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.
Drama1974140 minsDirector: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Fassbinder's exquisitely subtle rendition of Fontane’s great novel, starring the great Hanna Schygulla as the titular 17-year-old who is forced into a socially advantageous marriage with a much older man.
Horror1988115 minsDirector: David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg's multi award-winning psychological thriller exploring the bizarre lives of identical twins Elliot and Beverly, both played by Jeremy Irons.
Prick Up Your Ears
Biopic1987110 minsDirector: Stephen Frears
A celebration of outrageous British playwright Joe Orton’s irreverent and charismatic talent, starring Gary Oldman and Alfred Molina.
A Farewell to Arms
Romance193289 minsDirector: Frank Borzage
Based on the best-selling 1929 novel by Ernest Hemingway, Gary Cooper stars in Frank Borzage's Oscar-winning adaptation of the tragic Great War romance.
Les Enfants Terribles
Drama1949106 minsDirector: Jean-Pierre Melville
Jean-Pierre Melville’s film of Jean Cocteau's controversial novel about a teenage brother and sister and their intense, closeted relationship.
Period drama1948116 minsDirector: David Lean
Arguably the essential Dickens adaptation, David Lean’s evocative portrayal of Victorian London in sooty black and white features Alec Guinness as a memorably sinister Fagin.
Period drama1947118 minsDirector: David Lean
The first of David Lean’s two Dickens adaptations is one of the finest British literary interpretations and one of the most acclaimed of all British films.
The Fall of the House of Usher
Animation & Artists Moving Image198016 minsDirector: Jan Svankmajer
The first of Švankmajer's 'tactile experiments', the subject chosen partly because the title was on an official list of 'approved' texts. In this version there are no humans, just a brief glimpse of a live raven as the camera roams around an eerie derelict house.
Animation & Artists Moving Image197372 minsDirector: René Laloux
René Laloux and Roland Topor’s surreal, psychedelic sci-fi animation imagines a world in which humanoid creatures are kept as pets by a race of giants.
Things to Come
Science Fiction193697 minsDirector: William Cameron Menzies
H.G. Wells' chilling vision of the future, which imagines the 20th Century as a near-endless war and struggle against tyranny, remains a key milestone in British science fiction.
Science Fiction1989101 minsDirector: Michael Anderson
Flight crash investigator Bill Smith (Kris Kristofferson) discovers that time travellers from the future are visiting the present day and stealing passengers from doomed aircraft to repopulate a future, infertile human race.
The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Period drama192591 minsSilentDirector: Rupert Julian
'Man of a thousand faces' Lon Chaney stars in the first version of Gaston Leroux's oft-filmed novel.
Horror192289 minsSilentDirector: F.W. Murnau
This influential Dracula adaptation contains some of the most famous images of expressionist film, with a new score by Hammer composer James Bernard.
Nosferatu the Vampyre
Horror1979107 minsDirector: Werner Herzog
English language version of Herzog’s stimulating take on the Dracula story starring Klaus Kinski, with echoes of Murnau’s 1922 Nosferatu.
Drama200797 minsDirector: Sarah Gavron
Sarah Gavron’s subtle and intelligent adaptation of Monica Ali’s acclaimed novel charts the experiences of a Bangladeshi woman in London.
Comedy196398 minsSilentDirector: John Schlesinger
Tom Courtenay is the clerk whose overactive fantasies compensate for a dull provincial life, in this classic film from the British New Wave.
The American Friend
Film noir1978121 minsDirector: Wim Wenders
Acclaimed director Wim Wenders, with the help of Dennis Hopper, transforms Patricia Highsmith's novel 'Ripley's Game' into a gripping European noir.
The Scarlet Letter
Period drama197290 minsDirector: Wim Wenders
Wim Wenders adapts the acclaimed novel in which a Puritan village chastises a young mother for giving birth out of wedlock.
The Ipcress File
Crime1965108 minsDirector: Sidney J. Furie
The coolest spy of all – Michael Caine’s Harry Palmer – makes his brilliant big screen debut in this landmark British spy thriller.
Lodger: A Story of the London Fog
Crime192691 minsSilentDirector: Alfred Hitchcock
Ivor Novello plays a strange lodger who may be behind a number of Jack the Ripper-style killings in Alfred Hitchcock’s silent thriller.
The 39 Steps
Thriller193583 minsDirector: Alfred Hitchcock
Sublime and suspenseful version of the popular John Buchan spy thriller from the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock.
Thriller193677 minsDirector: Alfred Hitchcock
A cinema owner works with a ring of terrorists, with drastic effects on his wife and her brother, in Hitchcock’s London-set thriller.
Young and Innocent
Thriller193783 minsDirector: Alfred Hitchcock
In Hitchcock's early thriller, the witness to a murder is accused of the crime, evading arrest to track the real killer.
Innocence of Memories
Documentary201597 minsDirector: Grant Gee
A multi-layered melding of fiction and fact, about Nobel prize-winner Orhan Pamuk and his Istanbul Museum of Innocence.
Drama1987110 minsDirector: Werner Herzog
Klaus Kinski and Werner Herzog’s final collaboration is a typically wild and adventurous story of a bandit who trains an army of female savages to overthrow a slave-trading tribal king.
The Castle of Otranto
Animation & Artists Moving Image197718 minsDirector: Jan Svankmajer
Czech animator Jan Švankmajer's adaptation of Horace Walpole's Gothic novel.
Drama194798 minsDirector: Charles Frank
Gothic chiller based on the novel by J. Sheridan Le Fanu. Jean Simmons stars as an heiress pursued by her unbalanced uncle and his perverted son.
The Spy in Black
War193979 minsDirector: Michael Powell
A masterful thriller with true flair, The Spy In Black has a much larger importance: it threw Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger together for the first time.
A Night to Remember
Disaster1958123 minsDirector: Roy Ward Baker
Widely regarded as the finest film account of the sinking of the Titanic, this moving seafaring disaster tale will grip you from start to finish.
The Lower Depths
Drama1957125 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa’s adaptation of Maxim Gorky’s novel, in which inhabitants of a slum revel in illusions to avoid bitter reality.
In the Fog
War2012123 minsDirector: Sergei Loznitsa
A suspected Nazi collaborator and his Partisan abductors join forces to escape pursuing German forces, in this vibrantly shot war drama.
High and Low
Crime1963143 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa’s procedural crime masterpiece, from Ed McBain’s gritty novel, follows an industrialist who faces an agonising choice as a result of a botched kidnapping by ruthless criminals.
Death and The Compass
199686 minsDirector: Alex Cox
Alex Cox’s visually stunning, deliciously dark adaptation of the short story by acclaimed Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges.
Drama2009100 minsDirector: Stéphane Brizé
When a happily married man decides to volunteer at his son’s school, he begins to form a romantic bond with a teacher in this intimate French drama.
Hell Is a City
Police drama195996 minsDirector: Val Guest
Punchy crime thriller with a realist streak as Stanley Baker pursues a fugitive through the streets of Manchester.