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From between the pages to Hollywood

Pauline Wong
Pauline Wong • 3 min read
From between the pages to Hollywood
SINGAPORE (Feb 21): If you’re still not over the Oscars fever quite yet, why not read (or re-read) some award-winning book-to-movie adaptations? Here are our top five favourites.
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SINGAPORE (Feb 21): If you’re still not over the Oscars fever quite yet, why not read (or re-read) some award-winning book-to-movie adaptations? Here are our top five favourites.

1) The Lord Of The Rings trilogy: Written between 1937 and 1949, J R R Tolkien’s magnum opus is one of the best-selling books of all time. It is also one of the epics ever written, spawning a whole generation of fantasy fiction for decades to come. The books — The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King — tell of the journey taken by hobbits Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, Peregrin Took, and Meriadoc Brandybuck to destroy the One Ring, a symbol of evil by the villain Sauron, who wants to see Middle Earth destroyed. They are joined by companions of the other races of Middle Earth, the fictional world built by Tolkien. It is a classic good versus evil tale of courage, determination and sacrifice that never grows old. The film adaptations, released in 2001, 2002 and 2003 and directed by Peter Jackson, were instant successes and the trilogy is widely agreed as one of the best book-to-film adaptations of all time. The third film, The Return of the King, won the Oscar for Best Picture, alongside numerous other nominations and wins.

2) The Shawshank Redemption: This movie, based on horror writer Stephen King’s 1992 novel Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture in 1995. But in a most unforgivable snub, it did not win any awards. That honour went to the Tom Hanks movie Forrest Gump (also based on a book by American writer Winston Groom) that year. Still, Shawshank Redemption remains the greatest film of all time. The book – actually a novella – tells of former banker Andy Dufresne who is wrongly accused of murdering his wife and her lover. He later (spoiler alert) stages an audacious jailbreak and disappears.

3) The Godfather: Before the Shelby’s, there were the Corleones. The novel by American author Mario Puzo was originally published in 1969 and tells a tale of fictional crime family, the Corleones, and its patriarch Vito. This gripping tale spawned perhaps the best movie of all time, The Godfather (and two sequels) starring Al Pacino and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The first installment won Best Picture at the Oscars in 1973.

4) To Kill A Mockingbird: Harper Lee’s 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning book remains required reading. The story of a black man wrongfully accused of a heinous sexual crime and the lawyer who defends him, is one that tackles issues of race and prejudice in a time when such topics were avoided. The 1962 movie won an Academy Award for Best Actor for Gregory Peck (who played lawyer Atticus Finch) and was nominated for eight, including Best Picture.

5) No Country For Old Men: Author Cormac McCarthy has had four of his 10 novels adapted to the big screen, but only his 2005 novel was adapted to an Oscar-winning film in 2007. The gripping story of a Texas drug deal gone wrong, the movie also showed us perhaps film’s creepiest villain – Anton Chigurh (played by Javier Bardem) – who went around killing people with his signature weapon of a captive bolt stunner which he uses also as a tool to shoot out door locks.

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