Most faithful screen adaptation of a book?

I was listening to Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream (Hey Now)” song and it reminded me of the the TV mini-series The Stand, since the song is featured in the movie.

The Stand might be my pick for the most faithful screen adaption of a book. It’s a lengthy book, one of King’s best I think, and the mini-series format fits it well. Still, the movie has to leave a lot out, but despite this, the movie seemed to me to include all the important moments in the book. There are two female characters combined into one in the movie, but that’s the only libety I remember the movie taking.

My runner-up would be Silence of Lambs, another lengthy novel that had most of its important scenes included in the film version.

Any others? I’ve never read Dick’s Do Android Dream of Electric Sheep, but always wanted to since Bladerunner is my favorite sci-fi movie and it always intrigued that the there was a published novelization of the movie, which was based on a book, so why was a novelization even needed?

Any others? I’ve never read Dick’s Do Android Dream of Electric Sheep, but always wanted to since Bladerunner is my favorite sci-fi movie and it always intrigued that the there was a published novelization of the movie, which was based on a book, so why was a novelization even needed?

Quite simply because about the only thing the two stories really have in common (Blade Runner and DADOES) is that Deckard goes out and retires a bunch of androids. Aside from that, they’re really quite different. The movie does what movies generally tend to do, and focuses more on action and the developing relationship between Deckard and Rachael.

The book, however, is more of a social study of this post-war earth, and also focuses much more on the development of Deckard’s character.

There are also many other points which are different. As an example, in the book, Deckard is married.

I would strongly suggest that you pick up a copy of DADOES and see what you think. It’s a much different flavour than the movie.

For me probably LoTR, its pretty faithful to the spirit of Tolkien.

And Do Androids Dream is different from Blade Runner. Its more comical in the novel. Deckard is married. The idea of kipple… increasing junk/trash theory…

Yeah Silence was pretty close to Harris’ novel same with Hannibal (except the ending). hmm, To Kill a Mockinbird was very close to the novel iirc…


Does 2001 count? The book was mostly written first, with a lot of input from Kubrick. Work on the screenplay actually started before the book was complete, and the two were going back and forth with ideas on it. Anyway, they’re both really close (well, aside from the fact that one happens outside of Jupiter and the other outside of Saturn, but the text is close).

I thought the first Harry Potter movie was almost like watching the book. They really didn’t add or change anything from the book.

LOTR is good, but there’s plot changes and character changes from the book.

tuesdays with morrie?

Don’t Dream It’s Over :wink: great song

LoTR is an abomination. Three words: comedy fucking dwarves. Plus it features some truly awful music (to whit: the stuff that won an Oscar) by Howard Shore. Every time that twee Hobbit theme starts up I feel an urge to rant coming on.

It missed on every level. Maybe I like the books too much.

Oh yeah, and Agent Smith is an atrocious actor.

And, any movie where Sean Bean is the best actor HAS to be shit.

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Industry Dwarf

Great allbum, I wish I still had it. Did you ever hear that song based on The Stand that got a lot of airplay in the 80s? It was pretty good, if I remember right. I can’t remember the name of the band, but the refrain was, “Come on down, and meet your Maker, come on down, and make The Stand… Come on down, come on down… Come on down, and make The Stand.”

It’s not big screen stuff, but most things that the BBC has adapted are incredibly faithful to their source material. I remember watching Brideshead Revisited with my mom and being able to follow along in the book.

Though I wouldn’t go so far as to call it an abomination, I agree that it failed to capture a lot of the spirit of Tolkien’s work. I still think it’s amazing that Jackson captured any of it. The importance of the landscape, Frodo’s loneliness and desperation, the power of great friendship – those things and others were brought over well. A whole lot else was broken in transit, though, I’ll give you that. And the music is pretty bad, but I have a soft spot for the “Orthanc Theme” or whatever it’s called.

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I’d have to vote for the “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” miniseries, which included just about everything from the book. “Smiley’s People” was good, too. And Alec Guiness was great as George Smiley.


Do long short stories count?If so,I would say ‘The Shawshank Redemption’.I was surprised how closely it followed the story,although I still prefer the short story to the movie.

Funny how Stephen King is coming up so much, but the film adaptation of The Green Mile deserves a mention, even though nearly all of the parts of the novel that take place when the main character was old were not in the film (including a subplot with an orderly reminiscent of Ben Stiller’s character in Happy Gilmore). However, the parts that take place in the prison were almost identical to the novel/released-in-increments-story, right down to the dialogue. I was pretty impressed, especially when they showed the weird fairy dust whathaveyou coming out of Coffey’s mouth, exactly as King described it.


“Funny how Stephen King is coming up so much…”

He’s got to be close to having written the most books that have been turned into movies. I’d guess all of Ian Fleming’s Bond books became movies, but King has to outnumber him still. I’m sure all of Shakespeare’s plays have been filmed, which is 36 I believe, but King might even beat that.

A lot of Shakespeare’s stuff hasn’t been adapted for screen. I mean, there are probably theatrical presentations of Timon of Athens, Troilus and Cressida and Pericles on film somewhere, but these aren’t on the same level as the King dramatizations.

For faithful adaptations, the Masterpiece Theater Pride and Prejudice from 1995 was top-notch.


Wow. That is a great call. One of Alec Guinness’ best roles. They totally captured the spirit of and remained faithful to the complex plots of Le Carre’s books. Makes me want to rent 'em now.

Others off the top of me head:

Remains of the Day
LA Confidential --kinda sorta, given all they had to cram in.
And of course I completely disagree with “Tyrion Lannister” about LOTR. But what do we expect from a psycho fantasy dwarf?

Yeah, I don’t think he is capturing the spirit of the character he is, supposedly, representing. Georg R.R. would roll over in his grave, if he were dead. I say you should re-register as Industry Dwarf. :P

I agree with this. In fact, both Harry Potter movies have been almost TOO faithful to the books. The first more clearly follows the plot, practically word for word. I think the film should be used as an example of why books aren’t followed too closely by Hollywood films.

LOTOR worked as a film in part because it was willing to leave out or modify parts of the books. I have no problems with that. The story is still conveyed, and it works very well for people who have not read the books. Try watching a film like The Shipping News without having read the book and it seems a bit off. Or, if you don’t like such films, try the LOTOR cartoon versions. They were very disjointed.

After Dark, My Sweet was a pretty great adaptation. Also: The Maltese Falcon. Pretty much every John Huston adaptation is fairly faithful, and that guy directed some seemingly unadaptable books (Wise Blood, Under the Volcano, Moby Dick, “The Dead”).

Kubrick’s adaptation of Lolita is almost perfect, despite the fact that Nabokov basically threw a temper tantrum over it for the remainder of his life. It emphasizes the sardonic aspect of Humbert’s character over the equally important hypnotic sensualism, and consequently it removes one shade of the illusion that makes the book great: in the book, the reader forgets that Humbert is a monster, so consequently becomes his co-conspirator. That said, every important scene in the novel is captured in the film almost perfectly and I think that the person who cast this film is a twisted genius - James Mason as Humbert Humbert! Peter Sellers as Clare Quilty! Shelly Winter as Charlotte Haze!

Ignore the 1997 remake, if necessary, by way of a bullet to the brain. The worst adaptation of a great novel ever. Talk about completely missing the point. Brian Koontz wrote the treatment.

I’ll second Silence of the Lambs. Apart from one minor subplot (Clarice’s boss’s wife dying), it’s practically a direct transfer.

Rosemary’s baby is supposed to be very close as well. Apparently the screenwriter was a first-timer and he once phoned Ira Levin to ask him for the titles of the magazines lying on a table in the book. Not too many liberties taken there.

For me, the best has to be The Princess Bride. True to the spirit of the book, leaving very little out and capturing the tone of the book perfectly. It’s one of my favourite movies too. Almost perfect casting.

Yeah, but for the longest time, it was practically a given that the film adaptation of a King novel was going to be quite different.

As a side note, I can’t believe they tried to film Dreamcatcher. Jesus.