The book was better than the movie. It’s an adage that has become only more prevalent as time wears on. Literature has been a fertile ground for stories for film since the dawn of the medium. In many ways, book adaptations never used to be seen as mere cash grabs. One need not look further than the American Film Institute’s List of 100 Greatest American Films of All Time to find some of the best book-to-film adaptations. A whopping eight of the top 10 films were adapted from books: “The Godfather,” “Casablanca,” “Raging Bull,” “Gone with the Wind,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Schindler’s List,” “Vertigo” and “The Wizard of Oz.”
Powerful adaptations aren’t just limited to the old classics. Since 2000, cinema has seen many great books turn into powerful films. While the multiplexes have suffered through countless “Twilight” films and is in the throws of “50 Shades of Grey,” there are still literary adaptations that make good use of their original text. This weekend, we will see the release of “The Girl on the Train,” the much anticipated adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ bestselling novel. Will it be more “Gone Girl” and less “50 Shades of Grey?” Only time will tell. In the meantime, to refrain from quoting too many AFI easy picks, we are going to count down the 10 best book-to-movie adaptations of the new millennium.