10 Terribly Unfaithful Adaptations That Made Seriously Great Movies

“In name only.” That’s how World War Z author Max Brooks described the recent adaptation of his cult novel into a...

T.J. Barnard

Editorial Team

Blade Runner

“In name only.” That’s how World War Z author Max Brooks described the recent adaptation of his cult novel into a fully-fledged motion picture – one which featured Brad Pitt facing off against an endless horde of CGI zombies. Whereas Brooks’ novel, an “oral account of the zombie war” as he puts it, is a deeply intelligent and detailed analysis of what might actually happen if the world were ever overtaken by the undead, Pitt’s movie is another monster entirely – a rather basic but enjoyable zombie flick. In no way does it resemble the book on which it was based.

Which got me thinking. Despite the fact that Pitt’s World War Z has nothing to with Brooks’ novel, it’s still pretty good. And filmmakers taking up famous, popular novels or iconic novels and using them as jumping off points for their own ideas isn’t anything new. So whereas book-to-movie adaptations have varied in quality depending on how much respect the writers of directors had for the source material, there are some famous cases of filmmakers making movies that resemble the books in almost zero ways, and yet it’s entirely possible to consider them… good?

Yup: here are 10 famous movies whose directors just decided that they weren’t really going to adapt the books that they were supposed to be adapting with any real focus, and instead simply opted to let their imaginations run away with them. Luckily for movie-goers the world over, the results were so good that barely anybody cared that the final products shared little in common with the properties that they were supposed to have hailed from…