In this round of the ‘books vs movies’ debate, these classic movies take the win!

It’s no secret Hollywood derives inspiration for movies from books.

Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Clueless, Lord of the Rings, Twilight, and The Silence of the Lambs are a few examples from the very long list of book-to-movie adaptations created over the years.

The more popular a book franchise, the more likely its movie counterpart is to be examined by critical eyes.

Man saying, "I just wanted a page to page adaptation."
His friend replying, "That's not how adaptations work."

And while books usually come on top in the ‘book vs movie’ debate, some movies have proved to be the exception.

Here are some classic movies so popular, you probably didn’t know they were adapted from books.

Legally Blonde

A “dumb blonde” being dumped by her boyfriend and getting into Harvard for revenge might seem like a fictional script written by a classic Hollywood scriptwriter, but it isn’t.

The movie’s an adaptation of Amanda Brown’s novel of the same name and highlights her experiences at Stanford Law School.

Die Hard

The movie that inspired Jake Peralta to become a detective is in fact based on a novel.

The classic action-thriller was adapted from the 1979 Roderick Thorp novel, Nothing Lasts Forever.

While there are slight changes like the protagonist in the movie being named John McClane instead of Joe Leland, and the ending being happier than the book’s, most of the movie tries to follow the novel.


Everybody’s favourite animated film was originally adapted from a children’s book of the same name.

The picture book written by William Steig led to the creation of the billion-dollar movie franchise following the adventures of a green ogre.

Forrest Gump

Yes, this multiple academy award winning film was originally inspired from a book.

Adapted from a novel of the same name written by Winston Groom, the movie is loosely based on the author’s experience serving in the Vietnam War. While the movie does take several liberties in changing the script, the basic storyline follows the events listed in the novel.

Mean Girls

How did a self-help book turn into a classic chick-flick? We’ve got Tina Fey to thank for that.

Queen Bees and Wannabes written by Rosalind Wiseman inspired Fey to use her high school experiences to create Mean Girls. The book’s focus on cyberbullying and cliques took a centre stage in the movie.


This cult classic gangster film is based on the 1985 biographical book, Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family by journalist Nicholas Pileggi.

The book follows the life of former mob associate Henry Hill, who started out as a petty criminal and soon rose to become an integral part of the Lucchese crime family.

It’s a Wonderful Life

This Christmas classic was based on Philip Van Doren Stern’s short story, The Greatest Gift.

Director Frank Capra bought the rights to the story and tweaked and renamed the characters for the film adaptation.


Remember the movie that amplified our fear of great white sharks? It was based on the 1974 novel, Jaws, by Peter Benchley.

While the final third of the movie remains true to the novel, Steven Spielberg rewrote several characters to make them better relatable to mainstream audiences.

Mrs. Doubtfire

Yes, the movie that cemented Robin Williams’ place in our hearts was actually based on a 1987 novel, Alias Madame Doubtfire, by Anne Fine.

The movie does its best to follow the book as it portrays a divorced father dressing up as an old nanny to spend more time with his kids.


Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is based on the 1959 novel of the same name written by Robert Bloch.

While the movie is wider known than its original source, Bloch’s book is considered to be one of the most influential horror books of the 20th century.

How many of these book-to-movie adaptations were you aware of?

And did we miss any classic movies that deserves a place on this list? Let us know by tagging @shareignite on Instagram and Twitter.

Looking for inspiration to get back into reading? Here are 7 stirring stories that’ll make you want to read for fun again.

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