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8 Movies That Are, In Fact, Better Than The Book

1] The Godfather (1972)


Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

Based on: The Godfather (1969) by Mario Puzo

Why its better: The Godfather is widely considered to be one of the greatest films of all time. Mario Puzo's pulpy novel is definitely fun, but Francis Ford Coppola elevated it to a breathtaking cinematic accomplishment. It's also a more streamlined story, with Puzo's history of Don Corleone (Marlon Brando) incorporated in The Godfather Part II.

 2] Jaws (1975)


Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Based on: Jaws (1974) by Peter Benchley

Why its better: While the novel Jaws was a fairly standard thriller, the film held back on violence - a serendipitous consequence of a low budget and a malfunctioning mechanical shark. The non-shark characters were also fleshed out and rendered more likable, helping the audience root for them.

3] Jurassic Park (1993)


Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Based on: Jurassic Park (1990) by Michael Crichton

Why its better: When it came out nearly 25 years ago, Jurassic Park was a huge technological achievement - and it still holds up. It's hard for the novel to compete with the fully realized, larger-than-life dinosaurs of the film. And as with Jaws, the human characters are better developed and more sympathetic in the movie, which makes viewers way more invested in their survival.

4] The Shawshank Redemption (1994)


Directed by: Frank Darabont

Based on: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King

Why its better: Sorry, Stephen. Here's another adaptation - and, like Stand By Me, it's of a novella from the Different Seasons collection - that adds weight and depth lacking in the source material. The Shawshank Redemption is considered by many to be one of the greatest films of all time, as opposed to the novella, which is one of King's minor works.

5] The Notebook (2004)


Directed by: Nick Cassavetes

Based on: The Notebook (1996) by Nicholas Sparks

Why its better: Every Nicholas Sparks book/movie is roughly the same, and if you're not a fan of treacly romance, tearjerking drama, and heavy-handed morals, they're probably not for you. But onscreen, The Notebook managed to appeal to audiences outside of the normal Nicholas Sparks crowd solely because of Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. This is on them.

6] Casino Royale (2006)


Directed by: Martin Campbell

Based on: Casino Royale (1953) by Ian Fleming

Why its better: For all its ups and downs, the James Bond film series has left a much more lasting impression than Ian Fleming's novels. Bond is a cinematic icon - and he's at his best in this quasi reboot, which allows for a more complex iteration of the character. In particular, Bond's (Daniel Craig) reaction to the death and duplicity of Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) is more honest and relatable onscreen.

7] The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009)


 

Directed by: Niels Arden Oplev

Based on: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2005) by Stieg Larsson

Why its better: There is a lot of extraneous journalistic exposition in the novel, a reflection of author Stieg Larsson's primary career. The film cuts through all of that and tightens the focus on Larsson's greatest creation, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace). (The 2011 American film adaptation is also better than the novel, but not as good as the 2009 film.)

8] Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)


Directed by: Sam Taylor-Johnson

Based on: Fifty Shades of Grey (2011) by E.L. James

Why its better: Yes, really. Look, the movie is not Oscarworthy - or even Golden Globe–worthy - but it's a much more competent and sexy version of the story than the book, which is clunky Twilight fan fiction with the names changed. Having a female director also helps in keeping the focus less on dull dom Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and more on female 

 

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