20 Vintage Books That Became Contemporary Movies

Photo via pintrest.

Photo via pintrest.

Boring. Irrelevant. Out of touch. Those are three of the most common misconceptions Ms. Jeannie encounters when discussing vintage books. How could something written 50, 100 or even 200 years ago still be compelling in today’s modern world? Thanks to the lovely marriage between film and books Ms. Jeannie is going to show you how with these 20 examples of old books that made fabulous modern films. Movie trailers are linked to each picture, so click on any and all to get a feel for story lines. Chances are if you like the movie (or in this case, the trailer) than you’ll love the book even more!

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was a short story written by James Thurber in 1942 in this collection of his work. The movie starring Ben Stiller was released in 2013.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was a short story written by James Thurber in 1942 and published in a collection of his short works, My World and Welcome To It that same year. The movie, starring Ben Stiller was released in 2013.

 

There Will Be Blood was based on the book, Oil by Upton Sinclair which was published in 1927. The Academy Award-winning movie, starring Daniel Day Lewis was released in 2007.

There Will Be Blood was based on the book, Oil by Upton Sinclair which was published in 1927. The Academy Award-winning movie, starring Daniel Day-Lewis was released in 2007.

 

The Nutcracker ballet was based on a novella written by E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1816. The movie version of the ballet starring Macaulay Culkin was released in 1993.

The Nutcracker ballet was based on a novella written by E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1816. The movie version of the ballet starring Macaulay Culkin was released in 1993.

Miss Julie was a play written by Swedish author August Strindberg in 1888. It was made into a beautifully filmed movie starring Jessica Chastain and Colin Farrell in 2014.

Miss Julie was a play written by Swedish author August Strindberg in 1888. It was made into a beautifully filmed movie starring Jessica Chastain and Colin Farrell in 2014.

The Last of the Mohicans was a book written by James Fenimore Cooper in 1826. Daniel Day Lewis starred in the film version in 1992.

The Last of the Mohicans was a book written by James Fenimore Cooper in 1826. Daniel Day-Lewis starred in the film version in 1992.

 

Jerzy Kosinski published Being There in 1971. Peter Sellers starred in the film adaptation in 1979.

Jerzy Kosinski published Being There in 1971. Peter Sellers starred in the film adaptation in 1979.

In 1782 French author Pierre Choderlos de Laclos wrote Les Liaisons Danger. Just under 200 years later, the movie Dangerous Liasiasons premiered starring Glenn Close

In 1782 French author Pierre Choderlos de Laclos wrote Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Two hundred years later, in 1988, Glenn, John and Michelle starred in the film version.

Truman Capote created flawed heroine Holly Golightly in 1958. Audrey Hepburn made her iconic in the film adaptation in 1961.

Truman Capote created flawed heroine Holly Golightly in 1958. Audrey Hepburn made her famous in the film adaptation in 1961.

In 1899, Joseph Conrad wrote the book Heart of Darkness which became the inspiration for the 1979 Francis Ford Coppola film Apocalypse Now.

Joseph Conrad wrote the book Heart of Darkness which was first serialized in Blackwood’s Magazine in 1899. The story became the inspiration for Francis Ford Coppola’s legendary film Apocalypse Now in 1979.

Karen Blixen published her memoirs of life on an African coffee plantation under the name Isak Dinensen in 1937. Meryl Streep brought her to life on the big screen in 1985.

Karen Blixen published her memoirs, Out of Africa, about life on an African coffee plantation under the name Isak Dinesen in 1937. Meryl Streep brought her to life on the big screen in 1985.

The king of science fiction writing, Philip K. Dick wrote the magically titled novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in 1968. The story was adapted for film in 1982 titled Blade Runner.

The king of science fiction writing, Philip K. Dick wrote the magically titled novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in 1968. The story was adapted for film in 1982 and re-titled Blade Runner.

Vanity Fair was written in 1848 by William Makepeace Thackeray. Mira Nair adapted it beautifully to film in 2004 starring Reese Witherspoon.

in the late 1940's Thor Hyerdahl defied logic by following the path of KonTiki across the ocean on a primative sailing vessal. He published his account of the experience in 1953. In 2012 a group of Scandinavian filmmakers brought the nail-biting, edge of your seat experience and infectious spirit of adventure to the big screen.

In the late 1940’s Thor Heyerdahl defied all logic by following the path of KonTiki across the ocean on a primitive sailing vessel. He published his account of the experience in 1953. In 2012 a group of Scandinavian filmmakers brought the nail-biting, edge of your seat adventure to the big screen.

Dashiell Hammett wrote The Maltese Falcon in 1930. It became a popular film-noir in 1941 thanks to Humphrey Bogart.

Dashiell Hammett wrote The Maltese Falcon in 1930. It became a popular film-noir in 1941 thanks to Humphrey Bogart.

Before Gene Wilder (1971) and Johnny Depp (2005) entertained us as Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, author Roald Dahl created a candy-coated world for kids in his 1964 confectionary.

Before Gene Wilder (1971) and Johnny Depp (2005) entertained us as Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, author Roald Dahl created a candy-coated world for kids in his 1964 confectionary.

Evelyn Waugh wowed the world with his literary wonder Brideshead Revisited in 1945. In 2008 Matthew Goode turned out a handsome performance in the beautifully captured film adaptation.

Evelyn Waugh wowed the world with his literary wonder Brideshead Revisited in 1945. In 2008 Matthew Goode turned out a handsome performance in the beautifully captured film adaptation.

Doctor Zhivago swept the histrical romance world thanks to writer Boris Pasternak in 1958. Seven years later it became a Hollywood giant starring Omar Sherif and Julie Christie.

Doctor Zhivago swept the histrical romance world thanks to writer Boris Pasternak in 1958. Seven years later it became a Hollywood giant starring Omar Sherif and Julie Christie.

In 1969, English author John Fowles published The French Lieutenant's Woman. Twelve years later, in 1981 Meryl Streep portrayed her on film.

In 1969, English author John Fowles published The French Lieutenant’s Woman. Twelve years later, in 1981 Meryl Streep portrayed her on film.

Henry Fielding created the adventures of Tom Jones in 1749, two centuries later Albert Finney charmed the world with his charismatic portrayal of the title character when the film premiered in 1963.

Henry Fielding created the adventures of Tom Jones in 1749, two centuries later Albert Finney charmed the world with his charismatic portrayal of the title character when the film premiered in 1963.

Before My Fair Lady was the darling of stag and screen it was a play called Pygmalion written by George Bernard Shaw in 1913.

Before My Fair Lady was the darling of stage and screen it was a play called Pygmalion written by George Bernard Shaw in 1913.

These are of course just a few examples of the themes timeless books lend to our lives. More examples will come in a future blog post, but for now Ms. Jeannie will leave you in the good hands of these good characters. Go right ahead and fall in love with Tom Jones, even though he’s 200 years old.  Feel the confident energy of Thor Heyerdahl even though his adventure occurred six decades ago. Relate to Holly’s vulnerability and Karen’s isolation. Get revved up by Chance’s take-life-as-it-comes attitude and Walter’s grab-life-by-the-horns manifesto. Fun things never age and fun books are no exception!

Need help finding a good book? Ms. Jeannie’s your gal. Post a message in the comments section and she’ll be in touch!

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