John at The Movie Blog took on the daunting task of listing the Top 100 Movies Based on Books. The list is quite extensive, but below are a few of the notable picks:
#96 - THE SHINING
Rotten Tomatoes Rating - 86%
Synopsis: A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.
John’s Thought: Iconic film with some of the most quoted one liners from a horror film in history.
My Thought: The movie's fantastic, but it's not very close to the book...
#79 - FULL METAL JACKET
Rotten Tomatoes Rating - 96%
Synopsis: Full Metal Jacket begins by following the trials and tribulations of a platoon of fresh Marine Corps recruits focusing on the relationship between Gunnery Sergeant Hartman and Privates Pyle and Joker. We see Pyle grow into an instrument of death as Hartman has forseen of all of his recruits. Through Pyle’s torment and Joker’s unwillingness to stand up against it the climax of part one is achieved with all three main characters deciding their fates by their action or inaction. The second chapter of Full Metal Jacket delves into Joker’s psyche and the repeated referal to the fact that he joined the Corps to become a killer. When his mostly behind the scenes job as a combat correspondant is interfered with by the Tet offensive he is thrust into real combat and ultimately must choose if he really is a killer.
John’s Thought: Not many people agree with me, but I think this was easily Stanley Kubrick’s best movie.
My Thought: If by "easily" the best John means most accessible, then I can agree. But 2001, The Shining, Spartacus, and Dr. Strangelove are all classics in their genre for a reason.
#75 - FORREST GUMP
Rotten Tomatoes Rating - 72%
Synopsis: Forrest, Forrest Gump is a simple man with little brain activity but good intentions. He struggles through childhood with his best and only friend Jenny. His ‘mama’ teaches him the ways of life and leaves him to choose his destiny. Forrest joins the army for service in Vietnam, finding new friends called Dan and Bubba, he wins medals, starts a table tennis craze, creates a famous shrimp fishing fleet, inspires people to jog, create the smiley, write bumper stickers and songs, donating to people and meeting the president several times. However this is all irrelevant to Forrest who can only think of his childhood sweetheart Jenny. Who has messed up her life. Although in the end all he wants to prove is that anyone can love anyone
John’s Thought: A movie of a less than ordinary person who lives an extraordinary life. Great film, but no way in hell it should have beat out Shawshank Redemption for best picture that year.
My Thought: First, I didn't know this film was based a book, and second, I understand that Shawshank is sort of the new Godfather for men, but Forrest Gump is beyond brilliant.
#68 - THE ENGLISH PATIENT
Rotten Tomatoes Rating - 84%
Synopsis: A burn victim, a nurse, a thief, and a sapper find themselves in each others company in an old Italian villa close to the end of World War II. Through flashbacks, we see the life of the burn victim, whose passionate love of a woman and choices he made for her ultimately change the lives of one other person in the villa. Not only is this film a search for the identity of the English patient, but a search for the identities of all the people in the quiet old villa.
John’s Thought: A lot of people found this dry and slow, but I thought it hit every note perfectly.
My Thought: Again, one of my favorite movies, but not that close to the book... the book is all about Hannah, who has very little screen time (compared to K, that is).
#44 - KISS KISS, BANG BANG
Rotten Tomatoes Rating - 83%
Synopsis: A noir send-up. A narrator introduces himself at a Hollywood party: he’s Harry Lockhart, a thief from New York, in L.A. for a screen test. He meets Gay Perry, a glitzy private eye who’s to school him for his role; there’s Harmony Lane, a wannabe actress whose time has passed; the host is an aging actor who starred in detective movies, plus his daughter, with starlet looks and a choppy past. The next day, Gay and Harry stake out a house where Gay is to take surreptitious photographs for a client - what they find is a corpse. From there, twists and connections abound and bodies pile up. Who’s double-crossing whom? And, has Harry found Harmony too late to save himself from misery?
John’s Thought: This movie ranks right up there with Bubba Ho-Tep where the fact that it never got a wide release should be considered a crime against humanity. Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer were both just amazing in this flick.
My Thought: Easily one of the best films of the 2000s. This was Downey's starring vehicle for his big comeback, and his performance here beats Tropic Thunder and Iron Man -- oh, yes, I did just say that.
#30 - 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
Rotten Tomatoes Rating - 91%
Synopsis: This movie is concerned with intelligence as the division between animal and human, then asks a question; what is the next division? Technology is treated as irrelevant to the quest - literally serving as mere vehicles for the human crew, and as a shell for the immature HAL entity. Story told as a montage of impressions, music and impressive and careful attention to subliminal detail. A very influential film and still a class act, even after 25 years.
John’s Thought: There are parts of this film that still confuse the hell out of me.
My Thought: I've said this before and I'll say it again... the death of HAL is the saddest death in the history of cinema. "Daisy, daisy..."
#19 - DIE HARD
Rotten Tomatoes Rating - 96%
Synopsis: Tough New York cop John McClane finds himself in a tight situation when an office building in Los Angeles is taken over by terrorists. Apart from himself, everyone else in the building - including his wife - is held at gunpoint while their captors spell out their demands. The F.B.I. are called in to survey the situation, but John McClane has other plans for the terrorists…
John’s Thought: Betcha didn’t know this was based on a book. Yeah neither did I at first.
My Thought: Nope. I didn't know that. I wonder if the book is in first person?
#9 - THE PRINCESS BRIDE
Rotten Tomatoes Rating - 95%
Synopsis: When the lovely Buttercup is kidnapped by a ghastly gang intent on fermenting an international incident they find they are pursued by the Dread Pirate Roberts who just might be Westley, her one true love. Also after everyone is nasty Prince Humperdinck to whom Buttercup is now betrothed but who seems to care little for her continued survival. The stage is set for swordfights, monsters, and tortures - but will Grandpa be allowed to finish telling the story with all these kissy bits?
John’s Thought: One of the most special movies ever made that is nothing short of pure magic. Holds a special place in the hearts of a lot of people.
My Thought: The interesting thing about this film is that it's about a sick boy whose grandfather reads him a story. And yet this film replaced storytime for me when I was sick. This film about a book (and based on a book) ushered in a new medium for preferred imagination.
And then not surprisingly, John puts all three of the Lord of the Ring movies in his TOP 5, and puts The Godfather and The Shawshank Redemption at numbers 2 and 3, respectively. LotR: Return of the King took the #1 spot... which underwhelms me... what a predictably masculine choice.
People in the comments have noted the absences of Jurassic Park, Gone with the Wind, Fight Club, To Kill a Mockingbird, and American Psycho, all of which I agree need to be on this list. But I don't recommend reading the comments because most of these people are idiots and do not know how to intelligently criticize a list. Also, where is Atonement?