The book is always better than the movie. Except when it isn’t.
In general, books are better than the films they inspire; however, some movies transcend their source material. For example:
- The Godfather
- Some Stephen King: Stand By Me, The Shawshank Redemption, The Running Man, Carrie, The Shining, etc.
- The Andromeda Strain
- The Princess Bride
- The Phillip K. Dick stuff: Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report
- Field of Dreams
- Forrest Gump
- L.A. Confidential
- Like Water For Chocolate
- Being There
These are the examples that occur to me immediately; I’m sure there are many others.
There’s also a significant body of excellent films made from excellent books. (These often become personal favorites of mine.)
- Fight Club
- Jurassic Park
- Pride and Prejudice
- The Remains of the Day
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- The Joy Luck Club
- Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
- Gone With the Wind
- A Clockwork Orange
- A River Runs Through It
- The Pianist
I know that many people actually prefer the Lord of the Rings films to the books. While this boggles my mind, I accept that such a large body of opinion cannot be discounted.
I’ve intentionally not listed cases in which I consider both the film and the movie bad (e.g. Girl With a Pearl Earring; Chocolat; many MIchael Crichton stories, such as Congo; many Stephen King stories, such as Pet Sematary).
The next time somebody complains that the book is always better than the movie, remind them that it’s not always the case.