10 Book Characters That Were As Good (Or Better) In The Movie

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Like all good book nerds, my general policy is that the book is better than the movie as a matter of principle. I mean, it's pretty disconcerting when you've imagined a book character one way, and then that character shows up on the big screen looking like Benedict Cumberbatch or what have you. But we all have to concede that Hollywood does get it right every once in a while. Sometimes those characters we loved (or loved to hate) on the page came out just as lovable, frightening, and/or inspiring on film. Here are a few book characters who were just as good (or even better) in the movie adaptation.

And yes, to be clear, this is a highly subjective list. Books and movies are wildly different mediums, and something always has to change in adaptation. So these characters may not be exactly as you imagined them when reading the book. But each of these film characters perfectly capture the spirit of their literary counterpart, and each of these actors pull off an incredible performance in bringing them to life. From precocious little girls to serial killers, romantic leads to anti-heroes, here are some of the best book characters in all of cinema:

Severus Snape

Harry Potter fans have a lot of opinions on the movies, especially when it comes to casting. People are still upset about that one Dumbledore line-reading in the fourth movie. I think we can all agree, though, that the late, great Alan Rickman was the perfect Severus Snape. Out of all the characters, he feels the most as though he's walked straight out of the books, complete with greasy hair, drawling voice, and hideously repressed emotions.

Inigo Montoya

The Princess Bride is perhaps the single greatest adaptation of a book ever to grace the silver screen. It's got all the jokes and swashbuckling romance you could ever want in a movie. And no character is more memorable than Inigo Montoya, on his quest to avenge his father's death. Mandy Patinkin's take on the swordsman is just as fearless and funny as the beloved book character.

Scout Finch

To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic, both as a book and a film. Young, tomboyish Scout Finch is the narrator of the novel, and ten-year-old Mary Badham managed to bring her to life brilliantly, despite having no prior acting experience. Badham was a genuine native of Alabama, though, and she's still the Scout Finch most people picture when reading the book today.

Bridget Jones

It's hard to think of Bridget Jones without thinking of Renée Zellweger. Bridget Jones's Diary is the ultimate rom-com book and the ultimate rom-com film, loosely based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Zellweger is pretty much spot-on for the clever, slightly vulgar Bridget, as she struggles with her body image and searches for Mr. Right.

Matilda Wormwood

OK, so the film of Matilda actually takes quite a few liberties with Roald Dahl's original novel. Most fans of the book, though, can still agree that young Mara Wilson knocks it out of the park as Matilda. She's the precocious girl genius we all know and love, and it's hard to imagine Matilda without her.

Patrick Bateman

Patrick Bateman from American Psycho is one of the more disturbing literary figures (i.e., an insecure finance bro). Christian Bale's performance as Bateman is just as darkly comic and ultimately chilling as the book character, down to his handsome, dead-eyed expression.


Celie from The Color Purple was Whoopi Goldberg's breakthrough role. Both book and film chronicle Celie's growth from a frightened, abused girl to a self-assured woman who can hold her own. The film is a strong adaptation of the novel overall, but Goldberg in particular manages to channel Celie's passion and inner strength.

Mrs. Danvers

The Hitchcock film adaptation of Rebecca might be as well known as the original novel Rebecca, written by Daphne du Maurier. In the 1940 film, Dame Judith Anderson plays Mrs. Danvers, the unsettling housekeeper who psychologically torments her household in the name of the deceased Rebecca. She's every bit as stern and off-putting on screen as she was on the page.

Effie Trinket

Actress Elizabeth Banks was actually a huge fan of The Hunger Games in real life, so it's no wonder that she pulled off such a perfect performance of Effie Trinket. She captures the weirdness of the book character, while adding a dimension of reality that's all her own.

Coraline Jones

The movie Coraline takes a few huge departures from the book Coraline, but the actual character of Coraline Jones is just as good either way. Dakota Fanning voices the stop motion Coraline, who sounds genuinely kid-like and believably freaked out throughout.