Best film adaptations of books

It can be hard for a film to live up to your favourite books. These four come close.

Gone With the Wind (1939)

It would be laughable to write this article without mentioning Gone With the Wind - a film that turned one of the longest novels of the twentieth century into a vibrant, thrilling epic is generally heralded as one of the greatest screenwriting feats of all time. It would have been very easy to bore audiences with 270 minutes of civil war footage, but the film’s three directors managed to keep the film exciting, romantic and desperately sad (I have yet to watch it without crying). It might be a somewhat blasphemous opinion, but I believe that the film might be even better than the book: things that sound slightly over the top on paper make for gripping viewing on screen.

 

Little Women (1994)

Many attempts have been made to bring Louisa May Alcott’s heartwarming classic to cinemas, and I am sure I speak for the majority of fans when I say that none have been as lovely as the ‘Winona Ryder version’ (although the 1949 adaptation deserves an honourable mention, especially the adorable Margaret O' Brien). All four of the sisters are perfect in their roles and the costumes are all gorgeous, especially Amy’s France outfits, which are to die for. Christmas wouldn’t be complete without this classic coming of age tale. 

 

Clueless (1995)

While I love many of the more traditional takes on Austen's novels (with the 1995 Sense and Sensibility coming a close second), Clueless is undoubtedly the most special of all of them. Not only did it bring Emma to a previously untargeted audience, but it is the epitome of the 'feel good film' and cheers me up whenever I watch it.

 

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

I’m not sure if this can be described as an adaptation; the film version of one of Ian Fleming’s less successful books has a completely different plot to the book. Despite this fact, it might well be my favourite Bond film. In fact, it is perhaps very lucky that the screenwriters did not stick to the book’s plot; if they had, the world would never have had the pleasure of seeing Bond’s iconic yellow ski suit. The film has the same charm as every early Bond film: it is romantic and thrilling, and if you have not seen it then I would advise you stop reading this article and mend the error of your ways as soon as possible. 

 

Connie V