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,, 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.

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.

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 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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