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Movies/TV shows that were better than the books they were based on?

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The obvious ones:

 

Psycho

Jaws

The Godfather

The Shawshank Redemption

 

First three are decent but ultimately disposable pulp. King's novella is good, but I don't think it quite matches the film. (Maybe if it had been a full blown novel.)

 

Also, I'd say Hannibal (TV show), Manhunter and Silence of the Lambs are far more sophisticated than most of Thomas Harris' writings, which are actually pretty ridiculous when you sit down and properly read them.

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Forest Gump.

 

I actually prefer the Godfather book to the movie

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A History Of Violence is a great movie and pile of dogshit of a graphic novel.

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Guest The Magnificent 7

The Godfather selection is puzzling.  Loved the book and the movie.  There was hardly anything left out of the movie that was in the book. The one thing the movie did better and it was a wise choice, was to ditch the whole Lucy and the gynecology stuff.

 

The book had the Luca Brasi backstory, though.  In the movie you're like, "Man this dude is such a monster the way people speak in hushed tones about him."  But the only real backstory is the "offer you can't refuse" and that's not really any more monstrous than the other hoods in the film.  He gets garroted in short order.  Why was this man so feared?  In the book you know the score on that front.

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The novel is just so lurid and trashy, and it meanders quite a bit at times.

 

But, for me, it's less "the novel is bad" and more "the movie is FUCKING GREAT."

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FIGHT CLUB. Palahniuk can take credit for all the catchy quotes, but the overhauled story of the movie is a signficant improvement over the book.

I'll second the HANNIBAL TV show nod (High five, fellow one of 5 other people on this board who watch that show!). Even though they technically haven't yet adapted any of the specific Hannibal novels, the show has taken the characters and concept to heights that Thomas Harris could never dream of.

The second season of JUSTIFIED took a plot thread from Elmore Leonard's novel Raylan, expanded upon it, refined it, and ultimately crafted one of the finest seasons of TV of the past 10 years.

This may be sacrilege to some, but I really think, when both are all said and done, we're going to look at GAME OF THRONES as being a much tighter, more cohesive narrative than the SONG OF ICE AND FIRE books.

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The first four seasons of DEXTER are better than the books, which mostly suck, even if they are unrelated past season one.

 

I will second FORREST GUMP., and third HANNIBAL.

 

I read FIGHT CLUB, and other than the "twist" being a lot more obvious in the book, I don't remember much about it, so it's probably a safe bet to second that as well.

 

I'll throw out SHUTTER ISLAND as well.

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WANTED.

 

The comic book was Watchmen-esque garbage - like it was written by some bastard hybrid of Alan Moore and Todd McFarlane. Utterly ridiculous.

 

I actually thought the movie was pretty damn cool. How they teased out that story from the rotten husk that was that comic series, though, I'll never figure out. Other than like two sequences, they're literally nothing alike.

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That is the first time I've ever seen anyone say anything positive about the Wanted movie.

 

I mean, the comic is bad, but holy fuck is it better than the movie.

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Fight Club was the first thing that came to mind. The Fight Club novel is good, probably Chucky P's best work, but goddamn does David Fincher make a work of art out of it. I watched it again last week and it is still really good.

High Fidelity is another that I love more than the book.

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Frankenstein (1931)

Throne of Blood (Macbeth)

Maltese Falcon

Phantom of the Opera (Lon Chaney)

Island of Lost Souls > Island of Dr. Moreau

Edit: I second High Fidelity.

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I'll second the HANNIBAL TV show nod (High five, fellow one of 5 other people on this board who watch that show!). Even though they technically haven't yet adapted any of the specific Hannibal novels, the show has taken the characters and concept to heights that Thomas Harris could never dream of.

 

 

Best example of the difference in quality might be the Mason Verger character. In the books, he drinks children's tears and has his own army of murder pigs and it's so incredibly stupid. (And let's not even get started on his giant bodybuilder sister attempting to get his sperm to impregnate her girlfriend.)

 

But the way Fuller writes the character it's like, yeah, it's campy but it works. He's the best gothic horror villain ever.

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That is the first time I've ever seen anyone say anything positive about the Wanted movie.

I mean, the comic is bad, but holy fuck is it better than the movie.

People hate Wanted??? This is news to me.

Also: it was a comic?

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I'd have to go with Night of the Hunter. An excellent novel by Davis Grubb made into a brilliant, totally off-the-charts fantastic film, directed by Charles Laughton and with Robert Mitchum giving the performance of a lifetime. Holds up extremely well after nearly sixty years. If you haven't read/seen this awesome Southern Gothic, do so immediately, you won't be sorry.

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One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

To Kill A Mockingbird

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower.

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Blade Runner over Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

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I'm not sure how you even compare those two.  Despite being the source material, they have so little in common outside of names.

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The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 (Matthau version, naturally)

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One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

To Kill A Mockingbird

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower.

Mockingbird is one of the greatest American novels of all time. It is also one of the greatest American films of all time. I'll listen to any argument that one is better than the other, but I cannot listen to an argument that the film is significantly much better than the book to be in this category.

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Not that it's saying much but both the Redford and DiCaprio Gatsby films were better than the novel. Most Peter Benchley novels turned film/miniseries/whatever could qualify here as well, Beast especially since the book had one of the worst endings to a book I can recall.

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One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

To Kill A Mockingbird

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower.

Mockingbird is one of the greatest American novels of all time. It is also one of the greatest American films of all time. I'll listen to any argument that one is better than the other, but I cannot listen to an argument that the film is significantly much better than the book to be in this category.

 

 

Yeah - I was coming here to openly mock JT about this one too.

 

I think To Kill A Mockingbird is only one of two HS required readings that I actually liked

 

Oh and on topic - Princess Bride

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The Mockingbird film is probably the best film adaptation of any book ever. It's not as good as the book, which is an impossible standard to live up to, but it's really, really close. Mainly because Gregory Peck IS Atticus.

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What Johnny said.  Rippa and Nikita are just plain ol' wrong.  Both the movie and the book are top shelf but the movie is in rarefied air.

 

And yeah, Princess Bride: The Movie is leagues better than the book.

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What Johnny said.  Rippa and Nikita are just plain ol' wrong.  Both the movie and the book are top shelf but the movie is in rarefied air.

 

I think you missed the part when Johnny agreed with us that the book is better than the movie :-)

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Recently got to read the original Shaft. It is a very plain yet serviceable detective story. The movie is leagues better!

 

James

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