As SheReads’ resident thriller and adaptation contributor, it’s no surprise that I love a movie or television series version of a book. Some of my favorite books were turned into my favorite movies, and some of my favorite movies led me to finding some of my favorite books! From the incredible actors and actresses to brilliant directors with a vision to the perfect storyteller to write a script that brings the film to life, it truly takes a village to make a successful adaptation. From classics that you may not know are based on books to hot new releases streaming on Netflix, here are twenty of my favorite book adaptations!
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Based on the novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
A young girl named Dorothy and her dog Toto find themselves swept away from their home in Kansas and end up in the magical land of Oz, where she meets three new friends that must help her get home while trying to escape an evil witch.
Based on the novel Psycho by Robert Bloch
When Marion Crane is on the run from the police, she checks into the Bates Motel and becomes the object of obsession from a lonely man, Norman Bates, who owns the hotel.
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
Based on the novel The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike
In a quiet New England town, three women unaware of the power they hold discuss their desires and characteristics for the perfect man right before a mysterious stranger moves into town with his eyes set on each one of them.
The War of the Roses (1989)
Based on the novel The War of the Roses by Warren Adler
After a blissful eighteen years of marriage begins to fall apart, a wealthy couple’s divorce becomes intense, as material items such as their beautiful home become the catalyst in a shocking battle between husband and wife.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Based on the novel The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
A young FBI cadet named Clarice Starling must work with an incarcerated and cunning psychiatrist known as Dr. Hannibal Lecter (or Hannibal the Cannibal) to help hunt down a sadistic serial killer known as Buffalo Bill who is hunting women.
Interview With the Vampire (1994)
Based on the novel Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice
A reporter from San Francisco interviews a man named Louis de Pointe du Lac who claims he is a vampire. Beginning in 1791 in New Orleans, Louis reveals the details of how he became a vampire up until present time.
American Psycho (2000)
Based on the novel American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
Patrick Bateman is an educated and successful investment banker who works on Wall Street by day—but at night is a ruthless serial killer who hunts the streets of New York City in the 1980s.
Based on the novel Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
On his eleventh birthday, a young orphan named Harry Potter discovers his parents were two of the most powerful wizards who had magical powers, and he himself is also a wizard about to embark on a journey to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Mean Girls (2004)
Based on the book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman
Loosely based on a self-help book, Mean Girls is about a young teenager named Cady Heron who enters public school for the first time and is immediately drawn into an unfamiliar world of female social cliques when she meets the popular trio known as The Plastics.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Based on the story Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx
Ennis and Jack are two cowboys hired to work together as ranch hands who develop a secret and encompassing relationship that follows them throughout several years of their lives.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Based on the novel The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
A recent college graduate and aspiring journalist gets an unexpected job as an assistant to the one and only Miranda Priestly, a cold and challenging editor-in-chief of a high fashion magazine.
The Social Network (2010)
Based on the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich
In the early 2000s at Harvard University, a young college student named Mark Zuckerberg would ultimately partner with a friend to introduce the world to the social media platform known as Facebook. This is the story of how it all began.
Based on the novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
A disgraced journalist teams up with a young genius hacker after he’s hired by a man from one of the wealthiest families in Sweden to investigate the 40 year-old disappearance of his niece.
The Help (2011)
Based on the novel The Help by Kathryn Stockett
In the 1960s, an aspiring writer forms a secret and unlikely friendship with two Black maids in hopes to write a book telling the world what life is like from the perspectives of the maids during the Civil Rights movement.
Gone Girl (2014)
Based on the novel Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
A husband finds himself as the main suspect when his wife unexpectedly goes missing on their wedding anniversary in a story that goes back and forth between his perspective, beginning with the day she goes missing, and her diary entries, detailing how their relationship began.
Nocturnal Animals (2016)
Based on the novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright
An unhappy art gallery owner receives a mysterious manuscript written by her ex-husband that bears similarities between his work of fiction and their relationship, causing her to revisit the past.
Call Me By Your Name (2017)
Based on the novel Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
In 1980’s Italy, an intense romance begins between an adolescent boy named Elio and the American graduate student, Oliver, who is staying with Elios’ family over the course of a summer that will forever change both of them.
Love, Simon (2018)
Based on the novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
A coming-of-age story about a closeted gay teen who forms an unexpected online friendship with another closeted gay student who is anonymously known as Blue.
Based on the novel To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean’s life is about to take an unexpected turn when five secret love letters she’s written, one for each boy she’s ever loved, are mailed out to the boys she never wanted to read them.
A bookstore manage becomes obsessed with an aspiring writer after their paths cross and begins stalking her, using social media and the internet to try and infiltrate his way into her life.
Cruel Intentions (1999)
Gone Baby Gone (2007)
Based on the novel Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane
Lost Girls (2020)
Based on the book Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker