10 Movies That Abandoned The Source Material (For The Better)

This is what happens when you hire Verhoeven to adapt a pro-fascism novel.

Starship Troopers
Buena Vista International

The book is always better. That is the immortal phrase uttered by THAT a-hole in your friend group whenever adaptations of famous novels, comic books, or anything else are discussed.

And it isn't hard to see why, as stories are typically made for the story format they are for a very good reason, and thus adapting it into a different form is likely going to take that aspect of the story away.

For instance, if you were to make a Bioshock film (which they tried and failed to do) you still get the good story of Andrew Ryan and the world of Rapture, but you lose the player interactivity and game trope context that makes the "would you kindly" twist so effective.

But sometimes abandoning the source material is for the best for all involved. Whether because the movie we ended up getting was awesome on its own, or because the source material deserved to be abandoned, there are some films out there completely abandoning what they were adapting, only to be much better off for it.

10. Moonraker

Starship Troopers
United Artists

Frankly, we could put all of the James Bond movie adaptations on this list if we felt particularly lazy. If you ever sit down to watch them and find them rather sexist, racist, homophobic, and overly romantic about British imperialism, then...you're completely right, but the books are worse.

But one of the funniest departures from the source material came from Moonraker. Essentially the Bond franchise's answer the star wars, besides a few cool elements, it was not greeted with the same enthusiasm. But at least it wasn't the book, a debbie downer cold war slog of a book that didn't even feature one laser gun. Plenty of sexism though, so at least we have that.

On top of that, it's almost hilarious how - no matter how bland an actor they got to play Bond in each movie, they all had more charisma and charm than their book counterpart.

In short, Moonraker is a fun little spy thriller that departed from its depressing roots for some summertime fun. Who can fault it for that?


John Tibbetts is a novelist in theory, a Whatculture contributor in practice, and a nerd all around who loves talking about movies, TV, anime, and video games more than he loves breathing. Which might be a problem in the long term, but eh, who can think that far ahead?