It can’t be easy to take a book and turn it into a movie. Think about it: not only do film makers have to take the setting, characters and conflicts off the page and turn them into real-life depictions, they also have to do it in a way that appeases readers and watchers. And that can be difficult to do.
Which makes the movies that do it well even more exceptional. And for some of these films, many viewers don’t even realize they were adapted from books in the first place! From memoirs and realistic fiction to thrillers and horror, here we pay homage to some of the top movies based on books.
Let’s go over some of our favorite films that got their start as books. And remember, all of them are available to watch with your DIRECTV subscription and can be accessed on your TV, online or with the DIRECTV app.
For those who aren’t DIRECTV customers, let’s fix that! Check out our packages to find the one that works for you.
MOVIES BASED ON PERSONAL ACCOUNTS
‘12 YEARS A SLAVE’ (2013)
Winning multiple Oscars including Best Picture, 12 Years a Slave is a powerful, thought-provoking depiction of slavery in the antebellum South during the 19th century. The drama was based on the autobiography of Solomon Northup who – born a free man – was sold into slavery and spent 12 years trying not just to survive but also make it back to his family.
This is a great example of taking a book and making it into a movie, but it’s also an especially good example of promoting and lifting up the important stories that need to be told.
Watch ‘12 Years a Slave’ now
A very different, but also moving personal account, Wild, is the story of a woman’s 1,100-mile solo hike on the Pacific Coast Trail. Knowing the film is based on a true story of self-discovery makes it even more relatable, even for someone who has never hiked a day in their life. Especially for someone who has never hiked, actually, since Cheryl started her own journey with no experience.
Watch “Wild” now
DRAMA MOVIES BASED ON BOOKS
‘IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK’ (2019)
This 2019 film is adapted from the prolific writer and Civil Rights activist, James Baldwin’s novel of the same name. The story follows the relationship between Tish and Alfonzo “Fonny” Hunt as they prepare to get married in 1970s Harlem. Until Fonny is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit.
A beautiful collage of love, injustice and passion, If Beale Street Could Talk brings to life the powerful and poignant words of Baldwin for us all to see.
Watch ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ now
‘THE JOY LUCK CLUB’ (1993)
The Joy Luck Club is a drama depicting the generational divides and familial relationships between four Asian American women and their Chinese born mothers. A beautiful story of sacrifice, community and love, this film has long been one of the only prevailing examples of the Asian American experience.
Thanks to the film, though, Asian Americans gained a bit of representation in American media, while others got the chance to learn more about cultures different than their own.
Watch ‘The Joy Luck Club’ now
FEEL GOOD MOVIES BASED ON BOOKS
‘FORREST GUMP’ (1994)
One of the most well-known (and most quoted) movies of our time, Forrest Gump takes us on a journey through history. You’ve probably seen the movie, but did you know it was based on a book? Not to mention the author, Winston Groom, wrote it in six weeks.
Despite being written so quickly, the trials and tribulations of Forrest’s life have lasted decades in the public sphere. Both the film and the book put you smack in the middle of American history, and it’s one history lesson you won’t mind getting again.
Watch ‘Forrest Gump’ now
‘THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA’ (2006)
One of our favorite dramedies from the mid-2000s, The Devil Wears Prada has a stellar cast including Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt and Stanley Tucci. We watch as Andy (Hathaway) timidly steps into the world of fashion and is quickly pushed into the deep end.
Both the novel and movie present the challenges of choosing between life and work, love and passion and the consequences of choosing one over the other. Not to mention all the fabulous outfits you get to see in the film to go along with the drama, laughs and lessons.
Watch ‘The Devil Wears Prada‘ now
‘CRAZY RICH ASIANS’ (2018)
Crazy Rich Asians – the book and movie – tell a story of love, family, culture and the intersection of them all. The author of the 2013 book, Kevin Kwan, said his intention with the novel was to “introduce a contemporary Asia to a North American audience.”
It became a film five years later, and it was an immediate success. And it was the first major studio picture to center on Asian Americans since… You guessed it, The Joy Luck Club.
Watch ‘Crazy Rich Asians‘ now
HORROR & THRILLER BOOKS TURNED MOVIES
‘SILENCE OF THE LAMBS’ (1991)
What started as a chilling novel about a young FBI agent and psychiatrist meets cannibal, Hannibal Lecture, became a relatively well-received movie in 1991. Slowly but surely, though, the movie gained critical acclaim and has remained in the spotlight for the past 30 years.
Filled with controversy, disturbing moments and cannibalism, the film not only brought to light the complexities of human nature, but also influenced the growing demand for more content about serial killers and the sorts in U.S. media.
Watch ‘The Silence of the Lambs‘ now
‘ROSEMARY’S BABY’ (1968)
Originally written by Ira Levin (author of The Stepford Wives), Rosemary’s Baby is an eerie story of a pregnant woman, Rosemary, and her husband who start noticing odd happenings around them. From weird neighbors to strange pregnancy symptoms, the film takes the chilling work of Levin and puts it on the screen for all our eyes to watch in fear (but if you need to close your eyes, that’s okay too).
Watch ‘Rosemary’s Baby‘ Now
WATCH TOP MOVIES INSPIRED BY BOOKS ON DIRECTV
There may only be nine films featured on this list, but there are countless other movies, documentaries and TV shows based on books to check out. And with DIRECTV, you can watch them all, whenever you want. Whether on your TV or on-the-go with the DIRECTV App, we have the entertainment you’re looking for.
If you aren’t a DIRECTV customer yet, now’s the time to switch! With four packages, a two-year price lock guarantee and all the top channels, you’ll never run out of great content to watch.