Some of the best movies ever made are adaptations of some of the best things ever written, which is why the long list of Pulitzer Prize-winning novels, plays, and newspaper stories makes for great source material. The awards given for achievement in journalism, literature, musical composition, drama, and other categories are decided upon by a 19-person committee of editors, writers, and academics, as well as administrators from Columbia University and handed out once a year. And many make the jump to film. This list of
movies adapted from Pulitzer Prize winners won't take the place of reading all these acclaimed pieces of writing, but it may bring you pretty close.
On Sept, 13, the film version of
Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch will hit theaters. The lengthy 2013 novel won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and tells the story of a young boy named Theo who survives a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that kills his mother. In the aftermath of the disaster, Theo makes a choice that will lead him in and out of homes, family both blood related and created, and into a world of crime and redemption. The film stars Oakes Fegley and Ansel Elgort as Theo, with an ensemble cast including Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, Sarah Paulson, Finn Wolfhard, and Luke Wilson.
The Goldfinch is just the latest film in a long line of movies made out of stories, novels, plays, and reports that have won Pulitzer Prizes in the past. Here are some of the most well-known that you can stream now.
'All The President's Men'
Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman star in this 1976 noir thriller about the two
Washington Post journalists who uncovered the Watergate scandal that led to the downfall of President Nixon.
The film is based on the
Pulitzer-Prize winning reporting, stories, and non-fiction book by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the two reporters who investigated what seemed to be a small break-in, eventually exposing a national scandal. If you were riveted by the investigative reporting and uncovered secrets in Spotlight, this film is right up your alley. Streaming on Netflix and available to rent on Amazon, iTunes, and Vudu.
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis star in this 2016 adaptation of
August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Davis won Best Supporting Actress at the 2017 Academy Awards for her role as the matriarch of a family dealing with a changing racial landscape of '50s Pittsburgh plus some scandalous family drama.
The duo performed in the same roles on Broadway in 2010, winning Best Actor and Best Actress at the Tony Awards.
Available to rent on Amazon, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play, and YouTube.
Meryl Streep stars as a nun on a mission with Phillip Seymour Hoffman as her target, a progressive priest. Amy Adams joins the powerhouse duo as a young nun who's not sure whether or not she believes the accusations that have been made against the priest, and Viola Davis nails a heartbreaking turn as the possible victim's mother.
The film is based on
John Patrick Shanley's 2005 Pulitzer-winning play, which took home a trunk full of Tony Awards, including Best Play, in 2005. Streaming on Netflix and available to rent on Amazon, iTunes, and Vudu. The Color Purple marked director Steven Spielberg's eighth film and a marked departure from his action-heavy blockbusters of the time.
Alice Walker's 1982 Pulitzer-winning novel, the film stars Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Danny Glover in a story that highlights the struggles of Black Americans in early 20th century Georgia. Streaming on Hulu and available to rent on Amazon, Vudu, and iTunes.
Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, and Julianne Moore star as three women of different times whose lives are all connected in this adaptation of
Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer-winning novel.
Kidman plays Virginia Woolf, the author of
Mrs. Dalloway, with Moore a 1950s wife affected by her words, while Streep is the living embodiment of Woolf's creation. Available to rent on Amazon, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play, and YouTube.
Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, and Thandie Newton star in this 1998 adaptation of
Toni Morrison's Pulitzer-winning novel.
Part historical fiction, part ghost story,
Beloved tells the tale of an escaped slave haunted by the reincarnation of a long-dead child. Jonathan Demme, whose spooky skills were previously put to use on the Oscar-winning The Silence of the Lambs, directs. Available to rent on Amazon, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play, and YouTube.
Viggo Mortensen plays a father trying to protect his son in a post-apocalyptic world where the Earth has been devastated by a near-extinction event and cannibals rule. It's like
The Walking Dead without the zombies — just humans being horrible to one another.
The 2009 movie came only a few years after Cormac McCarthy's novel won the
Pulitzer Prize for literature in 2007. Streaming on Showtime Anytime.
Both this 1939 film and
Margaret Mitchell's 1937 Pulitzer-winning novel can be considered problematic faves, with their reductive depictions of race both during and after the Civil War. But the acting here is superb and the costumes glorious to behold.
Fair warning though, if you're unaware, this movie is four hours long. No, really.
Available to rent on Amazon, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play, and YouTube.
'Cat On A Hot Tin Roof'
Paul Newman's hypnotizing blue eyes and Elizabeth Taylor's epic smolder are the perfect combo in this 1958 adaptation of
Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer winner for drama.
Though both Newman and Williams expressed disappointment in the film, since most of the homosexual themes had to be
eliminated due to the Hayes Code. But it's still a fun watch. Streaming on Netflix and available to rent on Amazon, iTunes, and Vudu.
In 1921, Edith Wharton became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for
. The story is set in 1870 New York during the city's "Gilded Age," when high-society and reputation were of great importance and scandal could ruin a person. The Age of Innocence
The saucy 1993 film adaptation, directed by Martin Scorsese, stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Winona Ryder. Ryder was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and won the Golden Globe.
Streaming on Amazon with ads and available to rent ad-free. Also available to rent on Vudu.
If you didn't get enough of '80s greed and the questionable business practices that ran rampant throughout those years from
The Wolf of Wall Street, David Mamet's Pulitzer-winning play Glengarry Glen Ross has a few more stock tips.
The film stars Alec Baldwin, Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Ed Harris, Alan Arkin, and Kevin Spacey as real estate salesmen who resort to desperate measures to keep their jobs.
Available to rent on iTunes.
Following in the footsteps of Woodward, Bernstein, and
All the President's Men, a team of reporters at the Boston Globe uncovered a scandal that rocked the Catholic church.
The team exposed the rampant sexual abuse that had occurred (and been covered up) within the church community, not only in Boston, but around the country, for which they earned the
2003 Pulitzer Prize for public service.
Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, and John Slattery don their best Boston accents to portray the team in 2015's Best Picture Oscar winner.
Streaming free on Tubi and Vudu. Available to rent on Amazon and iTunes.
Such great movies have come out of Pulitzer-winning novels, plays, and stories that we should have high hopes for
The Goldfinch to be just as well done.