Based on the Book…
Literature has inspired some of the greatest films ever made.
Literary adaptations often get a bad press, with the books’ fans lamenting the necessary excision of events in the book or the loss of tone and character. Yet the best film adaptations capture the mood of the original or completely reimagine the stories in their transition to the big screen. Works by Emile Bronte, Joseph Conrad, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Thomas Hardy and more inspired these great films, with Francis Ford Coppola transporting Heart of Darkness to Vietnam in Apocalypse Now and Michael Winterbottom reimagining Tess of the d’Urbervilles in 21st century India in Trishna. Shelley and Stoker certainly couldn’t have predicted the influence their books would have in the future, with Frankenstein and Dracula having been adapted countless times for the big screen.
Drama2007158 minsDirector: Paul Thomas Anderson
Daniel Day-Lewis' Oscar-winning performance as a ruthless oil baron bestrides Paul Thomas Anderson's towering 21st-century classic.
Biopic2017127 minsDirector: Destin Daniel Cretton
Woody Harrelson, Brie Larson and Naomi Watts play members of an anarchic family that refuses society's norms, in this moving and offbeat drama from the director of Short Term 12.
War1979141 minsDirector: Francis Ford Coppola
Transplanting Joseph Conrad’s colonial-era novel Heart of Darkness to Vietnam, Coppola created a mesmerising fantasia on the spectacle of war.
Thriller2016112 minsDirector: Tate Taylor
Emily Blunt stars in the adaptation of the best-seller about a divorcee who entangles herself in the investigation of a missing young woman.
Road movie2012124 minsDirector: Walter Salles
Walter Salles’ vibrant adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s seminal novel follows three youths from the beat generation as they traverse America.
Drama2016161 minsDirector: Martin Scorsese
Scorsese’s epic meditation on spiritual strength, with Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver as missionaries on the search for their missing mentor.
Thriller2016109 minsDirector: Juan Carlos Medina
Bill Nighy plays the arch detective investigating a series of grisly murders around the music halls of Victorian London, in this pungent Gothic mystery.
Animation & Artists Moving Image201667 minsDirector: Claude Barras
Both young and adult audiences will enjoy this funny and touching animated feature about an orphan named Courgette, written by Céline Sciamma (Girlhood).
Drama2015131 minsDirector: Paul Verhoeven
Isabelle Huppert gives an unforgettable performance in Paul Verhoeven’s provocative thriller about one woman’s response to a violent attack.
Crime1953153 minsDirector: Henri-Georges Clouzot
Henri-Georges Clouzot's classic, nail-biting suspense thriller follows four desperate men as they transport a volatile cargo of nitro-glycerine to a massive oil well fire.
Drama2015102 minsDirector: Marielle Heller
The US indie hit tells the bold, bawdy and hilarious story of a teenager's sexual awakening after she sleeps with her mother’s boyfriend.
Period drama1967165 minsDirector: John Schlesinger
Terence Stamp and Julie Christie star in the classic adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s tale of tragedy and passion.
Drama198796 minsDirector: Pat O'Connor
A young Colin Firth and Kenneth Branagh star as two tormented WWI veterans who strike up a friendship when they meet in a rural Yorkshire village.
Drama2011114 minsDirector: Michael Winterbottom
Tragedy befalls a young Indian woman when she falls in love with a rich British man in Michael Winterbottom's sharp Thomas Hardy update.
2006141 minsDirector: Tom Tykwer
Ben Whishaw first lead role in a movie was as the serial killer obsessed with smell in Tom Tykwer’s adaptation of the celebrated novel.
Fantasy2015134 minsDirector: Matteo Garrone
Mythical monsters, shape-shifting sisters and a giant flea are all on the menu in Matteo Garrone’s fulsome feast of gothic fantasy.
Biopic2012111 minsDirector: Ralph Fiennes
Ralph Fiennes directs and stars in this adaptation of Claire Tomalin’s book about the long-standing affair between Charles Dickens and Nelly Ternan.
Drama2005127 minsDirector: Joe Wright
Keira Knightley stars in Jane Austen’s timeless romance, reinvigorated for the modern age by the masters of British rom-com, Working Title.
Comedy2011111 minsDirector: Lasse Hallström
Two London office workers find love on a Yemeni Sheikh's ambitious fishing scheme. Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt star.
Comedy200197 minsDirector: Sharon Maguire
Reindeer jumpers and big knickers: the smash adaptation of Helen Fielding’s hit novel still has all the best gags in the rom-com circuit.
Thriller2011127 minsDirector: Tomas Alfredson
Gary Oldman leads an all-star cast, including Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy, in this acclaimed adaptation of John Le Carré's esteemed spy novel.
Thriller2014122 minsDirector: Anton Corbijn
In one of his final roles, Philip Seymour Hoffman excels as a German spy attempting to recruit Islamic informants, in Anton Corbijn’s sophisticated John le Carré adaptation.
Police drama1973142 minsDirector: Fred Zinnemann
The race is on to find ‘the Jackal’ before he undertakes a momentous political assassination, in this compelling adaptation of Frederick Forsyth’s bestseller.
Period drama2016146 minsDirector: Park Chan-wook
Park Chan-wook (Old Boy, Stoker) channels Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith, to create a sumptuous twisty psychological thriller full of erotic intrigue.
Drama2016115 minsDirector: Jakob M. Erwa
A young man falls for the new boy at school in this energetic and inventive adaptation of Andreas Steinhoefel’s acclaimed YA novel.
Drama201485 minsDirector: Ester Martin Bergsmark
A striking 21st-century love story about the passionate relationship between a transgendered teen and a straight man.
Drama201393 minsDirector: Richard Ayoade
Richard Ayoade’s stylish and sinister adaptation of Dostoevsky’s story stars Jesse Eisenberg in a dual-role as a timid office clerk confronted by his confident, scheming doppelganger.
Crime19970 minsDirector: Quentin Tarantino
Tarantino's third film is arguably his most serious and studied; a soulful crime saga with Pam Grier as the flight attendant in the midst of a money-laundering scam.
Crime2007157 minsDirector: Ridley Scott
Ridley Scott’s heavyweight crime drama follows the rise and fall of drug-runner Frank Lucas, commandingly portrayed by Denzel Washington.
Drama201397 minsDirector: Jon S. Baird
The biting Irvine Welsh adaptation stars a sensational James McAvoy, boldly cast against type as the cop struggling to suppress his inner demons.
Drama1986116 minsDirector: Claude Berri
The film that inspired a wave of British migration to Provence, Claude Berri’s magical evocation of a bygone rustic France, with Gerard Depardieu.
Drama1986109 minsDirector: Claude Berri
The sequel to Jean de Florette concludes the Provencal period saga about two farming clans, headed by Emmanuelle Béart and Daniel Auteuil.
Drama1986185 minsDirector: Jean-Jacques Beineix
Jean-Jacques Beineix’s story of a volatile, highly sexual relationship was one of the most successful French films of the 1980s.
Melodrama2014108 minsDirector: François Ozon
Ruth Rendell provides the source novel for this delicious tale of deception and identity, from the master of mischievous melodrama, François Ozon.
Drama199797 minsDirector: Pedro Almodóvar
Pedro Almodóvar’s sexy and suspenseful thriller follows the intertwining destinies of a cop (Javier Bardem) and the criminal who paralyses him.
Drama2007158 minsDirector: Ang Lee
Esteemed Taiwanese director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pi) returned to Asia once more for this startlingly erotic tale of espionage and obsession.
Drama1988106 minsDirector: Ken Russell
Ken Russell returns to D. H. Lawrence for the story of a young girl’s sexual awakening and immersion in a love triangle with both a man and a woman.
Comedy2016101 minsDirector: Taika Waititi
Juvenile delinquent Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) forms an unlikely partnership with Sam Neill’s grizzled bushman in this hilarious wild adventure from Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows).
Drama1962126 minsDirector: Bryan Forbes
Bryan Forbes directs the Oscar-nominated story of a French woman (Leslie Caron) moving to London while unmarried, pregnant, and alone.
Thriller1958128 minsDirector: Alfred Hitchcock
Hitchcock’s timeless thriller about a former detective with a fear of heights who is hired to follow a woman who seems possessed by the past.
Thriller1954112 minsDirector: Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock’s masterly thriller stars James Stewart as an invalided photographer who spots something fishy outside his rear window.
Romance2015112 minsDirector: John Crowley
Saoirse Ronan shines as a woman who journeys from post-war small-town Ireland to New York, in Nick Hornby’s adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s best-selling novel.
Melodrama1959125 minsDirector: Douglas Sirk
Douglas Sirk’s final Hollywood film is a masterpiece of melodrama, for which Juanita Moore became the fifth African-American Oscar-nominee.
Comedy201693 minsDirector: Whit Stillman
Whit Stillman crosses the Atlantic for this irresistible Jane Austen adaptation, following the delicious and devious exploits of Lady Susan (Kate Beckinsale).
Drama2014130 minsDirector: James Kent
Alicia Vikander brings to life the extraordinary life of Vera Brittain, whose affair with a dashing friend (Kit Harington) is cruelly cut short by the onset of war.
Biopic2008110 minsDirector: Saul Dibb
Keira Knightley plays an 18th-century duchess who challenges convention by responding to her husband’s infidelities with affairs of her own.
Horror195882 minsDirector: Terence Fisher
Hammer's 1958 version of Stoker's Gothic novel was the most exciting to date, boasting lavish costumes and sets, a vibrant score and red, red blood.
Biopic2015124 minsDirector: Jay Roach
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Argo) gives a cracking performance as Dalton Trumbo, the Oscar-winning screenwriter who became a Hollywood outcast.
Biopic2016123 minsDirector: Jérôme Salle
Jérôme Salle's candid biopic of the underwater explorer and photographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau is a bold tribute to the lure of the sea.
Biopic2015128 minsDirector: Neil Armfield
A sweepingly romantic adaptation of Timothy Conigrave’s best-selling memoir, an impassioned love letter to his partner, John Caleo.
Drama200294 minsDirector: David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg directs Ralph Fiennes in this chilling psychological drama about a mentally-disturbed man facing his horrifying childhood memories.
Biopic2007122 minsDirector: Anton Corbijn
The life story of Ian Curtis, the tortured singer of Joy Division who suffered epilepsy and crippling self-doubt, filmed in stunning monochrome.
Documentary201587 minsDirector: James Spinney
James Spinney and Peter Middleton's highly original documentary uses cinematic interpretations and textured sound design to express a ‘world beyond sight.’
Fantasy1978134 minsDirector: Sidney Lumet
NYC becomes Oz in the cult, urban reimagining of the family favourite, featuring an all-African American cast including Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.
Film noir1958111 minsDirector: Orson Welles
Orson Welles’ final Hollywood film and the last great Film Noir, a sweat-drenched Mexican border saga with one of cinema’s most celebrated openings.
Film noir194487 minsDirector: Robert Siodmak
Robert Siodmak’s first Hollywood noir about an innocent man sentenced to death when the woman who can verify his alibi mysteriously vanishes.
Drama1945101 minsDirector: Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder’s still searing film about alcoholism remains one of only two films to have won the Best Picture Oscar and the top prize at Cannes Film Festival.
Crime1944108 minsDirector: Billy Wilder
Barbara Stanwyck is the housewife who dupes an insurance salesman into a devious murder plot, in this giant of American cinema - the archetypal Film Noir.
Horror2013108 minsDirector: Jonathan Glazer
An alien Scarlett Johansson prowls the streets of Glasgow in Jonathan Glazer’s astonishing, mind-bending mixture of existential sci-fi and inner-city realism.
Comedy1972103 minsDirector: George Roy Hill
This adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s novel follows Billy Pilgrim’s journeys in time as he flits between WWII Dresden and a future on planet Tralfamadore.
Thriller2008121 minsDirector: Fernando Meirelles
Fernando Meirelles (City of God) presents a haunting dystopian allegory about a sudden epidemic of blindness affecting humanity.
Science Fiction2006109 minsDirector: Alfonso Cuarón
In an apocalyptic future Britain, a civil servant is unexpectedly entrusted with the fate of humanity in Alfonso Cuarón’s gripping and thoughtful sci-fi.