100 best movies based on books

Written by:
August 29, 2020
Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment

100 best movies based on books

It might seem like this is an age where every movie is based on a previously existing piece of work, but the truth is Hollywood has been adapting prose and other source materials for more than a century. There are only so many original screenplay ideas out there, no small percentage of which are likewise based on previous ideas and formulas. “Art is theft,” as Picasso reportedly said, but at least Hollywood dispenses credit every now and then.

Without exceptional books there would be far fewer impressive films. Just ask directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Francis Ford Coppola, all of whom based some of their finest films on novels. Each talented director delivers their own take on the work, often to the author’s chagrin. Look no further than Stephen King’s openly critical stance on Kubrick’s adaptation of “The Shining.”

In other cases, the directors stay impressively true to the source material. Some examples might include Luchino Visconti’s “The Leopard” or the Coen brothers’ “No Country for Old Men,” to name just a couple. It still goes to show, however, that the mere visualization of a novel can affect how the content might be perceived. What was once the stuff of personal imagination has now been made flesh and the indelible images might prove hard to shake. And who wants to shake them when they come from masters of the craft?

Putting the printed page up on the big screen is a tradition as old as cinema itself. To honor that tradition, Stacker compiled data on all top-rated movies to come up with a Stacker score, i.e., a weighted index split evenly between IMDb and Metacritic scores as of July 8. 

To qualify, the film had to be based on a book, including novellas, comic books, and short stories; have an IMDb user rating and Metascore; and have at least 5,000 votes. Ties were broken by Metascore, further ties were broken by IMDb user rating, and final ties were broken by user votes. Going from great to greater, here are the 100 best movies based on books. 

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1 / 100
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

#100. The Great Escape (1963)

- Director: John Sturges
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 172 minutes

In this World War II adventure film, a group of prisoners of war try to escape from a German camp. It’s based on a book by Paul Brickhill, who was once a real-life POW at the very same camp. While the author did help out during the famous escape, he didn’t flee down the tunnel due to severe claustrophobia.

2 / 100
Columbia Pictures

#99. It Happened One Night (1934)

- Director: Frank Capra
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 105 minutes

This 1934 classic is based on Samuel Hopkins Adams’ short story “Night Bus,” which was published the previous year. It traces the cross-country travels of a spoiled socialite, played by Claudette Colbert, whose confusion creates a convoluted love triangle. The film won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

3 / 100
Columbia Pictures

#98. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

- Director: David Lean
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 161 minutes

The celebrated war drama is based on a French novel by author Pierre Boulle. Due to heightened Cold War tensions, the original screenwriters were accused of being communists and thereby robbed of credit. As a result, Boulle—who didn’t even speak English—not only received credit for a script he didn’t write, but went on to win an Academy Award.

4 / 100
Warner Bros.

#97. Strangers on a Train (1951)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 88
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 101 minutes

Alfred Hitchcock frequently used novels as the basis for his films and “Strangers on a Train” was no exception. Before debuting on the big screen, the story of two men who swap murder duties was the subject of Patricia Highsmith’s brilliant novel. Highsmith is also the mastermind behind the character that inspired the film “The Talented Mr. Ripley.”

5 / 100
United Artists

#96. Of Mice and Men (1939)

- Director: Lewis Milestone
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 106 minutes

Author John Steinbeck culled from his own experiences at a labor camp when crafting his timeless novella. It follows two migrant workers of strikingly different dispositions through the Great Depression. This Oscar-nominated film version was later followed by a number of adaptations for both the stage and screen.

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6 / 100
Columbia Pictures

#95. In Cold Blood (1967)

- Director: Richard Brooks
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 134 minutes

First published in 1966, Truman Capote’s account of a brutal murder remains an absolute benchmark of the true crime genre. Striving for authenticity, this film adaptation was shot in locations where the actual crimes once occurred. It was nominated for four Academy Awards.

7 / 100
Warner Bros.

#94. Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)

- Director: Clint Eastwood
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 141 minutes

Screenwriters drew upon the actual letters of Gen. Tadamichi Kuribayashi, portrayed by Ken Watanabe, for this war drama. A companion piece to “Flags of Our Fathers,” it depicts the World War II battle of Iwo Jima from the Japanese perspective. The film was a commercial disappointment but a critical darling.

8 / 100
Donaldson Collection // Getty Images

#93. Great Expectations (1946)

- Director: David Lean
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 118 minutes

Charles Dickens’ iconic novel follows an orphan named Pip as he comes of age under the protection of a hidden benefactor. This Oscar-winning adaptation brings the story to life with visual grace and palpable emotion. Film critic Roger Ebert credits director David Lean with creating “pictures on the screen that do not clash with the images already existing in our minds.”

9 / 100
United Artists

#92. The African Queen (1951)

- Director: John Huston
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 105 minutes

Screen legends Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn hop aboard a riverboat in this World War I adventure. The film’s screenwriters cleaned up some of the source material to appease censors, who still took issue with certain components. Tourists can visit the original African Queen riverboat to this day.

10 / 100
StudioCanal

#91. Tristana (1970)

- Director: Luis Buñuel
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 99 minutes

An 1892 novel laid the groundwork for this Spanish drama, in which the title character, played by Catherine Deneuve, struggles for independence. Both the source material and the film adaptation explore the oppressive expectations of a patriarchal society. Director Luis Buñuel spent nearly 20 years getting the project made and incorporated personal details into the final product.

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11 / 100
CBS Films

#90. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

- Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 104 minutes

The Coen Brothers drew inspiration from folk singer Dave Van Ronk and his memoir when creating this low-key drama. It tells the story of musician Llewyn Davis, played by Oscar Isaac, who tries to make his way in New York’s burgeoning folk scene. According to legend, the real-life Van Ronk wielded far more influence and presence than the fictional Davis.

12 / 100
Bavaria Film

#89. Das Boot (1981)

- Director: Wolfgang Petersen
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 149 minutes

Wolfgang Peterson brings viewers into a World War II German U-boat to uncover equal amounts of angst and terror. The film is based on a bestselling novel of the same name by former war correspondent Lothar-Günther Buchheim. An “original uncut version” clocks in at 293 minutes, which might be the actual time it takes to read the book.

13 / 100
Hatake Jimusho

#88. The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (2013)

- Director: Isao Takahata
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 137 minutes

Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata directed this watercolor-style anime about a tiny princess who’s discovered living inside a bamboo stalk. It’s based on a 10th-century Japanese story called “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.” When adapting the source material, Takahata’s biggest challenge was understanding “what was in the heart of Princess Kaguya.”

14 / 100
Columbia Pictures

#87. The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

- Director: John Huston
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 129 minutes

A short story from Rudyard Kipling gave way to numerous adaptations, including this Technicolor film. It chronicles the journey of two British ex-soldiers who seek power and glory in faraway Kafiristan. Actor Christopher Plummer appears as Kipling.

15 / 100
The Ladd Company

#86. The Right Stuff (1983)

- Director: Philip Kaufman
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 193 minutes

Tom Wolfe’s novel went behind the scenes of America’s aircraft and space program, and this sprawling film does the very same thing. As far-fetched as the story may seem, most of its events are ripped straight out of history. Despite critical acclaim, the movie was a commercial disappointment during its theatrical release.

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16 / 100
Universal Pictures

#85. Frankenstein (1931)

- Director: James Whale
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 70 minutes

Few horror stories are more iconic than Mary Shelley’s tale of Dr. Frankenstein and his unruly creation. James Whale’s 1931 feature adaptation is held in similarly high regard, with Boris Karloff playing the legendary monster. A number of sequels and spin-offs followed.

17 / 100
Allied Artists Pictures Corporation

#84. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

- Director: Don Siegel
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 80 minutes

Writer Jack Finney first published “The Body Snatchers” as a serialized novel for Collier’s magazine. It was quickly adapted into one of Hollywood’s most enduring sci-fi movies, which was remade over and over again. Every version deals with the same core premise of alien invasions and pod people.

18 / 100
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

#83. The 39 Steps (1935)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 86 minutes

This influential film noir is loosely based on a 1915 novel of the same name. While visiting London, a Canadian tourist, played by Robert Donat, gets embroiled in a deadly spy conspiracy. It’s one among a number of Hitchcock films to send an innocent man on the run from dangerous enemies.

19 / 100
20th Century Fox

#82. Sideways (2004)

- Director: Alexander Payne
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 127 minutes

Before it was a film that changed the entire wine industry, “Sideways” was a humorous 2004 novel by Rex Pickett. Both versions follow two close friends out to California wine country where they come up against the very realities they’re trying to escape. The movie won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

20 / 100
Paramount Pictures

#81. Forrest Gump (1994)

- Director: Robert Zemeckis
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 82
- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Runtime: 142 minutes

World history is seen through the eyes of a charming but dim-witted man named Forrest Gump, played by Tom Hanks, in this 1994 movie. The film is based on a Winston Groom novel, which included a sequence where Gump travels to space and meets a chimp named Sue. Whether that scene would’ve helped or hindered the film is anyone’s guess.

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21 / 100
Warner Bros.

#80. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

- Director: Milos Forman
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 83
- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Runtime: 133 minutes

Author Ken Kesey culled from his experiences as a psychiatric ward attendant when writing “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” An award-winning film would soon follow, in which a patient, played by Jack Nicholson, attempts to stage a rebellion. Both the book and the film remain heralded to this day.

22 / 100
Focus Features

#79. The Pianist (2002)

- Director: Roman Polanski
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 150 minutes

Wladyslaw Szpilman’s experiences as a Jewish pianist struggling to survive during the Holocaust led him to write “The Death of a City,” later retitled “The Pianist.” The subsequent 2002 film version would go on to win three Academy Awards. It remains a high point in director Roman Polanski’s latter-day career.

23 / 100
Universal International Pictures (UI)

#78. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

- Director: Robert Mulligan
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 88
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 129 minutes

One of the greatest novels of all time tells the story of Atticus Finch, a Depression-era lawyer who defends a falsely accused Black man. Gregory Peck delivers an Oscar-winning turn as Finch in this 1962 film version. Author Harper Lee was moved by how much Peck looked like her father, upon whom the character is based.

24 / 100
Warner Bros.

#77. Barry Lyndon (1975)

- Director: Stanley Kubrick
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 185 minutes

Adapted from William Makepeace Thackeray’s 1844 novel, this period drama tells the story of Irish rogue Barry Lyndon, played by Ryan O’Neal. Resorting to a variety of schemes, Lyndon finagles his way into 18th-century British aristocratic society. Kubrick famously restricted the use of artificial lighting during the shoot, relying on candlelight and sunlight instead.

25 / 100
20th Century Fox

#76. The Hustler (1961)

- Director: Robert Rossen
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 134 min

Before turning his attention to the lives of pool sharks, author Walter Tevis was primarily interested in science fiction. Shortly after writing “The Hustler”—upon which this classic 1961 film is based—Tevis returned to his sci-fi roots by churning out “The Man Who Fell to Earth.” In 1984, the author switched gears again and wrote “The Color of Money,” a sequel to “The Hustler” that would end up being adapted by director Martin Scorsese.

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26 / 100
2.4.7. Films

#75. Persepolis (2007)

- Directors: Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 96 minutes

Marjane Satrapi adapted her own graphic novels when bringing this autobiographical story onto the big screen. Set during the Iranian Revolution, it follows her young and animated alter-ego to a boarding school in Vienna. The abstract animation style is unmistakable, as are the recurring themes of self-discovery.

27 / 100
Twentieth Century Fox

#74. Patton (1970)

- Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 172 minutes

Screenwriters Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North culled from two separate sources when scripting this epic war drama. It chronicles the near-mythic life and times of World War II Gen. George S. Patton Jr., portrayed by actor George C. Scott. The film won no less than seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

28 / 100
Columbia Pictures

#73. Little Women (2019)

- Director: Greta Gerwig
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 135 minutes

Louisa May Alcott’s seminal novel has been adapted numerous times and across a host of media. In the eyes of critics and audiences alike, Greta Gerwig’s recent take might be the best one yet. Led by a talented cast, it takes place during and after the Civil War and tells the story of the four March sisters.

29 / 100
Warner Bros.

#72. McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)

- Director: Robert Altman
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 120 minutes

If the average Goodreads review is anything to go by, Robert Altman’s “anti-Western” supersedes the novel upon which it’s based. Warren Beatty plays John McCabe to Julie Christie’s Constance Miller, two opportunistic business partners in the Old West. Genre conventions are purposefully undermined within a naturalistic setting.

30 / 100
RKO Radio Films

#71. The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

- Directors: Orson Welles, Fred Fleck (uncredited), Robert Wise (uncredited)
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 88 minutes

Not only was this period drama based on a novel, but it featured that very same novel in the original trailer. Co-directed by Orson Welles, it centers on the spoiled heirs of a family fortune. Welles famously lost creative control during post-production, resulting in what François Truffaut once called a “mutilated masterpiece.”

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31 / 100
Cinecom

#70. L’Argent (1983)

- Director: Robert Bresson
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 85 minutes

This atypical crime drama was loosely inspired by the first part of a posthumous Leo Tolstoy novella. Employing his ascetic style, French director Robert Bresson tells the story of a counterfeit note and those who use it. The movie earned Bresson a best director prize at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival.

32 / 100
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#69. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

- Director: Jonathan Demme
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Runtime: 118 minutes

Director Jonathan Demme played it fairly close to the source material when making “The Silence of the Lambs.” The film is based on Thomas Harris’ acclaimed novel, about a young FBI agent who enlists the help of a brilliant psychopath in order to catch her target. Some folks have wondered what real-life killers inspired Lecter’s creation, but Harris insists that the character was inspired only by evil itself.

33 / 100
Sony Pictures Animation

#68. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

- Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 117 minutes

The first animated “Spider-Man” film straddles multiple dimensions as different characters take on the title role. Producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller went to great lengths to ensure that every major character came from a comic book source. An upcoming sequel is reportedly in production and slated for a 2022 release.

34 / 100
Chartoff-Winkler Productions

#67. Raging Bull (1980)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 129 minutes

Based on boxer Jake LaMotta’s own memoir, Martin Scorsese’s “Raging Bull” offers a stunning glimpse into LaMotta’s violent world. Playing the lead is Robert De Niro, who turns in a legendary performance. Upon seeing the film, LaMotta asked his wife, “Is that the way I was in real life?” She replied, “You were worse.”

35 / 100
Mosfilm

#66. Solaris (1972)

- Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 167 minutes

Stanisław Lem’s 1961 novel remains a sci-fi classic for both its gripping premise and philosophical overtones. Director Andrei Tarkovsky brings both those elements to the foreground in this seminal adaptation. It was allegedly made as a humanistic counterpunch to Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

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36 / 100
Warner Bros.

#65. Ben-Hur (1959)

- Director: William Wyler
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 212 minutes

Sword-and-sandal movies don’t get much more iconic than “Ben-Hur,” which tells the story of a Jewish prince who is betrayed and then sold into slavery. The 1880 source novel by Lew Wallace is widely considered the most influential Christian book of the 19th century. William Wyler’s adaptation won no less than 11 Academy Awards, setting a record at the time.

37 / 100
Universal Pictures

#64. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

- Director: Lewis Milestone
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 152 minutes

German novelist Erich Maria Remarque detailed the horrors of World War I in “All Quiet on the Western Front,” which was turned into a similarly harrowing film. Both the book and film were subsequently banned by the Nazis after they ascended to power in the 1930s. To this day, each respective work is heralded for its uncompromising perspective.

38 / 100
DisCina

#63. Beauty and the Beast (1946)

- Directors: Jean Cocteau, René Clément (uncredited)
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 93 minutes

Once dubbed a tale as old as time, “Beauty and the Beast” has thematic origins going back centuries. This take from French director Jean Cocteau is hailed for its visual effects and soulful atmosphere. The original folktale has been adapted for multiple media in the time since, all the way up to a recent Disney live-action blockbuster.

39 / 100
Philip D'Antoni Productions

#62. The French Connection (1971)

- Director: William Friedkin
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 104 minutes

William Friedkin’s classic crime drama is based on a nonfiction account of high stakes drug trafficking in New York City. Screenwriter Ernest Tidyman won an Oscar for his adaptation, though it’s been said that a number of the best lines were improvised. The film’s iconic—and fictionalized—car chase became a piece of history in its own right.

40 / 100
Shôchiku Eiga

#61. Harakiri (1962)

- Director: Masaki Kobayashi
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Runtime: 133 minutes

When peace breaks out across 17th-century Japan, it puts a samurai, played by Hanshiro Tsugumo, out of the job. As a final act of honor, he hopes to commit harakiri—i.e., a ritual act of taking one’s life—on a feudal lord’s property. Based on a novel by Yasuhiko Takiguchi, the film won the special jury prize at Cannes.

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41 / 100
Warner Bros.

#60. L.A. Confidential (1997)

- Director: Curtis Hanson
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 138 minutes

This award-winning movie toned down James Ellroy’s pulpy crime novel in more ways than one. Filmmaker Curtis Hanson and screenwriter Brian Helgeland tweaked the characters and put substantial twists on the book’s ending. The story follows a trio of cops as they uncover multiple levels of corruption in 1950s Los Angeles.

42 / 100
Paramount Vantage

#59. No Country for Old Men (2007)

- Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 122 minutes

Anyone who reads Cormac McCarthy knows that his brilliant prose can be hard to decipher, let alone put up on the big screen. That didn’t stop the Coen brothers from adapting “No Country for Old Men, about a man, played by Josh Brolin, who gets hunted by a seasoned killer, played by Javier Bardem. While minor differences abound, the award-winning film is for the most part a faithful adaptation.

43 / 100
Pathé Renn Productions

#58. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)

- Director: Julian Schnabel
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 112 minutes

This Oscar-nominated French film adapts the bestselling memoir of former magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby. Suffering from locked-in syndrome, Bauby, played by Mathieu Amalric, wades between various states of cognition. According to Salon, the biggest difference between the book and the film is in the depiction of Bauby’s relationships with women.

44 / 100
StudioCanal

#57. The Servant (1963)

- Director: Joseph Losey
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 116 minutes

The dynamic between an aristocrat, played by James Fox, and his servant, played by Sir Dirk Bogarde, takes an unexpected turn in this acclaimed British drama. Playwright Harold Pinter adapted the script from a novella by Robin Maugham. To locate the story’s predominant sexual themes, skip the film and go straight to the original source.

45 / 100
Warner Bros.

#56. Stagecoach (1939)

- Director: John Ford
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 96 minutes

This epoch-making Western from director John Ford turned actor John Wayne into a major star. Based on a short story by Ernest Haycox, it follows a group of American settlers through dangerous territory. Ford and Wayne would collaborate on a number of subsequent and similarly iconic films.

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46 / 100
Frenesy Film Company

#55. Call Me by Your Name (2017)

- Director: Luca Guadagnino
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 132 minutes

This award-winning drama centers on the budding romance between a 17-year-old student, played by Timothée Chalamet, and an older man, played by Armie Hammer, in 1980s Italy. Based on a book by André Aciman, the film would go through multiple directors and writers during development. It eventually landed in the able hands of director Luca Guadagnino and screenwriter James Ivory.

47 / 100
Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia

#54. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

- Director: Ang Lee
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 120 minutes

The original “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” novel was part of author Wang Dulu’s Crane-Iron Pentalogy. Director Ang Lee also drew inspiration from Jane Austen, once pitching this film as “'Sense and Sensibility' with martial arts.” It won four Academy Awards, including Best Foreign Language Film.

48 / 100
Columbia Pictures Corporation

#53. The Social Network (2010)

- Director: David Fincher
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 120 minutes

This masterful film and the book upon which it’s based have drawn their own respective share of scrutiny. While both diligently document Facebook’s rise to power, founder Mark Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg, has disputed his depiction as a girl-and-club-obsessed misfit. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin took the concept to extremes, tethering Facebook’s genesis to Zuckerberg’s constant social failures.

49 / 100
Castle Rock Entertainment

#52. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

- Director: Frank Darabont
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 80
- IMDb user rating: 9.3
- Runtime: 142 minutes

More than one of the best Stephen King adaptations ever made, this beloved drama is currently the #1 top-rated movie on IMDb. It tells the story of Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, an innocent man who changes the entire prison landscape. Differences abound between the film and novella, including the fates of certain key characters.

50 / 100
Warner Bros.

#51. Cool Hand Luke (1967)

- Director: Stuart Rosenberg
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 127 minutes

Paul Newman plays an easy-going Southern inmate in “Cool Hand Luke.” The film is based on a novel by ex-convict Donn Pearce, who co-wrote the screenplay as well. In spite of his involvement, Pearce would later express disappointment in the final product, claiming they “screwed it up 99 different ways.”

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51 / 100
Columbia Pictures

#50. The Last Picture Show (1971)

- Director: Peter Bogdanovich
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 118 minutes

Author Larry McMurtry’s semi-autobiographical novel about life in small-town Texas inspired this award-winning masterpiece. Jeff Bridges plays Duane Jackson, who appears as Duane Moore in the original book. McMurty revisited the character in four follow-up novels, one of which, “Texasville,” was likewise adapted for the big screen.

52 / 100
Warner Bros.

#49. Rio Bravo (1959)

- Director: Howard Hawks
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 141 minutes

Director Howard Hawks based this iconic Western on a story from his daughter Barbara, credited as B.H. McCampbell. The film is also viewed as a macho rebuttal to the somewhat passive “High Noon.” A story about small-town justice and perseverance, it directly inspired future filmmakers like John Carpenter and Quentin Tarantino.

53 / 100
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#48. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

- Director: John Frankenheimer
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 126 minutes

A former POW is brainwashed into becoming an assassin in “The Manchurian Candidate.” Based on a thriller novel by Richard Condon published in 1959, the film stars legendary crooner Frank Sinatra, who reportedly nailed almost every scene on the first take. Other notable actors include Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, and Angela Lansbury.

54 / 100
Warner Bros.

#47. The Searchers (1956)

- Director: John Ford
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 119 minutes

Based on a novel by Alan Le May, “The Searchers” presents John Wayne playing a Civil War veteran on a quest to save his niece from the Comanches. During the shoot, a Navajo child fell sick and John Wayne used his own private plane to get the child to a hospital, thereby earning the name “The Man With the Big Eagle” among the Navajos.

55 / 100
Fábrica de Cine

#46. The Irishman (2019)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 209 minutes

The words “I Heard You Paint Houses” appear early on screen in this sprawling drama, paying direct homage to the source material. Both the book and film center on mob hitman Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran, played by Robert De Niro, who claimed to have murdered Jimmy Hoffa. For director Martin Scorsese, it caps off a long run of seminal gangster movies.

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56 / 100
Universal Pictures

#45. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

- Director: James Whale
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 75 minutes

Frankenstein’s monster, played by Boris Karloff, is back and this time around, he has himself a bride. One of cinema’s greatest sequels squeezes a full story out of a subplot from Mary Shelley’s original novel. A modern-day remake is reportedly still in the works.

57 / 100
Walt Disney Studios

#44. Pinocchio (1940)

- Directors: Norman Ferguson, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 88 minutes

Italian writer and humorist Carlo Collodi first published “The Adventures of Pinocchio” as a serialized novel in 1881 and 1882. Disney’s animated version retained the coming-of-age themes while cleaning up some of the darker elements. Fans of Jiminy Cricket should definitely stick with the film version unless they want their childhood ruined.

58 / 100
New Line Cinema

#43. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

- Director: Peter Jackson
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Runtime: 179 minutes

J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy remains a cornerstone of fantasy literature, and director Peter Jackson’s film adaptation is similarly iconic. In “The Two Towers,” hobbits Frodo and Sam inch closer to Mordor with the goal of destroying a powerful ring. Helping them along the way is Gollum, a shifty creature with plans of his own.

59 / 100
Too Company

#42. Samurai Rebellion (1967)

- Director: Masaki Kobayashi
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 128 minutes

A noble samurai, played by Toshirô Mifune, takes his last stand as this harrowing drama barrels toward its violent finale. Based on a novel by Yasuhiko Takiguchi, the story takes place in 18th-century Japan. Critic Roger Ebert called it “as extreme a samurai film as I've seen in both senses (the ethics and the violence), and one of the best.”

60 / 100
13 Productions

#41. Werckmeister Harmonies (2000)

- Directors: Béla Tarr, Ágnes Hranitzky
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 145 minutes

Mere words cannot describe this unsettling black-and-white drama, based on a similarly mysterious novel from 1989. Unfolding over the course of just 39 shots, it welcomes viewers to an isolated provincial town on the Hungarian plain. With the arrival of the circus comes an inexplicable form of local unrest.

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61 / 100
Globe Films International

#40. Elevator to the Gallows (1958)

- Director: Louis Malle
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 91 minutes

Using a pulpy potboiler as his source, French director Louis Malle churned out this seminal film noir. What begins as an illicit love affair becomes a disastrous murder scheme as the story unfolds. Jazz legend Miles Davis improvised the score, lending the movie an early French New Wave vibe.

62 / 100
La Titanus

#39. Journey to Italy (1954)

- Director: Roberto Rossellini
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 97 minutes

While credited to Roberto Rossellini and Vitaliano Brancati, the script for this drama also took inspiration from the 1934 French novel “Duo” by Colette. Retaining a loose structure, it puts a couple’s marriage to the test during a trip to Naples. The BFI calls it a “pioneering work of modernism that links Italian neo-realism with the French new wave.”

63 / 100
Liberty Films

#38. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

- Director: Frank Capra
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Runtime: 130 minutes

The short story that inspired this holiday classic was a little miracle of its own. Rejected by numerous publishers, author Philip Van Doren Stern printed the story himself and sent it out as a pamphlet-style Christmas card. One of those initial cards made its way to Hollywood and the rest is cinematic history.

64 / 100
Paramount Vantage

#37. There Will Be Blood (2007)

- Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 158 minutes

Loosely based on a novel by Upton Sinclair, this latter-day masterwork tells the story of ruthless oil magnate Daniel Plainview, played by Daniel Day-Lewis. Bolstered by brilliant performances and a haunting soundtrack, it provides a parable about religion, greed, and desire in America. Day-Lewis won an Academy Award for Best Actor.

65 / 100
Columbia Pictures

#36. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

- Director: Otto Preminger
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 161 minutes

A man pleads temporary insanity while on trial for murder, but is it all just an act? So goes “Anatomy of a Murder,” based on a book by John D. Voelker writing under the name Robert Traver. The film was quite controversial in its day, primarily because it openly used crude terminology that audiences simply weren’t used to at the time.

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66 / 100
Walt Disney Productions

#35. Beauty and the Beast (1991)

- Directors: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 84 minutes

A timeless fairy tale sprung to life once again during Disney’s animated renaissance. The result was this Oscar-winning gem, which tracks the blossoming romance between a young woman and her beastly captor. Watch it back-to-back with the 1946 French version to see which one casts the greater spell.

67 / 100
Cinédis

#34. Jules and Jim (1962)

- Director: François Truffaut
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 105 minutes

French author Henri-Pierre Roché drew upon his own romantic experiences when writing the original “Jules and Jim.” As youthful as the novel may be, Roché was actually 74 when it was first published. In adapting the tale, director François Truffaut turned out one of the best films of the French New Wave.

68 / 100
Paris Film

#33. Pépé le Moko (1937)

- Director: Julien Duvivier
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 94 minutes

This influential mix of French poetic realism and melodrama takes place in the Casbah quarter of Algiers. When potential romance enters the picture, local crime lord Pépé le Moko, played by Jean Gabin, decides to tempt his fate. It’s all based on a rare novel of the same name by Henri La Barthe.

69 / 100
Twentieth Century Fox

#32. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

- Director: John Ford
- Stacker score: 92
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 129 minutes

John Steinbeck’s epic novel about the misfortunes of a family during the Great Depression became the basis for an award-winning film of the same name. It would go on to reap two Oscars and tons of acclaim. The film is currently No. 21 on the American Film Institute’s list of “America’s 100 Greatest Movies.”

70 / 100
Warner Bros.

#31. The Maltese Falcon (1941)

- Director: John Huston
- Stacker score: 92
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 100 minutes

Mystery writer Dashiell Hammett’s most well-known novel makes for one of Humphrey Bogart’s most iconic films. Private investigator Sam Spade takes on a case that involves outmaneuvering criminals and tracking down a valuable statuette. Fun fact: This was actually Warner Bros.’ third big screen adaptation of the source material.

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71 / 100
William Castle Enterprises

#30. Rosemary's Baby (1968)

- Director: Roman Polanski
- Stacker score: 92
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 137 minutes

Mia Farrow plays a woman who thinks she’s been impregnated by the devil in this landmark horror classic. Director Roman Polanski makes expert use of Ira Levin’s original novel, though he did tone down some of the overtly religious aspects. Levin was nevertheless happy to help out during production, providing layouts of the apartments in which most of the action takes place.

72 / 100
Warner Bros.

#29. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

- Directors: Michael Curtiz, William Keighley
- Stacker score: 92
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 102 minutes

The story of Robin Hood dates back to the 13th and 14th centuries and was possibly based on a historical figure. Real or not, the character has given way to adaptations in virtually every medium. This 1938 film version stars Errol Flynn as the titular folk hero and remains a favorite among critics and audiences alike.

73 / 100
Miramax

#28. My Left Foot (1989)

- Director: Jim Sheridan
- Stacker score: 92
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 103 minutes

Born with cerebral palsy, Christy Brown, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, must learn to paint using only his left foot in this heartfelt biopic. Director Jim Sheridan and screenwriter Shane Connaughton based the film on Brown’s 1954 memoir of the same name. Day-Lewis won his first Academy Award for the stunning portrayal.

74 / 100
Warner Bros.

#27. Goodfellas (1990)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 92
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Runtime: 146 minutes

Before working on “Casino,” Martin Scorsese and writer Nicholas Pileggi teamed up for this compulsively watchable masterpiece. Adapted from Pileggi’s book “Wiseguy,” it tells the story of mobster-turned-snitch Henry Hill, played by Ray Liotta. Pileggi and the real-life Hill were in constant communication during production, lending the voiceover dialogue an authentic edge.

75 / 100
Casbah Film

#26. The Battle of Algiers (1966)

- Director: Gillo Pontecorvo
- Stacker score: 92
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 121 minutes

Employing a documentary-like aesthetic, this influential film depicts the Algerian Revolution from both the French and Algerian sides. It’s based on a memoir by former National Liberation Front leader Saadi Yacef, who helped finance the movie’s production. Yacef also appears in a supporting role, playing a character based on himself.

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76 / 100
Regency Enterprises

#25. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

- Director: Steve McQueen
- Stacker score: 92
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 134 minutes

The 19th-century Northerner Solomon Northup, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, is sold into slavery down South, where he suffers at the mercy of his masters. The film is based on an actual memoir written by Northup and published in 1853. An active member in the abolitionist movement, he helped pave the way for widespread emancipation.

77 / 100
Zoetrope Studios

#24. Apocalypse Now (1979)

- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 147 minutes

A loose interpretation if there ever was one, this mind trip of a movie sets Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. While different in numerous ways, the book and film do share the same general structure along with core themes about fear and madness. Further unifying the two works was a turbulent documentary about the making of the film. The name of that documentary? “Hearts of Darkness.”

78 / 100
Paramount Pictures

#23. Double Indemnity (1944)

- Director: Billy Wilder
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 107 minutes

Author James M. Cain wrote the novel upon which this film is based, with fellow mystery legend Raymond Chandler on co-screenwriting duties. It stars Fred MacMurray as insurance agent Walter Neff, who gets slowly seduced into a murder scheme. The premise bears a striking resemblance to “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” another Cain novel adapted by Hollywood.

79 / 100
Greenwich Film Productions

#22. Ran (1985)

- Director: Akira Kurosawa
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 162 minutes

Filmmaking legend Akira Kurosawa transports Shakespeare’s “King Lear” to medieval Japan for one of his best outings. It tells the story of an aging warlord who bequeaths his empire to his three sons and sparks a deadly rivalry. This was the third time that Kurosawa sought inspiration from The Bard.

80 / 100
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#21. Gone with the Wind (1939)

- Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor (uncredited), Sam Wood (uncredited)
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 238 minutes

Based on Margaret Mitchell’s bestseller, “Gone with the Wind” was a star-studded success of unprecedented proportions. Set during the Civil War and subsequent Reconstruction, it tells the harrowing story of Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara, played by Vivien Leigh. The movie won eight Academy Awards and still holds the world record for highest-grossing film, when adjusted for inflation.

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81 / 100
Shinchosha Company,

#20. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

- Director: Isao Takahata
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 89 minutes

This acclaimed effort from Studio Ghibli follows two siblings as they struggle to survive during World War II. It’s based on a semi-autobiographical short story by Japanese author Akiyuki Nosaka, who experienced fire-bombings firsthand. A far cry from the standard anime fare, the film provides a sobering glimpse of war.

82 / 100
Pathé Consortium Cinéma

#19. Rififi (1955)

- Director: Jules Dassin
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 118 minutes

Already known for American noir, blacklisted director Jules Dassin moved to Europe and churned out this French masterpiece. While based on a novel of the same name, it also reportedly draws from an actual 1899 robbery. A number of the film’s plot points and character dynamics would become fixtures of the “perfect heist” sub-genre.

83 / 100
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#18. The Night of the Hunter (1955)

- Director: Charles Laughton
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 92 minutes

Both this noirish thriller and its source novel cull inspiration from real-life serial killer Harry Powers. Set during the depression, it stars Robert Mitchum as murderous con man Harry Powell. The tattoos of “love” and “hate” on Powell’s knuckles have become iconic in their own right.

84 / 100
Universal Pictures

#17. Touch of Evil (1958)

- Director: Orson Welles
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 95 minutes

Filmmaking legend Orson Welles adapted a novel by Whit Masterson and delivered some of his finest work. Oozing with noirish overtones, it tells the story of crime and corruption in a small Mexican border town. The opening long take is widely considered one of the best sequences in cinematic history.

85 / 100
Paramount Pictures

#16. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Stacker score: 94
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 9
- Runtime: 202 minutes

Filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola and author Mario Puzo expand upon the Corleone saga in both directions. Michael’s struggle to retain power is mirrored by the exploits of a young Vito Corleone, played by Robert De Niro. Aiming for pure authenticity, Coppola had to reshoot flashback scenes after discovering the trousers worn by characters weren’t historically accurate.

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86 / 100
New Line Cinema

#15. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

- Director: Peter Jackson
- Stacker score: 94
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Runtime: 178 minutes

Kicking off Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the famous Tolkien trilogy was “The Fellowship of the Ring,” in which Frodo and Sam embark on their quest. Originally, the film was supposed to include a major ambush scene toward the end. However, a huge flood destroyed that particular set and the scene never came to be.

87 / 100
Warner Bros.

#14. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

- Director: John Huston
- Stacker score: 94
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 126 minutes

More than a classic book and film, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” is the ultimate parable about honor among thieves. It tells the story of greedy and desperate men, who uncover a treasure and then turn on one another. Original author B. Traven remains something of a mystery to this day.

88 / 100
20th Century Fox

#13. All About Eve (1950)

- Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
- Stacker score: 94
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 138 minutes

Writer Mary Orr based her short story “The Wisdom of Eve” on multiple real-life actors from the theater world. It was first adapted as a radio drama and then this Oscar-winning classic. Anne Baxter plays aspiring Broadway star Eve Harrington, who will do whatever it takes to get onto the main stage.

89 / 100
Daiei Motion Picture Company

#12. Rashomon (1950)

- Director: Akira Kurosawa
- Stacker score: 94
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 88 minutes

Akira Kurosawa’s impactful drama examines the same crime from multiple perspectives, playing upon the very concept of truth. It culls from two separate short stories by prolific writer Ryunosuke Akutagawa, who was published by the age of 17. The "Rashomon effect" has become a phenomenon unto itself and one that continues to inform storytelling.

90 / 100
20th Century Fox

#11. The Leopard (1963)

- Director: Luchino Visconti
- Stacker score: 94
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 186 minutes

Not just based on a novel of the same name, this historical drama is truly novelistic in scope. Set in 19th-century Sicily, it chronicles the last days of a dying aristocracy. Multiple cuts of the film exist, including one that runs for a whopping 205 minutes.

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91 / 100
Paramount Pictures

#10. The Conformist (1970)

- Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
- Stacker score: 94
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 113 minutes

A vulnerable man, played by Jean-Louis Trintignant, gets recruited by Italy’s fascist government for a hit job in this political thriller. The story is based on a 1951 novel by Alberto Moravia, who was once forced into hiding due to his outspoken political views. Director Bernardo Bertolucci puts his own twist on the narrative by presenting it in a nonlinear fashion.

92 / 100
Warner Home Video

#9. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

- Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor (uncredited), Mervyn LeRoy (uncredited), Norman Taurog (uncredited), Richard Thorpe (uncredited), King Vidor (uncredited)
- Stacker score: 94
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8
- Runtime: 102 minutes

It took but one man to write “The Wizard of Oz” book series before a small army of screenwriters and directors adapted it for the big screen. A cinematic milestone, the story follows young Dorothy, played by Judy Garland, into a fantasy world of endless possibility. Lesser known is a creepy 13-minute silent film called “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” from 1910, which ends with Dorothy deciding not to go home.

93 / 100
Columbia Pictures Corporation

#8. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

- Director: Stanley Kubrick
- Stacker score: 94
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 95 minutes

While director Stanley Kubrick based the majority of his films on books, he would frequently change the tone or content to suit his needs. That was certainly the case with “Dr. Strangelove,” which converted a dramatic novel into a pitch black comedy of errors. Both versions explore paranoia and miscommunication in the age of nuclear weaponry.

94 / 100
Rialto Pictures

#7. Army of Shadows (1969)

- Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
- Stacker score: 94
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 145 minutes

Underground resistance fighters take on the Nazi regime in this French thriller, based on Joseph Kessel’s novel of the same name. Director Jean-Pierre Melville was a former member of the French Resistance himself, who drew upon personal experience when making the film. It currently holds a score of 99 on Metacritic, signifying universal acclaim.

95 / 100
Shamley Productions

#6. Psycho (1960)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 95
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 109 minutes

A game-changer upon its release, Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” redefined the possibilities of horror and cinema alike. According to legend, novelist Robert Bloch modeled aspects of the original story after real-life murderer Ed Gein, who lived just 35 miles away from him. Bloch would later dispute the claim, saying any similarities between the real killer and Norman Bates are mostly just coincidence.

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96 / 100
Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment

#5. Schindler's List (1993)

- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Stacker score: 95
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Runtime: 195 minutes

Horrified by the atrocities of World War II, a German businessman, played by Liam Neeson, attempts to save more than a thousand Jews from the gas chamber. Both Spielberg’s film and the book upon which it’s based wouldn’t exist if not for Holocaust survivor Leopold “Poldek” Pfefferberg. It was Pfefferberg who convinced author Thomas Keneally to write Schindler’s story in the first place.

97 / 100
New Line Cinema

#4. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

- Director: Peter Jackson
- Stacker score: 95
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Runtime: 201 minutes

Capping off Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy was “The Return of the King,” in which forces of good and evil battle over the mighty ring. Never before had J.R.R. Tolkien’s words been given such epic visual treatment. For its efforts, the film won no less than 11 Academy Awards.

98 / 100
Paramount Pictures

#3. Vertigo (1958)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 95
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 128 minutes

The novel “D’Entre les morts” by Thomas Narcejac and Pierre Boileau translates to “Among the Dead,” but Hitchcock called it by another name: “Vertigo.” It tells the story of private investigator John “Scottie” Ferguson, played by Jimmy Stewart, who gets ensnared in a vicious trap involving murder and forged identity. The film may have also been inspired by the 1956 bestseller “The Search for Bridey Murphy,” a wildly popular book about past lives.

99 / 100
Paramount Pictures

#2. Rear Window (1954)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 96
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 112 minutes

Another Hitchcock classic, “Rear Window” centers on suspicious activities within a New York City apartment complex. Jimmy Stewart plays a wheelchair-bound photographer, who may or may not have witnessed a murder. It’s all based on the short story “It Had To Be Murder” by Cornell Woolrich.

100 / 100
Paramount Pictures

#1. The Godfather (1972)

- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Stacker score: 100
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 9.2
- Runtime: 175 minutes

From Mario Puzo’s pulpy novel came one of the best films ever made. It tells the story of the Corleone crime family, which struggles to retain power while facing obstacles on all sides. To think, Paramount Pictures didn’t want to cast Marlon Brando and tried to fire director Francis Ford Coppola during production. Thankfully, wiser minds prevailed.

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