I believe that movies and books are two totally different art forms, so that even when a book is made into a movie or vice versa it is still a different entity. In this case, the movie is beautifully done and stands as a good movie in its own right. However there is no way any movie can capture the beauty of Lee's prose or the deeply affecting themes and symbolism completely. So while the movie does translate the book well to the screen, it is not the same thing as reading the book.
I agree that most novels lose something when they're made into films, and To Kill a Mockingbird is no exception. However, I think Harper Lee's role in the adaptation (along with the casting of Gregory Peck as Atticus) makes Mockingbird one of the best examples of a successful film that represents its novel well. Again, though, there's nothing like the experience of reading the book!
The movie is a wonderful adaptation, but the novel is so rich with nuance and tone that just can't translate to the screen. The behavior, attitudes, and thoughts of the all the characters, espeically the children are much more mutli-faceted in the novel -- in part because of the number of antecdotes -- many of which are cut in the movie.
Always the book over the movie! When one reads one has the unique experience of being allowed to imagine with the author the world without any interference from others. How many times have we all watched a movie and exclaimed, "That is not how the novel is!" or "That it not the way this scene is presented!"
When the book presents the author's interpretation of the world already, why do producers and directors have to reinterpret the interpretation?
Books are better than the movies made from them almost 100% of the time, in my experience. Specifically, To Kill a Mockingbird is a better novel than a movie because you get to "hear" Scout's voice throughout the novel and not just in dialogue or actions, plus you get it all. The movie necessarily has to cut for the sake of time, and there is no Miss Caroline scene, no urinating off the porch scene, no Dolphus Raymond...and the list goes on. I vote book.
While the film To Kill a Mockingbird is extremely well casted and acted, I like the book better because of Harper Lee's skilled use of language and characterization. For time's sake, the filmmakers chose to completely cut out Aunt Alexandra's character, but the tension between her and Scout is part of what best illustrates Scout's maturation.
I also like the classroom scenes with Miss Caroline, but again those are missing from the movie, and so the film's audience completely misses Harper Lee's satirizing the education system of her day.
Novels are alway the best!!! BUt its always good to see it in movie to have a better imege!!