Whenever a book is adapted into another medium there will always be high expectations. It is easy for a movie adaptation from a book to fail miserably. Readers are harsh critics. If their vision does not align with the director’s vision, they will show no mercy. I am one of those people. Here is my list of best movie adaptations of classic novels and poems.
- Treasure Planet (based on Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson)
Jim Hawkins is a delinquent who dreams of achieving greatness. When a dying pirate’s ship crash lands near Jim’s home, Jim’s life is forever changed. The old pirate gives Jim a map leading to treasure planet.
This adaptation blends aliens and pirates together in this Disney animated movie. This movie is usually forgotten amongst most contemporary Disney animated films and is completely underrated.
This movie also has an amazing soundtrack…
2. The Great Gatsby  (adapted from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald)
Every weekend, the elusive but very wealth Jay Gatsby throws extravagant parties in order to capture the attention of his now married lost love.
The overall message of the story is “money can’t buy me love.”
- Anna Karenina (adapted from Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy)
Anna Karenina is a young woman who is dissatisfied with her marriage to an older stern man. When she meets the dashing young count Vronsky, a spark blossoms within her and they begin an affair. Their passionate love turns into a deadly scandal that sends Anna tumbling into madness.
Anna Karenina is a difficult movie to adapt as the book is enormous. The book contains many storylines that are interwoven throughout the book. Although the movie tends to focus mostly on Anna and Vronsky’s love affair, it is a visually stunning movie. The movie set is also constructed like a play.
- Oliver Twist  (adapted from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens)
Oliver Twist is an orphan who finds himself amongst a gang of thieves in Victorian London.
There are many adaptations of Oliver Twist such as Oliver and Company, Oliver! (the musical) and a few animated adaptations. This adaptation directed by Roman Polanski is dark, sinister, and metaphorical.
5. O Brother Where Art Thou  (based on The Odyssey by Homer)
Clever and witty and completely unexpected, this movie will leave you in fits of pure laughter. O Brother Where Art Thou is about three prison escapees attempting to find buried treasure. Their adventure leads them throughout southern United States during the nineteen thirties where they meet a cast of crazy characters along the way.
The blend of Homer’s classic epic poem with a southern adventure is pure genius. Not to mention, George Clooney is the lead actor in this movie. Need I say more?
Until next time,