35+ Lesser-Known Entries In The “Book Versus Movie” Debate

By Aakash M

Lots of the flicks that we watch are inspired by books, and the question that often arises among fans is which is better. Some prefer the original, while others prefer the film adaptation. Watching a movie is a unique experience, but reading a book has its own perks.

You might have heard of the movies in this list and even watched most of them, but you might not know the books these movies were based on. Well, the books usually come before the film, and not vice-versa. And chances are you’ll want to read these books after knowing about the movies they inspired, in case you haven’t already.

Some movies in this list are all-time classics, and they were so good that you won’t even feel like reading the books. Let’s take a look!


Most of you have probably heard of Cats the Musical. But, the original version stems from T.S Eliot’s book about “practical cats.” Now that we’ve heard that cats are serious, we wish there was a book on practical dogs, but they’re not so serious and practical!

Image source: Cats / Universal Pictures

The original book was published in 1939, and the movie featuring Taylor Swift was released in 2019. The superstar wrote an original song just for the movie. The movie is a musical, and the book is a collection of poems.

Slumdog Millionaire

This Oscar-winning movie is based on Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup’s novel Q & A. The movie was a huge success, and it also launched Freida Pinto and Dev Patel to stardom. The movie gives its audience an insight into how extreme poverty helped someone become extremely wealthy.

Image source: Instagram / slumdog_millionaire_

You’d wish that this movie was based on a true story, but that’s not the case. Directed by Danny Boyle, the movie is about Jamal, a boy from the Mumbai slums who becomes a contestant on the Indian equivalent of Who wants to be a Millionaire? and bags the cash reward. 

The Princess Bride

This movie is famously known for the line “as you wish.” Most of us say this line to someone at one point in our lives. The big twist in this movie is that the events are just a story that a grandpa is reading to his grandson.

Image source: Instagram / the.princess.bride

William Goldman is the author of the book that originated this movie. We know that nobody will ever need a hitman (hopefully). But in the rare case that anybody ever does, they should give Inigo Montoya a call. Just kidding!

A Simple Favor

This movie is about a friendship that is full of lies and betrayal. There’s even a twist involving a twin sister. Starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively, this black comedy is based on the 2017 novel A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell. If you liked Gone Girl, you have to watch this movie!

Image source: Instagram / asimplefavor

Blake Lively wears a different suit in every scene of the movie; honestly, that’s part of what’s so catchy about this movie. Someone correctly mentioned that dark humor and a stylish wardrobe design make for the perfect comedy-crime thriller movie.

Silver Linings Playbook

Let’s welcome one of Jennifer Lawrence’s most iconic flicks to our list. This movie speaks about mental health and is based on Matthew Quick’s homonymous literary work. The book came out in 2008 and was the author’s first novel. He’s really talented, as you can tell.

Image source: Instagram / thecinesaga_

The story itself is excellent, and the movie has a fantastic cast to make things even better. In addition to J-Law, it also stars Bradley Cooper, De Niro, and other household names! In the movie, Cooper, who plays the role of Pat, has bipolar disorder and is seeking help.

Jurassic Park

The novel Jurassic Park has inspired many movies and series. It’s so popular that Universal Studios has a theme park dedicated to it. The rides are wonderful, and when you’re there, you’ll feel like you’re taking a trip to Jurassic World!

Image source: Instagram / jurassicpark

The visual effects of these movies have greatly improved over the years. But we’d say that the original Jurassic Park movies hold a unique place in our hearts. Watching original versions of movies is also a great way to look back at how far we’ve come regarding technological development!

The Parent Trap

The Parent Trap, which starred a young LiLo, is a cult favorite. Today, this movie is 24 years old. Yet, most people still don’t know that it was based on a German novel. Can you guess how old that novel is? It was first published back in 1949, so do the math!

Image source: Instagram / theparenttrapmovie

Surprisingly, The Parent Trap isn’t the only movie based on this book. However, this movie is the most renowned and commercially successful adaptation. It was Lindsay Lohan’s film debut, and she was so good at playing both twins that people thought she had a twin sister in real life!

Mean Girls

Speaking of Lindsay Lohan’s movies, here’s another one we all know about. For those who didn’t know, the movie Mean Girls was inspired by the book Queen Bees and Wannabes. The self-help book talks about teenage girls’ aggressive behavior patterns and how to deal with them.

Image source: Instagram / meangirls

Tina Fey, the genius behind the movie, said that she created the story and the characters in the film version and that the book was used as just a guide for the movie. That’s good! We feel relieved to know that the book didn’t inspire this Christmas song scene from the movie.

Freaky Friday

Lindsay Lohan has done some great work in her career, and she continues to do so because this is her third movie included in this list! Freaky Friday was released in 2003, but it was based on a 1972 children’s book of the same name written by Mary Rodgers,

Image source: Instagram / _freakyfriday

One of Lindsay’s best movies, this flick was Disney’s third adaptation of the same novel. Lohan and her co-star Jamie Lee Curtis were highly commended for their enactments in the iconic flick. Honestly, no one could’ve brought the characters to life better than these two did.

How To Be Single

This rom-com was released in 2016, and people still share some of its funny scenes on social media to this day. The movie is based on the novel How to be Single by Liz Tuccillo, but it’s important to note that the adaptation was considerably different than the source.

Image source: Instagram / howtobesingle

Starring Rebel Wilson and Dakota Johnson, the movie has a great message. It makes us consider the importance of having friends by our side to lean on when men or women aren’t the answer. When you watch this movie, you’ll find yourself laughing almost constantly!

Die Hard

Who hasn’t seen this movie? We bet you’d be surprised to know that Die Hard was based on Nothing Lasts Forever, a book by Roderick Thorp. They had to change Bruce Willis’ name from Joe Leland to John McClane in the movie.

Image source: 20th Century Studios / Die Hard

The second book of the series inspired the Bruce Willis movies. But did you know that the first book was made into a movie back in 1966? If you read the books, you’ll have a hard time picturing the action scenes because you’ll only have Bruce Willis in mind while reading!

The Help

Tate Taylor directed this period “dramedy” featuring Emma Stone. It’s based on the novel The Help by Kathryn Stockett. If you have watched this movie but don’t remember much about it, which is highly unlikely, let us refresh your memory.

Image source: Instagram / moviejunkie02

This is that movie that has the infamous poop pie! It was undoubtedly one of the movie’s most hilarious scenes, but let’s not ignore the true meaning. The film wants its audience to remember that we’re all important and smart. You won’t get bored of this movie, no matter how many times you watch it.

Red Sparrow

The movie Red Sparrow is an amazing spy thriller movie. It stars Jennifer Lawrence, which is enough reason for you to watch this movie right now. The movie is inspired by the homonymous best-selling trilogy written by Jason Matthews, a former CIA operative.

Image source: Instagram / redsparrowmovie

We bet you’re already interested in reading the books. The book is based on all the real things Jason Matthews learned about Russia and their spy programs during his time as a CIA officer. That makes this book even more appealing.

He’s Just Not That Into You

This movie is raw and to the point. It has a practical approach to relationships, which is pretty uncommon, considering that the audience likes to watch a happy and sugar-coated story about relationships. It’s quite a tough pill to swallow if you’re a die-hard romantic.

Image source: Warner Bros. Pictures / He’s Just Not That Into You

This rom-com is based on a book of the same name. Well, from the book’s title, you can tell that it’s about practical dating advice. Written by two of the creative minds behind SATC, the book dives deep into understanding men. This is the second Tuccillo book that has been made into a rom-com!

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

This story has come a long way. The journey started with an ad that went viral. After the success, the ad creators turned it into a book. And then they turned it into a movie starring Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick! 

Image source: Instagram / mikeanddave

The way that this movie came about could be turned into a film in its own right! The movie is based on the story of two real-life brothers, Mike and Dave, and their romantic adventures. A fun fact is that no comedy writers worked on this one!

The First Wives Club

The First Wives Club is a novel that was released by Olivia Goldsmith in 1992. Just a few years later, a studio adapted the movie to the big screen and hired some of the most iconic actresses of the 1990s. Also, the movie was the inspiration for Arianna Grande’s thank you, next performance!

Image source: Instagram / tvmayho

From starting out as a novel, turning into a movie, and then being an inspiration for a pop performance, The First Wives Club has truly come a long way. Also, the film isn’t just for divorced women. It’s for every woman who loves being around her friends!


If you have seen even a single Alfred Hitchcock movie, you’ll realize that he can make a big-screen hit out of any thriller novel! This movie was initially a book by Robert Bloch. Just a spoiler: It’s pretty hard keeping your eyes open while watching this movie.

Image source: Instagram / fordzany

There are more than a few iconic scenes in this classic. If we had to describe them without giving out many details, we would simply use the adjective “epic.” Our only hope is that this meme makes the viewers chuckle because the movie will certainly not do that.

101 Dalmatians

This animated Disney masterpiece was first published in 1956 as a book written by Dodie Smith. This movie melted many hearts and still does to this day. We don’t think this film measured its success based on monetary profits because it suffices to say that the movie was profitable.

Image source: Instagram / tracy_bows

Whenever a viewer felt like adopting a dalmatian after watching this movie, we believe it was a win for the creators. And let’s not forget to mention how evil Cruella was. We mean, how can you plot against those cute doggies?


If you have watched this movie, then you probably have thought at least once about who was the DUFF in your friend circle! If we were to answer that, we’d say that nobody is a DUFF. Actually, that’s quite an offensive coined term.

Image source: Instagram / theduffmovie

The DUFF was a book by Kody Keplinger that gives readers a humorous insight into most teenagers’ insecurities. No wonder it was made into a highly successful rom-com! The book is fantastic, and the movie is worth watching multiple times.

The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book is an animated movie produced by the children’s most beloved studio. It touched the hearts of kids, teens, and even adults. And it was not just in the USA; it was a worldwide sensation! The original movie was released in 1967 and was based on Rudyard Kipling’s book.

Image source: Instagram / the_junglebook

Not the songs, though. The songs were all composed just for the flick. Some decades later, the movie was remade into a live-action masterpiece with a real boy. If you have heard the song The Bare Necessities from the movie, you’ll remember that we don’t need a lot to be happy!

Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby is a masterpiece starring Hillary Swank. It was based on a short story from a book by F.X. Toole called Rope Burns: Stories from the Corner. Also, Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood are in the movie too! That’s enough reason to watch it.

Image source: Instagram / adaymartin24

The movie has been the recipient of multiple Academy Awards, and each one of them was well-deserved. Did you know that “Million Dollar Baby” was a term used by Muhammad Ali as a pre-fight insult to Sonny Liston? That’s legendary. With that title, it’s no wonder this movie slaps.


The Jumanji movies starring Kevin Hart and The Rock were excellent, but there was a Jumanji movie that came out in the 90s, and that one was really good. The original was based on a homonymous book by Chris Van Allsburg. The movie itself was scary enough to induce nightmares!

Image source: Instagram / whatsmyvisions

While we haven’t read it, we’re sure that the book is terrifying as well. Jumanji is a movie that every ’90s kid remembers, which is why most of us were so skeptical when they announced a reboot of the original. Much to our surprise, the recent Jumanji movies were just as awesome!

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

This scandalous story is based on a book by Cameron Crowe. Surprisingly, it’s based on a true story, as the book is about Cameron’s life at Ridgemont High! The first part of the movie’s name is enough for you to get a gist of the film.

Image source: Instagram / tracyfromthemermaid

Fast Times at Ridgemont High is one of the best high school movies ever made. Also, it feels nice to see how the young stars in this movie became superstars! Recently, a fundraiser table read of the film featured Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, and the fans went crazy.

Pitch Perfect

This comedic masterpiece is a trilogy that stars Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson. This movie is based on a book of the same name, and it is about a journalist named Mickey Rapkin who gets into the acapella scene on the college campuses of the USA.

Image source: Instagram / pitchperfectmovie

The titles of the book and the movie (although the same) are accurate because it is the perfect movie to watch and the perfect book to read! And yes, this piece of info means that a version of the iconic Bellas exists in real life!

Forrest Gump

Out of all the flicks we have on this list, we’d say that this one is arguably the best movie of all time. But, even this movie was based on a book. Although the movie was a blockbuster, the book wasn’t nearly as popular.

Image source: Paramount Pictures / Forrest Gump

Thanks to Tom Hanks, the book became famous only after the film hit the movie theaters! This movie also had the sweetest lesson for its audience. When you’re sad, remember that life is just like a box of chocolates; sometimes, you need to run as Forrest does!

The Art Of Racing In The Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain is a book by Garth Stein that was published in 2008. The movie version, which stars Amanda Seyfried, was only released recently, and honestly, it’s a great movie! It gives an amazing insight into some very distinct relationships.

Image source: Instagram / artofracing_film

To be precise, it’s about the relationship between a racecar driver, a dog, and a woman with cancer. That sentence is more than enough to make those who haven’t watched this movie realize that when they do watch it, they’re gonna shed a lot of tears.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Tina Fey is a legend and has written some amazing movies throughout her career, and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is one of them. Starring Margot Robbie, this movie was earlier a book that went by the title of The Taliban Shuffle.

Image source: Instagram / eighmelin

This movie is a war dramedy. You will find funny bits, but we must also tell you that the film is based on a true story about Kim Baker, a war correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. The story’s about how the reporter volunteers for a very hazardous gig. 

American Sniper

This Bradley Cooper classic was based on Chris Kyle’s autobiography. It’s about his experiences in the Middle East as a US Army soldier. Chris Kyle is a Navy SEAL who has been credited with 160 confirmed kills. It is the highest number of kills by a person in US military history.

Image source: Warner Bros Pictures / American Sniper

But, you’ll see in the movie that, despite holding the record, the whole thing takes quite the toll on him. Also, did anybody notice that a doll was used in place of a baby for some of the scenes of the movie?

It’s A Wonderful Life

Widely regarded as one of the best Christmas movies, this movie was released back in 1946. It’s based on Philip Van Doren Stern’s novel The Greatest Gift. The movie isn’t entirely based on the book since they changed many things, but the book is a must-read!

Image source: Instagram / its_a_wonderful_life_194

Also, The Greatest Gift was loosely based on A Christmas Carol, a novel by Charles Dickens. You should watch this movie because it has been ranked first on the American Film Institute’s most inspirational movies! If you need some motivation, this is where you can get it from. 

Blade Runner

Although it starts off strangely, this movie is amazing. If you haven’t watched it, you’re missing out on something amazing because it’s a Harrison Ford action classic! This movie was based on Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” masterpiece.

Image source: Instagram / bladerunnermovie

The book’s title is pretty unusual, so maybe that’s why the movie starts that way. The film was recently remade, starring Ryan Gosling. If you don’t like sci-fi movies, you should at least watch this one to see this beautiful actor.


Based on a book of the same name by Peter Benchley, Jaws is undoubtedly one of Steven Spielberg’s best creations. Here’s something interesting: the director was so upset upon seeing the reputation of sharks being damaged because of his movie that he became an ocean conservationist. 

Image source: Instagram / jaws

We can understand why he made that choice, but we don’t think it’s his fault. Firstly, he created a fantastic movie. Secondly, if the sharks were nice in the story, the entire theme of the movie would be changed. Oh, and most people would still be scared anyway!

The Birds

The Birds is a horror movie by Alfred Hitchcock based on a short story from Daphne Du Maurier’s book The Apple Tree. But when the film garnered a lot of fame, the name was changed to “The Birds and Other Stories.”

Image source: Instagram / luckyboyreviews

The name change is an amazing marketing move, and this also shows the power of Alfred Hitchcock’s work. He’s such a great filmmaker that people literally rename their books after his movies if there’s a connection between the two!

Something Borrowed

Something Borrowed is based on Emily Griffin’s original book, but you can also say that numerous real-life situations are unintentionally inspired by what you’ll see in this movie. The movie is about two best friends who fight over the same guy!

Image source: Instagram / _mina_maniska

Honestly, the problem would be solved in just a second if they stopped fighting over a guy and put their friendship before men. But that would take all the drama and thrill out of the movie, and ultimately, nobody would watch it. 

Legally Blonde

This movie was outstanding. It was the kind of movie everybody needed to see at the time. For that, we need to thank Amanda Brown, who wrote the book that inspired this movie. The book is about what Amanda experienced while attending Law School. 

Image source: Instagram / poeticprincess3x

Reese Witherspoon kills it in this movie, as you can tell by this image. Here’s a fact – she almost lost the role to another actress! We can’t imagine how things would’ve been in that case because imagining anybody else in that role just feels weird.


This movie was inspired by one of Jane Austen’s novels. The biggest difference is that it’s set in modern-day Beverly Hills. Much like everyone else, we adore this teen flick. And it’s not just because Paul Rudd is Cher’s romantic interest.

Image source: Instagram / clueless

The movie was filmed in only 40 days, but don’t let the number of production days put you off. There was a lot of extensive research involved. Amy Heckerling, the director, studied the high school students of Beverly Hills, and she also learned their slang!

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Don’t we all want to eat a delicious croissant outside Tiffany’s? Well, guess where the trend started from? It began with Aubrey Hepburn doing it. You’ll find the classic image if you google it. This timeless movie is based on Truman Capote’s novella of the same name.

Image source: Instagram / moviequotes

This movie is full of iconic moments and lines. The whole story is filled with important lessons and some memorable characters, and the thing that sets the film apart from the book is the soundtrack. You don’t get to hear those iconic songs when you read the book!

Mrs. Doubtfire

This feel-good movie is hilarious. The great Robin Williams plays the role of a nanny in this film, which is based on Anne Fine’s Alias Madame Doubtfire. The movie shows how a dad gets to know his kids better and loves them even more.

Image source: Instagram / remembering_80s_90s

The “old lady” getup was honestly realistic, making us wonder what would happen if such a situation happened in real life. It’s unlikely that people wouldn’t notice, right? If we had to recommend a movie for you to watch, it would be this one!


Are you wondering how this movie’s title came to be? Well, it’s a highly logical decision the creators made and makes insane sense. It’s because this movie is about a lady who’s obsessed with Jane Austen’s books! But there’s another book connection.

Image source: Instagram / austenland

The movie is based on a book called Austenland by Shannon Hale. If we learned anything from this movie, it is that reading is a fun activity. If you know anyone who doesn’t like reading, you should recommend a Jane Austen novel, and they’ll quickly fall in love with this activity.

The Shawshank Redemption

Andy Dufresne’s prison escape story is one of the best and most famous stories ever told for three reasons. One, it was actually that good of a story. Two, it is among the greatest films of all time. Three, Morgan Freeman.

Image source: Instagram / shawshankredemption1

The Shawshank Redemption is based on Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, a short story written by the legendary writer Stephen King. We bet the filmmakers and Morgan Freeman didn’t know that this line was about to become one of the most famous quotes of wisdom!

The Wolf of Wall Street

Jordan Belfort came out of prison a long time ago, and he’s now a motivational speaker. His net worth is still a whopping $115 million! Some of you might already know this, but The Wolf of Wall Street was based on Belfort’s memoir.

Image source: Paramount Pictures / The Wolf of Wall Street

Leonardo Dicaprio is the finest acting talent that the world has. But that scene where Matthew McConaughey is teaching Dicaprio the fist-pounding drum mantra is equally great! We must also not forget to thank Martin Scorsese for directing this movie.