Movies Based on Books: When The Movie is Better

movies based on books

This is such a dangerous path to travel amongst the reading community. I have come to find that often siding with Hollywood over the tried and true author is akin to kicking a puppy. Don’t get me wrong, I too have those strong murderous feelings when someone brings it up that they enjoyed a movie based on a book more than its book predecessor. With that being said, bear with me through my lengthy drivels.

bridge to terabithia movies based on books

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

First up, Bridge to Terabithia. This is a nationally known classic that most children had to read in school at some point. If you weren’t forced to read this as an adolescent, this story follows two bullied pre-teens looking to escape the world through some pretty fantastic imagination. I had to dive into this beauty in the most precarious of years, fourth grade.

The case I am making for the movie is that not only was it done beautifully and was led by some of our favorite adult actors now, but it represented all the themes the book brought up, from friendship to intense loss. If you need a good cry, this is the book and movie for you.

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

The next title I would argue has a movie that is better than the book would have to be Where the Red Fern Grows. Also, a read I experienced in fourth grade where it thoroughly wrecked me. See a theme? Yeah, me too.

This one gets you right in the gut with a little boy and his first loves, two Redbone Coonhound puppies. It follows him as he grows up alongside his two beloved dogs, and you experience friendship, family, and the intense adoration we feel for our pets. This movie is just enough old school to take you back to a time without cell phones, and a general appreciation for hygiene. This story takes away all the things you hold dear, so proceed with caution.

movies based on books sad puppy eyes

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Now we arrive at my final title that was better as a movie. Memoirs of a Geisha is a lovely fictional piece about a geisha in Kyoto, Japan before, during, and after World War II. This cult classic was perfect for transporting you to another country and making you cling to your seat as you watch a beautiful young Japanese woman rise from extreme poverty to an honorable entertainment position in society. Thank goodness I did not read this one in fourth grade.

You might have sensed a theme amongst my ramblings. All these titles have a point in the plot where I found myself in a puddle of tears. The books drag you feet first into all kinds of impossible feelings, and you can’t avoid them. Much like being in a hurricane, you are along for the basket-case of a ride.

I believe that most readers have problems with book adaptations because there is no way to fully translate everything you feel and see in the words on a page onto a screen. There are some things so intensely personal that a reader experiences that they will never experience in a movie, and it is something films will always lack.

This being the case, the audience gets a fair amount of protection when watching movies based on books. And I needed protection from these books. Because they all hurt me.

The films were only better because they keep you from feeling all the feelings you experienced in the books. All three of these titles were gripping, heart-wrenching at times, and indeed maintained a steady flow of tears far unlike the movies. And for that reason, these movies were better if only for keeping me from dying of dehydration.

movies based on books

What are some other movies based on books that you enjoyed watching more than reading? Tell us in the comments!

HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., a subsidiary of HarperCollins Publishing, Inc., operates Page Chaser. HarperCollins Publishing is the publisher of Bridge to Terabithia.

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