10 Amazing Movies based on Classic Novels That Are Worth Watching!


When it comes to adaptation from novel to film, it is never that easy. The thing about the greatest literary works of history is that they are more or less inimitable. But this does not prevent them from getting channelized into a different medium.

There have been movies based on renowned novels which have fared excellently in their own ways. They stand more as interpretations than just as imitative adaptations.

So without waiting further, here is the list of 10 Great Movies based on classic novels!

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Director: Robert Mulligan

Cast: Gregory Peck & Mary Bedham

Set in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, To Kill a Mockingbird film is a coming-of-age story about a young girl named Scout who is raised by her father, Atticus Finch. Both Scout and her brother Jeremy are taught by Finch to be kind and empathetic to others. It is in this context he reiterates that it’s “a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

This story is paralleled by Finch, a lawyer, defending a Black man who is falsely accused of murder. Despite the threats and frowns of his white community, Finch continues to persist with what is right and defending the innocent.

Movies based on Classic Novels-TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

What’s Notable About the Movie?

Adapted from Harper Lee’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel of the same name, To Kill a Mockingbird highlights racial prejudices which were prevalent in Southern regions of the US during the Great Depression. It conveys the message that one should stand for the right cause even if it sets you against your own people. 

Great Expectations (1946)

Director: David Lean

Cast: John Mills, Valerie Hobson & Jean Simmons

Great Expectations movie 1946 is one of the most renowned adaptations of Charles Dickens’s masterpiece of the same name. The movie is about an orphan named Pip who discovers that he has a benefactress who goes by the name of Miss Havisham. Havisham wants her to become a gentleman, and the story follows the coming-of-age trope of Pip, who also falls in love with the beautiful but emotionally blank Estella.


What’s Notable About the Movie?

The movie is considered to be one of the finest adaptations of Dickens’s novels ever made. It drives home the point that loyalty, love, and conscience stand above social prestige and wealth. If you love Dickensian humor, this movie is not going to disappoint you.

Little Women (2019)

Director: Greta Gerwig

Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh & Eliza Scanlen

Chronicling the life of four sisters, the adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s most beloved novel, the Little Women is loosely based on the life of the author and her three sisters. The March family consisting of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy go through the trials and tribulations in their life while their father is engaged in the Civil War.

The movie explores the psychological depth of the four sisters and how they are similar or different from one another. The Little Women movie is an emotional rollercoaster ride as well as a critique of 19th-century society in terms of gender biases it had.

Little Women movie

What’s Notable About the Movie?

The movie reflects on many themes such as domestic pressure, the crisis of love, familial ties, loss and illness. For those who get hooked by classic dramas, Little Women is a fine example of this genre.

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The Color Purple (1985)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Whoopi Goldberg & Oprah Winfrey

Based on Alice Walker’s novel of the same name, The Color Purple movie plot revolves around Celie, a fourteen-year-old poor black girl who lives in Georgia. Celie is abused by her father and married off to Mister, who does the same with her. The movie showcases Celie’s struggle in the society she is living in and her attempts to overcome these hurdles with the dream of finally reuniting with her sister in Africa.


What’s Notable About the Movie?

The movie has a strong feminist undertone and portrays the struggle of an African American woman. It shows that while the black man suffers racism, a black woman also has to undergo sexism apart from racism.

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The Wizard of OZ (1939)

Director: Victor Fleming

Cast: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan & Margaret Hamilton

The Wizard of Oz movie is a musical fantasy based on the classic children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. The story is about an American farm girl, Dorothy, who gets carried away by a cyclone to the fantasy land of Oz. Her adventures in this fantasy world involve memorable characters like Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, and Tin Woodman. According to the Library of Congress, it is the most-watched movie of all time.


What’s Notable About the Movie?

The Wizard of Oz 1939 drives home the point that there is no place like home. The adventurous journey, the music, humor, and the fantasy elements have made this movie a timeless classic for children and adults alike.

Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Director: Ang Lee

Cast: Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant & Alan Rickman

Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson as both the co-lead and screenplay writer is a rendition of Jane Austen’s novel of the same name. The story revolves around Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, where the former is more inclined towards the sense and the latter on sensibility. A tale of prudence, judgment, intrigue, and social relations, Sense and Sensibility film cast has names like Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman to enhance the performance further.


What’s Notable About the Movie?

The movie imparts an important lesson on the need to strike a fine balance between sense and sensibility. Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet’s performance as the Dashwood sisters make the movie worth watching.

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Director: David Lean

Cast: Omar Sharif & Julie Christie

Based on Boris Pasternak’s novel of the same name, the movie Doctor Zhivago is a classic epic drama film directed by David Lean. The story moves around the lives of Yuri Zhivago, who falls in love with Lara Antipova but ends up getting married to his cousin Tonya. His intense love affair with Yara rejuvenates when they meet again years later. The movie is set in the backdrop of the Russian Revolution and brings the political dimensions on the same as well.


What’s Notable About the Movie?

Doctor Zhivago remains one of the classic love stories of all time. In his reimagination of the novel, the film director David Lean has added more intensity to the passionate love drama making it one of the greatest films of all time.

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Director: Joe Wright

Cast: Keira Knightley & Matthew Macfayden

There are more than two dozen adaptations of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, but none are as good as Pride and Prejudice 2005. Keira Knightley’s stellar performance brings life to the character of Elizabeth Bennet. The movie is based on Elizabeth’s haughty confrontation with Mr. Darcy, which gradually turns into a love affair. Apart from the engaging love drama, the ironic tone of the movie makes it a highly entertaining watch.


What’s Notable About the Movie?

Abounding in wit, humor, and social critique of 19th-century English society, Pride and Prejudice stresses the importance of intelligence over submission and love over wealth. And if you relish satire, characters like Mr. Collin, Mrs. Bennet, Wickham, and Lydia in Pride and Prejudice will give you ample materials to speculate on.

The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Director: John Ford

Cast: Henry Fonda & Jane Darwell

The Grapes of Wrath film has been just as evocative as its counterpart novel, written by John Steinback, was. The plot moves around the Joad family, who lose their farm in the Great Depression and are forced to look for work as migrants. Their journey consists of traveling from Oklahoma all the way to California and meeting several migrant workers heading the same way and in conditions just as bad as theirs or worse.


What’s Notable About the Movie?

The Grapes of Wrath themes include the acute hardships migrants had to go through at the time of the Great Depression, their suffering, and disillusionment towards the future. The struggle these workers go through arouses both our sympathy and solidarity toward the working class in general.

The Trial (1962)

Director: Orson Welles

Cast: Anthony Perkins & Orson Welles

Orson Welles’s adaptation of The Trial by Franz Kafka has grown in reputation with the passing years and is considered by many critics as a masterpiece. It recounts the story of Josef K., who has been accused of a crime he will never get to know about. Joseph K’s confrontation with the absurd legal mechanism is the highlight of the movie. But the surreal presentation of the film invites the audience for multiple interpretations. Welles himself considers this movie to be his best film.


What’s Notable About the Movie?

Man’s alienation, the absurdity of the bureaucracy, and the trope of justice vs law are some of the dominant themes of the movie. Struggling with an absolute force that has no identity or face makes The Trial a unique cinematic work.


It is a daunting task to make novels come to life on the big screen. Not many have succeeded as well as the abovementioned movies do. These films are not just among the greatest of all time but also talk about things that are otherwise missed out on mainstream cinema. By watching these literary adaptations, your perspective toward different aspects of life and society will change significantly.

Guys, don’t forget to comment down below your favourite classic novel based movie. Also, do let me know what topic should I cover next and I’ll try to make an article on it.

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Movies Based on Classic Novels FAQ

What is your favorite novel film adaptation?

To Kill a Mockingbird remains one of the best film adaptations of a novel. From character portrayal to the mood of the film, everything is inch-perfect in the film

Which movies based on classic novels actually succeeded more than the book?

Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) has far surpassed the reputation of the novel it is based on. Robert Bloch’s novel Psycho came in the year 1959, but it didn’t take long for Hitchcock to render a cinematic masterpiece that outlasted the novel.

Which are somemovies based on great books but are very poorly made?

There have been many movies based on great books or novels, but most of them could not live up to the reputation of their source. Some of these movies are:
●    The Great Gatsby (2013)
●    Watchmen (2009)
●    The Da Vinci Code (2006)
●    Anna Karenina (2012)
●    The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)

What are some movies that were adapted into novels afterward?

There are have been several movies that were later turnedinto novels:
●    30 Days of Night
●    Blade Runner series
●    The Adventures of Lucky Pierre
●    Man of Nazareth

Which classic novels hold up to a re-read the best?

Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina has been cited by many literary critics as the greatest novel ever written. Given its simple prose style, structural unity, engaging plot, and a large array of interesting characters, one can always re-read Anna Karenina. Apart from this, the other re-readable novels are:
●    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
●    War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
●    The unbearable lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
●    The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
●    Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
●    Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert
●    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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