While translating stories from print to film can be less than perfectly satisfactory, there have been a lot of great books turned into films. Picking a favorite is difficult. If one includes great BBC productions and mini-series, it becomes more difficult, as Jane Austin's Emma or Neville Shute's A Town Like Alice would be in easy contention for top honors. If we might include a movie based on a stage play, Breaker Morant would win hands down.
However, if we think only of books turned into theatrical-release movies, then I'd say Lord of the Rings would have to be my favorite. It captured so perfectly the mood and magic of the novels. Though anyone who knows the books well could find scenes and characters that got dropped, the "big ideas" and sense of wonder readers experienced while reading the tale were preserved. And there were so many wonderful surprises, things where I thought "well, they'll never be able to capture that," but they did. A favorite example is the lightness of the elves, and then, in the movie, as everyone is slogging through the deep snow, we see Legolas lightly sprinting along the snow's surface. Brilliant.
Everyone looked right. The sets were incredible. One was swept away by the movie to the same extent one was swept away by the original books. While there are others that come close to being as impressive, Lord of the Rings did the most remarkable job oftranslating to the screen everything I loved about the books.
Causes Cynthia Clampitt Supports
Feed the Hungry, Project Angel Tree, Wheels for the World, Feed the Poor