Literary adaptations

by martinoconnell | created - 03 Jan 2019 | updated - 03 Jan 2019 | Public

Adaptations of classic literary works that are faithful to their source

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1. Les Misérables (2018–2019)

372 min | Drama, History, Romance

Television adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel, which follows Jean Valjean as he evades capture by the unyielding Inspector Javert. Set against a backdrop of post-Napoleonic France as unrest begins to grip the city of Paris once more.

Stars: Dominic West, David Oyelowo, Adeel Akhtar, David Bradley

Votes: 4,954

2. Oliver Twist (1985)

360 min | Drama

An orphan named Oliver Twist meets a pickpocket on the streets of London. From there, he joins a household of boys who are trained to steal for their master.

Stars: Ben Rodska, Eric Porter, Michael Attwell, Pip Donaghy

Votes: 285

3. Wuthering Heights (1978– )

300 min | Drama

An eternally romantic love story between Heathcliff and Catherine.

Stars: Ken Hutchison, Brian Wilde, Pat Heywood, John Duttine

Votes: 134

4. The Woman in White (1982– )

55 min | Mystery, Thriller

In Victorian England, Laura and her half-sister Marian are entwined in a terrifying web of deceit. Laura's doppelganger, a mysterious woman dressed all in white, may hold the key to unlock the mystery.

Stars: Diana Quick, Ian Richardson, John Shrapnel, Jenny Seagrove

Votes: 180

5. Our Mutual Friend (1976)

50 min | Drama

Based on the Dickens novel, tells the story of a young man who's inherited fortune hangs on his marriage to a woman he's never met. But many have their eyes on his fortune and scheme to ... See full summary »

Stars: Lesley Dunlop, John McEnery, Nicholas Jones, Leo McKern

Votes: 88

6. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

Passed | 117 min | Drama, Romance

In 15th century France, a gypsy girl is framed for murder by the infatuated Chief Justice, and only the deformed bellringer of Notre Dame Cathedral can save her.

Director: William Dieterle | Stars: Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Hara, Cedric Hardwicke, Thomas Mitchell

Votes: 9,790 | Gross: $3.27M

7. The Three Musketeers (1948)

Not Rated | 125 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

D'Artagnan (Gene Kelly) and his Musketeer comrades thwart the plans of Cardinal Richelieu (Vincent Price) to usurp King Louis XIII's (Frank Morgan's) power.

Director: George Sidney | Stars: Lana Turner, Gene Kelly, June Allyson, Van Heflin

Votes: 5,471

8. The Return of the Musketeers (1989)

PG | 102 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

In France in 1649, the services of the Four Musketeers are needed again, and they run into some old foes from twenty years before.

Director: Richard Lester | Stars: Michael York, Oliver Reed, Frank Finlay, C. Thomas Howell

Votes: 3,120

9. The Man in the Iron Mask (I) (1998)

PG-13 | 132 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

48 Metascore

The cruel King Louis XIV of France has a secret twin brother whom he keeps imprisoned. Can the twin be substituted for the real king?

Director: Randall Wallace | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, Gérard Depardieu

Votes: 150,448 | Gross: $56.97M

10. The Count of Monte Cristo (1934)

Passed | 113 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

After greedy men have Edmound Dantes unjustly imprisoned for 20 years for innocently delivering a letter entrusted to him, he escapes to get his revenge on them.

Director: Rowland V. Lee | Stars: Robert Donat, Elissa Landi, Louis Calhern, Sidney Blackmer

Votes: 2,301

11. A Tale of Two Cities (1989– )

188 min | Drama, History, Romance

Two men, one an aristocrat, and one a drunken lawyer, fall in love with the same woman during the early stages of the French Revolution.

Stars: James Wilby, Xavier Deluc, Serena Gordon, John Mills

Votes: 313

12. The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)

G | 260 min | Biography, Drama, History

An all-star, large scale epic movie that chronicles the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

Directors: George Stevens, David Lean, Jean Negulesco | Stars: Max von Sydow, Dorothy McGuire, Charlton Heston, Michael Anderson Jr.

Votes: 8,292 | Gross: $15.47M

13. Great Expectations (1989– )

303 min | Drama

A humble orphan suddenly becomes a gentleman with the help of an unknown benefactor.

Stars: Jean Simmons, John Rhys-Davies, Ray McAnally, Anthony Calf

Votes: 340

14. Little Dorrit (2008)

420 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

This mini-series tells the story of Amy Dorrit, who spends her days earning money for the family and looking after her proud father, who is a long term inmate of Marshalsea debtors' prison ... See full summary »

Stars: Claire Foy, Matthew Macfadyen, Tom Courtenay, Judy Parfitt

Votes: 8,026

15. Bleak House (2005)

TV-PG | 510 min | Drama

A suspenseful tale about the injustices of the 19th Century English legal system.

Stars: Anna Maxwell Martin, Denis Lawson, Carey Mulligan, Gillian Anderson

Votes: 8,202

16. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1996)

159 min | Drama

In the mid 19th Century, an enigmatic young woman moves to Yorkshire with a young son. Distancing herself from everyone in the village and their prying questions, she remains totally aloof ... See full summary »

Stars: Toby Stephens, Tara Fitzgerald, Rupert Graves, Sarah Badel

Votes: 2,391

17. Middlemarch (1994)

375 min | Drama, History, Romance

This Masterpiece Theatre production, set at the cusp of the Industrial Revolution, chronicles the life, loves, foibles, and politics of the fictional English town of Middlemarch. Adapted ... See full summary »

Stars: Juliet Aubrey, Douglas Hodge, Robert Hardy, Peter Jeffrey

Votes: 2,104

18. Jesus of Nazareth (1977)

TV-G | 382 min | Biography, Drama, History

Beginning before the Nativity and extending through the Crucifixion and Resurrection, this mini-series brings to life all of the sweeping drama in the life of Jesus, as told by the Gospels.

Stars: Robert Powell, Olivia Hussey, Laurence Olivier, James Mason

Votes: 18,500

19. Fanny Hill (2007– )

60 min | Drama, Romance

Orphaned by smallpox, young Lancashire country lady Fanny Hill cheerfully accepts her friend Esther Davies's offer to join the London 'working girls' with Mrs. Brown, a madam who recruits ... See full summary »

Stars: Rebecca Night, Alison Steadman, Hugo Speer, Emma Stansfield

Votes: 1,020

20. Lorna Doone (2000 TV Movie)

180 min | Drama, Romance

Against a backdrop of political and religious upheaval, a farmer falls in love with the "queen" of the notorious Doone clan --a family that he has sworn vengeance on.

Director: Mike Barker | Stars: Neil Finnighan, Jack Baverstock, Trevor Cooper, Aidan Gillen

Votes: 1,730

21. The Pickwick Papers (1985– )

360 min | Drama

The story follows Samuel Pickwick and three other members of The Pickwick Club as they travel throughout the English countryside by coach observing the phenomena of life and human nature, ... See full summary »

Stars: Nigel Stock, Clive Swift, Alan Parnaby, Jeremy Nicholas

Votes: 180

22. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1982)

540 min | Drama

A young, compassionate man struggles to save his family and friends from the abusive exploitation of his cold-hearted, grasping uncle.

Stars: Alun Armstrong, Suzanne Bertish, Janet Dale, Jane Downs

Votes: 445

23. Barnaby Rudge (1960– )

30 min | Drama

Murder mystery interwoven with the historical events of England's Gordon riots of 1780, based on the novel by Charles Dickens.

Stars: John Wood, Barbara Hicks, Newton Blick, Neil McCarthy

Votes: 17

24. Martin Chuzzlewit (1994)

385 min | Drama

Some very greedy and selfish relatives are all after the failing old Martin Chuzzlewit's (Paul Scofield's) money. He is surrounded by all these sycophantic relatives that he truly despises ... See full summary »

Stars: Emma Chambers, Julia Sawalha, Keith Allen, Philip Franks

Votes: 736

25. Rob Roy (1995)

R | 139 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

55 Metascore

In 1713 Scotland, Rob Roy MacGregor is wronged by a nobleman and his nephew, becomes an outlaw in search of revenge while fleeing the Redcoats, and faces charges of being a Jacobite.

Director: Michael Caton-Jones | Stars: Liam Neeson, Jessica Lange, John Hurt, Tim Roth

Votes: 39,214 | Gross: $31.60M

26. Ivanhoe (1982 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 142 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

Wilfred of Ivanhoe, a worthy and noble knight, the champion of justice returns to England after the holy wars. He finds England under the reign of Prince John and his henchmen and finds ... See full summary »

Director: Douglas Camfield | Stars: James Mason, Anthony Andrews, Sam Neill, Michael Hordern

Votes: 4,220

27. Excalibur (1981)

PG | 140 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

56 Metascore

Merlin the magician helps Arthur Pendragon unite the Britons around the Round Table of Camelot, even as dark forces conspire to tear it apart.

Director: John Boorman | Stars: Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi

Votes: 55,010 | Gross: $34.97M

28. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

PG | 102 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

97 Metascore

When Prince John and the Norman Lords begin oppressing the Saxon masses in King Richard's absence, a Saxon lord fights back as the outlaw leader of a rebel guerrilla army.

Directors: Michael Curtiz, William Keighley | Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains

Votes: 45,102 | Gross: $3.98M

29. Dombey and Son (1969– )

325 min | Drama

The dream of Paul Dombey, the wealthy owner of the shipping company, is to have a son to continue his business. Tragically, Dombey's wife dies shortly after giving birth to their son.

Stars: John Carson, Kara Wilson, William Moore, Christopher Sandford

Votes: 8

30. Hard Times (1994– )

100 min | Drama

Thomas Gradgrind, a wealthy, retired merchant in the industrial city of Coketown, England, devotes his life to a philosophy of rationalism, self-interest, and fact. He raises his oldest ... See full summary »

Stars: Harriet Walter, Bill Paterson, Alan Bates, Beatie Edney

Votes: 235

31. Jane Eyre (1983)

239 min | Drama, Romance

A young governess falls in love with her mysterious employer, but a terrible secret puts their happiness at risk.

Stars: Zelah Clarke, Timothy Dalton, Carol Gillies, James Marcus

Votes: 2,987

32. Pride and Prejudice (1995)

TV-PG | 327 min | Drama, Romance

While the arrival of wealthy gentlemen sends her marriage-minded mother into a frenzy, willful and opinionated Elizabeth Bennet matches wits with haughty Mr. Darcy.

Stars: Colin Firth, Jennifer Ehle, Susannah Harker, Julia Sawalha

Votes: 70,963

33. Sense and Sensibility (1971– )

178 min | Drama, Romance

Mrs. Dashwood and her two daughters, Elinor and Marianne, are faced with the prospect of Mrs. Dashwood's stepson and his wife moving into their home at Norland.

Stars: Michael Aldridge, Sheila Ballantine, Esme Church, Joanna David

Votes: 133

35. Screen Two (1985–2002)
Episode: Persuasion (1995)

PG | 107 min | Drama

Eight years earlier, Anne Elliot, the daughter of a financially troubled aristocratic family, was persuaded to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a young seaman, who, though ... See full summary »

Director: Roger Michell | Stars: Amanda Root, Ciarán Hinds, Susan Fleetwood, Corin Redgrave

Votes: 9,597 | Gross: $5.46M

36. Mansfield Park (1983– )

261 min | Drama, Romance

Impoverished Fanny Price is sent to live with her more affluent uncle and aunt. The arrival of new neighbors brings a chance for romance to Fanny and her cousins.

Stars: Anna Massey, Angela Pleasence, Sylvestra Le Touzel, Nicholas Farrell

Votes: 874

37. Emma (2009)

240 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Emma Woodhouse (Romola Garai) seems to be perfectly content, to have a loving father for whom she cares, friends, and a home. But Emma has a terrible habit, matchmaking. She cannot resist ... See full summary »

Stars: Romola Garai, Michael Gambon, Jonny Lee Miller, Jodhi May

Votes: 14,098

38. Screen Two (1985–2002)
Episode: Northanger Abbey (1987)

88 min | Drama

Catherine Morland is a young woman who enjoys reading Gothic Novels. She is invited to Bath by a family friend, Mrs. Allen, and there she meets Henry Tilney and his sister Eleanor. Upon ... See full summary »

Director: Giles Foster | Stars: Katharine Schlesinger, Peter Firth, Robert Hardy, Googie Withers

Votes: 812

39. The Old Curiosity Shop (1995 TV Movie)

PG | 120 min | Drama

When young Nell Trent's (Sally Walsh's) grandfather (Sir Peter Ustinov) loses the investment money of wharf owner Daniel Quilp (Sir Tom Courtenay) with cards, Quilp develops an everlasting urge to get him put in the madhouse. Nell and her grandfather flee the city.

Director: Kevin Connor | Stars: Alan Barry, Adam Blackwood, Tom Courtenay, Brian de Salvo

Votes: 220

40. The Moonstone (1972)

225 min | Drama

A priceless jewel, originally plundered from a Hindu shrine, is presented to Rachel Verinder on her 18th birthday. The jewel goes missing and suspicion falls over the household, threatening to destroy someone close to Rachel's heart.

Stars: Vivien Heilbron, Robin Ellis, Basil Dignam, Martin Jarvis

Votes: 65

41. Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

R | 119 min | Drama, Romance

74 Metascore

A scheming widow and her manipulative ex-lover make a bet regarding the corruption of a recently married woman.

Director: Stephen Frears | Stars: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Swoosie Kurtz

Votes: 61,586 | Gross: $34.70M

42. A Christmas Carol (1984 TV Movie)

PG | 100 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

An old bitter miser who rationalizes his uncaring nature learns real compassion when three spirits visit him on Christmas Eve.

Director: Clive Donner | Stars: George C. Scott, Frank Finlay, Angela Pleasence, Edward Woodward

Votes: 11,614

43. The Scarlet Empress (1934)

Passed | 104 min | Drama, History, Romance

A German noblewoman enters into a loveless marriage with the dim-witted, unstable heir to the Russian throne, then plots to oust him from power.

Director: Josef von Sternberg | Stars: Marlene Dietrich, John Lodge, Sam Jaffe, Louise Dresser

Votes: 5,413

44. The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934)

Not Rated | 97 min | Adventure, Drama

A noblewoman discovers her husband is The Scarlet Pimpernel, a vigilante who rescues aristocrats from the blade of the guillotine.

Director: Harold Young | Stars: Leslie Howard, Merle Oberon, Raymond Massey, Nigel Bruce

Votes: 3,641

46. Swiss Family Robinson (1960)

G | 126 min | Adventure, Family