« Levenger goes off to college | Main | Bernie’s Bag and the Boston Public Library »

January 02, 2008


Maria Linares

I would include the Jurrasic Park and Silence of the Lambs. In the case of both movies, they translated well into film and the studio did a good job of NOT adding elements that were not in the book. The same cannot be said of Jurrasic Park-The Lost World, where characters that were not in the book were added to the movie. Very, very irritating.


Don't forget the 1952 version of Cry The Beloved Country, which I think was better than the remake.

It was a short story, not a book, but I think Brokeback Mountain was a wonderful story as well as a wonderful movie. They were different, because much was added to give it enough "story" to be a movie, but both were great, IMO.

I'd take The Firm off your list. Great book but the movie was very disappointing. And they changed the ending! In fact, I don't think any of Grisham's novels have translated well to the screen.



Two boovies that come to mind:

The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger
Stand by Me, which was originally a short story by Stephen King called The Body

David Hindin

If you nominate "To Kill a Mocking Bird" for your "movie better than book" award, you must also note that the screenplay for it was written By Horton Foote. "Foote received an Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay and the Writers Guild of America Screen Award for his adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird in 1962. His original screenplay Tender Mercies won an Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay, as well as the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay." (Wikipedia reference)


I would nominate "The Hunt for Red October."


Another nomination: The World According to Garp. I loved the book but actually thought the movie told the story better.

Another take on "Boovies" of which 2001 Space Odessy is an example, is that sometimes it took both the book and the movie to make sense. Catch 22 is another one. In both cases, I liked the movie, but didn't quite get it. Then I read the book, thought it was great, and went back and really enjoyed the movie.
Not unlike needing the "book" to enjoy the opera.

Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy (not JFK) once upon a time would have been a great movie, but John Belushi is dead and I just can't picture another Ignatius Riley.


I couldn't agree with your more... but did anyone see Steve Jobs comment regarding the Amazon Kindle "He also offered his thoughts on several recent developments in technology, such as the Amazon Kindle book reader, of which he said: "Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don't read anymore." Pretty sad for a person with his influence to have such as idea....


An oldie but goodie, first recommended to me by my mother is the movie "a letter to three wives" 1949 which is from the book "A Letter to Five Wives." Eliminating two of these women gave the movie more character development and focus. How rare!


The English Patient

I saw the movie first, actually twice in a matter of weeks, then really struggled to read the book. After watching the movie a third time several years later--it gets better with every viewing!--I re-read the book and was finally able to follow it. This is one of my favorite movies of all time, but I doubt I would pick up the book again.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh

I enjoyed your post. Here are a few comedy hits from years gone by that, in my view, are better than the books from which they came:

A Christmas Story
The Princess Bride

Both are right near the top of my all-time favorite comedies.

Michele Fratarcangeli

Pride and Prejudice is on your list, yet it has been made into many films that do not do justice to Jane Austen's great work. Time is the enemy of the book to film adptation. It is nearly impossible to transform a great book into two hours of film. Hence the mini-series, as a genre does a better job. Back to Pride and Prejudice, the BBC series with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth did justice to Austen's work and created a new contingent of fans. Perhaps the short story is a better genre to adapt to the big screen.

Fradique Rocha

While I certainly agree with "To Kill A Mockingbird" for this Boovie category, I would propose adding a book and movie from a somewhat different genre, "Silence of the Lambs". I found both the book and the movie to be riveting.

Do you ever discuss worst movies from good books? While I have no name for this category, my top contender is "Bonfire of the Vanities".



Roberta Sheahan

The movie M*A*S*H captured the black humor of the Korean War better than the book. Conversely the movie Catch 22 did not quite do the same thing with Heller's great work


The movie Jane Eyre with Orson Wells as Fairfax Rochester. Spoiled me for all others.

Jaime Mas

I disagree about someone's comment about M*A*S*H -- I enjoyed the book much more than the movie. But a movie I thought was better than the book would be The Horse Whisperer.

Bob Pettey

No collection of Boovies would be complete without "The Caine Mutiny." When you combine the words of Herman Wouk with the acting talents of Humphrey Bogart, Jose Ferrer, Van Johnson, and Fred McMurray and blend in movie characters like "Meatball" (Lee Marvin) and "Horrible" (Claude Akins), the result is a Pulitzer Prize and seven Academy Award nominations.

P.S. Amazon.com needs to offer The Caine Mutiny in Kindle format and Levenger needs come up with a nice leather cover for the Kindle.

Laura Miller

Actually,for most of these below I liked both the book and the movie/screenplay. Some of them I both reread and re-see:

Sense and Sensibility - especially the script adapted by Emma Thompson which brought out all of the inherent humour in Austen.
Little Women - I preferred the more modern adaptation, having seen both recently on tv while I was ill in bed!
Jane Eyre - a BRILLIANT modern adaptation for the BBC, which I don't know if it's gotten to the States yet.
Milagro Beanfield War.
Romeo and Juliet - especially the Franco Zefferelli version with Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting
Primary Colours
The Swimmer - with Burt Lancaster, brilliant.
I'm sure my films show off my age,too!


Do you think that, perhaps, people, in general, don't think that the movie is as good as the book because the characters (or setting) in the movie do not match the mental images that the reader had while reading the book?


Along with "The Body/Stand by Me" - two other novellas in Stephen King's "Different Seasons" were magnificent on screen: Apt Pupil and The Shawshank Redemption. "The Green Mile" series and movie is also worth mentioning.

And since others have mentioned the worst movie adaptation of a good book, I nominate Michael Crichton's Congo. Seems like the only thing that was recognizable was the title in the opening credits.

Tracey Simon

Re Confederacy of Dunces. The rights were originally purchased, to my understanding, by Josh Mostel, son of Zero. No movie was made. Then the rights were most recently picked up by Drew Barrymore. The cast would've included Lily Tomlin, Olympia Dukakis, Alan Cummings, Mos' Def, Betty White (rumored),and Drew herself -- all excellent. The big exception -- Will Ferrell as Ignatius. I just couldn't see it...and I guess neither did anyone else. (Ferrell is fun, but for this part Philip Seymour Hoffman would've been so much better! And why do they always feel the need to put a fat suit on an actor? It distracts terribly because it's rarely done well.)

Someone once said it would be impossible to make a movie from this book...we shall see. (They said that about "Tristam Shandy" so they made a feature film about trying to make such a movie instead.)

Georgia Stelluto

Love in the Time of Cholera is one of those rare double-winner boovies -- both good movie *and* good book. Javier Bardem was wonderful in the lead male role.

The book is excellent as well.

Karen Stern

The Horse Whisperer was a Wonderful story. The movie was so bad, I almost couldn't watch.
Most movies we see, I complain when the story is so different.
So it ruins the movie for me.


My favorite 'boovie' is 'Empire Falls'. The book, the Pulitzer prize winner in 2002, by Richard Russo, is a very quiet, low-key story, beautifully written, but the HBO (two disk) movie was so perfectly cast and played, it even exceeded the book. There are things you can do in movies with nuances of expressions, etc., that translate exquisitely on the screen. This movie, produced (and acted in) by Paul Newman, was also at the hands of Russo--who knew what he wanted, and he got it. Go rent it!

Peter Sterpe


Atonement impressed me. I guess I'm unimaginative, but when I read it, not once did I think, "This would make a good movie." If you had asked me, I would probably have thought that any movie made from that story would end up being a yawner, and yet, the result positively stunned me.


I am a big Grisham fan and have read many of his books. I agree with a previous posting, they don't translate very well into movies. I prefer the books. As for Dr. Zhivago, I have made it to the end of the movie, it's so long.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)