Thursday, February 14, 2008

Top 10: Films Based On Short Stories

The top 10 films based on a short story or novella.

It seems that any form of storytelling can be inspiration for a feature film. Books have always been inspiration for films. So are older movies that, according to the major studios, need to be remade for the new generation. Comic books have also been flying through Hollywood lately as prime source material for feature films. The short story is no exception. Short stories have been used as inspiration for films many times, but not as often as you would expect. MediaZEALOT presents to you the first in what will be a weekly Thursday event; The Top 10 List.

10. The Illusionist (2006)




Neil Burger's tale of magic and sleight of hand is based on the short story Eisenheim the Illusionist by Steven Millhauser (Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer).

9. Stand by Me (1986)



Rob Reiner's Stand by Me is based on a novella by Stephen King titled The Body. Many fans of the author are displeased by key concepts being changed during the transformation from the page to the silver screen. Regardless, the novella stands as inspiration for the film.

8. Minority Report (2002)



Stephen Spielberg and Tom Cruise's futuristic mystery flick is based on a 1956 short story of the same name by legendary science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick. Dick has also been responsible for writing the novels that inspired such films as Blade Runner (1982), Total Recall (1990), Paycheck (2003), A Scanner Darkly (2006), and Next (2007).

7. Brokeback Mountain (2005)



Ang Lee's controversial gay cowboy film is based on the short story of the same name by Pulitzer Prize winner E. Annie Proulx (The Shipping News).

6. Million Dollar Baby (2004)



Clint Eastwood's Best Picture Oscar winner is based on various short stories by F.X. Toole, the pen name of fight manager Jerry Boyd.

5. The Birds (1963)



Alfred Hitchcock's tale of suspense and avian horror is based on a short story of the same name by Daphne du Maurier. Du Maurier also wrote the book Rebecca which was adapted by Hitchcock and won him the Best Picture Oscar in 1940.

4. Rashômon (1950)



Infamous Japanese director Akira Kurosawa's four-pronged film is based on a short story titled In a Grove by author Ryunosuke Akutagawa.

3. Memento (2001)



Christopher Nolan's chronologically impaired masterpiece, and one of my favourites, is based on the short story Memento Mori written by his brother Jonathan Nolan. Since the release of Memento, Jonathan has teamed up with his brother Christopher to write The Prestige (2006) and this summer's The Dark Knight. You can read Memento Mori online by clicking HERE.

2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)



Stanley Kubrick's critically acclaimed science-fiction film is based on The Sentinel by British author Arthur C. Clarke. Clarke also wrote the novel 2010: Odyssey Two a follow up novel to his short story and the influence behind Peter Hyams 2010: The Year We Make Contact.

1. Rear Window (1954)



Number one on this list, and another Alfred Hitchcock staple, is Rear Window. Based on Cornell Woolrich's 1942 short story It Had to be Murder. Rear Window is by far my favourite representation of Hitchcock and it's always a thrill to watch. It was remade by Jeff Bleckner and Christopher Reeve in 1998 as well as being inspiration for such films as Clubhouse Detectives (1996) and the recent Disturbia (2007). Rear Window has also been spoofed on The Simpsons.

Don't agree with my list? Post a comment and let me know about it.

Cheers.

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72 comments:

Mikie said...

Hey. i scrolled down slowly waiting for the obvious #1. Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption (the short story which inspired THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION)

u need some serious list-revamping my friend

Larry_Chimp_Man said...

I wouldn't call Stephen King's Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption a short story, it's a novella. Then again, my introduction to this list says that novellas are free game. How I skipped over Shawshank is beyond me.

However, it wouldn't be number one if it was on my list. I'd probably place it third behind 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Keith said...

The Illusionist was a piece of shit. That piece of shit shouldn't be on any list except maybe the piece of shit list. Other than that, I thought your list was good, though there are a lot more movies based on short stories and novellas that aren't pieces of shit.

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