Movies I Love Based on Books I Haven’t Read 🙊

I’m going to commit an act of pure blasphemy here and say that I don’t always read the book before watching the movie because sometimes I just don’t want to. There are also times where I didn’t know that there was a book and ended up not reading it. It doesn’t really matter to me whether I’ve read the book or not because I’m not the kind of person to be pedantic about how accurate or “right” (i hate it when people say that) it is.

Also, I feel like I should rant about something that has bugged me for a while: when a series or a movie based on a beloved book is announced can we please be excited about it and instead of Tweeting “please don’t suck” or “hopefully they get it right”. We need to be more excited about things these days and tbh being cynical about other forms of media just because they’re not books is just silly.

A Clockwork Orange
Based on the book by Anthony Burgess

It’s been a good while since I watched this movie, but I do remember it not being an easy movie to watch since all of the characters are awful people. And I don’t mean Six of Crows kind of bad people, I mean bad, awful people. I do have my own copy of the book, but the fact that the characters are so horrible is what puts me off reading it (although i did manage to get through american psycho and the mc of that book is arguably worse). Plus, in some editions, the final chapter was taken out and I really hope that I don’t have that edition. The only way to find out is to read it, of course.

The Thing
Based on Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell

There are two reasons why I haven’t read the book that The Thing is based on 1) I only watched the movie for the first time last year 2) I didn’t know it was based on a book. You can’t plan to read a book that you don’t even know exists. Even though this movie scared the butt off of me, I did really love it and would plan to watch it many, many more times. I haven’t been scared by a horror movie since I watched Alien for the first time, so that makes it successful to me. The movie critics from the ’80s were obviously wrong when they called it “instant junk”. But I never listen to movie critics anyway.

Alice in Wonderland (but most book-based disney movies, really)
Based on the book by Lewis Carroll

Here’s the thing with Disney movies: it’s easier to name those that aren’t based on books or fairy tales or something else because so many of them are. Even Dumbo is based on a prototype for a toy and Fantasia is based on the music it features. But Alice in Wonderland is one that I should have read a long time ago because it was one of my favourites when I was little, and it’s a children’s book. Heck, I read the original Tarzan book when I was either 15 or 16 so I don’t see why I haven’t read Alice in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll was actually a regular visitor to my city and the council is pretty proud of that, so there’s another reason.

2001: A Space Odyssey
Arthur C. Clarke wrote this but I’m confused ok??

I really do get confused on whether to say 2001 is based on a book or not because Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick got together to write a screenplay inspired by a short story that Clarke wrote and then Clarke also wrote the book of 2001 at the same time he was writing the screenplay with Kubrick. The movie was released, and then the book was published a matter of days after. So which one came first??? See why I’m so confused? At this point, it doesn’t matter because I’ve already seen the movie, and despite leaving the cinema thinking “what the heck did I just watch I’m going to have nightmares about that giant baby” I did like it. It is a stunning movie to watch. I do actually have a copy of the book and I have read a few pages of it. What puts me off is that this is as hard as I have ever seen sci-fi get. This isn’t Star Trek where they have adventures with aliens and explain things simply after using tons of jargon. No, this is scientifically accurate and space is terrifying. My soft squishy brain can’t handle that kind of stuff well.

Howl’s Moving Castle
Based on the book by Diana Wynne Jones

Howl’s Moving Castle is my favourite Studio Ghibli movie and it shocks me that I haven’t read the book because I love it so much. I haven’t read any of the stories/books/manga that the adapted Ghibli movies are based on, but Howl’s Moving Castle is an obvious priority for me since it is my favourite. Plus, it’s an English novel so that makes it easier for me to find because translated books are kind of hidden gems unless they’re European or classics. Or European classics. Imagine you can see me shaking my fist because that’s what I’m doing internally.

Wonder Woman
Based on the characters by DC, William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter

Even though I’m not into comics anymore, I’m still kind of ashamed that I haven’t read a single Wonder Woman comic outside of her appearances in the very few Justice League comics I’ve read. I’ve read Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman book, but that’s not exactly the same because it’s not the comics. I have the first volume of the latest Wonder Woman line, but I have a huge hatred of the current DC timeline and everything has to tie into everything so it’s unlikely that I’ll ever get to it. I can always go back and read older titles, though.

Based on the book by Robert Bloch

Psycho is probably my favourite thriller movie ever (it not scary enough for me to call it a horror movie) and even though I’ve had a copy of the book for a few years, I still have yet to read it because I keep putting it down. Why? I actually can’t say why. It just seems that every time I pick it up seems to be the wrong time to read it and it just doesn’t click with me. And that’s a shame because I want it to click with me since the movie is one of my favourites. Maybe I expected it to be similar to the movie for some reason, which is silly because I learned a long time ago to not expect old movies to be the same as their books because they never are.

Based on the book by William Steig

If you didn’t know that this movie is based on a book, you do now. You’re welcome. I didn’t for a very long time, but I think it’s okay to not know that Shrek was originally a book because it’s a picture book. And I stopped reading those when I was 5. To say that the movie version of Shrek is loosely based on the book is a complete understatement because I just read the plot summary of the entire book on Wikipedia and I’m not surprised that they had to make it different.

The Wizard of Oz
Based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

I didn’t learn that The Wizard of Oz was based on a series of books until I was around 12 or 13 because my school’s librarian told me that she and her sister were collecting all of the books in that series. I also learned just now that they’re all in the US public domain. Not sure about the British public domain (or if we even have one) but it can’t hurt to see if I can find them in libraries or on Amazon.

Muppet Treasure Island
Based on Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

I have kind of read Treasure Island in the sense that I read about a fifth of it before declaring it one of the most boring things I’ve ever read and DNFing it. I think I misjudged it as being a children’s book because it’s about pirates and children love pirates because nobody has told them just how awful real pirates actually were (they were rapists, murderers, and thieves, please stop idolising them). Thankfully the Muppets exist to jazz up any boring story. I don’t even mind that they had to put musical numbers in it because it’s The Muppets and they’re awesome and I love them.

Based on the book by Peter Benchley

Jaws is one of those movies where I can’t really say if I like it or not because even though I’ve seen it a bajillion times, it was never because I actually wanted to watch it. I went to one of those kinds of schools where once it got to the end of the year and there wasn’t any work to do, we’d just end up watching movies all day. And for some reason, if the teacher or someone else hadn’t brought in a DVD we’d end up watching Jaws because it was in the school computer files. And I have no idea why because only Year 11 were technically old enough to watch it. I didn’t learn that it was originally a book until years later, but I actually have conflicting feelings on whether I want to read the book. On one hand, it’s the book that was made into a movie I kind of like, but on the other hand, the author disowned it because he feels it lead to people thinking that sharks are dangerous creatures when they’re actually not.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Based on Who Censored Roger Rabbit? by Gary K. Wolf

If you have not seen Roger Rabbit, you need to change that immediately because this is one of the best movies ever. If you haven’t read Roger Rabbit, then that’s perfectly understandable because I haven’t ever and didn’t know that the book existed for the longest time. I do know that the book is very different from the movie because the book is more about comic strips than animation, and Roger doesn’t play that big of a role. Maybe I’ll read it someday to see what it’s like, but I’d have to hunt around for it first.

Mean Girls
Based on Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman

I didn’t know that Mean Girls is based on a book until I watched the special features on the DVD which talks about the making of the movie. The book that the movie is based on is not one that I would ever even think about picking up because it’s actually a self-help book for parents of teenage daughters. And I am not one of those nor do I ever plan to be. I actually think that managing to make a movie out of a self-help book that doesn’t have a story at all shows just how talented Tina Fey is. Because I could never do that.

What book-based movies have you seen but not read the book of? Do you always read the book before watching the movie, or does it not matter?


  1. 02/03/2019 / 11:04 AM

    Woah?! I never never knew that Mean Girls and Shrek were books!! Mind = blow 😂 But yeah I do agree that it’s ok to just enjoy a movie adaption without worrying too much about the book. For SOME books I will always freak out, like if they’re my favourite books. But for others I’m really quietly excited. Like the Grisha series being made into a Netflix show excites the heck out of me. I know it’ll be different, but different can still be good. 🤗

    • Louise
      03/03/2019 / 6:09 PM

      I didn’t know for years until I watched the making of thingies on the DVDs. I’m so excited for the Grisha adaptation I could scream, I can’t wait to see how it all turns out 🙂

  2. 02/03/2019 / 4:10 PM

    What a great topic for a post! First off, I can’t recommend the book Howl’s Moving Castle enough! I fell completely in love with the movie when I saw it, and when I read the book eventually I adored it more that I thought possible. I actually like it a million times more than the movie, which is nuts if you know how much I love the movie, haha. It’s very different in some ways, though as a warning.
    Thank goodness there is someone else on the planet who still loves Muppet Treasure Island. Tim Curry is absolute gold, haha.

    • Louise
      03/03/2019 / 6:07 PM

      I’ll definitely have to put Howl’s Moving Castle on my TBR! I don’t mind when the book and the movie are different, it’s like experiencing it in a fresh new way 🙂 And yay for Muppet Treasure Island!!

  3. 04/03/2019 / 7:32 PM

    I’ve read A Clockwork Orange, and the characters in it are at least as unlikable as the ones in the movie. (Probably more unlikable.) I feel no need to either read or watch it again.

    On the other hand, Alice in Wonderland and Howl’s Moving Castle are both books I’ve read (and movies I’ve seen) and I recommend both of those. Alice is still a bit confusing as a book, but it has a lot more going on and so I enjoy it more. Howl’s is also great, though there are some definite changes made in the Ghilbi version. (I don’t have a preference, really, they’re just different.)

    A movie that I loved but wasn’t aware was based on a book is Somewhere in Time. (The original book was titled Bid Time Return, but I think they’ve kinda changed the book’s name now because of the movie.) I want to read the book, but haven’t yet.

    • Louise
      15/03/2019 / 6:21 AM

      I don’t mind the book of Howl being different, it’s like experiencing it for the first time again, just in a different way 🙂

      Ohh, I haven’t heard of that one. I do think it’s a little silly to change the title, but I guess it was for marketing reasons or something like that.

  4. 05/03/2019 / 3:04 PM

    Omg, had no idea Shrek was based off a book!

    • Louise
      15/03/2019 / 6:13 AM

      You learn something new every day! 😀

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