10 Legendary Films You Never Realised Were Based On Books

From Total Recall to Psycho, these outstanding films aren't as original as you think...

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It's been said by more than one disgruntled film fan that Hollywood is unoriginal. Everything they put out seems to be a sequel, a remake, or adapted from another source entirely.

And while it is true that the film industry could do more to support the truly original ideas that spring from the minds of visionary filmmakers with something new to say, it's short-sighted to condemn a film just for borrowing from a story that came before it.

In fact, if you look closer, you'll discover that several of your favourite films are based on books. Movie studios have a long history of turning to the literary world for the next great motion picture idea. From Gone with the Wind to The Shining to Little Women, some of the most iconic films ever made were adapted from both classic and contemporary literature.

But what about the films that were adapted from books and yet still don't spring to mind when you think of great adaptions? The amazing films that, for some reason or another, many people still think came from wholly original scripts?

Read on to discover more about the books behind some of your favourite films.

10. Psycho – Based on Psycho by Robert Bloch

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Paramount Pictures

Upon its release in 1960, Psycho provoked outrage among many critics for portraying violence and depravity in a way never before seen in American cinema. Audiences were much more positive towards the film, however, and it soon grew in standing until it became the horror genre titan that it is regarded as today. But it may come as a surprise to many that the gruesome plot was not an invention of the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock.

Psycho is quite a faithful adaption of author Robert Bloch’s 1959 book, with both the famous shower scene and the twist regarding Norman Bates’s mother taken directly from the original text.

The biggest change came in making the Norman of the novel, an overweight and balding middle-aged man, into a younger and more attractive individual. Both Hitchcock and screenwriter Joseph Stefano felt that this made Norman initially sympathetic to the audience and, therefore, made his murders feel all the more shocking.

Bloch published a sequel to the book, Psycho II, in 1982. This irritated Universal since they were planning to release an unrelated sequel to the film, also called Psycho II, the very next year. Bloch ignored their protests and published his book anyway. Whether it’s better or worse than the controversial film sequel is a matter of some debate.


Owen Davies hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.