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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Police drama195996 minsDirector: Val Guest
Punchy crime thriller with a realist streak as Stanley Baker pursues a fugitive through the streets of Manchester.