The Best Book Adaptations

Here is London Mums’ list of the Best Book Adaptations. My favourite book adaptation of all times has to be Gone with the Wind. What’s your favourite one?


Brooklyn is a moving love story from the best-selling novel by Colm Tobin, adapted by the successful screenwriter and novelist Nick Hornby, best known for his novel High Fidelity. Set in the 1950s the story follows Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) a young Irish immigrant who relocates to the United States, in search for a brighter future.


Once arriving in the U.S. she becomes a resident at a boarding house, and although she suffers with homesickness at first, this rapidly changes when she falls for a charming Italian American (Emory Cohen). The story follows their young romance, until Eilis discovers some unsettling news from back home in Ireland which may jeopardise her new relationship and new life formed in Brooklyn forever…


In celebration of the release of Brooklyn, out in cinemas in the UK from 6th November 2015, we take a look back at other successful films which originally began as novels.

Sense and Sensibility

Sister act: Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet in the 1995 film of Sense and Sensibility.

Jane Austen’s timeless classic novel Sense and Sensibility was adapted into an Oscar winning period romance by the actress Emma Thompson. It took Thompson five years to write the screenplay after a misfortunate incident meaning that her computer crashed and she couldn’t retrieve her work, although Stephen Fry came to the rescue and thankfully managed to recover it! Directed by Ang Lee, Sense and Sensibility tells the story of two sisters, Elinor Dashwood (played by Thompson herself) and Marianne (Kate Winslet), who were left with financial hardship after their father’s death, forcing them to relocate to Devonshire. Here the story follows their complex romance, including John Willoughby (Ben Wise) and Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant).


Best Book Adaptations film atonement

Atonement, released in 2001, is an English romantic war-time period drama based on the 2001 novel by acclaimed author Ian McEwan. The worthy novel was shortlisted for the 2001 Booker Prize for fiction, and Time Magazine named Atonement in its list for 100 greatest English language novels since 1923. Working Title Films produced the highly successful motion picture in 2007, with Joe Wright taking the director’s chair. The film is complete with a star studded cast including Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, and Saoirse Ronan. The highly successful motion picture won an Oscar for Best Original Score at the Academy Awards, and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay as well as Best Supporting Actress for Ronan.

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Best Book Adaptations film bridget jones

Bridget Jones’s Diary originally began as a column in The Independent in 1995 written by Helen Fielding. Following the success of the columns, a novel was released in 1996 which explored the humorous life of thirty-something singleton Bridget. The witty English novel was transformed into a film in 2001, directed by Sharon Maguire and starring Renee Zellweger who was nominated for an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. The leading men in Bridget’s life were played by Hugh Grant, as charmer Daniel Cleaver, and Colin Firth, the practical Mark Darcy. Following the film’s success a second film Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason was released in 2004 with a third instalment currently in production for a 2016 release.

Silver Linings Playbook

Best Book Adaptations film pat-and-tiffany-silver-linings-playbook-15808-1920x1200

Silver Linings Playbook is the heart-warming novel of American author Matthew Quick. Released in 2008, it achieved a considerable amount of success achieving inclusion in USA Today’s Top 100 Bestselling Books of the Year list, New York Time’s Bestseller List, and Hemingway Foundation and PEN Award for Fiction Honourable Mention. In 2012 The Weinstein Company and David O. Russell quickly adapted the novel into an Academy Award winning romantic comedy drama, starring Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. The movie accomplished major achievements being nominated for four Golden Globes, four Screen Actors Guild Awards and eight Academy Awards – with Jennifer Lawrence walking away with the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. In total the film grossed $236 million worldwide, which was eleven times over the original budget.

The Help

Best Book Adaptations film the help

Kathryn Stockett’s first controversial novel The Help, was finally released in 2009 after taking five years to complete and being rejected by over 60 literacy agents! Despite this, it went on to sell five million copies, was published in 35 countries, and spent an impressive 100 weeks on The New York Bestseller List. The novel set in the 1960s reveals the lifestyle of African-American maids working for white households in Mississippi. Despite the questionable content of the novel in 2011 Tate Taylor directed and scripted it into an extremely successful period drama. The film accomplished a huge amount of triumph; it saw Octavia Spencer win her first Oscar and BAFTA for Best Performance in a Supporting Role as Minny Jackson. The film also won the Screen Actors Guild Award for an outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture film.

Gone Girl

Best Book Adaptations film gone girl

Gillian Flynn’s novel Gone Girl took the literary world by storm in 2012 and spent eight weeks at number one on the New York Times Hardcover Fiction Bestseller List. It was Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Pacific Standard, who brought the novel to the big screen with Gillian Flynn adapting her own novel. Starring Rosamund Pike as Amy Dunne and Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne the film was released in 2014 and was showered in Oscar buzz and saw Rosamund Pike nominated in the first Oscar – Best Performance by an Actress in Leading Role category at the 2015 Academy Awards. Another of Flynn’s novels, Dark Places, starring Charlize Theron, Christina Hendricks and Nicholas Hoult is currently awaiting a UK release.

Gone with the Wind

Best Book Adaptations film gone with the wind

1939 classic Gone with the Wind swept the board at the 1940 Academy Awards, picking up an incredible 8 Oscars in categories including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Picture. Many of these awards were firsts in the film world – Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American to be nominated for, and win, an Academy Award, and the film was the first colour film to win Best Picture. The Southern story set in the back drop of the American Civil War was adapted for the big screen from Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel of the same name. If box office takings are adjusted for inflation Gone with the Wind is the highest grossing film of all time.

Pride and Prejudice

Best Book Adaptations film pride and prejudice

10 years after Colin Firth’s famous wet shirt scene on the small screen, Joe Wright brought Jane Austen’s much loved novel Pride & Prejudice to the big screen in 2005. Keira Knightly played the spirited Elizabeth Bennet next to Matthew Macfadyen’s brooding Mr Darcy. Austen’s novel was first published in 1813 and is frequently included in “must read” lists. Writer Deborah Maggach was tasked with bringing the classic to the big screen and was recognised with a BAFTA nominated for her adaptation. The film also awarded Keira Knightley with her first Oscar nominated for her portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet.

Brooklyn is in UK cinemas 7th November 2015.

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