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Because it was my favorite story when I was a child—I read it again and again, and to this day have whole swaths of it memorized word for word—I approached Wes Anderson’s new adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” with my hands covering my face. Could I even watch it? Well, I really shouldn’t have worried. My only complaint about it is that since the word “wonderful” is in its title, I have to come up with other words to use to talk about it.

The original story remains perfectly intact—a story within a story within a story, each in turn narrated (in sort-of reverse order) by Benedict Cumberbatch, Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes (it’s quite a cast for a 37-minute movie, and I haven’t even mentioned Dev Patel or Richard Ayoade). It’s about a wealthy wastrel, a ne’er do well looking for an easy way to make even more money by perfecting a technique that allows him to cheat at gambling by “seeing with his eyes closed.” There’s studying, and time passing (lots of stopwatching!) and a guru and bandages and a transformation, all presented in front of gorgeous quick-change analog sets and rear projections and, well, just about every stage trick in the book. It’s never not being made in front of your very eyes—you see makeup people and stagehands every now and then—but it still feels as if it just showed up fully formed out of nowhere, a product of … magic?

Despite all that typical Andersonia when it comes to the visuals, you can almost enjoy it just as a radio play—knit to it without ever looking up and see how it goes! It’s very very very talky—almost nothing happens that isn’t told directly to you by a character looking right into the camera (enormous chunks of it are word-for-word from the original source, some of it alarmingly trenchant, even now—“All of them, all wealthy people of this type, have one peculiarity in common: they have a terrific urge to make themselves still wealthier than they already are.”)

The end result feels like a story that’s been told to you rather than shown to you. I suppose it does break the old “show, don’t tell” storytelling rule in that regard, but you know … maybe someone who wasn’t very good at telling made that rule up out of thin air in the first place.

It all adds up to a surprisingly faithful version of Dahl’s original. Though I shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose; Anderson’’s “Fantastic Mr Fox,” his other Dahl adaptation, remains his best movie, and the reason for that is starting to get clearer: Anderson and Dahl are a perfect match. Anderson’s visual touch and tone lighten up Dahl’s occasional sourness and Dahl’s dry-as-dust, almost completely undecorated text counterbalances Anderson’s frequent dips into twee territory.

In addition to Henry Sugar, Anderson has flooded the market with three more short films adapted from other Dahl stories: “The Rat Catcher,” “Poison” and “The Swan.” Let me repeat: I will approach them with my hands covering my face. Can he get it right again? I’m less nervous than I was, that’s all I know. Sorry, but I can’t resist: “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” is, well, wonderful

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About The Author

DG Strong took up knitting in 2014. He lives in Nashville with his sister, her rat terrier and a hound dog named Opal. He has a blog of drawings and faintly ridiculous rambling called The Psychopedia—there are worse ways to spend your afternoon.


  • “To Kill A Mockingbird” will always be my favorite screen adaptation of a book.

    • Fences by August Wilson.
      Denzel Washington played the lead in the movie.

    • I have always loved The Cider House Rules. Good night, you kings of Maine, princes of new England!

      • My favorite small screen adaptation of a book series is Outlander. Interestingly, I started to knit (again) as an adult because of the inspiring woolens featured in the series around 2014.

  • I loved Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women”!

    • I dream of Gerwig adapting The Witch of Blackbird Pond.

  • Usually if I have read a book, I skip the film. The book is already in my head.

  • rarely/never like a movie better than a book. The book The Martian by Andy Weir was sooooo good & the movie w/ Matt Damon followed so closely it was great.

    • Loved the book Good Omens but the series but the series blew my mind!

      • I agree. I love it when they get the casting that perfect!

  • The Green Mile. I don’t usually like the film adaptations of a book but I think they did pretty good with this one

    • Shawshank Redemption was a stellar film from a short story.

  • I loved Joel Schumacher’s adaptation of John Grisham’s “A Time to Kill”

  • I can’t wait to watch it. I was skeptical when I saw it on the list of new releases. But DG has given me the courage to try it

    • I love Sandman! The graphic novel series caught my attention years ago and I fell in love immediately. This most recent adaptation on Netflix has been so good.

  • Little Women

    • Sandman is pretty darn good.

    • Forrest Gump. As an avid reader, the film adaptation is NEVER as good as the book, except for Forrest Gump. And, the movie won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay, as it should have.

  • I don’t usually watch film adaptations of books because I have been disappointed in almost every single one of them…except “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Loved it!

  • The Book Thief. Very well done.

    • Loved it. Roger Allan was PERFECT as Death.

  • Both adaptations of All Creatures Great and Small.

  • I loved 1922 by Stephen King. A bit gory but always with a moral in his stories.

  • I just watched this. It was amazingly well done!

    • Oops forgot to say my fav book to a movie is The Hobbit. Not totally true to the book but enough the same to be enjoyable

  • Another vote for The Book Thief.

    • Lord of the Rings trilogy. I’m still rereading and rewatching the books and the movies

      • The Shining.
        Stephen King always delivers and this 8s his masterpiece.

    • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is my favorite adaptation! Original book by Baum. Enjoyed watching Henry Sugar while recovering from fractured hip. Also catching up on my Temperature Blanket.

  • Good Omens

    • OMG, best series ever! Fervently hoping for season 3!

      • There are a lot of amazing film adaptations, but the one that really made me feel like it represented the book even better than I understood it from reading was The Lord of the Rings.

  • Emma. The more recent one with Anya Taylor-Joy and Johnny Flynn. Excellent comedic retelling of Jane Austen with lovely visuals!

    • Totally agree this is the best adaption of Emma.

  • Have to agree with the To Kill a Mockingbird votes, but I also loved Emma Thompson’s version of Sense and Sensibility.

  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

  • Book/Film: The Martian
    The film adaptation gave me visuals for that mesmerizing tale. Loved ’em!

  • Mine is Gone With the Wind. That anyone would even attempt such a daunting task amazes me. The only thing that disappointed me was that the Tarleton twins were not handsome like the book said they were! I was 14 when I read the book and 15 when I saw the movie. Cute boys were very important to me back then! Haha!

  • The Fantastic Mr. Fox

  • I agree with Sense and Sensibility-the Emma Thompson version.

  • I am usually disappointed with film versions of books, but there are two that I consider equal in greatness to their book source. Jurassic Park the book was so mind blowing for me, then the movie just added the awesome visuals. One of my favorite books of all time is The Ciderhouse Rules, and John Irving wrote the screenplay, so it was a wonderful, true adaptation of my beloved book.

  • Sophie’s Choice

  • A tie, I think: Princess Bride (never really clicked with the book but oh that movie!!) and Enchanted April (forgettable novel; a gorgeous gem of a movie).

    • Another vote for The Green Mile. Michael Clarke Duncan was made for the role. Not that Tom Hanks is ever an afterthought!

      The book and film made me reconsider Stephen King and read more of his work.

  • The Best Years of Our Lives. I wish we could have more uplifting movies.

    • And another vote for The Wizard of Oz. The best! I am looking forward to knitting to The Wonderful World of Henry Sugar.

    • The Green Mile was a surprisingly spot on adaptation of the book. The casting was great.

  • So many to choose! Let me say “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

  • ROOTS. has stayed in my mind forever.

  • Stardust! The filmmakers managed to improve on Neil Gaiman’s original novel, which is an impressive feat. (It also gives us Robert De Nero in drag dancing to the cancan, which on its own is worth the price of admission.)

  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Loved the book and the film!

    • Agreed

  • I watched The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar just last night. I knew nothing about it but seeing Roald Dahl was the author and awes Anderson the director, I took a chance. Such an unexpected delight. That said, my favorite movie from a book is The Fantastic Mr Fox.

    • How green was my valley.
      The thorn birds.

  • I have to agree with the choice of Little Women. I most always read the book first and then am often disappointed by the movie interpretation but this movie was enjoyable to watch.

  • Mansfield Park the film was better than the book.

  • I enjoy your reviews so much. Thank you for this one, I know I’ll love it.

  • The Grifters, The Grifters, The Grifters

  • I thought ‘Cider House Rules’ was a fabulous movie adaptation of the book.

  • “Gone With the Wind” is my favorite .

  • Pride and Prejudice, the version with Colin Firth.

    • Another vote for this! Best ever!

    • I’ll add my ‘vote’ for this one! I still think it’s the best of the film adaptations from any of Jane Austen’s books.

      • Agreed! Everything was spot on for this gorgeous 1995 version of “Pride and Prejudice.”

        • Yes! Another vote for Pride and Prejudice. Colin Firth redefined Mr Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth is spot on as well.

  • The kids and I loved the BFG. It was fun to see him brought to life on screen.

  • There seems to be a theme running through the comments. The book is almost always better than the movie but I also loved, “To Kill A Mockingbird.” I would also add the movie adaptation of Hinton’s “The Outsiders.” I taught middle school Literature for a while and the promise of a movie at the end motivated my students to give these wonderful books a chance. For those who remained unmotivated, the movies still exposed them to these wonderful stories making them, in my completely unscientific opinion, slightly better human beings at the end of the movies than they were before they saw them.

  • I am right at the age for Clueless to have been totally formative!

    • Tom Jones! , says my husband.
      To Kill a Mockng Bird, says I.

  • To Kill A Mockingbird would have to be my first choice.

  • Lord of the Rings will forever be my favorite adaptation of a book(s).

  • I have rarely liked a film that’s been made from a book I’ve read and loved. The Harry Potter movies were an exception, especially Socercer’s Stone.

  • Sounds fantastic!! your enthusiasm is evident in your writing style

  • Love reading your listening/watching recommendations. I think the Wizard of Oz movie is better than the book.

  • I think the first Harry Potter movie was a remarkable adaptation of the book.
    I also think the Goldfinch was done really well for such a complicated story.

  • The Hobbit has to be my favorite but there are many in second place.

  • My very very very favourite film adaptation of a book is Heat and Dust (mid 1980s) by Ruth Prawa Jabwala who wrote the screenplay too. The evocative scenes of India are magical, and especially poignant when you know the inevitability of the end.

  • The movie version of the Grinch with Jim Carrey. I watched the cartoon every year even as an adult. I was scared the movie wouldn’t come close to how good the cartoon was. I was wrong.

  • Room With A View

    • Ohhh! Good one!

      • Howard’s End is another wonderful E. M. Forster adaptation. Ahh for those glory days of Merchant Ivory productions…

  • I’ve never liked a film adaptation better than a book, and after having several books tainted over the years by watching films after already having a portfolio of (book-inspired) images in my head, I now almost never watch a film adaptation of a beloved book. Fortunately, I have not read the Henry Sugar book, so I’ll begin with the film 🙂

  • Secret Garden

    • OMG! I SO agree with you! Thanks for the inspiration to rewatch and reread!

  • Tough to decide but the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice is getting my vote.

  • I watched them all and the first thought when I finished? There are only four? I need more. They were indeed, wonderful.

  • Right now, I am remembering Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time (book written by Dava Sobel) which starred the talented actor Michael Gambon, who passed this past week.

  • Sense and Sensibility

    Watched Henry Sugar Friday evening. Had not read before. Loved the visuals and all the lovely sets, screens and the actors’ interesting, funny use of them.

  • I mostly avoid film adaptations of books because I’m usually disappointed.

  • I adore the 1995 film adaptation starring Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which I watch yearly, right after I reread the book. It has the texture and feel of something approaching reality and a cast of British actors from the “We Don’t Care If We’re Underrated, We Just Want to Act Your Socks Off” list.

    • Yes! For once an actress who was convincing when she was supposed to look wan and tired, and had a realistic transformation.

  • Favorite adaptation: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I rewatch it every October, so thanks for the reminder.

  • I loved To Kill a Mockingbird – book or film.

  • Yesterday, memories of an oldie but goodie popped into my head for some reason, probably to list here today. As a child, I loved “Heidi” with Shirley Temple and many other great character actors. The scene where the grandfather has a reading lesson with the Prodigal Son gets me every time. Love, betrayal, jealousy, healing, forgiveness—it has it all. There have also been many other adaptations that I need to check out.

    • I remember watching both Heidi and The Little Princess with Shirley Temple at school in the mid 60’s via the old film projector! I love them both.

  • The truly unforgettable “”Gone with the Wind.”

  • It’ s a tie for me- The Wizard of Oz and To Kill A Mockingbird.

  • My first thought was the Harry Potter series or Outlander but both had to leave out a lot due to length and time.

    • I have to vote for Outlander. I love the books, and the television series for putting all those wonderful prose adventures into gorgeous visual images.

  • The Lord of the Rings

  • Shawshank Redemption. Movie was as enjoyable as the book

  • Snow Falling on Cedars — beautiful book and movie

  • Pride and Prejudice for sure!

  • Agree -The Wizard of Oz

  • Little Women

  • Where the Crawdads Sing. Beautiful visuals and true to the novel story.

  • “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” – I read the book, saw the play and saw the movie.

  • I love (and sometimes love to hate) movie adaptations of books. But Paddington is perhaps my favourite.

  • So many possibilities, but I have to choose Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, adapted from a novel by Ian Fleming.

  • The Martian

  • The Age of Innocence 1993 movie with Daniel Day-Lewis, Michele Pfieffer and Winona Ryder is the perfect adaptation of the great novel by Edith Wharton.

  • Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet’s version of Sense and Sensibility

  • Life of Pi! Stunning book, equally stunning movie!

  • To Kill a Mockingbird

  • Not much can compete with the book version of anything. I thought the book “the Goldfinch” was one of the best reads in a long, long time, probably because I’m an artist as well as a knitter. The movie did a good job of getting it all down in a movie length time frame.

  • Pride and Prejudice!

  • My fave film adaptation(s) probably a tie between Norm Juster’s “The Phantom Tollbooth”, my all time favourite book which I still read again & again, and “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, which I guess is technically a film turned into a book… but the characters were written & developed looong before the film so… sue me! I’d add “The Wizard of Oz”, a movie that I adore, but have to admit that I’ve always struggled to make it into/through the book. I have tried. Phantom Tollbooth is one of those fab books/movies that work on so many levels for kids AND for adults (READ it TO YOUR KIDS!!!) & something different pops out with each reading. CB Christmas… that Vince Guaraldi sound track… Like Peanuts, timeless, classic, never ever gets old!!

  • Princess Bride!

  • The World According to Garp introduced me to John Irving and the crazy mind he has! I read the book after seeing it and enjoyed it too beeing able to slow down and visualize in greater detail. Then I couldn’t stop till I’d read them all. Just finished The Last Chairlift.

  • It’s not quite an adaptation of a book nor even of a play, but Shakespeare In Love is my favorite literary re-tell. We’ve watched it countless times and enjoy quoting many of its memorable lines reapplying them (appropriately, methinks) to day-to-day situations.

  • I really love The Princess Bride adaption. Very true to the book

  • I watched all the charming Netflix Dahl/Anderson short films over the past two days. They are a breath of fresh air.
    I agree with Deb about Andy Weir’s The Martian adaption.I hope there will also be a movie adaption of Weir’s Project Hail Mary.

  • My favorite book-to-film adaptation is the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.

  • ‘Persuasion’ – the 1990s version with Ciaran Hunds and Amanda Root. Perfection.

    For the above though – you had me at Cumberbatch and the rest of the cast. Thanks!

  • Jaws. Absolutely no contest. The book was full of drivel about the affair, the extraneous people, etc., etc., etc. The movie cut right to the chase. Man vs. fish.

  • First thing to hop into my mind was “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I still love that book and the movie!

  • Any of the Longmire series.

  • Roald Dahl’s antisemitism and racism spoil his stories for me.

  • The Princess Bride

  • I resisted the Lord of the Rings, until a recommendation about it being all eye candy

    My favorite now, hands down

  • Gerwig’s Little Women was very good – Looking forward to the Wes Anderson/Roald Dahl shorts very much! Thanks for the recommendation.

  • I’ll go with All Creatures Great and small.

  • The Wonderful World of Henry Sugar is my all-time favorite Dahl story! It’s been so long since I read it that I am sure I will enjoy the screen adaptation. Thank you for your review.

  • i know it’s not original, but i will always love Marilda!

    • Matilda definitely!:)

    • I saw Matilda, a musical-play-version, a few years ago & I it was an awful story, & the play was awful. I had to have a double gin & tonic at dinner to get over the experience. However, I am up for the Netflix adaptations.

  • My enduring favorite book to movie is The Wizard of Oz’.

  • Harry Potter – the first book!

    • Deliverance, and the “dueling banjos scene” in the movie is tops.

  • Anne of Green Gables! I could watch that series over and over. So dreamy and perfectly cast.

    • OMG! I can’t believe no one else has said this one! Agree about it being perfectly cast. Megan Fellows was BORN to play Anne.

      • I say that about every actor on the role starting with Kim Braden, must be something in the writing 🙂

  • A raisin in the sun

  • Misery is still one of my favorites!

  • first watching the movie and then read the book works, but in general movie characters don’t look like anything I imagined when I read the book….
    that said, I do like Pride & Prejudice with Colin Forth as Mr Darcy.

  • The Wizard of Oz was by far better on screen.

  • Jane Eyre. Captivated me when I read it as a high schooler. Went on to watch every movie version ever made. Five I believe. Each one shows a different facet of the book. Intriguing.

  • Harry Potter!

  • The Accidental Tourist is my favorite film adaptation of a book!

  • I’ve always loved The Princess Bride, and it remains a favourite movie for my son too (his partner also loves it, and they dressed up as Wesley and Buttercup one year for Halloween). On a more somber note, The Handmaid’s Tale series, while not true to the book, portrays the horror and tone of the book and gives us all pause. It all feels a bit too prophetic!

  • To Kill a Mockingbird

  • Princess Bride springs to mind first. I scrolled a little, and agree with the Martian, Persuasion, To Kill a Mockingbird… I’m going to come back to these comments when I can’t think of something to watch!

  • Another vote for LOTR, particularly The Fellowship of the Ring

  • Little Women

  • The Other Side of Midnight

  • King’s The Green Mile. Love the casting in that movie!

  • Pride and Prejudice — the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version directed by Andrew Davies.

    All of the other adaptations are terrible in my opinion.

  • The Princess Bride movie is brilliant.

    Also enjoyed listening to Cary Elwes’s audiobook As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride.

    • I LOVED Cary Elwes’ audiobook, too!

  • My favorites are the amazing 1990’s adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Persuasion. They were all so well done!

  • The first movie that came to mind for me was Cider House Rules. Worst adaptation ever (even though the film was beautiful) – The English Patient.

  • I have three. The first is very true to the book and been mentioned many time; the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version of Pride and Prejudice gets rewatched at least once a year. The other two are very loose adaptations of the source material: Clueless (Emma) and 10 Things I Hate About You (The Taming of the Shrew), both of which are rewatched frequently as well.

  • The Guernsey Potato Peel Pie Society was one I watched recently. Films never quite portray the story as creatively as the imagination while reading the book, it seems. Even so, I enjoyed it!

  • Sometimes a Great Notion.

    Such a great cast – including Paul Newman, Lee Remick, and Henry Fonda – brought Ken Kesey’s story to life. It’s emotional and dramatic, but not melodramatic.

    It’s funny, the synchronicity of things, I just watched it earlier this week.

    • My favorite film adaptation is To Kill a Mockingbird. So true to the story.

  • Wizard of Oz

  • I think the perfect film adaptation of a book is “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Gregory Peck was the finest Atticus Finch there ever could be, and Mary Baddington was superb as Scout. Harper Lee was thrilled with it.

  • My all-time favorite novel-to-movie adaptation: A Room With A View. Merchant-Ivory and EM Forster for an unbeatable combination.

    Runner up: A Man Called Ove, because Fredrik Backman is brilliant!

  • I have never yet seen a movie where I have read the book that I liked better than the book. They never do the charactor’s justice.

  • One more vote for To Kill A Mockingbird! I also loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

  • Pride and prejudice

  • i want you to ask what is my fave Dahl book But sice you didn’t i will tell you anyway…its The Twits.

    best film adaptation? Oh dear…maybe Breakfast at Tiffany’s

  • I may be the oddball, but one of my favorite films is Silence of the Lambs! Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster were both excellent.

  • I’m probably going to step on some toes, but “The Shining” was a way better movie than the book. Oh, look it’s October! Time to put it back on! Here’s Johnny!

  • My favorite film adaptation is To Kill a Mockingbird. So true to the story.

  • To kill a mockingbird. So true to the story.

  • Harry Potter- first book

    • David Copperfield…

  • I loved Catch 22.

  • I love the Lord of the rings films

  • To Kill A Mockingbird for a movie, and the Lonesome Dove miniseries. I’m a huge, huge Wes Anderson fan, so I look forward to seeing this!

  • To Kill a Mockingbird

  • I usually always prefer the book over the movie. I agree with others the The Green Mile was an exception to the rule.

    Based on the other answers here, I’m thinking about trying The Book Thief. I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to go or not, but if my knitting peeps think it was good, I’ll give it a try.

  • I have to admit…the book is always better.

  • Mine would have to be the Princess Bride.

  • David Copperfield…

  • Jaws. One of the few movies actually better than the book.

  • All Creatures Great and Small.

  • I didn’t even have to think about this one — another Dahl brought to screen: Matilda.

  • The version of Persuasion with Ciaran Hinds

  • “A High Wind from Jamaica” was fabulous, and gave me a totally new slant on childhood……fortunately for me, I saw the film first then read the book with all those actors, perfectly cast, in my mind.

  • National Velvet

  • I am obsessed with A Passage to India. It has stuck with me for many years and I can absolutely say that it is my favorite film adaptation. The Professor and Mrs. Moore…

  • The Martian captured the tone and suspense of the book. Another by same author “Project Hail Mary” would be next to impossible to make into a movie. I wonder if Andy Weir planned it that way. I won’t give away any spoilers …. Enjoy the book.

  • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

  • Not a movie, but Good Omens!

  • The new Dune is fantastic!

  • The Secret of Roan Inish – it’s an adaptation of The Secret of the Ron Mor Skerry and does change a few details, but it’s the Best Movie EVER regardless, imo.

    • Loved this movie, and didn’t realize it is an adaptation. Thank you!

  • The Princess Bride

  • David Cooperfield

    • Copperfield!

  • Another vote for Good Omens and Sandman, I love Neil Gaiman. Coraline could also be in there….

  • The English Patient is one of my favorites. I really loved the book – but the book is heavily centered in the relationships in the hospital – yes, the story of the lost love is told, but the real focus is amongst the tiny world of three – with almost no outside world. By contrast, the movie is EPIC, taking place almost exclusively outside the hospital, looking back at the story the patient tells. I think the reason it is so successful is that while it is like the book, its shift in focus allows it to be a very separate piece of art. There are others, but this remains a favorite. (Also – my husband was WRECKED by this movie, and that doesn’t happen often, so it stands out.)
    Love Wes Anderson – can’t wait to watch those too. I’m mixed on Roald Dahl, but I’m confident I’ll love the Wes Anderson take.

  • Pride and Prejudice from 2005. I could watch it every day and not get tired of it.

  • Matilda

  • I have always loved the adaptation of Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley. I’ve probably watched it 6-8 times. I’ve lost count!

  • Howard’s End, the most recent one from PBS with Hayley Atwell & Matthew Macfadyen. Delish!

  • Fantastic Mr. Fox

  • My favorite adaptation from a book is Pride & Prejudice (the one with Colin Firth). Thanks for the info on this Roald Dahl book adaptation.

  • The French Lieutenant’s Woman starring Meryl Streep.

  • Sense and Sensibility— I knit to it again last weekend!

  • I love the movie adaptation of “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”
    But will always swoon for Mr Darcy in “Pride and Prejudice”
    With Colin Firth!

  • I won’t be able to say until I see this version, but the preview looks fantastic!

  • I can’t wait to watch “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar”. I’ve loved it since Miss Winslow read it aloud to our class in grade 4. That being said, the 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” is my all time favourite book to movie❤️

  • A Tale of Two Cities, 1935, if only to listen to Ronald Colman’s voice. Although it is pretty well done Best picture nomination. Wonderful cast.

    I did knit to Henry Sugar on Sunday and love it.

  • Brideshead Revisited
    The original series with Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews was a beautiful adaptation of the book.

  • I find the Jane Austen books so much more enjoyable on screen. (Reading them has never been enjoyable for me.)

  • loved The Princess Bride!

  • Gone With the Wind

  • To Kill Mockingbird

  • Matilda? If we are picking favorite Roald Dahl adaptation. Valley of the Dolls is favorite throwback – I remember reading the book and watching the movie in middle school and it was considered scandalous!

  • A Room With a View is a favorite… although now that I’m thinking about dame Judi Dench, Chocolate is also extraordinary and worth rewatching every couple of years during Lent.

  • Misery, I’m a Stephen King fan and that one grabs even those who have never read his books

  • Fantastic Mr. Fox, another Wes Anderson & Roald Dahl combination!

  • I thought The Book Theif was well done

  • I absolutely love, and watch about once a year, the movie Clueless, a modern take on Emma by Jane Austen.

  • I rarely like a movie based on a book better than the book or even as well as the book. In the only cases where that has happened, it’s usually that I saw the movie first.

    Such is the case with “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The book feels a bit bloated by comparison to the film, but that said, the book is also more aware of not just racial issues but also issues of the limits placed on and the discrimination against women in a way that barely comes across in the film.

    Some of movies based on Roald Dahl’s children’s books are also better than the books themselves. Matilda is one such film. The book is less a novel and more just a series of rather repetitious incidents that happen to the same little girl. The movie makes it a proper story and is far more delightful.

  • I’m not a youngster, so my favorite film adaptation of a book is Gone With the Wind. War & Peace was good, too!

  • The adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust is amazing, taking on my my favourite books and making one of my favourite movies 🙂

  • Thanks for this. This comment stream has inspired a month’s immersion of books to film! And I must add these to the brew, especially for those who don’t like film adaptions: (my husband laughs that I can never choose just one favorite…)

    Out of Africa ~ the movie captured the essence of Isak Dinesen’s experience in Kenya
    The Black Stallion ~ the film adaptation is luminous
    The English Patient ~ completely agree with Askbew’s review!
    Dr. Zhivago ~ David Lean, Omar Sharif, Julie Christie… as a girl it transformed me into a lifelong Russophile.
    Lost Horizon ~ the 1937 version, directed by Frank Capra and starring Ronald Colman
    The Razor’s Edge ~ a William Somerset Maugham delight. I love both the 1946
    (Tyrone Power) and 1984 (Bill Murray) versions
    A River Runs Through It ~ Norman MacLean’s short story transformed and.. Brad Pitt
    Legends of the Fall ~ a Jim Harrison book lushly imagined with Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn, Julia Ormond and … Brad Pitt
    Fight Club ~ crazy, offbeat and wonderful adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s book starring Ed Norton, Helena Bonham Carter and guess who? Brad Pitt

    Nobody asked, but the book-to-film adaptation that broke my heart was ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’. The book was shimmering and magical and the movie completely missed the point.

  • I don’t really know how to answer this, because I firmly and deliberately separate the source material from the film/tv adaptation. There are movies adapted from books that I absolutely love, but I learned a long time ago to not compare them because artistic license and limitations of the medium always set me up for disappointment. I want to appreciate each as separate endeavors.

  • Favorite film adaptation of a book would have to be the original version of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I love the portrayal of Lucy.

  • The Notebook never fails.

  • The Princess Bride movie is the rare film that stayed true to the book and did it better.

  • I don’t know if Good Omens counts as that is a series adaptation, not film. If limited to film, I’d say the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

  • Gone with the Wind

  • Mick Herron’s Slow Horses books adapted by AppleTV. I was thrilled to hear four more books/seasons have been greenlit and Season 3 starts in December. Now that Succession is off the air, Gary Oldman should get his completely deserved Emmy for his flawless (if farty) portrayal of Jackson Lamb.

  • Sorry to copy, but “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” is winner!

  • The Martian! The film captures the essence of the novel in adventure and emotion.

  • Anne of Green Gables

  • “Dr. Zhivago” is a favorite—both the book and the movie. Love the snow, the music, the love story.

  • Sense and Sensibility is my favorite

  • I agree with The Lord of the Rings that has already been mentioned. The 1995 Pride and Prejudice and The Princess Bride are close contenders.

  • Mornin! Maybe I’m influenced by the season, but The Shining is it for me! Both the book and the movie scares the bejeses out of me every time.

  • The Big Sleep (Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall version). I first watched it at a tender age (about 22 I think) and the two leads became my blueprint of what adults should be like: stylish, brave, wisecracky. I broke my usual rule by seeing the film before I read the book, but even though I adore Raymond Chandler, I think the film improves on the book.
    Ronald Dahl books were a near constant read for me growing up, and I love Anderson’s visual style, so I’m going to have to track this one down!

  • Fences by August Wilson.
    Denzel Washington played the lead in the movie.

  • It’s an old one but Death In Venice. Oh and A Room with a View!

  • Fahrenheit 451

  • Game of Thrones. The books were of course better, but the series (the seasons that followed the books anyway) were excellent and inspired a whole bunch of people to read fantasy novels who may have never thought to do so before.

  • Big Little Lies

  • I saw this last week! It is a visual treat for the eyes — definitely NOT a radio play, in my opinion. The sets and cinematography are a marvel, as is the cast.

    My favorite film adaptation? So many….but my first was definitely the Franco Zeffirelli ‘Romeo and Juliet’ . Dating myself, for sure, but as a young girl, it was the first time that I actually ‘got’ Shakespeare and it has stayed with me ever since!

  • Jurassic Park.

  • BBC 1995 “Pride ad Prejudice” with Colin Firth

  • My favorite is Misery. One of the very few films I liked even better than the book.

  • The Handmaid’s Tale streaming series based on the Margaret Atwood book is my favorite.

  • I capture the castle by Dodie Smith. Everyone wants to live in a castle, right?

  • I loved the first Harry Potter movie.

  • That’s an easy one for me. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl is easily one of my favorite movies.

  • A&E’s Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth. The absolutely BEST adaptation of an already phenomenal book. Perhaps this is cheating as it was a miniseries. SO if it has to be a film for theater adaptation I would say Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman.

  • Still a Harry Potter fan

  • I loved the book A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. An adventure of hiking the Appalachian Trail. The movie is such fun too with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte. I just rewatched it last night.

  • Another vote for The Book Thief!

  • To Kill a Mockingbird!

  • “The Pride & Prejudice” mini-series (with Colin Firth). and “Lord of the Rings”.

    “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” is next on my list now that I finished “Only Murders in the Building”.

  • The Princess Bride. I have a copy of the red-letter version of the book where the narrator’s text is printed in red. Back in high school (late ‘70’s), I tried to convince my English teacher that we should write a play based on the book for our school’s drama group to perform. She didn’t go for it but my great disappointment was assuaged when the movie came out. Still a favourite of mine—and my four kids.

  • It is The Princess Bride.

  • The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. I remember enjoying the movie with my Mom.

  • Room With A View

  • I Capture the Castle!

  • Little Women. My favorite being the 1933 version with Katharine Hepburn.

  • None. Do we pride ourselves because we took a great sweater and made a lopsided pair of socks out of it?

  • I enjoyed the book ‘The Help” and the movie was also very well done.

  • Pride and Prejudice – either one!

  • All of the Harry Potter movies! I confess I have not been able to watch the last two because I know I’ll sob as so many favorite characters will meet their end. The special effects, the brilliant acting of so many wonderful actors, the sets, the costumes all seem to have been drawn exactly as they were written.

  • Oh, Lonesome Dove for sure. My favorite book of all time and the film adaptation was sooo good. While reading the book about the hot dusty cattle drives on the parched plains, I got so thirsty, I actually had to get up and get a drink of water.

  • Lowbrow or highbrow? A choice that makes all the difference.

    On a recent plane trip I re-watched Crazy Rich Asians which sent me off to re-read the Kevin Kwan trilogy. Frothy and light but lots of fun.

  • So many good ones listed here! To Kill a Mockingbird, mentioned several times here already, will always be a favorite. Shawshank Redemption, also mentioned a few times here, also a favorite.
    What about one for Halloween? Carrie, with the great Sissy Spacek, such a good one!

  • The Book Thief, loved both the book and movie.

  • The Cottage Throw has grabbed me, both color wise and graphic wise. Now, do I let it “take cuts” in my waiting projects?

  • I vote for Harry Potter- first book, I loved the book and the movie brought it all together for me.

  • The ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy is a great joy to watch and read. I wore out my first set of books, and I have the movies on DVD just in case they aren’t available to stream.

  • Has to be “The Godfather” — could watch that anytime and still love it!

  • Not a movie, but love All Creatures Great and Small on BBC right now. Those were my favorite books as a teen!

  • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, great film, adaptation with superb acting.

  • Little Women—the version with Susan Sarandon as the mother.

  • Doctor Zhivago. In fact, it is the one time when I love the movie and find that the book is a bore. It might be those great cinematic scenes of the dacha in winter. Or the great acting.

  • I am very much enjoying the version of the Wool trilogy on Apple TV called Silo. The way the place looks is amazing.

  • Shawshank Redemption!

  • The other Boleyn Girl

  • I love “Shawshank Redemption” . Not a book, but a damned good story with a happy ending.

  • Love the Harry Potter movies.

  • Hard to beat Gone With the Wind

  • For me, it has to be, Good Omens. I’m a sucker for anything written by Terry Pratchett and/or Neil Gaiman so to have one of their joint ventures translated so beautifully has filled me with joy.

  • The Time Traveler’s Wife – Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams were perfect in the movie adaptation of the book!

  • For me, it has to be, Good Omens. I love anything written by Terry Pratchett and/or Neil Gaiman so to find their best collaboration adapted so brilliantly to screen makes me ridiculously happy!

  • The Prince of Tides

  • Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings is my favorite.

  • We watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy every year on New Year’s Day, with a feast of movie snacks, so they are my most beloved.

  • I just watched Henry Sugar and it was wonderful! I’m also a huge fan of all things Jane Austen- Sanditon, P&P, Emma, etc. I love them all!

  • To Kill a Mockingbird – excellent and Gregory Peck.

  • Mists of Avalon! Mini series, but still, hours of potato chip knitting time.

  • Even though I almost always like the book better, “Gone with the Wind” was excellent in both. Lots of good suggestions here that I may need to revisit!

  • The 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie with Kiera Knightley. I have always enjoyed it.

  • Not commenting for the giveaway, but for the love of the Henry Sugar story. I also have loved it since I read it as a child. I suspect I am not the only reader who spent some time staring at the black space in a candle flame after finishing?
    While the movie was a faithful retelling of the story, I did not enjoy how the actors often raced through their lines, and I missed the greater character development of Mr. Sugar earlier in the story, showing what a jerk he is really. I do think it was better than a more Hollywood-ized version would have been, so I guess I am greatful for that.

  • I love the most recent “Little Women”!

  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Little Women – these are my favorites. I’m sure there are others that stayed true to the book, but I don’t watch many movies!

  • Gone with the Wind

  • Chocolat…..maybe? The movies are generally a huge disappointment to me.

  • Interview With the Vampire, and Jane Eyre!!

  • Oh my, I don’t know if I can pick a favorite – but reading through the comments I was reminded of The Outsiders – LOVED that one. I also have to give kudos to the Hunger Games – I really thought they captured it without getting too bogged down by trying to stay “true” to the book.

  • Matilda has to be a favorite of mine as well as the recent adaptation of Little Women.

  • I haven’t watched them yet, cuz kids, but I am so excited to dig in. I LOVE Rold Dahl. When all of the girls my age were reading Babysitter’s Club I was happily devouring The Twits.

  • The 1984 film of “The NeverEnding Story”….and none of the following never ending stories!

  • The Horse Whisperer. So well done.

  • i saw the merchant-ivory adaptation of a room with a view when i was 12, rented from the local video store. the cast–helena bonham carter, daniel day lewis, maggie smith, judi dench, simon callow, rupert graves, they are all so young and fresh! RIP to the dear denholm elliott and wonderfully weird julian sands–will astound you and the setting in florence and tuscany, is its own character. i eventually read forster’s book and it’s delightful but i don’t mind any of the changes made from page to screen and it has remained my favorite film since that first viewing. i also recommend kevin kwan’s recent literary update to the tale, sex & vanity. it’s different but still quite fun. however, please AVOID the 2007 RWAV adaptation scripted by andrew davies because his tacked on post-script positively RUINS the lovely story.

  • The Godfather movie is brilliant, and better than the book.

  • The Lincoln Lawyer. I enjoyed the book, movie and now have enjoyed the TV series.

  • The Expanse series on Prime. Fantastic casting, visuals and story adaptation to the screen. enjoyable to re-read the books with this cast in mind.

  • Not technically a film, but Turn on Netflix was a great adaptation of the book Washington’s Spies – which was a very dry and well researched historical documentary I didn’t get far reading.

  • I’m a reader, not a watcher. And I’m not great at remembering the names of movies I have seen and enjoyed–like Julie Andrews in the story of the VonTrapp (?) family, beautiful scenery and music. “Casablanca”–wonderful; I’m happy to play it again. I guess I made my point. Not much book/film overlap.

  • Too hard to choose just one. “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Princess Bride” are probably my top contenders.

  • No question about it: The Shawshank Redemption. As for television series, it has to be Outlander. I love that show. Although they have gotten a little ‘outlandish’ in the last couple seasons. 😉

  • I would have to say, “The Godfather”. The book was amazing and I didn’t think a movie could be any better, but the casting, music, cinematography – it brought the story and characters to life better than I could have imagined.

  • Lord of the Rings or Outsiders

  • Loved the book and the movie, Gone With the Wind.

  • I absolutely loved “Persuasion” — but I’m not sure what version… probably the ’95 BBC adaptation. Also loved NY Shakespeare Festival filmed version of “Much Ado About Nothing” with Sam Waterston, seen on PBS when I was in high school and never forgotten. Love stories where the people don’t know they are in love.

  • The adaptation of Philip Van Doren Stern’s The Greatest Gift book into Frank Capra’s Its a Wonderful Life.
    It’s my absolute favorite! Sometimes I watch it just because. Love MDK!

  • Yes, the Shawshank Redemption was quite a film.

  • The Martian! I watch this movie at least a few times a year. Although not identical to the book (which is great to read or listen to), it’s a great adaptation.

  • So many good selections here!
    My vote is for the series adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.

  • To Kill A Mocking Bird

  • The Princess Bride! It’s the one time I loved a movie so much more than the original book.

    Ironically, Cary Elwes’ memoir of the making Princess Brides is one of my favorite books. It’s even better as an audiobook.

  • Outlander, and A Man Called Otto.

  • Don’t usually watch movie versions of beloved books, but I liked Cold Mountain.

  • dr. zhivago – book and movie – is the best of both!

  • Ahhh, ***this*** is a hotly debate question! A few things come to mind and why it’s a standout book to film:
    1. Greta Gerwig’s Little Women (everything)
    2. The Pelican Brief (the tension in the narrative and you can feel the NOLA humidity)
    3. The Lord of the Rings (the scenery)
    4. The Hunger Games (the costumes)
    5. The Perfect Storm (the special effects).

  • The Green Mile. Each character in the movie was nearly spot on for how I imagined them when reading the series!

    • The 1949 movie of The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand with Gary Cooper as the lead. I loved that book and Atlas Shrugged also by her.


  • Well I saw a few plays in this list…so I guess my fav is okay. I am still enchanted by the Branagh/Thompson version of Much Ado About Nothing.

  • Sandman is my fav.

  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with Jack Nicholson was great!

  • To Kill a Mockingbird. A favorite for the ages!

  • Practical Magic. Loved both the book and the movie. And don’t forget the songs for it.

  • For me it’s a toss-up between “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” (the period details! The notion that a working stiff could afford a house in Greenwich, CT!) & the Carol Burnett comedy show skit where she riffs off “Gone With the Wind.” (“Why, this old thing? I saw it in the window.” – This line still cracks me up!)

  • My favorite film adaptation of a book is Gone With the Wind. I’ve read the book twice and seen the movie at least a dozen times on TCM.

  • Remains of the Day. Hands down.

  • “Hogfather,” adapted from the incomparable Terry Pratchett’s novel of the same name.

  • The series Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy starring Alec Guinness, based on the John Le Carre novel. Also the follow-up series Smiley’s People.

  • I can think of a few, but the first thing that came to mind is the The Hours.

  • To Kill A Mockingbird is also my favorite.

  • “Little Women,” directed by Greta Gerwig.

  • Good omens.

  • I like Peter Pan with Mary Martin

  • Charlie and the chocolate factory

  • I loved Shawshank Redemption.

  • The Bridges of Madison County. The actors’ showing the dilemma/decision at the end really got to me!

  • Oh, I don’t think I have an absolute favorite — there are so many! To Kill a Mockingbird; Gone with the Wind; Little Women; Simon Birch (based on A Prayer for Owen Meany; Where the Crawdads Sing — just to name a few.

  • Atonement

  • My favorite is not a film adaptation, but a television series: Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s “Good Omens.”

  • Outlander is my favorite. I have all the books, too

  • James and the Giant Peach

  • Stand By Me

  • Favorite book to movie is “The Russia House” by John LeCarre, with Sophie’s Choice a close second

  • I liked both!

  • Wow! This is a tough one to answer. I am going to have to go with another Roald Dahl book – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and choose the original/1971 version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I am looking forward to reading all of the posts for some other good book to movie adaptations since I usually end up opting to not watch the movie of a book that I have read and loved. Also, Holiday Shop! Exciting!

  • The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

  • The Princess Bride…
    I mostly prefer books but this one? Well, it is every bit as good.

  • The Wedding Date

  • BBCs pride and prejudice is my favorite

  • It’s not a movie, but Anne With an E is great!

  • My favorite Roald Dahl book turned movie is Matilda. I love the innocence and the clear purity of the characters and story ❤️

  • The Help is my all time favorite book/movie pair.

  • I just finished watching the Wonderful STory of Henry Sugar. and enjoyed it! I have never watched a Roald Dahl movie or read his books! I’m sure my kids have. but since I enjoy watching Benedict Cumberbatch I thought this might be a good movie to watch. I was thoroughly captivated with the story. What I have been missing! Will probably start to read his books.

  • Goood post. I am dealing with a few of these issus ass well..

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