1. American Psycho
The novel by Bret Easton Ellis was published in 1991 and the movie released in January of 2000.
Some of the darkest scenes in the book featured torture, all kept out from the film adaptation.
2. A Clockwork Orange
English writer Anthony Burgess published his satirical black comedy novel A Clockwork Orange in 1962. The film was adapted, produced, and directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1971.
If you've ever seen the movie, then you surely didn't miss when Alex DeLarge has consensual sex with two young women. However, the book has him molesting two 10-year-old children.
3. The Road
The Road is a 2006 post-apocalyptic novel by Cormac McCarthy. His novel was adapted into a film in 2009 and stars Viggo Mortensen.
A scene from the book went on to be filmed but was cut from the final product involving a baby being roasted over a fire.
Reportedly, the author completely understood this not being included in the final cut of the film.
4. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Fellowship of the Ring was published by J.R.R. Tolkien in 1954 and it is the first of three volumes of The Lord of the Rings. The film adaptation was released in 2001 and was directed by Peter Jackson.
The amount of effort and time that Tolkien poured into the lore of Lord of the Rings and all of the stories that led up to this epic tale is almost unfathomable. If you've never read the books, which is unlikely but entirely possible, then you wouldn't know that a significant character was missing from the first installment of the film adaptation..
There is an entire chapter in The Fellowship of the Ring dedicated to Tom Lombardi, whose own book was written by Tolkien and published 20 years prior to The Lord of the Rings, but he was left completely out of the movies. Lombardi is a popular character with fans and some hope he will someday have his own film.
5. The Great Gatsby
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, The Great Gatsby was adapted into a film in 2013. The novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald was written and published in 1925.
A surprisingly significant difference between the book and the film is the fact that Gatsby's father shows up to his son's funeral in the book.
Gatsby's father provides insight into Jay's character in the novel, while his absence adds to the mystery of the character in the film. Many fans believe both versions are enjoyable but it does change the story!
Emma Donoghue authored the book and wrote the screenplay for ROOM. The novel was published in 2010 and the film adaptation was released in 2015.
Donoghue wrote a scene from the book into the screenplay in which Ma tells Jack she had a stillbirth before him but she ended up cutting it from the film. Donoghue explained at one point that the pace of the book was different from the film, and the scene in the film would have, "slammed the brakes and yanked us back toward the tragic past."
She went on to say that the film was better without the scene from the book.
Stephen King's 22nd novel was 1986's IT. In 1990, the story was adapted into a miniseries and in 2017 a feature-length film.
There is an "infamous scene" from the book in which 11-year-old Beverly Marsh has sex with her six male friends in the sewer, who are all also 11-years-old. Thank goodness that bit was cut.
8. The Golden Compass
The Golden Compass is a part of a trilogy of novels from 1995 by Philip Pullman. It was adapted into a film in 2007 and the filmmakers were anticipating a sequel.
Unfortunately, the sequel never came because the film didn't live up to the hype. Perhaps that had a cyclical relationship, since the entire climax of the book is missing from the film.
Ending on a cliffhanger sounds like a good idea until you never make your sequel.
9. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The fourth novel in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling was published in the summer of 2000. The film was released in 2005.
Hermione starts the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare in Goblet of Fire after discovering the conditions house-elves at Hogwarts work under. None of her SPEW efforts are included in any of the films.
10. Paper Towns
The young adult novel Paper Towns was written by John Green and published in 2008. The movie was released in 2015.
Quentin and Margo break into SeaWorld in the novel, but the scene was cut from the film adaptation because of the conveniently timed release of Blackfish.
Blackfish, a 2013 American documentary film, is about the controversy of Tilikum, a controversial orca from SeaWorld. Producer Wyck Godfrey reflected that there was nothing whimsical about visiting SeaWorld after the release of Blackfish.
11. Forrest Gump
Winston Groom's 1986 novel Forrest Gump was adapted into a film in 1994 and stars Tom Hanks.
If you haven't read the book before, let us clue you in to some of the things you're missing out on:
Gump becomes a professional wrestler named "The Dunce," plays harmonica in a band with Jenny, and gets arrested for throwing away his war medal. He also smokes weed, goes to space with an orangutan, and crash lands in Papua New Guinea where he learns to play chess.
Don't pretend you don't want to go read the book right now, you know you do!
12. Fifty Shades of Grey
Published in 2011, this erotic romance novel went on to become the first in a series. It was developed into a film in 2015.
Thankfully, filmmakers spared us all the moment in which Christian decides menstruation is no obstacle.
13. Jurassic Park
Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park was published in 1990. Chrichton also wrote The Lost World and Jurassic World, all of which were adapted into films.
There are a great deal of differences between the books and the films, including some parts that seem to be swapped around between their positions in each respective series.
The opening scene of the Jurassic Park book includes small, lizard-like dinosaurs eating a baby and that was nixed from the film. However, a tame version of the scene appears to be included in the film adaptation of The Lost World later on.
If you've never read the novels and you enjoy the idea of much darker content than what the films gave us, you'd probably love the books!
14. The Rescuers
Disney is certainly known to make changes to the stories they adapt into films, and 1977's The Rescuers was no exception. The British children's novel was published in 1959.
In the book that Disney's film is based on, the villain is much worse and there were other children kidnapped and even killed by her hunting dogs before she is finally stopped.
The 1999 fantasy novel Stardust was adapted into a film in 2007.
The death of the unicorn was wildly changed between the novel and the film!
In the book, the unicorn stabs the Witch-Queen with its horn. Then, the Witch-Queen stabs the unicorn back through the eye and into the brain and proceeds to cut off the unicorn's head, spit in its mouth, and turn the body into a zombie.
In the movie, the unicorn just gets... zapped. Does anyone else want to see the novel version or am I just weird?
Divergent is a trilogy series in which the first novel was published in 2011. In 2014, the first book was adapted into a film (and the other two followed.)
While they did go on to film the scene from the book where Dauntless is stabbed in the eye, they cut it from the final version of the film.
17. The Godfather
Originally published in 1969, The Godfather is a crime novel by American author Mario Puzo. It was adapted into a film in 1972.
There are entire pages in Puzo's novel dedicated to the character of Lucy Mancini's vagina.
18. The Hunger Games
The first in the trilogy, The Hunger Games was published in 2008 and became a film in 2012.
In the movie, Peeta injures his leg. Did you know that in the book he loses it completely?
19. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn TreaderAs the third novel in his Chronicles of Narnia series, C.S. Lewis published Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 1952. The film adaptation of Dawn Treader was released in 2010.
You wouldn't expect anything "brutal" from any of C.S. Lewis's children's novels, but the scene in the book where Aslan turns Eustace back from a dragon into a human is a lot more graphic.In the book, Eustace spends a great deal of time having his dragon scales clawed off and describes it as incredibly painful. The movie made it quicker, easier, and more aesthetic to the viewer.
20. Gone With The WindNovelist Margaret Mitchell published Gone With The Wind in 1936 and the movie adaptation was released a mere 3 years later.
Margaret Mitchell's novel was exceedingly racist and the film being made only a few years later was not left without it's own shortcomings.Screenwriter Sidney Howard managed to leave out some of the more heinous and racist content including how the book depicts the KKK as a "tragic necessity" (gross,) and even has the Black characters depicted as being "okay" with slavery.
Italian writer Carlo Collodi wrote The Adventures of Pinocchio in 1880. Walt Disney adapted Pinocchio into a film in 1940.
Pinocchio was the second feature-length animated film that Disney had made after the unexpected and widespread success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in 1937.
In the 1880 novel, Pinocchio has a bit of a temper and takes it out on the Talking Cricket (who isn't named Jimminy) after being insulted.To be specific, he kills the Talking Cricket by hitting him on the head!
22. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Cameron Crowe's Fast Times at Ridgemont High was published in 1981 after he spent a year pretending to be a senior in high school at the age of 22. Crowe also wrote the screenplay that was released a year later in 1982.
The 1982 film still holds a popular reputation today for being a teen sex comedy, but the lovable surfer Jeff Spicoli was depicted very differently in the book.
In fact, he was actually a huge jerk who no one liked and was regularly mocked and made fun of. Quite frankly, his character in the books deserved it.
We can only imagine what a flop the film could have been if his character hadn't been revised by Crowe.
23. My Sister's KeeperJodi Picoult's 11th novel, My Sister's Keeper, was published in 2004. The film adaptation was released in 2009.
In the book, Anna dies in a car crash and her kidney goes to Kate, who survives.
In the movie, Kate dies in her sleep and Anna lives, keeping her kidney. This is a drastically different ending.
Blogger Amanda from filmvsbooks said, "it's not a small change I can tell you that and it completely ruined the brilliantly written and darkly poetic ending to the masterpiece novel."
It's entirely possible that you've read every book on this list and seen every one of their film adaptations as well. However, if you haven't had the time to do that for all 23 books... perhaps you never will now that you know what you're missing out on.
Or, perhaps you want to experience the contrasts yourself and you realize that sometimes the differences between the novels that stories originate from and the visions they become in someone else's eyes on the silver screen are still incredibly unique ways to experience media.