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25 Popular Movies No One Knew Were Based on Books

Forrest Gump

Winston Groom’s 1986 novel inspired one of the most beloved movies of all time. While not every event from the novel made it into the movie, it still stayed fairly true to the original plot.

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Die Hard

Roderick Thorp’s novel Nothing Lasts Forever was released in 1979 and brought five Die Hard movies into existence.

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American Psycho

This creepy movie was based on the novel American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. While many were disturbed by the film, it received several favorable reviews.

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Peter Benchley’s novel Jaws was turned into a major motion picture in 1975 by Steven Spielberg. Thanks to this novel and movie, we all now live in fear of the ocean.

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Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby: Stories from the Corner by F.X. Toole was the basis for this Oscar-winning movie starring Hillary Swank.

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This Johnny Depp film was inspired by the the critically-acclaimed true-crime novel Blow: How a Small Town Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel and Lost it All by Bruce Porter.

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101 Dalmatians

The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith inspired this beloved Disney classic. Luckily for us, the movie stayed true to the novel’s plot.

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You might be surprised to know that this funny comedy was originally a children’s picture book of the same name by William Steig.

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This Is Where I Leave You

Jonathan Tropper wrote the novel that inspired this movie about a dysfunctional family being forced to sit shiva for their father and subsequently face their issues.

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Pitch Perfect

Much to our surprise, this popular movie was based on a book by Mickey Rapkin titled Pitch Perfect: The Quest for A Cappella Glory, which provides an inside look at the secretive world of a cappella competitions.

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Girl, Interrupted

The film adaptation of Girl, Interrupted came out in 1999 and stars Winona Rider and Angelina Jolie. The book came out in 1993 and is a memoir about the author’s, Susanna Kaysen, stay at a mental institution.

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Ghost in the Shell

Starring Scarlett Johansson, the 2017 film version of Ghost in the Shell is based on the Japanese manga of the same name, written by Masamune Shirow. The plot is set in the near future and deals with moral issues with artificial intelligence and pushing the bounds of what “human” means. The film adaptation upset many fans because the manga's story was whitewashed. The main character role, a Japanese warrior, was given to Scarlett Johansson instead of an Asian actor.

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Interview with the Vampire

Anne Rice is the author of the Interview with the Vampire novel that came out in 1976, along with a number of other supernatural books. The 1994 movie version features Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and a young Kirsten Dunst.

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Let the Right One In

The 2008 horror film, Let the Right One In, follows a young boy who accidentally befriends a vampire. The book version by John Ajvide Lindqvist, which shares a title with the movie, originally came out in 2004.

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World War Z

The film version of World War Z came out in 2013 and starred Brad Pitt as the person charged with ending a zombie apocalypse. The book was written by Max Brooks in 2006 and was preceded by his novel The Zombie Survival Guide.

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No Country for Old Men

The 2007 film adaptation of No Country for Old Men is based on the novel that came out in 2005. Featuring Tommy Lee Jones, the story centers around a hired criminal, a civilian, and a briefcase containing $2 million.

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Practical Magic

Practical Magic is a well-loved movie starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, who practice magic while dealing with a terrible curse. The 1995 novel of the same name was written by Alice Hoffman. 

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Ella Enchanted

This fun fairytale was originally a book written by Gail Carson Levine in 1997. The 2004 movie version stars Anne Hathaway as Ella, a girl cursed with the gift of obedience. 

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The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs is one of the most iconic horror movies of all time, with the 1991 film starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. The novel, which has the same name, was written by Thomas Harris in 1988 and is about a young FBI agent who ends up intertwined with a cannibalistic serial killer. 

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The 1983 film Scarface quickly became a cult classic for the gritty, dramatic story. The original plot came from the 1930 novel of the same name and is about a gangster who wants to take over the alcohol market during the Prohibition Era. 

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Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Based on Jack Finney's 1954 novel The Body Snatchers, the 1956 movie was done in a film noir black-and-white style. The plotline focuses on aliens that copy humans and slowly, quietly take over the world. 

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Mary Poppins

The 1964 film release of Mary Poppins was one of the most popular kid's movies ever and starred Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. The movie is based on the book series by P.L. Travers that was published from 1934 to 1988 and centers around a magical nanny with a bag full of tricks. 

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Full Metal Jacket

The 1987 movie version of Full Metal Jacket was produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The book version, titled The Short-Timers, came out in 1979 and was written by Gustav Hasford. The storyline follows a group of Marines during their boot camp training.

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Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a 2005 crime film starring Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer. The story is about a criminal who accidentally makes it big in Hollywood. The book version, titled Bodies Are Where You Find Them, was written in 1953 by Brett Halliday and is about a complex and bloody murder mystery. 

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Fight Club

Fight Club, the movie, was released in 1999 and starred a fantastic-looking Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. The movie is actually based on a book by the same name, written by Chuck Palahniuk. It's about an insomniac who meets a stranger on a plane. This changes his life forever as he gets involved with a fight club and other shocking things. 

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