Theme Thursday: Favourite Film Adaptations

While lots of people are getting excited at the prospect of today’s Oscar nominations, the award-season flurry had us thinking about some of our favourite books which have been transformed into films. Here’s some our office came up with- can you think of any others we may have missed?

Film Blog

Firstly, we’ll start with JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, all 7 of which were adapted over the course of 10 years. Even though it seems like yesterday, Harry, Ron and Hermione- or Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson- first appeared on the big screen back in 2001. We were sad to learn today that actor Alan Rickman has passed away, but we’ll always remember him fondly as the sinister Severus Snape.

Several of Roald Dahl’s books have been adapted; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory TWICE, first in 1971 and then in 2005, Danny and the Champion of the world in 1989, The Witches in 1990 (Anjelica Huston as the terrifying Grand High Witch), Matilda in 1996 (Danny DeVito as a perfect Mr Wormwood), Fantastic Mr Fox (Mr Fox voiced by George Clooney and directed by Wes Anderson in 2009), and before Christmas a trailer appeared online for the Steven Spielberg version of The BFG (which was also turned into an animated feature in 1989!), due for release this year.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s hefty Lord of the Rings has been adapted for radio, stage, television and most recently, turned into a three-film epic by Peter Jackson, who also took on Tolkien’s first novel, The Hobbit.

And some more:

  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

This book has been adapted for the big screen twice! An animated version was released in 1973 and 2006 saw live-action version staring Dakota Fanning and Oscar-winner Julia Roberts as the titular spider

  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman

A stop-motion adaptation of this creepy tale was directed by Henry Selick, who in 1996 adapted Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, another stop-motion film.

  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

This fantasy tale was turned into a magical animated adventure by Japan’s legendary Studio Ghibli. In the English language dub, Howl was voiced by Christian Bale.

  • Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg

Not many people realise that the 1996 board-game adventure starring Robin Williams actually had its roots in this wonderful book by writer and illustrator Chris Van Allsburg, who also wrote The Polar Express, made into a film starring Tom Hanks!

  • Shrek by William Steig

Another film with picture books roots is Shrek, who was created by American cartoonist William Steig in 1990

  • Mary Poppins by PL Travers

Perhaps one of Disney’s greatest musicals was based on the books written by Australian author PL Travers, who notoriously disapproved of the studio’s take on her work.

  • Holes by Louis Sachar

This much-loved story was adapted in 2003 and starred Shia Labeouf as the unfortunate Stanley Yelnats, and Sigourney Weaver as The Warden.

Of course, there are also some classics which started life as books; Black Beauty by Anna Sewell has appeared on the big screen on 6 occasions (a few more on TV!), The Railway Children by E. Nesbit was turned into a film in 1970 (and has had 4 versions appear on Television), 7 versions of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women have been produced, along with 3 TV serials, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett has been a film 3 times and on television another 4 AND we’ve lost count how many adaptations there are of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland there have been!

PLUS: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Percy Jackson, Cressida Cowell’s amazing How to Train Your Dragon series, The Hunger Games, The Divergent trilogy, Twilight, countless YA novels in the last few years….!

What are your favourites?


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