Movies I was surprised to find out were based on books

As I was flicking through Netflix looking for a film to watch one genre of suggestions was ‘movies based on books’, so naturally I went scrolling through them and I was actually quite surprised at the amount of them that I didn’t realise were based on or inspired by books.  I have seen all of the movie adaptations, but have not read any of the books.

Here’s a small selection:


The game under the tree looked like a hundred others Peters and Judy had at home. But they were bored and restless and, looking for something interesting to do, thought they’d give Jumanji a try. Little did they know when they unfolded its ordinary-looking playing board that they were about to be plunged into the most exciting and bizare adventure of their lives.

Written by Chris Van Allsburg and originally published in French in  1981.  I love this movie but not sure how I’m feeling about a sequel.


Legally Blonde

Elle Woods, California University senior, seems to have it all. President of Delta Gamma sorority, she’s aced her major–sociopolitical jewellery design-and is on the verge of becoming Mrs. Warner Huntington III. Too bad Warner, bound for Stanford Law, dumps her with the explanation that he now needs a more “serious” woman at his side. Faced with this unexpected reversal of fortune, Woods doesn’t get depressed, she gets busy.

Written by Amanda Brown and originally published in 2001, who doesn’t love a bit of Elle Woods against the world!


Letters to Juliet

The enduring legend of Shakespeare’s pair of star-crossed lovers draws millions of visitors to Verona, Italy, each year. But that is just part of the story. Every day, letters, frequently addressed simply, “Juliet, Verona,” arrive in the city. They come by the truckload, in almost every language imaginable, written by romantics seeking Juliet’s counsel. Most of the missives talk of love, of course —love found and love lost, love sought and love remembered. And, amazingly, not one letter goes unanswered.

This movie was based on a non-fiction book by Lise and Ceil Friedman which was published in 2006.  I want to visit Verona because of this movie!



Imagine a drug that made your brain function to its full potential.

A drug that allowed you pick up a foreign language in a single day.

A drug that helped you process information so fast you could see patterns in the stock market.

Just as his life is fading into mediocrity, Eddie Spinola comes across such a pill: MDT-48 – a sort of Viagra for the brain. But while its benefits materialise quickly, so do certain unwelcome side-effects. And when Eddie decides to track down other users, he soon discovers that they’re all dying, or already dead…

Written by Alan Glynn and originally published in 2011.  I didn’t really understand the movie so not sure how I would get on with reading the book.


Captain Phillips

A Captain’s Duty tells the life-and-death drama of the Vermont native who was held captive on a tiny lifeboat off Somalia’s anarchic, gun-plagued shores. A story of adventure and courage, it provides the intimate details of this high-seas hostage-taking–the unbearable heat, the death threats, the mock executions, and the escape attempt. When the pirates boarded his ship, Captain Phillips put his experience into action, doing everything he could to safeguard his crew. And when he was held captive by the pirates, he marshaled all his resources to ensure his own survival, withstanding intense physical hardship and an escalating battle of wills with the pirates. This was it: the moment where training meets instinct and where character is everything. Richard Phillips was ready.

I loved this movie, firstly Tom Hanks is in it and it’s packed full of tension.  Probably the type of movie you can only watch once though, however I would still be interested to read the book to see how much of the movie was fiction.

So there’s my surprises.  Have you got any movies to share that you were surprised to learn were based on books?


  1. 7th July 2017 / 8:46 am

    I’m often surprised to learn movies are based on books, I’m realising producers are actually big bookworms! I know I watched one film once and it was based on a book I had read and was so different I couldn’t even catch the similarity and I was stunned when I realised, I wish I could remember which film/book it was now, it was several years ago.

    • 7th July 2017 / 6:40 pm too and there’s a whole section of them on Netflix!
      The title of that book will come to you when you least expect it 😉

  2. 7th July 2017 / 5:59 pm

    Feel free to skip the Legally Blonde book. HATED it compared to the movie. So much more sarcastic and a lot less fun. Which, don’t get me wrong, I love some good sarcasm, but I just liked the movie’s tone better.

    • 7th July 2017 / 6:38 pm

      Thanks for that! I prefer going book then movie and find it harder going the other way so will probably take your advice 🙂

      • 7th July 2017 / 7:07 pm

        Yeah, I rarely like a book when I see the movie first.

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