We know that there are many movies based on books. In fact, it could be said that we live in the age of adaptations of everything. However, there are films that, far from retaking bestsellers and taking them to the big screen, are modernizations of great classic stories, often from legendary books. They are, in other words, proof that there are universal tales, worth telling over and over again in multiple forms, times and settings: whether as dramas, children’s animations, musicals or urban comedies. Therefore, we have made a list of 10 movies based on books.
1. Pretty Woman, based on George Bernand Shaw’s Pygmalion
A woman from the lower classes (in this case Julia Roberts) is transformed into a jewel under the care of a gentleman (good Richard Gere). Obviously, he ends up falling in love with her, that is, with his own creation. This myth is as old as ancient Greece (Pygmalion is a sculptor who falls in love with his own sculpture), but it was George Bernard Shaw’s play, published in 1913, that has sparked a whole series of film adaptations since then.
This is one of Hollywood’s favorite short stories. Another of the most famous reinterpretations is My lovely lady (1964), but there are also more youthful ones. Who can forget She is like that, con Rachael Leigh Cook y Freddie Prinze Jr.?
2. The Lion King, based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet
“To be or not to be, that’s the question …” Although it is difficult to imagine Simba saying this iconic line in the middle of the savannah, this Disney classic is, in reality, a “fabulized” version of what is surely the most quoted from William Shakespeare. The king’s brother kills the sovereign to get the kingdom. Later, the victim’s ghost appears to the prince and tells him to reclaim the throne. Well, in Hamlet’s case, the specter asks him to kill his uncle, but that’s not something Disney would pick up on, for obvious reasons.
In the end, The Lion King it is the closest that mouse studies have made to a tale of revenge and betrayal.
3. Bridget Jones’s Diary, based on Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The hit comedy starring Renée Zellweger is a film based on the eponymous book by Helen Fielding, who confessed to having “stolen” Austen’s story from a genre novel. It won’t be set in early 19th-century England, but it picks up everything that is key: there is prejudice, social pressure to find a husband, embarrassing family situations, a deceptively charming man and – most importantly – there is a Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth) .
The fun fact is that Firth also played the proud character in the BBC miniseries of the novel. It seems that he was born to embody this gentleman.
4. To hell with the devil, based on Goethe’s Faust
Who is not familiar with the German legend of Faust, let us summarize: Faust is an ambitious man who is dissatisfied with his life, so he decides to make a pact with the devil to obtain more wisdom and, incidentally, the love of the maiden. Marguerite.
Sounds familiar? That is because it is one of the stories that has most inspired the arts in general. The German writer Johan Wolfgang von Goethe turned it into the famous play at the beginning of the 19th century that defined the romantic ideal of the time.
In cinema, for example, there have been several “Fausts.” One of the most recent had the privilege of being tempted by a sexy and devilish Elizabeth Hurley: Brendan Fraser, in To the devil with the devil. This film, by the way, was the remake of another comedy from the 60s – directed by Stanley Donen – and that is also based on the myth.
5. Sex games, based on The Dangerous Friendships by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
The film starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon brings the erotic and Machiavellian games of the French novel written by Pierre Choderlos in 1782 to modern New York. This book tells the tricks of the Viscount de Valmont and the Marchioness of Merteuil , who sexually manipulate various victims. At the time, it was a critique of the decadent aristocratic sphere that dominated society before the French Revolution.
The 1999 film, however, surprised by transferring these perverse conspiracies not only to modern times, but also to adolescent high society. Until then, there hadn’t been a movie that dealt with youth sexuality in this way.
6. No idea, based on Jane Austen’s Emma
This comedy is much more than the film that gave the best fashion advice to the girls of the 90s. Director Amy Heckerling took one of Jane Austen’s most human and imperfect heroines and put her story in the right place: high school. . Also, we have seen movies based on his books before.
Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is the most popular girl in school and, like her literary counterpart, is noble and well-meaning, but superficial and vain. Her biggest mistake is being patronizing with the less popular girls and, therefore, “less fortunate”, although that does not prevent her from starring in her love story (after all, she is Jane Austen) with the only man who confronts her about her feelings. defects.
A curious fact is that Gwyneth Paltrow, who was considered for the role of Cher, played Emma a year later in the adaptation of the novel by Douglas McGrath.
7. 10 Things I Hate About You, based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew
The rebellious Katarina Stratford, played by Julia Stiles, also has its origins in Shakespearean comedy. In fact, the film is quite faithful to the names of the characters and the entanglements of the play, at least in its approach: Katherine is a woman from Padua who has a… complicated character. As part of a conspiracy by her sister Bianca’s suitors, “the little animal” is finally “tamed” by a cunning gentleman.
Even so, there is a key difference that has to do with the change of times: in the play – which today might seem a bit misogynistic – Katherine changes completely to please her “tamer”, while in the film, both Kat and Patrick (Heath Ledger) make their efforts to leave his side hater and stay together. or not?
8. Moulin Rouge, based on The Lady of the Camellias by Alexandre Dumas
In reality, the extravagant musical that celebrates love, freedom and beauty is a mixture of several works. It has the ideals and tragic deaths of Giaccomo Puccini’s opera, La BohemeBut the love story “to the courtesan” is nothing more than a reinterpretation of the novel by Alexander Dumas (which, by the way, is based on the real romance that the writer had with a prostitute named Marie Duplessis).
Nicole Kidman takes the place of “the lady of the camellias” as Satine, while Ewan McGregor’s Christian adds a bohemian touch to Armando Duval’s literary character. Baz Luhrman’s script recovers all the key points: even the painful passage in which Armando / Christian, thinking himself betrayed, emotionally tortures his beloved. How can we forget the “I’ve paid my whore”?
9. Hear Your Destiny, based on Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
An orphan who runs away from the orphanage, goes to the city and joins a clan of street children, with a questionable leader who exploits them. Where have we read this before? Of course! In one of the most popular – and acid – novels by Charles Dickens, it was actually a social critique of the way poverty was perceived and those who suffered from it were treated.
The movie starring Freddie Highmore adds the musical factor to this story. Unlike Oliver, August doesn’t need to become a pickpocket to survive on the streets of New York – he just fiddles to wow passersby and earn big tips.
10. The Mask, based on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
The unkempt green character, who earned Jim Carrey a Golden Globe nomination, is well known to be a “hero” who first appeared in Dark Horse Comics publications. However, it is inspired by the book The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson, published in 1886. After all, it is the novel that became a benchmark when it comes to multiple personalities, as it recounts the mysterious case of a doctor who often becomes a powerless sociopath control it.
In this case, the shy Stanley Ipkiss would be the equivalent of Dr. Jekyll, while The Mask would be the humorous sociopath in him. If we think about it, actually, it is. Zero inhibitions!
Jessica Oliva Journalist, editor at Cine PREMIERE and frustrated dancer in her spare time. Enjoying cinema, literature, tango, useless data and the opportunity to wake up doing whatever it takes.