"Uhh, yeah, is there a movie version?"What do you think are the most reliable, valuable moive versions of boooks you teach? Any films of books that stand on their own?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I have used The Motorcycle Diaries by itself without referring to the text and it has worked really well as part of a unit based on bildungsroman and the development of character. The film version of Fahrenheit sounds awful!

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jeff-hauge | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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I too have given up looking for a Huck Finn Movie adaptation that is even close to being worthy. The 1980's TV miniseries is adequete. I think the novel is too big for the screen. 

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mrerick | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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I was just asking if you had good luck with a version that helped in teaching a book.

Gary Sinese version of Of Mice and Men is very true... except for no giant rabbit... I can't take the Mia Farrow Gatsby too sersiously

A River Runs Through It stands alone to me. I could watch that 100 times.

Gary Sinese and John Malkovich are awesome in OMAM.  Funny that a couple other mentioned Mia Farrow in Gatsby; all of my classes have hated that movie because of her.  They all think Robert Redford is decent, but Daisy just annoys the tar out of them.

One movie that very closely follows the text that my students really enjoy is the Parker Stevenson version of A Separate Peace.  It wouldn't hold up as a good movie without reading the novel first, but it's a great film to watch after finishing the read.

I still haven't found a good version of Huck Finn that I like.  Ron Howard as a seemingly 35 year old Huck is the most amusing to me.  The Patrick Day version is probably the most tolerable, although as a sports guy seeing Archie Moore in the Eddie Hodges movie warms the heart (although it's a terrible movie).

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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I thought of a movie that is much better than the book: The Andromeda Strain.

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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The film of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is amazing. Gary Oldham and Tim Roth.... about as good as it gets.

Yes, yes, yes...One of my favorite movies, and I'm thinking about adding the play to my Shakespeare class. It's a great way to show the influences Shakespeare has had...and both Gary and Tim in Renaissance dress???  Yes, yes, yes! :)

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jeff-hauge | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Anyone see "There Will be Blood" yet? It looks pretty inticing. Upton Sinclair work yes? I have a 5 yr old boy... might be sprinting home to hug him after I see it.

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jeff-hauge | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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The film of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is amazing. Gary Oldham and Tim Roth.... about as good as it gets.

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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I was just asking if you had good luck with a version that helped in teaching a book.

Gary Sinese version of Of Mice and Men is very true... except for no giant rabbit... I can't take the Mia Farrow Gatsby too sersiously

A River Runs Through It stands alone to me. I could watch that 100 times.

I could never understand what it was about Mia Farrow's Daisy that made men fall in love with her. Yuck!

The movie version of Sophie's Choice is pretty good. I'd rather watch any movie of a Dickens novel than read the book. I love the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice too. The Jane Eyre movie with Samantha Morton inspired one of my students to read the book.

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Can I just clarify your question? Are you asking if there are movie versions of any books that are better than the books themselves?  Please correct me if I misunderstood! :)

I think the 6-hour Pride and Prejudice miniseries with Colin Firth as Darcy is AMAZING!  It truly is a valuable resource in studying the book as it is not only incredibly well-done, but is also very true to Austen's book.  Would I ever say to a student, "Don't bother reading the book...just watch the miniseries?"  Absolutely no way, no how, never ever ever.  I want to hook kids on reading, not further drive a wedge between them and books simply because there's a movie version available.

Our kids (and ourselves, for that matter) are becoming such passive learners - we let our televisions, our computers teach us and there's not a ton of effort on our part - just plug the brain in to whichever box you choose, and off you go.  I hate the thought that kids aren't being hooked on the joys of holding a book and getting sucked into a story, and I'm thrilled with the other topic that was created recently (Reading Strategies)!

Films have their place, but I just can't believe they will ever replace books.

I keep wondering what's going to happen when the electricity goes out and batteries don't work anymore!

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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There is a made for tv version I have on video of "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" that is pretty good.  The girl that plays Maya is terrific.  I was stunned when students didn't actually realize Maya was raped until they saw the film.

"The Joy Luck Club" is fabulous, as is Cicely Tyson in "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman."  

"The Color Purple," makes you wish Whoopi Goldberg has more integrity and could make more films like this.   Despite being panned,  I also though Oprah's rendition of "Beloved" was quite good. 

Finally, I love the BBC's "Pride and Prejudice."  But perhaps I swoon for Collin Firth! 

 

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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I see what you mean now by stand alone- love that movie! It was that movie that sent me to the Blackfoot Mountains to fly fish a few years ago with my dad! It's even more amazing in person! :)

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jeff-hauge | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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I was just asking if you had good luck with a version that helped in teaching a book.

Gary Sinese version of Of Mice and Men is very true... except for no giant rabbit... I can't take the Mia Farrow Gatsby too sersiously

A River Runs Through It stands alone to me. I could watch that 100 times.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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I love the Robert DeNiro version of Frankenstein.  It's the only film version that truly depicts the feelings of the creature even though there are a few creative details added along.

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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The new one is slated for a 2009 release, but I've seen the trailer for it and it looks like it has potential, of course anything is better than the one I've got, I think the students could do a better job in production and I've got a lot who don't even speak English that well!

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Reply to #5: LOL!  It must be bad if they would rather write an essay! :)

When does the new one come out???

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Yes! We've got the same one. When we finish reading the book , students ask if there is a film version and I tell them there is, but it stinks. They begged me last time and said they could endure it. 30 minutes in they were begging me to do anything else- even write an essay! :)

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jeff-hauge | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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I have several language learners in my classes so one novel we read is Holes and the movie version is actually really done well. I also think the Harry Potters and Lord of the Rings are well done from book to screen. When I do Edgar Allan Poe, I love the old Vincent Price movies, even though they throw some things and characters into the movie versions, they are great! Currently my two favorite are Masque of the Red Death and Cask of Amontillado

One that is pretty bad is my film version of Fahrenheit 451 and I can't wait until Tom Hank's film version comes out, I'm hoping it really brings to life the excitement of the book.

As far as stand alone films, I think Schindler's List is a good one, book is great, but not necessary and not really geared toward high school. We are studying the Holocaust this quarter.


If we have the same 451 version (and I think we do) it is horrid. The same actress playing two roles, the wires, the monorail.... It looks like they spent literally hundreds on that film.

malibrarian's profile pic

malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

Can I just clarify your question? Are you asking if there are movie versions of any books that are better than the books themselves?  Please correct me if I misunderstood! :)

I think the 6-hour Pride and Prejudice miniseries with Colin Firth as Darcy is AMAZING!  It truly is a valuable resource in studying the book as it is not only incredibly well-done, but is also very true to Austen's book.  Would I ever say to a student, "Don't bother reading the book...just watch the miniseries?"  Absolutely no way, no how, never ever ever.  I want to hook kids on reading, not further drive a wedge between them and books simply because there's a movie version available.

Our kids (and ourselves, for that matter) are becoming such passive learners - we let our televisions, our computers teach us and there's not a ton of effort on our part - just plug the brain in to whichever box you choose, and off you go.  I hate the thought that kids aren't being hooked on the joys of holding a book and getting sucked into a story, and I'm thrilled with the other topic that was created recently (Reading Strategies)!

Films have their place, but I just can't believe they will ever replace books.

clane's profile pic

clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

I have several language learners in my classes so one novel we read is Holes and the movie version is actually really done well. I also think the Harry Potters and Lord of the Rings are well done from book to screen. When I do Edgar Allan Poe, I love the old Vincent Price movies, even though they throw some things and characters into the movie versions, they are great! Currently my two favorite are Masque of the Red Death and Cask of Amontillado

One that is pretty bad is my film version of Fahrenheit 451 and I can't wait until Tom Hank's film version comes out, I'm hoping it really brings to life the excitement of the book.

As far as stand alone films, I think Schindler's List is a good one, book is great, but not necessary and not really geared toward high school. We are studying the Holocaust this quarter.

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