19 Super-Popular Movies I Had No Idea Were Actually Based On Books

·5 min read

1.Fight Club is based on the 1996 book of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk.

Brad Pitt in Fight Club

There's even a sequel!

20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection, W.W. Norton

2.The Parent Trap is based on the 1949 German book Lisa and Lottie by Erich Kästner.

The book has been adapted into film, TV, and stage productions over 20 times.

The book has been adapted into film, TV, and stage productions over 20 times.

Buena Vista Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection, Lizzie Skurnick Books

3.Shrek is based on the 1990 picture book Shrek by William Steig.

Shrek and Donkey

Steig, a former cartoonist for the New Yorker, wrote the book when he was 83.

DreamWorks / Courtesy Everett Collection, Square Fish

4.Psycho is based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch.

Marion falling in the shower

The novel was inspired by real-life serial killer Ed Gein.

Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection, Harry N. Abrams

5.Bird Box is based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Josh Malerman.

Sandra Bullock rowing in the movie

The plot and characters seem to follow the book pretty closely.

Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection, Ecco

6.Blade Runner and, in turn, Blade Runner 2049 are based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.

Harrison Ford's character hanging off the side of a building

The film was a loose adaptation using some of the characters.

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection, Doubleday

7.Mean Girls is based on a 2002 parenting book called Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman.

Mean Girls poster with the plastics and Cady

The film is very loosely based on the book, which is a guide for parents with teenage daughters. Some of the behavior and the types described in the book (like the "cool mom," though I don't believe she was described in those words) do appear in the film.

Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection, Harmony

8.Freaky Friday is based on the 1972 novel of the same name by Mary Rodgers.

Anna (as her mom) clutching her face as they realize they've switched bodies

The book has been adapted into a film five times, though the above 2003 version is probably the most famous. The basic premise and themes are the same, but the characters are very different, and there is much less focus on the mother in the book.

Walt Disney / Courtesy Everett Collection, HarperCollins

9.Meet the Robinsons is based on the 1990 picture book A Day With Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce.

Lewis looking out the window as he gets to the future

The film is pretty different from the book, which doesn't jump into the future at all and simply features the "meeting a strange family" aspect of the book.

Buena Vista Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection, HarperTrophy

10.The Boss Baby is based on Marla Frazee's 2010 picture book of the same name.

The film is pretty loosely based on the book, as it has a much longer and more involved storyline.

The film is pretty loosely based on the book, as it has a much longer and more involved storyline.

20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection, Beach Lane Books

11.Monte Carlo is based on the 2001 book Headhunters by Jules Bass.

the three girls in Monte Carlo

The movie is pretty different from the book, which features older characters pulling a con from the start rather than three younger women getting a bit caught up in a scheme. The lookalike-royalty storyline also doesn't seem to be in the book.

Larry Horricks / Fox 2000 Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection, ‎Recorded Books

12.The Zenon films are based on the 1997 picture book Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century by Marilyn Sadler.

Zenon and her friends at the station

The (first) movie is much more involved than the book but features a similar plot of Zenon being sent down to live on Earth.

Walt Disney / Courtesy Everett Collection, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

13.The Iron Giant is based on the 1968 book The Iron Man by Ted Hughes.

the giant and Hogarth

The book was actually adapted into a musical first. The film ditched the music, changed the setting, and added new characters.

Warner Bros. Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection, Harper & Row

14.Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen is based on a 1999 book of the same name by Dyan Sheldon.

Lola and Ella smiling

The plot of the book is super similar to that of the movie, except Stu never shows up to prove Lola right at the end.

Buena Vista / Courtesy Everett Collection, Candlewick Press

15.Catch Me if You Can is based on a 1980 book of the same name by Frank W. Abagnale Jr.

Leonardo DiCaprio as a pilot surrounded by flight attendents

The book, movie, and musical are all based on the life of con artist Abagnale.

DreamWorks / Courtesy Everett Collection, Crown

16.Lincoln was based on the 2005 book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Lincoln sitting

Obviously, Lincoln was based on history, but more specifically, it was based on this biography.

20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection, Simon & Schuster

17.Silver Linings Playbook was based on Matthew Quick’s 2008 novel The Silver Linings Playbook.

Tiffany smiling at Pat in the dance studio

The movie made a lot of changes, but the characters and plot were overall the same.

Weinstein Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

18.Jojo Rabbit was based on the 2004 book Caging Skies by Christine Leunens.

Hitler and Jojo standing against a wall

The movie and book have the same premise, though there is more focus on Jojo's mother in the movie (and his father isn't in the film, though he is in the book).

Kimberly French / Fox Searchlight Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection, Harry N. Abrams

19.And finally, The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under are based on the 1959 book The Rescuers and its sequels by Margery Sharp.

the mice looking at a map

The first film was a loose mix of The Rescuers and Miss Bianca from the book series. Many of the characters were renamed and changed — the studio even considered making Cruella de Vil the antagonist.

Buena Vista / Courtesy Everett Collection, Little, Brown

What movies were you shocked to realize were books first? Let us know in the comments!