Books to Movies by Elizabeth Goddard

Summer is blockbuster movie season and my family is looking forward to having something to do that keeps us out of the hot Texas sun. Plus, we’re movie buffs, owning almost as many DVDs a we do books.

Reading Jim Rubart’s post about movies in heaven, and then Mareen Lang’s about the nearly thousand page novel she tackled got me thinking about books made into movies.  One of my all-time favorite books, PILLARS OF THE EARTH by Ken Follett, is nearly a thousand words. I’ve read it twice. But that particular book should never have been made into a movie.

When I learned the book had been made into a mini-series I was ecstatic and at the same time questioned how movie-makers could depict a story spanning thirty-five years. Unfortunately, I can’t say enough about how completely disastrous the mini-series was. In fact, I shared the book with a friend and she refused to read it because she’d tried to watch the mini-series and it was terrible.

Having your book made into a flop of a movie has to be a writer’s worst nightmare. But where does the fault lay? The screenwriters who adapted the book for a movie? The director?

In the end, are there some books that should never be made into movies?

The relationship between a book and movie is story, obviously.  I wasn’t able to discover any sort of statistic on what percentage of books are made into movies, but as you can imagine, the list is extensive and includes the classics, both popular and obscure books, those simply based off the novel,  and even the reverse where a movie is turned into a book—the novelization of a movie.

Every article I read pointed to the IMDB (Internet Movie Database) as the movie authority. You can check there to see if a book has been made into a movie.  Goodreads lists over two thousand pages containing fifty books each of popular books made into movies. In this case, that includes the classics as well as newer books.

Here’s a pretty extensive list of books to movies:

I’ve never heard anyone say that the movie was better than the book, have you?

Do you think there are some books that shouldn’t be made into movies?

Elizabeth Goddard is the award-winning author of more than a dozen novels, including the romantic mystery, The Camera Never Lies—a 2011 Carol Award winner. Oregon Outback releases in July 2012.

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