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Top Best (no particular order)
1 & 2 - Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea
Though I love the books, I always felt the creation of the way Gilbert and Anne's romance developed in the second movie and how the characters of Christine Stewart and Morgan Harris were adapted for to play more pivotal roles made for a more romantic tale. I also can't read about Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert without picturing Colleen Dewhurst and Richard Farnsworth.
3 - The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
I'm so glad they remade this movie for a contemporary audience. If you want to read all my thoughts on it, you can visit http://www.thebusymomsdaily.com/2011/09/movie-review-chronicles-of-narnia-lion.html
4 - The Green Mile
Stephen King's books can be so hard to make into good movies, but they knocked it out of the park with The Green Mile. My husband and I read the books when they first came out in multiple installments instead of a complete book.
This is a superbly told, but very dark story about a man convicted of murder who is now sitting on death row. The man, John Coffey, also has a mysterious gift.
I feel the selection of actors for this movie was crucial to its success, because it takes place in a jail (on death row) and some of the characters are downright evil. It's a moving story from beginning to end.
5 - The Hunger Games
Whenever I truly enjoy a book. I'm afraid a movie is going to destroy it. Such was not the case with The Hunger Games. Though I felt some things were lost in the movie that were important to me in the book, I still loved the movie and am looking forward to seeing the sequel this fall. You can read my complete thoughts on the movie at http://www.thebusymomsdaily.com/2012/04/movie-review-hunger-games-2012.html
6 - Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg is considered a turning point in the Civil War. Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Michael Shaara, made this battle the focus of his historical novel, The Killer Angels, which was adapted for the big screen in 1993 in the movie, Gettysburg. I had watched the movie long before I read the book, but my enjoyment of each led to me purchasing the three book series from Michael and Jeff Shaara that includes a prequel and a sequel to The Killer Angels.
I believe this is the first movie where I saw Jeff Daniels play a dramatic role. He would return to his role as Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in the movie, Gods and Generals, in 2003, which is the prequel to The Killer Angels.
7 - The Thorn Birds
This movie totally captivated me. And though I'm not sure I would be comfortable with my girls seeing this movie at 15, I ended up liking it so much, I scooped my mother's copy of McCullough's book off the shelf and read it within days of the movie's end.
I was a bit disappointed that Ralph in the book looked nothing like Richard Chamberlain, but there was so even more of the story to learn in 688 pages versus the movie. I've read The Thorn Birds several times, though at this point, I skip some of the narrative so I can dig right into the dialogue. I also have the movie on tape, so I can watch it from time to time.
As an aside, the movie, The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years, aired in 1996. It takes place in the middle of the events from the book and original movie. Though Richard Chamberlain reprised his role as Father Ralph, Meggie Cleary O'Neil's part was played by Amanda Donohoe instead of Rachel Ward. McCullough was not thrilled about this new mini-series. And honestly, it made no sense at all, since there were no "missing years" from the original story. Though the book didn't cover the years in which these events take place, they are also totally inconsistent with the original story. Father Ralph and Meggie didn't see one another when Meggie's son was a boy. Ralph didn't meet Dane until he was a young man. While I have this mini-series on tape, I never watch it.
8 - A Christmas Carol
Though A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens has been made and remade into numerous film adaptations, my favorite is the 2000 version starring Patrick (Captain Picard) Stewart as Ebenezer Scrooge.
I actually didn't read the book until my son had it as a reading assignment in high school. It was one of those books I always meant to read but never got to. Stewart was so convincing as Scrooge and this movie stayed close to the book.
9 - Stephen King's It
This is one of the few instances where I like the movie a bit better than the book. While I read the book cover-to-cover, I had some trouble getting through it. I felt the movie was exceptionally done.
10 - The Stand
The Stand by Stephen King is my all time favorite book. If you're going to commit to reading a book that is over 1100 pages, you darn well better enjoy it. I can definitely say I did, even if the first 600 pages were tough.
In 1994, The Stand was made into a TV mini-series starring Gary Sinise and Molly Ringwald. Though I wasn't thrilled with some of the changes they made in the movie, overall this book made it well to the small screen. I wasn't sure how it would be because so much of what happens in the novel takes place in dreams. Though they kept some of that element, the movie depended more upon interactions between people to move the story along.
The DVD for this movie was released in June. It's a definite must for King fans. For those who aren't into the horror genre, this is an excellent choice if you want to see what King is made of because it isn't a blood and gore novel or movie. It's about a "superflu" wiping out more than 90% of the earth's population and how the survivors cope with the fallout.