17 Movies You Didn’t Know Were Based On Books

Paramount Pictures

It's no secret that some of the biggest movies of all time have been based on books. There are massive franchises like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and The Hunger Games; blockbusters like Jurassic Park and Jaws, cult favorites like American Psycho and Fight Club, and classic films like The Godfather, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Wizard of Oz. But there are plenty of other movies you'd be shocked to learn are based on books, too, since their source material isn't nearly as well known.

It's crazy to think how often Hollywood draws inspiration from books. In 2017 alone, there are over two dozen films debuting whose roots go back to the printed page; everything from small pictures like The Zookeeper's Wife to expected blockbusters like The Dark Tower. So even as book stores and libraries continue to disappear from the world, it sure seems like literature itself isn't going away anytime soon. If it did, then chances are Hollywood would probably run out of ideas pretty quickly. So to get a better understanding of the impact books have on the movie industry, take a look below at 17 films you probably didn't realized were actually based on books.


‘Forrest Gump’

Winston Groom's 1986 novel of the same name was quickly overshadowed by this very famous 1994 film.


‘Mrs. Doubtfire’

Anne Fine's 1987 teen novel Madame Doubtfire was adapted into one of Robin Williams' most beloved films.


‘Die Hard’

This 1988 action classic was based on the 1979 thriller novel Nothing Lasts Forever, by Roderick Thorp, which was itself a sequel to his earlier book, The Detective.


‘Cruel Intentions’

This movie's paper roots go way back, to a 1783 French novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos called Les Liaisons dangereuses.



This indie drama is based on a 2005 novel of the same name by James Sallis.


‘Mean Girls’

While not a direct adaptation, Tina Fey partly based her screenplay on Rosalind Wiseman's self-help book Queen Bees and Wannabes.


‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’

Disney's 1988 live action/animated hybrid was based on Gary K. Wolf's 1981 mystery novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, though the two works are quite different plot-wise.


‘The Parent Trap’

The Disney classic, and its '90s remake, both trace their origins to the 1949 German novel Lottie and Lisa, by Erich Kästner.


‘There Will Be Blood’

Considerable liberties were taken, but the genesis of this 2007 picture can be found in Upton Sinclair's novel Oil!, which was first published in 1926.


‘Pitch Perfect’

The musical comedy that spawned a franchise actually got its start as Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate a Cappella Glory, a nonfiction book about the college a cappella scene by GQ's Mickey Rapkin.



Writer/director Amy Heckerling's seminal '90s comedy was actually a modern adaptation of Jane Austen's 1815 novel Emma.


‘First Blood’

Better known as Rambo, this 1982 war veteran drama was based on a novel of the same name by David Morrell published a decade earlier.


‘Fast Times At Ridgemont High’

Cameron Crowed wrote this 1982 comedy, which he based on his own memoir of the same name published just a year earlier.


'About A Boy'

This 2002 comedy was based on the 1998 novel of the same name by English author Nick Hornby.


'2001: A Space Odyssey'

This one's a little more abstract. The movie was written by director Stanley Kubrick and sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke, inspired by the latter's short story The Sentinel. The pair also, while writing the film, wrote a novelized version of 2001 as well that wasn't published until after the movie was released.


'A Beautiful Mind'

This 2001 Best Picture winner was based on the 1998 biography of the same name by Sylvia Nasar, which told the story of real life mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr.


'Field Of Dreams'

If they read it, they will come... and make a movie out of it. I'm assuming that's what someone told W.P. Kinsella about his 1982 novel Shoeless Joe, which provided the story for this 1989 film.