4 films that are better than the book

I’m more of a book person than a film person. I’ve always been a huge bookworm and I will often read the original book before watching a film adaptation. Usually, of course, the books are better than the film, as any Harry Potter fan will testify (although, admittedly, the books don’t have an abundance of Alan Rickman!). However, I occasionally come across a film that is miles better than the book it was based on. Here, I’ve rounded up my top four films that are better than the book.

The Notebook
I know The Notebook is a hugely clichéd film, but I have to admit that I love it! To me, it’s absolutely heartbreaking and beautifully romantic at the same time. It’s totally the sort of romance that I appreciate- truthful, honest and not entirely dignified. On the other hand, the original novel by Nicholas Sparks, which I reviewed here, is bland, stiff and unnatural.

The Green Mile
No photo here as my copy's at my mum's house.
Don’t get me wrong here: I love Stephen King's The Green Mile. I read it a fair few years ago now and I found it to be an uplifting, if heart-wrenching, tale of unlikely friendship and the true nature of both human brutality and gentleness. However, for me, the film is just that little bit superior. Although Tom Hanks is great as ever, Michael Clarke Duncan is incredible as John Coffey. It’s the cruel Doug Hutchison as Percy Wetmore who steals the show for me, though. I’ll never forget the utter desolation I felt when he killed Mr Jingles.  The film tapped into my emotions in a way that the book just missed out on.

This was an easy one for me because I cannot stand Ian McEwan! After trying, and failing, to complete his novel Saturday, I decided to give Atonement a go. Again, I failed to finish it. That’s a big deal: I’ve only ever left three books unfinished (the third was Cloud Atlas).  On the other hand, the film is breathtaking in its beauty. Although it stars Keira Knightley, and the acting is a bit shoddy throughout, the cinematography is beautiful and the costumes, which I had the good fortune to see at the V&A Hollywood Costume exhibition, are incredible.

The Great Gatsby

I read The Great Gatsby at 17, and hated it. I felt totally removed from it and, by the time Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation was released 8 years later, I had forgotten everything except the introduction of Daisy Buchanan. I wasn’t expecting great things from the film, but it took my breath away. The decadence, the dizzying pace, the excitement: It’s amazing! After watching, I reread the book and was pleased to find I much preferred it now that I was older. Let me make this clear: I love the book. I just prefer the chaotic pace of the film.

I'd love to know which films you prefer over their book counterparts. 


  1. I love Michael Clarke Duncan's acting in The Green Mile. His portrayal of John Coffey always makes me cry. If I'm completely honest, I wasn't aware of the book. I'll have to put it on my to-read list.

    And I attempted to read The Great Gatsby a few months back, but sadly failed. I'll have to try again. It's reassuring to know that the film gave it justice though!

    Helen x // Beautiful Curiosities

  2. I also loved the notebook and atonement films but the big one for me is Blade Runner - it is waaay better than the book. Although there are aspects of the book that I like too, the film is hugely atmospheric and depicts a much more coherent story line. Plus, Harrison Ford is in it and looks fine :)

  3. I'm reading Divergent at the moment, but the film is better because it has a lot more pace and is less YA. Also, even though it isn't a film, Game of Thrones TV show is better than the books. The books take me AGES to read and are really confusing. The TV show is chuffing awesome.

    Rachel xx
    <a href="</a>The Inelegant Wench</a>

  4. I'm trying to think of a book where the film is better. If I think of any, I'll tweet you!!
    Estelle x
    Let Me Go Xo

  5. I read 'The Great Gatsby' at school and thought it was amazing, yet to see the film although I'm expecting great things now if it's even better than the book!


  6. I have only ever left one book unfinished and it was Cloud Atlas! I just couldn't read it, and it really bothers me that there is a book I actually failed to read. I really enjoyed this book Becky, it is rare that I prefer a film to a book as well, but I agree on a lot of these, especially Atonement. I liked Ian McEwan's stories, but find his writing style unbearable. x

  7. I haven't read any of these books, except for Gatsby or seen any of the movies, but I'd definitely say the movie is miles ahead of the book! I've read the book twice, one of those times being last year when I was 17 so maybe that's why i disliked it so much, I'll try again when I'm older and maybe things will have changed!

    x x

  8. Great post, I totally agree with what you said about The Notebook, Atonement and The Great Gatsby. I haven't seen the Green Mile so i'll take your word for it its added to the list to watch :)

    Sophie x

  9. Tom Hanks is the best!!! I would suggest watching Cloud Atlas if you can Tom Hanks is in that too xox

  10. I absolutely loved Atonement. I changed my final Media Studies essay two nights before the deadline because I watched Atonement and loved it so much. I got an A. Woopah! x

  11. I did a post like this on my blog a while ago but the other way round haha.
    Definitely agree with you on The Notebook. The book was just dire in comparison to the film which I was surprised to find I really enjoyed! I tried to read the Great Gatsby a few months ago but got bored halfway through. I've yet to watch the film though so maybe that'll change my mind!

  12. I so agree with you about Atonement! Saw the movie and loved it. Had the highest of hopes for the book but was really disappointed.

    -Holly, unknown roads

  13. Completely agree about Atonement. I too put the book down without feeling very moved by it. but the cinematography in the movie was so amazing--definitely in my top 10 favorite beautifully shot movies.

  14. I still really need to read the green mile!! It has been on my to read pile for so long now xx

  15. I went to the costume exhibition too and pretty much just walked around dragging my jaw along the ground. I was amazed by it all

  16. Completely agree about The Notebook; the book had a bit too much padding in it and not enough of the heart that the film had.

    The Green Mile! Never read the book, but the film had me in the depths of despair.



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