Awhile ago I was telling someone about how much I liked the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Someone else interrupting uttered the cliche "The Book is Better", which I don't doubt. It got me thinking though what films actually transcend their book counterparts. For a long time I've thought about it and I can only come up with four examples of having a better experience with the films than the books they are based on, not that the reading experience was bad by any means. Here are the examples I came up with.
Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho depending on your opinion of the brilliant Robert Bloch novel I believe is one of those examples. Whether its Hitchcock's direction or Anthony Perkins' portrayal of the character Norman Bates.
Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey has a very interesting genesis as well as being a phenomenal film. Original inspired the by short story The Sentinel (which becomes the mining on the moon scene in the film), fifteen years later is read by Kubrick who then works closely with Arthur C. Clark to expand the thought provoking story into both a majestic novel and monumental screenplay.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas directed by Terry Gilliam (who some may know as the only American in Monty Python ) is an incredible film experience. Not only is Gilliam's direction enjoyable but also their are brilliant performances by the actors Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro (among others). There is even a cameo from the novels author Hunter S. Thompson.
The last example I came up with now seems like the most obvious one, the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. Personally I'm not a big fan but I recognize that this movie has transcended the L. Frank Baum novel and become an iconic part of pop culture. Whether that is due to the production staying pretty true to the William W. Denslow illustrations from the book, the brilliant efforts by the directors/actors/producers, the relatable archetypal characters, there is a hell of alot this film has going for it.
I tried not to say too much about each of my examples to leave more room for discussion from others & myself in later posts. I'm wondering if others feel the same way about these or any other movies. So I ask the question again, what films are better than the book?