Share 15 Incredible Movies That Started As Books

15 Incredible Movies That Started As Books

Tolani Osan joined Simon & Schuster’s Associate’s Program in 2015 where she spent her first rotation in S&S publicity. She recently earned a Master’s in Publishing & Writing from Emerson College. A daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Tolani enjoys literary fiction about the tensions between cultures and classes. Her favorite book is Khaled Hosseini’s “A Thousand Splendid Suns,” which she’s made a pact with herself to revisit every three years. She also founded and runs women’s interest blog, MyDresscapades.com, and writes on topics such as fashion, food, perpetual “singledom,” and feminism. You can enjoy her musings about pop culture, fashion, and literature on twitter @dresscapades.  

Last year’s Oscar nominations were overflowing with book-to-film adaptations: THE MARTIAN, BROOKLYN, and ROOM all got the silver-screen treatment, and their film counterparts conquered at the Academy Awards. Many more of your favorite movies were also borrowed from the pages of incredible books. Here are some adaptations you may have missed.


Hidden Figures
by Margot Lee Shetterly
With a star-studded cast—including Taraji P. Henson and Kevin Costner—it’s no wonder “Hidden Figures” is getting Oscar buzz months before its release. Margot Lee Shetterly’s bestselling book on which the film is based tells the incredible true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space.
Hidden Figures
Margot Lee Shetterly

Recently adapted for the big screen (starring Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer), this is the remarkable true story of the team of black female mathematicians at NASA who, while segregated from their white counterparts, contributed to some of our greatest advancements in space, including the first orbits and landings on the moon.

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Into the Wild
by Jon Krakauer
Before it was a Sean Penn–directed, Oscar-nominated movie, INTO THE WILD was Jon Krakauer’s astounding work of nonfiction. This mesmerizing and heartbreaking narrative reassembles the disquieting facts of the short life of Christopher Johnson McCandless, who died after walking alone into the wilderness north of Alaska’s Mt. McKinley.
Into the Wild
Jon Krakauer

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The Secret Life of Bees
by Sue Monk Kidd
In 1960s South Carolina, Lily Owens confronts the trauma of her mother’s death with the help of her “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, and an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters. This remarkable novel of healing and perseverance is the basis of the Queen Latifah and Dakota Fanning movie.
The Secret Life of Bees
Sue Monk Kidd

Lily Owens’s life is shaped around the blurry memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. Tired of life with her punitive father and unanswered questions, Lily journeys down South to find the town that holds the secret to her mother’s troubled past. She ends up finding so much more in a trio of three black beekeepers, but she also learns the devastating truth about her past. I needed a wailing wall (the stone wall one of the beekeepers uses to grieve) of my own while reading this book.

Read the review of THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES.

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The Pursuit of Happyness
by Chris Gardner

Will Smith delivered a buzzworthy performance as Chris Gardner in the 2006 film “The Pursuit of Happyness.” Gardner’s memoir chronicles his days as a homeless single father while he pursued a career in finance at a prestigious firm. Read his astonishing rags-to-riches story, then look out for his profoundly symbolic cameo in the film.

The Pursuit of Happyness
Chris Gardner

Will Smith delivered a buzzworthy performance as Chris Gardner in the 2006 film “The Pursuit of Happyness.” Gardner’s memoir chronicles his days as a homeless single father while he pursued a career in finance at a prestigious firm. Read his astonishing rags-to-riches story, then look out for his profoundly symbolic cameo in the film.

MENTIONED IN:

15 Incredible Movies That Started As Books

By Tolani Osan | December 12, 2016

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The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich with her accordion-playing foster father in 1939’s Nazi Germany. As she scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing, she encounters something she can’t resist—books! Geoffrey Rush stars in the heart-stirring movie adaptation book lovers won’t want to miss.
The Book Thief
Markus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

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A Long Way Home
by Saroo Brierley

After getting lost on a train at age 5, Saroo Brierley was adopted by a couple in Australia. But Brierley always wondered about his origins. And with the advent of Google Earth, an opportunity to rediscover his childhood was finally within reach. Catch Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman in the film adaptation, “Lion,” now in theaters.

A Long Way Home
Saroo Brierley

After getting lost on a train at age 5, Saroo Brierley was adopted by a couple in Australia. But Brierley always wondered about his origins. And with the advent of Google Earth, an opportunity to rediscover his childhood was finally within reach. Catch Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman in the film adaptation, “Lion,” now in theaters.

MENTIONED IN:

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By Tolani Osan | December 12, 2016

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James Thurber: Writings & Drawings
by James Thurber

Ben Stiller directs and stars in an exhilarating adaptation of James Thurber’s short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” in which Walter Mitty escapes his mundane life by retreating into his vivid imagination. Classic movie fans will want to check out the 1949 Danny Kaye adaptation, too.

James Thurber: Writings & Drawings
James Thurber

Ben Stiller directs and stars in an exhilarating adaptation of James Thurber’s short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” in which Walter Mitty escapes his mundane life by retreating into his vivid imagination. Classic movie fans will want to check out the 1949 Danny Kaye adaptation, too.

MENTIONED IN:

15 Incredible Movies That Started As Books

By Tolani Osan | December 12, 2016

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Pitch Perfect
by Mickey Rapkin

The 2013 film “Pitch Perfect” starring Anna Kendrick hilariously illuminates the fascinating world of collegiate a capella competitions. But before it hit the big screen, it was an “aca-perfect” examination of a captivating university subculture in book form.

Pitch Perfect
Mickey Rapkin

The 2013 film “Pitch Perfect” starring Anna Kendrick hilariously illuminates the fascinating world of collegiate a capella competitions. But before it hit the big screen, it was an “aca-perfect” examination of a captivating university subculture in book form.

MENTIONED IN:

15 Incredible Movies That Started As Books

By Tolani Osan | December 12, 2016

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Horns
by Joe Hill

The day after the first anniversary of his girlfriend’s murder, Ig wakes up with a thunderous hangover . . . and horns growing from his temples. Along with his terrible new look, Ig possesses a new macabre gift he intends to use to find the monster who killed his one true love. Daniel Radcliffe stars in the thrilling movie adaptation.

Horns
Joe Hill

The day after the first anniversary of his girlfriend’s murder, Ig wakes up with a thunderous hangover . . . and horns growing from his temples. Along with his terrible new look, Ig possesses a new macabre gift he intends to use to find the monster who killed his one true love. Daniel Radcliffe stars in the thrilling movie adaptation.

MENTIONED IN:

15 Incredible Movies That Started As Books

By Tolani Osan | December 12, 2016

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High Fidelity
by Nick Hornby

Who could forget John Cusack as the compulsive, list-making record-store owner Rob in “High Fidelity?” The novel shows bestselling author Nick Hornby at his quintessential best. This wise and hilarious novel about love, heartbreak, and rock and roll is a must-read for the nostalgic souls of Gen X.

High Fidelity
Nick Hornby

Who could forget John Cusack as the compulsive, list-making record-store owner Rob in “High Fidelity?” The novel shows bestselling author Nick Hornby at his quintessential best. This wise and hilarious novel about love, heartbreak, and rock and roll is a must-read for the nostalgic souls of Gen X.

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Jumanji
by Chris Van Allsburg
We’ll always look fondly on Robin Williams’s performance as the swashbuckling Alan Parrish. With the saga continuing in a 2017 film—starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart—there is no better time to revisit Chris Van Allsburg’s classic children’s book about siblings who discover a board game that plunges them into the most exciting and bizarre adventure of their lives.
Jumanji
Chris Van Allsburg

The game under the tree looked like a hundred others Peter and Judy had at home. But they were bored and restless and, looking for something interesting to do, thought they'd give Jumanji a try. Little did they know when they unfolded its ordinary-looking playing board that they were about to be plunged into the most exciting and bizarre adventure of their lives.

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The Pianist
by Wladyslaw Szpilman
On September 23, 1939, Władysław Szpilman played Chopin's Nocturne in C-sharp minor live on the radio as shells exploded outside in the city of Warsaw. THE PIANIST is his extraordinary tale of survival in Nazi-occupied Poland—from living in a ghetto to losing his entire family. Three years after Szpilman’s death in 2000, Adrien Brody took home the Oscar for his heartrending performance as the pianist.
The Pianist
Wladyslaw Szpilman

On Tolani’s wish list

Confession: I watched the Oscar-nominated movie “The Pianist” and dubbed it my all-time favorite long before I even knew it was ripped from the pages of the harrowing yet inspiring memoir of Polish pianist Władysław Szpilman. Because I love a rich tale about the resilience of the human spirit, I put the DVD on my wish list years ago. This year, I'd love to read Szpilman's story—in his own words—about surviving underground in Nazi-occupied Poland.

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Blue Is the Warmest Color
by Julie Maroh

In this tender, bittersweet, full-color graphic novel, a young woman named Clementine discovers herself, and the elusive magic of love, when she meets a confident blue-haired girl named Emma. The film adaptation earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

Blue Is the Warmest Color
Julie Maroh

In this tender, bittersweet, full-color graphic novel, a young woman named Clementine discovers herself, and the elusive magic of love, when she meets a confident blue-haired girl named Emma. The film adaptation earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

MENTIONED IN:

15 Incredible Movies That Started As Books

By Tolani Osan | December 12, 2016

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Push
by Sapphire

Precious Jones is 16 years old and pregnant by her father with her second child. When she meets a determined and highly radical teacher, Precious embarks on a journey of transformation and redemption. Gabourey Sidibe plays the unforgettable teen in the Oscar-winning film adaptation, “Precious.”

Push
Sapphire

Precious Jones is 16 years old and pregnant by her father with her second child. When she meets a determined and highly radical teacher, Precious embarks on a journey of transformation and redemption. Gabourey Sidibe plays the unforgettable teen in the Oscar-winning film adaptation, “Precious.”

MENTIONED IN:

15 Incredible Movies That Started As Books

By Tolani Osan | December 12, 2016

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All We Had
by Annie Weatherwax
Actress Katie Holmes’s anticipated directorial debut (in which she also stars) is an adaptation of Annie Weatherwax’s stirring debut novel, ALL WE HAD. Rita Carmichael is a single mother raising her teenage daughter, Ruthie, as they teeter on the edge of poverty. Faced with the prospect of homelessness, Rita is forced to make tough decisions that will change their lives forever.
All We Had
Annie Weatherwax

Though Rita Carmichael works more than one job, she and her teenage daughter Ruthie teeter on the edge of poverty. Faced with the prospect of homelessness, Rita reverts to survival mode, and the price she pays to keep them out of poverty changes their lives forever.

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