27 TV Shows And Movies That Actually Managed To Outdo The Books They Were Based On

Usually, people say the book was better than the movie, but recently, I asked the BuzzFeed Community which movie or TV adaptations were better than the books they were based on.

Here are 27 of their top responses:


Outlander on Starz, based on the books by Diana Gabaldon, truly brought the books to life, in my opinion. The actors who play Jamie and Claire have such amazing chemistry together, as do many of the other actors in the cast.”

“I also feel like the TV show has taken the best parts of the plot from the books and filtered out a lot of unnecessary storylines. There are, of course, areas where I wish they would include some additional information from the book, but for the most part, I feel like they truly made the story better.”



“I got a BuzzFeed account just so I could make this comment! But the Bridgerton series! I started reading the series after Season 2, and they are just not it.”

“The only thing I liked in Anthony and Kate’s story in the book version was that there wasn’t a love triangle with her sister, which I hated in the show. Other than that, they’re basic Regency romances. The show’s diverse casting, sumptuous costumes, and beautiful cinematography elevate the story.”



Good Omens! The show brings a perfect update/visual to the series.”


Daisy Jones & the Six! I way prefer the show over the book! I felt like the chemistry between Daisy and Billy in the show was way better, and I got a lot more personality from all the characters.”


A Simple Favor. I read the book first and just absolutely could not fathom how they made a movie out of it. It was horrible. The movie was so good, though. They took the basic premise and then made everything else so much better.”

 “Although, I did like the ending in the book slightly better.”



Jaws all the way. The book is a potboiler of how the police chief and his wife have a bad marriage, the mayor is mixed up with the mafia, and Hooper and Mrs. Brody have an affair… And, oh yeah, there’s a shark. The movie shaves off all the soap opera subplots and focuses on the shark.”


Love, Simon, which was based on the book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I read the book and enjoyed it enough, but when I watched the movie, I was blown away by the emotional vulnerability of the main actors, and I felt as though Simon’s character in the movie was portrayed as much more realistic than in the book, where he seemed kind of stiff and one-note.”

“He was also much more relatable in the film, especially in his fear of change, which was heavily explored in the film and is something I massively relate to. Honestly, the movie moved me more than the book did and made a lasting impact on me that I still think about today. I’ve probably seen it at least 10 times, but I’ve only ever read the book once, which felt like enough.”



Pride and Prejudice. I’m specifically thinking of the 2005 Keira Knightley version. It was shot so well with great acting and cinematography.”


Lord of the Rings. The book is a classic, and the world is incredible, but the story is also REALLY BORING at times. Pages and PAGES of Legolas singing.”

“Battles are summed up in paragraphs while we are treated to endless descriptions of the scenery. Tolkien was a genius, no denying. But he was a linguist, not a storyteller, and it shows. Peter Jackson’s movies are incredible, beautiful, and moving. (And thank the Lord he didn’t have Legolas sing!)”


“The books are wonderful but a little hard to read and slow-paced (sorry!), but the movies, especially the extended editions, are some of the best known to cinema.”



“There’s a Korean movie titled Unlocked in English, and it COMPLETELY outdoes the Japanese book it’s based on. The acting was so well executed that when I tried to read the original, it just felt bleh.”

“It’s about a guy who takes a girl’s phone and spies on her through her camera, and I totally recommend it.”



“The To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy. Peter Kavinsky was a jerk and honestly kind of mean to Lara Jean in the books. The movies made him a way better person.”

“I prefer the movies over the books any day!”



Red, White & Royal Blue. Yes, we needed Rafael and Mary in the movie, but I didn’t feel like anyone was missing at all when I watched it.”

“So here’s why the movie is better.

1. We get Stephen Fry as the king instead of a queen.

2. Alex and Henry’s relationship is outed by Miguel, Alex’s ex and a reporter in the movie. In the book, it was the politician running against the president and his team who outed them, which gives me the absolute creeps.

3. Alex was way more involved in his mother’s campaign. In the book, he is pushed out as soon as he tells his mother about Henry. In the movie, she lets him go to Texas anyway. This built Alex’s character way better.

4. Merging some of the characters made the story easier to keep up with. Some characters felt like unnecessary additions in the book. In the movie, things flowed better.”



The Princess Diaries. I know the books are loved, but I hated them. Mia is so stuck-up. Lilly is the worst friend, not even a friend, she’s more of a user frenemy. Michael is a jerk, and the age gap between him and Mia in the book is bigger.”


The Princess Bride. The book is good! But the movie is magical, one of the best movies of all time.”

“And the cast was a huge part of that. Every actor made their character iconic. Plus, the ending is way better in the movie!”



Holes! Don’t get me wrong, the book is amazing, but the movie is just phenomenal. Perfect in every way.”

“It’s also one of the only movies I could watch over and over and never get bored.”



Warm Bodies. I was shocked at how much I didn’t like the characters in the book. It was the only time I’ve ever said, ‘Wow, the movie was much better.'”


The Godfather. The book was kind of a slog in parts, and the movie did Puzo’s work justice and did it better, in my opinion.”

“It just feels more streamlined as a story.”



The Notebook. I loved how the movie focused on Allie and Noah’s relationship before she left New Bern. The book was good, but the movie just warms my heart (and then breaks it).”


The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials) series on HBO. I still can’t watch it again because I would just be a blubbering mess all over the place, and this is usually my way of saying that it was that damn good.”

“It really was. It broke my heart worse than the books because I was actually seeing it.”



You (Season 1). Penn Badgley nailed the role of Joe, and his creepiness, plus the nuances of his personality, just jumped out so much better in the show.”


Fight Club. Fincher did a fantastic job bringing it to the screen. It’s definitely better than the book.”


Blade Runner is the classic example for me. The book is okay, but it lacks all the punch the movie has.”

“The movie is amazing. The book is called Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and right out of the gate with the title, you can see the changes the movie made that improved things.”



The Hunger Games books were better as movies. While there are a lot of minor details from the books that didn’t make it onscreen, Katniss is exhausting as a character in the book, and we, as readers, are constantly in her head and always learning about everything through her POV. The movies fleshed out other characters and showed another side the books didn’t tell.”

“Having the book narrated in first-person present tense means there’s a lot readers don’t know, and the biggest change that I think was great was making President Snow a strong villain. In the books, he’s barely there, honestly, and while you know he’s evil, readers barely see him doing anything evil, and you can quite forget about him in the midst of all the constant Katniss/Peeta/Gale drama inside Katniss’s head.”



Silence of the Lambs was a great read, but the movie was unforgettable. Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Ted Levine breathed a terrifying life into the characters, and 30 years later, it still lingers randomly in my mind.”


The Time Traveler’s Wife. The book was so…meh to me, and it was filled with all of these extemporaneous details that made the book worse, like Gomez’s infatuation with Claire. “

“IMO, the movie was a vast improvement.”



Stardust. While I like the book well enough, the movie is so much better.”


And finally: “Forrest Gump. Most of the events of the movie are in the book…kinda. The movie’s tone — a sweet, naive man experiences major historical events and marries his love — is completely different.”

“The book’s first line is, ‘Let me tell you, being an idiot is no box of chocolates.’ In the book, Forrest can barely read, but he can do complicated physics problems. Bubba is a guy he meets in college while they are both playing football. The first half of the book is funny, but the second half is bizarre, with Forrest going into space with a monkey.”


Do you agree with these opinions? Is there another adaptation you think was better than the book? Let me know in the comments!

Note: Some responses have been edited for length/clarity.

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