ByAllanah Faherty, writer at
Senior staff writer | Twitter: @allanahfaherty | Email: [email protected]
Allanah Faherty

There's nothing quite like the news that one of your favorite books is about to be adapted into a film. Naturally there's always the fear that the adaptation won't be faithful, or perhaps that the actors won't portray the characters quite as you imagined them when you read the book. But when Hollywood successfully nails a book adaptation, it's a simply magic feeling watching the pages come to life.

There's a ton of books being adapted for the big screen this year, but before those hit the big screen, you might want to revisit some of the best book adaptations of all time, and what better place to do that than Netflix?! Take a look below at the 10 best book adaptations to be found on Netflix and let me know your favorite in the comments below!

1. The Shawshank Redemption

Based on: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King

A staple in film studies in English classes all over the world, The Shawshank Redemption has to be high on any list of brilliant book-to-film adaptations. Based on a 1982 novella by Stephen King, the film told the story of the wrongly convicted banker Andy Dufresne and fellow inmate Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding as they found their redemption while serving their sentences at Shawshank State Penitentiary.

2. Forrest Gump

Based on: Forrest Gump by Winston Groom

In 1994 Forrest Gump was released and became an instant success, making 12 times its original budget and winning six Academy Awards. The film was actually based on the 1986 novel by Winston Groom, and though the film remains pretty faithful to the adventures of a man called Forrest Gump, in the book Forrest also has a short career with NASA, as well as a few other adventures.

3. The Exorcist

Based on: The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Frequently touted as one of the most iconic horror films of all time, The Exorcist was based on the 1971 novel of the same name, which was, in turn, based on a 1949 case of supposed demonic possession and exorcism. The film centers on the demonic possession of 12-year-old Regan, and her mother's best attempts to rid her child of the demons through exorcisms conducted by priests.

4. To Kill A Mockingbird

Based on: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

54 years after it was released To Kill A Mockingbird is still regarded as one of the best films of all time, and the 1960 novel it was based on is likewise regarded as one of the best novels of all time. Told from the perspective of Scout, the film follows as her father, Atticus Finch, defends a black man wrongly accused of rape charge in 1930s Alabama.

5. Jurassic Park

Based on: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Not only was Jurassic Park a totally mind blowing film, but it was also a mind blowing novel! Written in 1990, Michael Crichton's book was brought to life using groundbreaking technology just three years later. The movie and book both explored a world where dinosaurs had been successfully cloned and brought back to life with disastrous effects. Crichton also wrote a sequel, The Lost World, in 1995 which was adapted into a film in 1997.

6. The Da Vinci Code

Based on: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

While The Da Vinci Code may have been a massive and controversial hit back in 2006, the novel it was based on set the literary world alight three years earlier when it was released. The Da Vinci Code told the story of Professor Robert Langdon, who becomes the prime suspect in the murder of the curator of the Louvre. However after a cryptic message is discovered by the body, Langdon escapes with police cryptologist Sophie Neveu in order to discover the truth about an enormous religious secret being protected by a secret society.

7. Mystic River

Based on: Mystic River by Dennis Lehane

Published in 2001, the Dennis Lehane novel, Mystic River was quickly adapted into a movie which was released just two years later. The book and the film told the story of three childhood friends — Jimmy, Sean and Dave — who are brought back into each others lives when the daughter of one of the men is murdered.

8. Trainspotting

Based on: Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

Black comedy film Trainspotting is often lauded as one of the best British films of all time, and the 1993 novel it was based on by Irvine Welsh has also reached cult status. Trainspotting told the story of Mark Renton, a heroin addict trying to sober up and remove himself from his group of friends (also heroin addicts), while living in 1980s Edinburgh.

9. A Clockwork Orange

Based on: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Yet another film and book combo that often make it onto 'best of' lists, A Clockwork Orange is set in a dystopian future and follows the violent delinquent Alex who is jailed and then later volunteers to take part in a new aversion therapy which the government is experimenting with to solve the problem of crime.

10. The Color Purple

Based on: The Color Purple by Alice Walker

First released as a novel in 1982, The Color Purple went onto become a film starring Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey in 1985. The movie centers on Celie Harris-Johnson, a woman who struggles to find her way in the world after spending her whole life being abused in every form by her father, husband and many others.

What is your favorite book to film adaptation on Netflix?

A Clockwork Orange
A Clockwork Orange

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