It’s no secret that filmmakers love adapting books for their films – and an increasing number of TV series.
Though it can be stressful waiting to see how much-loved fictional characters are portrayed on screen (and waiting to see which of our favourite scenes don’t make it into the film at all), for the most part seeing books brought to life on the big screen is fun and rewarding.
It’s a good thing we enjoy them so much, because there are so many book-to-film-and-TV adaptations to enjoy, particularly now we’ve got streaming services.
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Kim Basinger
Synopsis: The sequel to 2015’s Fifty Shades of Grey (both in film and in print) raises the stakes for Ana in her relationship with Christian, and builds up to the third and final instalment in the series.
Starring: Joanne Froggatt, Luke Treadaway
Synopsis: The true feel good story of how James Bowen, a busker and recovering drug addict, had his life transformed when he met a stray ginger cat.
Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae
Synopsis: The incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson – brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history.
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, and Robert Carlyle
Synopsis: A continuation of the Trainspotting saga reuniting the original characters.
Starring: Emma Thompson, Daniel Bruhl, Brendan Gleeson
Synopsis: Berlin, 1940. Working class couple Otto and Anna Quangel receive the news that their only son has lost his life in the battlefield and decide to resist the Nazi regime in their very own way.
Starring: Toni Collette, Hugo Weaving, Levi Miller, Angourie Rice, Dan Wylie, Aaron McGrath
Synopsis: The long-anticipated film adaptation of Craig Silvey’s best-selling novel.
Starring: Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver, Toby Kebbell
Synopsis: A boy seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mum’s terminal illness.
Starring: Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller
Synopsis: What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?
Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson
Synopsis: Rediscover a tale as old as time (seriously, we don’t think this needs a synopsis).
Starring: Josh Gad, Dennis Quaid, Britt Robertson, KJ Apa, John Ortiz
Synopsis: The soulful and surprising story of one devoted dog who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love.
The Zookeeper’s Wife
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh, Daniel Bruhl
Synopsis: The real-life story of one working wife and mother who became a hero to hundreds during World War II.
Starring: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega
Synopsis: A woman lands a job at a powerful tech company called the Circle, where she begins to unravel its darkest secrets.
Starring: Greg Kinnear, Renee Zellweger, Djimon Hounsou, Jon Voight
Synopsis: A modern-day slave, an international art dealer, and the unlikely woman who bound them together.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Eric Bana
Synopsis: An iconoclastic take on the classic Excalibur myth, tracing Arthur’s journey from the streets to the throne.
Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Nick Robinson, Ana de la Reguera
Synopsis: The story of a girl who lives in a bubble, and the boy next door.
Starring: Jim Broadbent, Charlotte Rampling, Andrew Buckley, Emily Mortimer, Michelle Dockery
Synopsis: A man becomes haunted by his past and is presented with a mysterious legacy that causes him to re-think his current situation in life.
My Cousin Rachel
Starring: Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Holliday Grainger
Synopsis: A young Englishman plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms. Based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier.
Starring: Jason Ian Drucker, Charlie Wright, Owen Asztalos, Tom Everett Scott, Alicia Silverstone
Synopsis: A family road trip to attend Meemaw’s 90th birthday party goes hilariously off course–thanks to Greg’s newest scheme to (finally!) become famous.
Starring: Rooney Mara, Theo James, Eric Bana, Aidan Turner, Jack Reynor, Vanessa Redgrave
Synopsis: A woman keeps a diary of her extended stay at a mental hospital.
Starring: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey
Synopsis: A quasi-sequel to The Dark Tower book series, this film has been stated to be not a typical adaptation, but more of a new take on the series.
Starring: Bill Skarsgard, Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton
Synopsis: The film tells the story of seven children as they’re terrorised by the eponymous being, which exploits the fears and phobias of its victims in order to disguise itself while hunting its prey.
Starring: Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, Thomas Middleditch
Synopsis: A principal gets hypnotised by two elementary school students and transforms into a comic book-inspired hero named Captain Underpants.
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Chloe Sevigny, Charlotte Gainsbourg, J.K. Simmons, Val Kilmer
Synopsis: Detective Harry Hole investigates the disappearance of a woman whose pink scarf is found wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman.
Starring: Idris Elba, Kate Winslet, Dermot Mulroney
Synopsis: After the cancellation of their flight due to stormy weather, Dr Ben Payne and writer Ashley Knox board a charter plane. The plane crashes and they survive the incident with injuries, but get lost in the wilderness.
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Joely Richardson, Jeremy Irons
Synopsis: A Russian spy falls for a CIA officer and considers becoming a double agent.
Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Lucy Boynton, Olivia Coleman, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley
Synopsis: Agatha Christie’s most famous murder mystery is brought to life on the big screen with a phenomenal all-star cast.
Also … a few more to check out.
Based on the novel A Painted Devil by Thomas P. Cullinan.
Small screen favourites
So, those are the films based on books to check out. What about TV shows, we hear you ask? Here are our four fabulous TV shows based on books.
Big Little Lies
Remember, the book is always better than the movie, right?