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Movies Based On Non-Fiction Books

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So I was involved the other day in one of those conversations/debates one often has with fellow English teachers, in which I advanced the argument that movies based on non-fiction books are almost always better than movies based on fictional works. What follows is the list of films I threw out off the top of my head to support my argument (in no particular order):

  • October Sky - based on Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam, Jr.
  • Glory - based on One Gallant Rush by Peter Burchard
  • Stand and Deliver - based on Escalante: The Best Teacher in America by Jay Mathews
  • The Right Stuff - based on The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
  • Quiz Show - based on Remembering America by Richard N. Goodwin
  • Malcolm X - based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley
  • Girl, Interrupted - based on Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
  • Apollo 13 - based on Lost Moon by Jim Lovell

Needless to say, I think I won the argument... ;)

 

Please feel free to suggest your own favorites...

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why do you think this is the case? my first thought, without investing too much into it, would be that non-fiction accounts, whether they be memoirs or biographies, often tend to be linear stories with narratives that have definite payoffs. **** generally **** Fiction, more often, in my opinion, is good when it tells a story with more at stake, in terms of ideas, or personal choices that writers have their characters make.

 

i dont know if any of that made sense, but when thinking about Apollo 13 its sort of a riveting account of a specific event. Contrast that with, say, Crime and Punishment, where there are many different things at play. works of fiction often mean different things to different people. In apollo 13, the astronauts survive, and everyone sort of rallies behind that fact

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Dune would be an example why movies based on fiction sucks.

 

The book was amazing, but the movie sucked.

 

I mean, there are also other movies like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings that were fantastic moves, but they're in different genres and I don't think fiction and non-fiction can really be (fairly) compared.

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I think the Lord of the Rings trilogy is better than every movie you've listed. Fight Club too.

 

That said, most movies based on fiction are garbage, and any movie i can think of off the top of my head that was based on a non-fiction book is at least decent.

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Dune would be an example why movies based on fiction sucks.

 

The book was amazing, but the movie sucked.

 

Everybody gets one massive fuckup in their life. That was David Lynch's.

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Needless to say.

 

But for comparison:

 

Pride and Prejudice, based on Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Schindler's List, from Shindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally

MASH, from MASH by Richard Hooker

Psycho, from Psycho by Robert Bloch

The African Queen, based on the novel by C.S. Forester

The Bridge on the River Kwai, based on the novel by Pierre Boulle

The Godfather, based on Mario Puzo's novel

Jaws, based on the novel by Peter Benchley

The Shawshank Redemption based on the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption

Marathon Man, based on William Goldman's novel

The Great Escape, novel by Paul Brickhill

To Kill a Mockingbird, novel by Harper Lee

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Needless to say.

 

But for comparison:

 

Pride and Prejudice, based on Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Schindler's List, from Shindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally

MASH, from MASH by Richard Hooker

Psycho, from Psycho by Robert Bloch

The African Queen, based on the novel by C.S. Forester

The Bridge on the River Kwai, based on the novel by Pierre Boulle

The Godfather, based on Mario Puzo's novel

Jaws, based on the novel by Peter Benchley

The Shawshank Redemption based on the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption

Marathon Man, based on William Goldman's novel

The Great Escape, novel by Paul Brickhill

To Kill a Mockingbird, novel by Harper Lee

 

Don't forget The Silence of the Lambs.

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i dont know if any of that made sense, but when thinking about Apollo 13 its sort of a riveting account of a specific event. Contrast that with, say, Crime and Punishment, where there are many different things at play. works of fiction often mean different things to different people. In apollo 13, the astronauts survive, and everyone sort of rallies behind that fact

Apollo 13 was so unrealistic! They never would have survived in real-life. Hollywood just went for the cheesy happy ending.

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Dr. Zhivago based on the novel by Pasternak.

Exodus - based on the novel by Uris

 

Although Schindler's List - based on the Thomas Keneally would be one for Schu's list.

 

I just got done watching Joyeux Noel which is based on the memiors of soldiers on the Western Front in WW I....really good look at the inhumanity and insanity of war, and how it really is just good people doing very bad things.

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Although Schindler's List - based on the Thomas Keneally would be one for Schu's list.

 

Maybe. But the Library of Congress indexes Schindler's List as a work of fiction.

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Maybe. But the Library of Congress indexes Schindler's List as a work of fiction.

Whose congress? Iran's congress?

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I think the Lord of the Rings trilogy is better than every movie you've listed. Fight Club too.

 

That said, most movies based on fiction are garbage, and any movie i can think of off the top of my head that was based on a non-fiction book is at least decent.

 

October sky was a great movie. Three movies about walking were not.

 

Fight Club does beat his list though.

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V for Vendetta

The Watchmen

/Thread

You can tell if someone doesn't know what the fuck they're talking about if they put the "the" there.

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Needless to say.

 

But for comparison:

 

Pride and Prejudice, based on Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Schindler's List, from Shindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally

MASH, from MASH by Richard Hooker

Psycho, from Psycho by Robert Bloch

The African Queen, based on the novel by C.S. Forester

The Bridge on the River Kwai, based on the novel by Pierre Boulle

The Godfather, based on Mario Puzo's novel

Jaws, based on the novel by Peter Benchley

The Shawshank Redemption based on the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption

Marathon Man, based on William Goldman's novel

The Great Escape, novel by Paul Brickhill

To Kill a Mockingbird, novel by Harper Lee

 

Clockwork Orange and 2001: A Space Odyssey are also good editions to that list as well I'd say.

Edited by Monolith

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Clockwork Orange and 2001: A Space Odyssey are also good editions to that list as well I'd say.

Goddamn it, Andy, "additions."

 

Also, 2001 is not quite based on a book. It is roughly structured around Clarke's Childhood's End and he wrote a book for 2001 after the film came out.

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