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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.

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GomorrahGomorrah

Crime2008132 minsDirector: Matteo Garrone

Matteo Garrone's unnervingly authentic Naples crime drama won the Grand Prix at Cannes before inspiring a hit TV series.

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Effi BriestEffi Briest

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.

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Nosferatu the VampyreNosferatu 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.

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Fantastic PlanetFantastic Planet

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.

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Brick LaneBrick Lane

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.

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Billy LiarBilly Liar

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.

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The American FriendThe 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.

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The Scarlet LetterThe 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.

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Wrong MoveWrong Move

Road movie197599 minsDirector: Wim Wenders

A young man journeys across Germany to find his voice as a writer in Wim Wenders' celebrated road movie.

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The Lower DepthsThe 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.

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Cobra VerdeCobra Verde

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.

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High and LowHigh 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.

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The Devil Rides OutThe Devil Rides Out

Horror196795 minsDirector: Terence Fisher

Dennis Wheatley's occult tale is given the Hammer treatment.

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Les Enfants TerriblesLes 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.

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Mademoiselle ChambonMademoiselle Chambon

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.

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It Always Rains on SundayIt Always Rains on Sunday

Drama194788 minsDirector: Robert Hamer

Austerity noir: Ealing's downbeat but compelling East End thriller.

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Hell Is a CityHell 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.

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Whisky Galore!Whisky Galore!

Comedy194983 minsDirector: Alexander Mackendrick

Ealing's thirstiest comedy: "the longest unsponsored advertisement ever to reach cinema screens"?

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