Movies You Didn’t Know Were Based on Books

July 14, 2017

Generally movies fall into categories: either they are based on books, or they are original screenplays. Most of the time, if a movie is based on a book, we know it. Everyone was excited to see the first Harry Potter movie because the books were so good. The Twilight books created such a buzz that the premieres of the movies were packed. But there are a few movies based on books that go under the radar. They become cult phenomenons without anyone ever realizing that they were actually based on books. Most of these movies I have seen and never even knew that there was a book behind it. So, without further ado, check them out.

The Princess Bride

This amazing movie was actually based on a novel of the same name by William Goldman. Originally released under Goldman’s pen name S. Morgenstern, “The Princess Bride” came to be in 1973. It wouldn’t be until 1987 that it became the movie we all know and love.

Jurassic Park

We have Michael Crichton to thank for writing the novel that then became the classic movie. The terrifying movie came out in 1993, three years after the novel was released. It is entirely Crichton we have to thank for filling our imaginations with the idea that dinosaurs can be recreated, and can get out of their cages.


That’s right. “Shrek” was originally a children’s book. The 2001 hit movie was based on the short story by William Steig. In it, the ogre leaves his swamp to explore the world, somehow ending up saving a princess that he then marries. It’s Steig we have to thank for this Dreamworks creation.

Mrs. Doubtfire

Most know this movie because of Robin William’s great performance, not because it is based on the book by Anne Fine. The similarly named “Madame Doubtfire” tells the same beloved story of a father who dresses up as a cleaning lady/nanny to see his kids in the midst of his divorce.


Steven Spielberg’s hit movie was based on the book by Peter Benchley. The book was released in 1974 and became a movie a year later. But the interesting thing is not only does this book/movie scare you away from swimming in the ocean, but with it Benchley also helped with shark conservation.

Pitch Perfect

This popular musical movie was based on the nonfiction story “Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory” by Mickey Rapkin. Rapkin is a journalist that followed a cappella teams for a season to learn more about the behind-the-scenes details. The result is the type of craziness you do end up seeing some of in the movie.

Forrest Gump

I was surprised to find out one of my favorite movies was first a book. Winston Groom wrote the book by the same name, but some of the content ended up being too outlandish to make it into the movie. Can you imagine Tom Hanks going to the moon while playing Forrest. Maybe not, but he does in the book.


If you have seen one of these movies and known it was a book, or even if you had no idea, comment and let me know below! Or if you know of popular movies most people didn’t know were books that I haven’t included, I would love to know more. All I know is that I now have some more books to add to my TBR list!

  1. Hayden (pen name = H$) points out that Blade Runner is loosely based on a book called: Do Andoids Dream of Electric Sheep.

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