What’s the Best Movie Version of a Book?

Best Movie Version

There are two: The Old Man and the Sea and The Outsiders.

The Old Man and the Sea (1958) starring Spencer Tracy is true to the book throughout. Turner Classic Movies calls it the “most literal word-for-word rendition of a written story ever filmed.” It was one of the first movies to use bluescreen. The shots of the Cuban coast are authentic, as is the film of a giant marlin breaking the surface of the sea. Tracy was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar. Dimitri Tiomkin won for Best Original Score.

The Outsiders (1983) movie is true to the book except for one flaw. The movie omits Chapter 11. Shot on location in the book’s authentic setting, Tulsa, Oklahoma, the film features dialogue that is almost word-for-word from the book. The actual ages of the teenage cast adds to the authenticity: C. Thomas Howell (16), Patrick Swayze (29), Matt Dillon (18), Rob Lowe (18), Emilio Estevez (20), Ralph Macchio (21), Diane Lane (17), and Tom Cruise (20).

Two Hollywood legends brought the books to life on the screen. John Sturges directed The Old Man and the Sea and Francis Ford Coppola directed The Outsiders.