Scriptwriting: Decades-Old Movies Adapted from Books

I’ve previously blogged on scriptwriting and adapting books to screenplays. As a huge fan of movies (even bad movies teach us something about the craft), it came as a surprise that some hugely popular movies have turned twenty years old, and even twenty-five years old. It seems that just yesterday we were buying tickets and treating ourselves to popcorn as these classics debuted on the big screen.

So, here’s some information about decades-old novels and comic books that earned some box office merit, as well as links to the screenplays themselves. For movie buffs and those interested in learning more about the craft of scriptwriting, these movies might prove fascinating for a whole other reason.

Scriptwriting from Book Adaptations

Forrest Gump starring Tom Hanks, Sally Field.
A bit of trivia: Kurt Russell has an uncredited role as the voice of Elvis Presley.
Based on Winston Groom’s 1986 novel by the same name.
Read the script here.

The Shawshank Redemption starring Morgan Freeman, Tim Robbins.
Based on Stephen King’s 1982 novel Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption from his collection titled Different Seasons and subtitled Hope Springs Eternal
Read the script here.


One of my favorite scriptwriting “book to film” adaptions by Tom Clancy

Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst.
Based on Anne Rice’s 1976 novel Interview with the Vampire.
Read the screenplay here.

Legends of the Fall starring Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn, Julia Ormond.
Based on Jim Harrison’s 1979 novella by the same title.
Read the screenplay here.

Little Women starring Kirsten Dunst, Christian Bale, Claire Danes.
Based on Louisa May Alcott’s novel by the same name.
Read the screenplay here.

Thumbelina starring John Hurt, Gilbert Gottfried, Carol Channing
Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s Thumbelina.
Read the screenplay here.

Lassie starring Michelle Williams, Helen Slater, Richard Farnsworth.
Based on the Lassie book series, the original being the 1940 Lassie Come-Home novel by Eric Knight and adapted to the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer feature film Lassie Come Home.
Read the screenplay here.

The Client starring Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones, Mary-Louise Parker.
Based on John Grisham’s novel by the same name.
Read the screenplay here.

Clear and Present Danger starring Harrison Ford, James Earl Jones.
Based on Tom Clancy’s novel by the same name.
Read the screenplay here.

Contact me for information about turning your book into a screenplay.