Movies or Television Shows and the Books You Did Not Know They Were Based On

We know that many television shows and movies are based on books. Love them or hate them hits like Twilight, Harry Potter, Gone Girl, True Blood, Game of Thrones, and many more were based on (or inspired by) the written word. However, there are so many more movies and television series that you have already seen, or could be currently binge watching, that are also based on books and you just do not know it. Here are some of the titles that I thought were the most interesting or surprising.booktomovie1

Pitch Perfect the film may have been based on Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory by Mickey Rapkin, a non-fiction book about a capella competitions, but I have to imagine that the movie version is much more audibly entertaining.

The movie Die Hard is based on Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp. The book was published in the late ’70s, and went out of print before the movie adaptation was released almost a decade later.booktomovie2

Shrek! by William Steig is a picturebook about an ogre who falls in love with an “ugly” princess, so part of the concept remained when the animated version of Shrek was made.

Forrest Gump by Winston Groom might have been changed a great deal in the film adaptation of Forrest Gump.  However, the award-winning film certainly helped book sales.

booktomovie4Gordon Buford wrote Car, Boy, Girl in 1961, seven years before the first Herbie the Love Bug adaptation.

The Brave Little Toaster by Thomas M. Disch was a critically acclaimed science fiction novella long before it was turned into a beloved children’s movie, also named The Brave Little Toaster, it was nominated for both a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award.

The self-help book Queen Bees & Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman might not seem like the typical book to inspire a movie. However, it is what  Mean Girls is based on.booktomovie6

Ted Hughes, former poet laureate of England,  wrote a children’s book called The Iron Giant in 1968. The animated movie, also titled The Iron Giant, was released in 1999.

Jack Bickham wrote The Apple Dumpling Gang, a novel about orphans during the California gold rush. Disney adapted it into the classic The Apple Dumpling Gang with Don Knotts in 1975.

booktomovie7I know of a few more that were surprising, either because I did not know the book existed or because the adaptation so barely resembled the book that I could not recognize it. Are there any here that surprised you, and do you know of any more book to movie or television series adaptations that might be surprising? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments.

If you liked the book, will you like the movie?


Some very popular books have recently come out as movies and are generating a lot of positive buzz.

wildWild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed – A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe—and built her back up again.

The movie stars Reese Witherspoon (and is also Producer) as Cheryl Strayed and Laura Dern as Cheryl’s mother, Bobbi.  It is rated R for sexual content, nudity, drug use, and language.  It is mostly faithful to the book and critics say Reese delivered the performance of her life and was nominated for a Golden Globe and Oscar.  Laura Dern was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. The movie is rated R.


unbrokenUnbroken: A World War II story of survival, resilience and redemption by Laura Hillenbrand – Relates the story of a U.S. airman who survived when his bomber crashed into the sea during World War II, spent forty-seven days adrift in the ocean before being rescued by the Japanese Navy, and was held as a prisoner until the end of the war.

The movie is most notably directed by Angelina Jolie.  It has won the American Film Festival top ten film of the year.  Jack O’Connell, who plays Louis Zamperini, has won two awards – Hollywood Film Award for Actor and National Board of Review Award for breakthrough actor.  The movie is rated PG-13.


stillStill Alice by Lisa Genova – Feeling at the top of her game when she is suddenly diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, Harvard psychologist Alice Howland struggles to find meaning and purpose in her life as her concept of self gradually slips away.  The movie stars Julianne Moore as Alice who recently won the Golden Globe award for Best Actress.  She also won Best Actress with several other associations including The Chicago Film Critics and Hollywood Film Awards and has been nominated for an Oscar as Best Actress.  Alec Baldwin stars as the husband, John.  The movie is rated PG-13.american


American Sniper by Chris Kyle – A member of Navy SEAL Team 3 describes his life as a father and husband, and as the serviceman with the most confirmed sniper kills in the history of the United States military while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Bradley Cooper has been nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Chris Kyle.  The movie has also been nominated for Best Picture.  The movie is rated R.


If you’ve read the book, will you go see the movie?  Let us know what you think of the movie.  Did it capture the essence of the book, or was it a disappointment?  If you liked the movie, will you read the book?  Which did you like better?  We want to know!





Fifty Shades of Grey – The Movie

The casting decisions have been made and production will begin soon for the movie version of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Charlie Hunnam

Charlie Hunnam

Thirty-three year old Charlie Hunnam has been cast as Christian Grey.  He recently starred in the movie “Pacific Rim” and appeared in the FX series “Sons of Anarchy”.

Dakota Johnson

Dakota Johnson

Twenty-three year old Dakota Johnson has been cast as Anastasia Steele.  She is the daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson.  She recently appeared in the short-lived Fox sit-com “Ben and Kate” and had roles in “The Social Network” and “The Five-Year Engagement”.

Focus Features will release the film on August 1, 2014. Sam Taylor-Johnson is directing the project.  It will be interesting to see if they can keep it ‘R’ rated or will they have to go to NC17?

Alexis Bledel

Alexis Bledel

Matt Bomer

Matt Bomer

UPDATE:  It seems not everyone is happy with the above choices.   Angry fans of the book are petitioning to have Alexis Bledel and Matt Bomer cast as the leads.  The petition has 20,000 signatures so far.