My Favorite Films Based on Books:
(not necessarily in this order)
Joseph (1995)- Based on the story of Joseph found in the book of Genesis in the Bible. Starring Ben Kingsley, Paul Mercurio, Lesley Anne Warren, Martin Landau. Don’t underestimate the quality of filming, acting and powerful music packing quite an emotional wallop in this stirring 3 hr. drama! Follows quite “true to the book”, but I should mention this is not *a family movie,* as it does deal with a lot of adult content (costumes are not the most modest).
Anne of Green Gables (1985)- based on the book by L. M. Montgomery. Starring Megan Follows, Colleen Dewhurst, Richard Farnsworth, Jonathan Crombie. Who doesn’t love Anne? What I love most about this is that director Kevin Sullivan perfectly captures the spirit of the book and Prince Edward Island. Always loved the music by Hagood Hardy.
Pride and Prejudice (BBC, 1995)- based on book by Jane Austen. Starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. This is the only version I will watch for obvious reasons.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy + The Hobbit (2001…)- based on the books by J. R. R. Tolkien. Starring Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin. The amount of detail, thought, and careful story planning that was put into this never ceases to amaze me. And does it ever show!
Cranford (2007)- based on the books by Elizabeth Gaskell. Starring Judi Dench, Deborah Findley, Imelda Staunton, Julia McKenzie. When I first heard of this movie, I though I would never watch it. How interesting could a story be about a bunch of elderly ladies, I thought? Just goes to prove how much I was wrong and I’m ashamed I ever thought such a thing! I think this is personally my favorite movie, although I don’t care for the sequel quite as much.
Murder on the Orient Express (2010)- based on the book by Agatha Christie. Starring David Suchet, David Morrissey, Toby Jones, Jessica Chastain, Eileen Atkins, Barbara Hershey, Hugh Bonneville. Although this movie tends on the dark side, I love the drama, mystery, and suspense all taking place on a snowbound train in foreign lands c. 1930, starring some of my favorite actors. Props and costumes are a feast for the eyes.
Daniel Deronda (BBC, 2002)- based on the book by George Eliot. Starring Romola Garai, Hugh Bonneville, Hugh Dancy. An overlooked gem with a great message! Be prepared to ooh and ahh over costumes.
Wives and Daughters (BBC, 1999)- based on the book by Elizabeth Gaskell. Another often underrated movie, this lovely story with great characters fortunately includes a satisfying ending to an unfinished classic.
Dorothy L. Sayer’s Lord Peter Wimsey trilogy (1987)- based on the books by Dorothy L. Sayers. Starring Edward Petherbridge, Harriet Walter. I lost my heart to Lord Peter when I stumbled across these. Great dialogue play between the main actors!
Christy tv series (1994-1995)- based on the book by Catherine Marshall. Starring Kellie Martin, Tyne Daly, Stewart Finley-McLennan, Randall Batinkoff, Emily Schulmann, Tess Harper. Yes, I know this series has it’s faults. But I grew up with it and love it and the characters I’ve grown to know over the years. Besides, I had a huge crush on Dr. MacNeil.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005)- based on the book by C. S. Lewis. Starring Georgia Henley, Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy. This beautiful rendition of a children’s classic includes some of the best character development I’ve seen in a movie.
The Black Stallion (1979)- Based on the book by Walter Farley. Starring Kelly Reno, Mickey Rooney. Definitely one of my all-time favorite movies and simply gorgeous cinematography. The romance between a boy and a horse… Simple, yet beautiful.
The Magic of Ordinary Days (2005) – Based on the book by Ann Howard Creel. Starring Keri Russell and Skeet Ulrich. Sweet, simple 1940’s period drama about an arranged marriage between a unwed mother and a bachelor farmer.
The Phantom of the Opera (2004) – Based on the book by Gaston Leroux. Starring Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler, Patrick Wilson, Miranda Richardson, Minnie Driver. This musical is loosely based on the classic novel, but there are deep story elements to it. Not recommended for family viewing.
Gettysburg (1993)- Based on the book, “Killer Angels,” by Michael Shaara. Starring Martin Sheen, Jeff Daniels, Stephen Lang, Sam Elliott. A family favorite with powerful acting, inspiring script, great music, the works!
Nicholas Nickleby (2002)- Based on the book by Charles Dickens. Starring Anne Hathaway, Christopher Plummer, Jamie Bell, Romola Garai, Edward Fox, Nathan Lane, Alan Cumming. Starring some of my favorite actors, this often overlooked gem is full of warmth and love.
Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris (1992)- Based on the book by Paul Gallico. Starring Angela Lansbury, Diana Rigg, Omar Sharif. One of my childhood favorites and the first movie I ever cried over! For girls of all ages. 🙂
The Tenth Man (1988)~ Based on the book by Graham Greene. Starring Anthony Hopkins, Derek Jacobi. I read the book several years ago, but this is one of the rare occasions where I liked the movie better.
Alice in Wonderland (2010)- Loosely based on the book by Lewis Carroll. Starring Mia Wasikowska, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp, Stephen Fry, Alan Rickman. I could watch this film over and over again. It’s also fun to listen for the character voices!
Sarah, Plain and Tall (1991)- Based on the book by Patricia MacLachlan. Starring Glenn Close, Christopher Walken. An old favorite of mine! Actually, the whole Sarah trilogy is excellent.
Hugo (2011)- Based on the book, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” by Brian Selznik. Starring Asa Butterworth, Ben Kingsley. Excellent acting from this young kid. There’s a dreamlike quality to this whole film, plus beautiful music from Howard Shore.
Les Miserables (2012)~ Based on the book by Victor Hugo. Starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Eddie Redmayne, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen. Not for family viewing, but the human emotions portrayed in this musical drama are very real. Top notch acting and sets!