The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love & High Adventure by William Goldman

Book published: 1973

Movie released: 1987

You can quote the classic film like you’re reading from the screenplay, but you may not realize the movie about a swashbuckling story was a book first. We know, we know: Inconceivable! Just like the movie, the book features fencing and fighting, love and revenge, and a lot of unique humor.

Shop Now

Wild BookVia

21. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Book published: 2012

Movie released: 2014

If self-help books aren’t your thing, try a memoir about Cheryl Strayed’s self-discovery experience during a grueling 1,100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. The book reached number one on the New York Times best seller list and had the unique honor of being the first selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0. Reese Witherspoon portrayed Strayed in the 2014 film Wild, which was written for the screen by novelist Nick Hornby (whose book High Fidelity appears on this list of great books made into movies).

Shop Now

Atonement BookVia

22. Atonement by Ian McEwan

Book published: 2003

Movie released: 2007

Ian McEwan is often hailed as one of the great writers of the 20th century, and this gripping story, set on the cusp of, during, and in the aftermath of World War II, is among his greatest works. In it, the repercussions of a young girl’s mistake ripple across lives and decades. With themes of love, childhood, war, and the power of the written word, Atonement was shortlisted for the 2001 Booker Prize for fiction. A truly meticulous piece of filmmaking and gorgeous performances by James McAvoy and Keira Knightley do McEwan’s book proud.

Shop Now

Life Of Pi BookVia

23. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Book published: 2001

Movie released: 2012

Set at sea, this fantasy novel presents a uniquely daring plot: A boy named Pi Patel and a gorgeous Bengal tiger share a small boat for over 200 days after a shipwreck. The book touches on the theme of spirituality and paints a vivid picture of life adrift in the Pacific Ocean. The novel was a smash hit, selling more than ten million copies globally and winning the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. It also qualifies as one of the best books made into movies; the visually stunning Ang Lee film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards and won four—more than any other film from 2012. For groundbreaking fiction on the regular, sign up for a book subscription box. Then wait for your next great read to find you.

Shop Now

Push BookVia

24. Push by Sapphire

Book published: 1996

Movie released: 2009

The 1996 novel Push by Sapphire is the story of an illiterate teen who grows up in poverty and suffers horrendous abuse but goes on a journey of education and enlightenment, ultimately writing about her life. The movie adaption, named for the main character, Precious, arrived at the Cannes and Sundance film festivals without a distributor but went on to win six Oscar nominations later that year, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress.

Shop Now

12 Years A Slave BookVia

25. 12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup

Book published: 1853

Movie released: 2013

This incredible nonfiction book focuses on a Black man who was born free but tricked and kidnapped, then sold into slavery in the South. The wider world was introduced to the story through the 2013 film, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. You most certainly should watch the movie, which was directed by Steve McQueen and features a powerhouse performance from Chiwetel Ejiofor. But go beyond the flick with Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir.

Shop Now

Pride And Prejudice BookVia

26. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Book published: 1813

Movie released: 1995 and 2005

Pride and Prejudice is the story of a mother’s attempts to marry off her five daughters. It is considered one of the best-loved books in the history of English literature. Fans of modern hate-to-love romance novels will swoon over the originator of the trope. The story is packed with wit and skilled observation as Jane Austen presents the flirtation before a would-be marriage as a nimble dance of words and movement between Mr. Darcy and the incomparable Elizabeth Bennet. Though the book is a must-read for every home library, the screen adaptions are worthy of a watch and are still being devoured by tweens and teens today.

Shop Now

Fight Club BookVia

27. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Book published: 1996

Movie released: 1999

Chuck Palahniuk humbly has said he believes David Fincher’s 1999 movie starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton is better than his 1996 book of the same title, saying, “I was sort of embarrassed of the book because the movie had streamlined the plot and made it so much more effective and made connections that I had never thought to make.” Still, this modern classic, told from the perspective of an unnamed protagonist, packs plenty of punches. It’s full of visceral energy, shocking scenes, and commentary about psychotherapy, mental health, and male aggression.

Shop Now

Crazy Rich Asians BookVia

28. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Book published: 2013

Movie released: 2018

When Kevin Kwan published this novel in 2013, he did it “to introduce a contemporary Asia to a North American audience,” he says. Mission accomplished: It went on to become an international best seller. A few years later, the film version became the highest-grossing rom-com of the past decade. The book is stellar—and one of the funniest books you’ll read this year. And the movie is groundbreaking, becoming the first major Hollywood movie to feature a mostly Asian and Asian American cast since 1993’s The Joy Luck Club. Here are more great Asian movies to watch right now.

Shop Now

Call Me By Your Name Romance Bookvia merchant

29. Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

Book published: 2007

Movie released: 2017

André Aciman’s stunning novel tells the story of a teen boy who falls into a whirlwind romance with an older guest staying at his family’s Italian Riviera home during the summer of 1988. With beautiful prose, Aciman touches on love, attraction, desire, and sexuality. Moving and evocative, the award-winning story is one of the best LGBTQ+ books you’ll ever read. On screen, we see superbly nuanced performances by Timothée Chalamet (who was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for the role) and Armie Hammer. The story shines because of all that it does not reveal. This is a rare case in which the book and film are equally remarkable.

Shop Now

The Picture Of Dorian Gray BookVia

30. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Book published: 1891

Movie released: 1945 and 2009

Oscar Wilde’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, is steeped in controversy: It was first published in a magazine, short hundreds of words. The editor had removed “controversial” elements without Wilde’s knowledge or approval, citing fears that the daring story might violate public morality laws of the day. With themes of hedonism, homosexuality, beauty, and youth, the Gothic novel had Wilde’s Victorian contemporaries clutching their pearls. But with such a fantastic premise—the titular character sells his soul to make sure a painting of himself ages instead of his body—it’s no wonder the book was made into a movie. There are a half dozen film adaptations, but the one worth watching was released in 1945 and was shot primarily in black and white. It uses Technicolor for Dorian’s miserably aging portrait—a genius way to bring the book’s central theme to life.

Shop Now

Anna Karenina BookVia

31. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Book published: 1878

Movie released: 2012

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy is often thought of as the world’s greatest novel, and for good reason. Touching on themes of adultery, love, humanity, and life in Russia and adding quiet undertones of mental illness, Tolstoy presents his sprawling story without heavy-handed morality. Instead, the reader is invited to look into these lives like a voyeur, observing but not offering any judgment on the flaws of his characters. While a total of four films have attempted to capture Tolstoy’s hefty tome—at 864 pages, it certainly isn’t a short book—the 2012 adaptation, starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law, and Domhnall Gleason, is the most creative and glamorously filmed.

Shop Now

Brokeback Mountain BookVia

32. Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx

Book published: 1997

Movie released: 2005

Originally published in The New Yorker on October 13, 1997, this short story won the National Magazine Award for Fiction in 1998. It centers on the enduring power of love and the complexities of love between two men in an era and profession that views gay love as taboo. Brokeback Mountain was included in Annie Proulx’s masterful 1999 short story collection, Close Range, though it’s sold today as a short standalone novel. The devastatingly powerful film, which featured star-making performances by Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger, showcases the book’s themes for audiences who would have never experienced Proulx’s prose. The Ang Lee film helped change the way the world views the ways in which men must manage, and suffer for, their romantic love for one another.

Shop Now

The Color Purple BookVia

33. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Book published: 1982

Movie released: 1985

Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize for her 1982 novel The Color Purple. Walker’s poignant and evocative storytelling makes this one of the best books of all time. The cultural impact of the story makes it one of the best books about race relations in early 20th-century America. And Menno Meyjes’s stellar screenplay makes this one of the best books made into movies. Steven Spielberg coproduced it with Quincy Jones, and his direction of this epic tale of an African American woman (played by Whoopi Goldberg) living in the South and surviving incredible abuse and bigotry does the book justice and brings Walker’s important tale to life for generations of new audiences.

Shop Now

The Bfg BookVia

34. The BFG by Roald Dahl

Book published: 1982

Movie released: 2016

Roald Dahl is no stranger to great children’s literature. The author is responsible for some of the most daring and inventive books for young people (including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda), but one of the most magical stories on the page and the screen is The BFG. The great Mark Rylance as the BFG makes the 2016 movie a delight, but nothing beats the book. An expansion of a short story included in Dahl’s 1975 book Danny, the Champion of the World, this heartwarming tale focuses on the Big Friendly Giant, whose job it is to collect and distribute good dreams to children. Reading this to and with young people will fill their hearts and heads with hope.

Shop Now

The Great Gatsby BookVia

35. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book published: 1925

Movie released: 2013

This oft-misunderstood tale, set during the Jazz Age of America, tells the story of unchecked wealth, obsessive love, and lavish parties. It’s considered one of the classics of 20th-century literature, thanks to prose few writers have been able to match and a deceptive depiction of what the American dream actually means. The latest attempt to put F. Scott Fitzgerald’s world on screen soars, thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jay Gatsby and Carey Mulligan’s well-crafted Daisy Buchanan. The tragic ending may not make you cry, but these sad movie scenes and sad books certainly will.

Shop Now

The Hours BookVia

36. The Hours by Michael Cunningham

Book published: 1998

Movie released: 2002

Winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, The Hours is one of the best book-to-movie adaptions because the story soars on page as well as on screen. The film features powerhouse performances from Nicole Kidman (who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf), Meryl Streep, and Julianne Moore and focuses on three generations of women affected by Woolf’s mental illness and her classic novel Mrs. Dalloway. While not the happiest book ever written, The Hours is inventive and powerful. Fans of Woolf’s writing will speed through it, and fans of fantastic filmmaking will love watching the adaptation.

Shop Now

Revolutionary Road BookVia

37. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

Book published: 1961

Movie released: 2008

It took nearly half a century for Richard Yates’s tale of 1950s suburban life to hit the silver screen. The film saw the reunion of Titanic costars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio—and it’s only marginally less sad than the ship-sinking scene. Revolutionary Road tackles issues of women’s rights, abortion, unfulfilled passions, and the risks we take to pursue our dreams. The book is stellar, and the movie is equally phenomenal, thanks to Sam Mendes’s direction and outstanding performances from two of the finest actors of our generation. Find more fantastic fiction with this roundup of the best Native American books.

Shop Now

The Lost Child Of Philomena Lee BookVia

38. The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith

Book published: 1955

Movie released: 2013

This great but underappreciated book by journalist Martin Sixsmith tells the impassioned story of an Irish woman’s five-decade search for the son she was forced to give up when her father sent her away to a convent. The movie, simply titled Philomena, stars Steve Coogan and Judi Dench and was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar. In it, Sixsmith (played perfectly by Coogan) reluctantly helps Philomena, and the two bond on screen in a way that is nothing short of spectacular. This is the perfect case of a fantastic film adaption bringing readers to a great book they may not have otherwise experienced. For more true stories, check out the best biographies.

Shop Now

Alices Adventures In Wonderland BookVia

39. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Book published: 1865

Movie released: 2010

Fantastical, weird, and riddled with riddles, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is one of the most popular works of English-language fiction and, because of its colorful characters and magical story, is also one of the best books made into movies. There have been several film adaptions, both live-action and animated, but most agree that the Tim Burton–directed and Johnny Depp–led 2010 movie is a treat for the senses. Viewers experience the wonder in the same way a young child first experiences it on the page.

Shop Now

Little Women BookVia

40. Little Women by Louisa M. Alcott

Book published: 1868–1869

Movie released: 2019

A classic coming-of-age novel, originally published in two parts, Little Women is enduring and endlessly relevant even today. With a tomboy author-to-be, a frail yet beautiful sister, and the hopeless romantic, the March sisters demonstrate family love and a bond that will not be broken by the Civil War that rages on near their New England home. It’s a timeless tale that makes for a great mother-daughter book club read. The latest film adaption of Little Women does the book proud; it was showered with award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Saoirse Ronan), Best Supporting Actress (Florence Pugh), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Greta Gerwig). Not only does it introduce a new generation to one of the greatest books of all time, but it also gives the story the ending its author always intended but, because of the time period in which she lived, could never provide.

Shop Now

Jeff Bogle
Jeff Bogle is an Iris Award–winning photographer, avid traveler and English football fanatic who regularly covers travel, culture, cars, health, business, the environment and more for Reader's Digest. He is the proud dad of teen daughters.