What are the Top Five Movies That Were Better Than the Book They Were Based On?

The worlds earliest surviving motion-picture film was released in 1888 and is called the Roundhay Garden Scene, although it’s only 2.11 seconds long, it is still technically a movie. Since then, the film industry has grown to be one of the most lucrative industry’s in the world and has changed the way humans tell stories for the rest of time. The average American watches about 20 to 30 movies a year, and that’s just in the theatres! Many of the movies we watch are based on books.

Malcolm McDowell / Janet Leigh / Peter Sellers / Marlon Brando Jr.
Source: Getty Images

However, that does not mean that the books they were based on were that good. That’s because of the big difference between a book and a movie is that a book needs to ignite your imagination through writing, while a movie just needs a plot that we watch acted out. Some of the best movies in history were made based on books that were not even that good. We have gathered a list of our top five picks for the top five iconic movies that were way better than the book they were taken from.

The Godfather (1972)

When the godfather got released into theatres, people from around in the nation waited in line for hours upon hours just to get a seat in the theatre. The movie was based on a book written by Italian American writer Mario Puzo, and despite its great popularity, it was considered to be very poorly written.

Source: byrdtheatre.org

Even Francis Ford Coppola who directed the movie was reported as saying that he did not really like the book when he read it. Despite this everyone could agree that the plot of the book was more than what is needed for a great movie, and a great movie it made indeed!

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

The fact that the book Clockwork Orange was not as good as the movie is a bit strange considering the fact that Stanley Kubrick, the writer of the book, also directed the film.

A promotional shot for the film.
Source: YouTube

Well, he did not necessarily write the book, he more or less re-adapted the British version of the book by Anthony Burgess for American audiences, and his version was much darker and made much more sense in the movie. It’s classic so that’s all I’m going to say, if you haven’t watched it by now, then get home and indulge in a classic thriller!

The Graduate (1967)

Based on the 1963 novel by Charles Webb, the Graduate film does not stray too far from the book, in plotline or screenplay, but again once you can put a picture to a story, it sometimes comes out way better than anything you could have ever imagined.

Katharine Ross and Dustin Hoffman are in a scene from the film.
Source: YouTube

This especially considering the fact that the stars in the movie included the likes of Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, and the ever so iconic music duo Simon and Garfunkel.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Despite the name of the movie. It is actually based on the 1958 novel “Red Alert” by Peter George. Kubrick’s adaptations of novels are widely considered in Hollywood to be distinctive works of art, and in the case of Dr. Strangelove, he put a whole new twist to things.

A still from the film.
Source: YouTube

Kubrick took a straightforward thriller about nuclear war and turned it into a satire comedy that gave everyone a great laugh that was very much needed at the height of the cold war.

Psycho (1960)

The Movie Psycho is based on a novel bearing the same name from 1959 written by author Robert Bloch. The book itself was not too bad of a read, but once given to Alfred Hitchcock, and Joseph Stefano,

Janet Leigh is on the set of Psycho.
Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis/Getty Images

the story gave birth to a movie that would change the tone of horror movies for the rest of time. Psycho was ahead of its time in its suspense and complexity, and this gained it some of the most critical acclaims in the history of Hollywood.