The Best Book-to-Movie Adaptions

Story posted March 23, 2021 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by CommRadio Arts & Entertainment Staff

It is always said that the book is better than the movie. But sometimes, the movie gets pretty close to living up to the respective book’s reputation. In this listicle, the Arts and Entertainment Department take a look at some of the best movies adapted from books.


“Harry Potter” Series (2001 – 2011)

When considering a movie that was adapted from a book or series of books, there’s a lot to keep in mind from the filmmaker’s perspective. Filmmakers have to make sure to stay true to the original material while also producing scenes and stories that will keep audiences engaged.

No series of films adapted from books have done a better job at this than the Harry Potter series. A big reason for this is because JK Rowling played a role in pre-production and during the process production, and she was consulted on every film before it was released in theatres.

The success of the Harry Potter franchise not only brought a ton of fans to the world of Hogwarts, but the franchise grossed billions as well. Over all 8 movies, the Harry Potter franchise grossed $2.39 billion domestically and $7.68 billion in the global box office, per the web site “The Numbers.”

One of the reasons the Harry Potter franchise is the best adapted movie franchise from the books is because of how the filmmakers brought the world of Hogwarts to life. The castle, the magic, and the characters within the world were so loveable and fans loved the characters in the movies as much as they loved them in the books, if not more.

Along with the magic and beautiful CGI in the Harry Potter films, the character development is really what made the movies so successful.

The viewer sees Harry transform from a character with grief to a character that has completely moved on and became a hero. Hermione Granger went through an arc of being intimidating while being the smartest character around to being completely self-less and putting the people of Hogwarts before herself. Ron Weasley went from being a scared and timid character to being a completely fearless warrior when battling Lord Voldemort. And the school of Hogwarts went from a community of broken up groups of wizards to a community of united students in an army.

The plot that Rowling laid out for the filmmakers was intricate and full of details that spanned all 7 books, and the writers of the films executed those details over the span of their 8 movies. From the story of the Horcrux’s, to the relationship between Dumbledore, Professor Snape, and Lord Voldemort, and to the story between Sirius Black and Potter; the attention to detail was also so relevant and visually displayed for fans to follow along.

Lastly, the chemistry between the actors is what also brought the story of Harry Potter to life. Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) became best friends over the span of 8 movies and that is shown on screen in their performances throughout the entire franchise.

The Harry Potter franchise is not only one of the best series of movies adapted from books, but it is one of the best franchises to exist in the history of Cinema. It rivals that of “The Lord of the Rings” franchise and the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” and is such a significant event in the lives of its fans. – Sam Roberts

“To Kill A Mockingbird” (1962)

An all-time favorite is Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird.” The classical novel is touching, controversial, and a great conversation starter. 

Every character from Boo Radley to the children to Atticus Finch, they provide an important lesson that everyone can learn from. 

Most read this book in middle school or high school and then end up watching the 1962 film starring Gregory Peck. The movie adaptation is one of the best. 

Now, there are some details in the book that are not shown in the movie. Typically, books are way better than the movie. The book should always be read before watching the movie, the viewer will appreciate it more. 

It’s easy to be upset after watching the movie because it did not do the book justice, however the acting, the cinematography, and the passion is unbelievable. The movie would survive if there was no such thing as the book. 

“To Kill A Mockingbird” is one of the best book-to-movie adaptations and should be on every reader’s radar to read and watch this amazing story at one point in life. – Emily McGlynn

"American Psycho” (2000)

Seen as one of the best of many films under Christian Bale’s catalogue, “American Psycho” is one of the most remarkable and essential psychological thrillers.

“American Psycho” was directed by Mary Haron in the year 2000 and stars Bale as Patrick Bateman, an American serial killer and wealthy investment banker. 

The movie offers a peak into the mind of a violent psychopath, who goes around New York city taking the lives of those that do not fit his standards. 

What many viewers may not know is that the film was adapted from the novel of the same name, written by author and screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis in 1991. 

Limited to what they could include in the movie adaptation, the book is actually far more violent, as it’s banned in countries such as Australia and Germany. – Jon Mead

“Schindler’s List” (1993)

“Schindler’s List” is by far one of the most heartbreaking and critically acclaimed films of the 90s, as Liam Neeson provides a heavily emotional performance as Oskar Schindler, an ethnic German businessman from Czechoslovakia, then Austria-Hungary.

The 1993 film is based on a true story and recounts one of the most tragic moments in European history that took place during World War II, the Holocaust. 
It is adapted from a biographical novel written by Thomas Keneally, called “Schindler’s Ark.” 

Schindler, who is initially a member of the Nazi party for financial gain, slowly comes to the realization of the horrors being committed to Jewish people by the Nazis. 

To save as many people as possible, Schindler employs Polish-Jewish refugees in his factories. – Jon Mead

Sam Roberts is a junior majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email

Emily McGlynn is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email

Jon Mead is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email