Books That Turn 20 This Year That Later On Became Hit Movies

·7 min read

Some of our favorite movies of all time started out on the pages of well-written novels. From Oscar-winning releases, to heartwarming films about girl power, to fantasy blockbusters, these amazing movies started out as books, and now these books turn 20 this year!

Here are 10 books-turned-movies that are 20 years old. Read on to find out if the book is worth reading and if it's better than the movie, or vice versa!

1. Legally Blonde

20th Century Fox

Before Reese Witherspoon was bagging Oscar noms and stressing us out on Big Little Lies, she’d already won our hearts strutting through Harvard's walls as Elle Woods, the not-dumb blonde in 2001's Legally Blonde. Regarded as one of her most iconic roles today, Witherspoon totally owned this role based off Amanda Brown's novel.

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Novel or movie? Movie!

20th Century Fox / Via Giphy.com

While the original novel is a fun read, nothing compares to the stellar performances by the cast in the movie! Plus, we can never forget the "Bend and Snap!"

2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Warner Bros. / Via Tenor.com

Written in 2001 under J.K. Rowling's pen name “Newt Scamander," the original novel, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, is supposed to be an actual textbook belonging to Harry Potter and was name dropped in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. The book features 85 magical creatures and is a beautifully written fantasy novel filled with insane jokes and experiences.

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Novel or movie? Novel!

Warner Bros. / Via Tenor.com

As much as we love looking at Eddie Redmayne's perfectly chiseled face, the novel has many more exciting moments that weren't captured in the movie. Go check it out if you haven’t!

3. Life of Pi

20th Century Fox / Via Imgur.com

Let's get one thing straight. This is one hell of a novel! The 2001 masterpiece by Yann Martel has sold over 10 million copies, and for good reason. The story about a young boy lost at sea with a Bengal Tiger is a truly remarkable tale about spirituality and our perception of reality.

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Novel or movie? Both!

20th Century Fox

While the novel is a stellar piece of work, Ang Lee takes it up a notch with stunning and breathtaking visuals and direction in the 2012 film. It's rare for a movie to trump the imagination, but Life of Pi does so expertly and unbelievably well.

4. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Ann Brashares' first of many books in the series is still the most heartwarming. Dealing with issues of friendship, love, and family, this novel was popular among teenage girls who fell in love with the four protagonists. The magical novel about a one-size-fits-all pair of jeans is a testament of loving friendships among girls.Get the book from Bookshop.

Ann Brashares' first of many books in the series is still the most heartwarming. Dealing with issues of friendship, love, and family, this novel was popular among teenage girls who fell in love with the four protagonists. The magical novel about a one-size-fits-all pair of jeans is a testament of loving friendships among girls.

Get the book from Bookshop.

Warner Bros.

Novel or movie? Movie!

Warner Bros.

Alexis Bledel? Blake Lively? America Ferrera? Yes please! While the novel is a wonderful read, the performances of these young stars is just too perfect. It's no wonder the movie's a classic. Better yet, they've stated that they are working on a third film!

5. Atonement

Universal

Written by Ian McEwan and considered one of his best works, Atonement is set in the 1930s and '40s and is a story about a young girl whose misinterpretation of event after event causes a chain reaction of terrible consequences for her sister and others around her. It's literature at its finest and hooks you in from beginning to end.

Get it from Bookshop.

Novel or movie? Both!

Universal / Via Giphy.com

With breathtaking performances from James McAvoy, Kiera Knightley, and Saoirse Ronan, this BAFTA- and Oscar-winning film is nothing short of an immaculate tearjerker. It's hard to pick a winner here. You’ve got to go with both!

6. The Secret Life of Bees

Sue Monk Kidd's 2001 novel is a coming-of-age drama set in 1964, dealing with all the emotional twists and turns of having a white girl run away from home and finding shelter with a family of Black sisters. The book highlights love, race, mental health, and faith in a very moving way.Get it from Bookshop.

Sue Monk Kidd's 2001 novel is a coming-of-age drama set in 1964, dealing with all the emotional twists and turns of having a white girl run away from home and finding shelter with a family of Black sisters. The book highlights love, race, mental health, and faith in a very moving way.

Get it from Bookshop.

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Novel or movie? Both!

Fox Searchlight Pictures

It’s hard to fault any movie starring Queen Latifah, and this one is no different. With bright acting from Dakota Fanning, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson, and more, the movie is a must-watch. The movie does stray a bit from the novel, making it a fresh story to enjoy.

7. Up in the Air

Paramount Pictures

Walter Kirn's novel about airports, frequent flyer miles, and an almost heartless man who goes around firing people (that's his job) as a corporate downsizer is a nice read, but it's the 2009 adaptation featuring George Clooney that really brings the story to life as we get to almost pity the character amidst his life falling apart.

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Novel or movie? Movie!

Paramount Pictures

The Oscar-nominated movie really sells the characters of the story in a way the book couldn’t, probably due to great acting by Clooney, Anna Kendrick, and Vera Farmiga!

8. Artemis Fowl

Disney

Described by its author Eoin Colfer as “Die Hard with fairies," Artemis Fowl follows Artemis, a criminal mastermind who kidnaps a fairy for a ransom of gold. The concept of good and evil is slightly blurred in this novel, as Artemis does make contradicting decisions against his evil nature, but it is a witty and charming novel, which has given birth to a number of sequels.

Novel or movie? Novel!

Disney

Trust me, guys. You don’t have to watch the movie. It's weak in all aspects. The novel is much more captivating, and the characters are a lot more likeable than the film. Not even Josh Gad and Dame Judi Dench could save it.

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9. Mortal Engines

Exciting, fast-paced, and post-apocalyptic, Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines is worth the read. Introducing a steampunk version of London after a devastating war has wiped out most of the Earth's resources, technology is the order of the day, as engineers have turned the city into a machine and must keep it surviving.Get it from Bookshop.

Exciting, fast-paced, and post-apocalyptic, Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines is worth the read. Introducing a steampunk version of London after a devastating war has wiped out most of the Earth's resources, technology is the order of the day, as engineers have turned the city into a machine and must keep it surviving.

Get it from Bookshop.

Universal

Novel or movie? Novel!

Universal / Via Tenor.com

Besides being one of the biggest box-office bombs in history (it cost the studio almost $200 million), the movie doesn’t capture the essence of the story and instead hopes on killer visuals to succeed, missing the plot!

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This egg has already hatched. Keep looking for easter eggs for a chance to be a winner of our 5 Days of Giveaways!

10. Aquamarine

20th Century Fox

Alice Hoffman's novel is a light, magical fantasy focusing on friendship and was the origin of the 2006 film. When Aquamarine, a magical creature, washes up on the shore, best friends Hailey and Claire befriend her, learning that true love has many forms: one of them friendship.

Get it from Barnes and Noble.

Novel or movie? Movie!

20th Century Fox

While the film barely follows the plot of the novel, this is a movie that has young Emma Roberts and Jojo! Definitely a feel-good, female-led film with enough boy-crazy moments to be a true 2000s teen classic!

Well, there you have it: 10 books that turned 20 this year and went on to become hit movies! Have you read any of these novels? Enjoyed any of these films? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

20th Century Fox