I am a firm believer in the idea that reading a book is better than watching a film, because it allows your own imagination to make marvelous worlds and characters. Nevertheless, I concede that on a number of occasions, a film director has managed to take a great book and make it an even greater movie – sometimes it is better for us to watch the creations of someone else’s imagination. This is a list of ten such movies.
10 The Searchers John Ford, 1956
Original Story By: Alan Le May
Ethan Edwards, an ex-Confederate soldier from the Indian Wars, finds that his family has been massacred and his niece captured by the The Searchers Buy New $3.99 (as of 06:40 EDT - Details) Comanches and vows to bring her back and kill everyone of the Indians who did this to him. He travels for five years in order to find her and when he does realizes even though she has been found she has become one of them. The Searchers was ranked #1 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Western” in June 2008.
Interesting Fact: Lana Wood played young Debbie Edwards and Natalie Wood, who was Lana’s older sister by eight years, played teenaged Debbie Edwards.
9 Psycho Alfred Hitchcock, 1960
Original Story By: Robert Bloch
Phoenix officeworker Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. One Friday Marion is trusted to bank $40,000 by her employer. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam’s California store. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into The Bates Motel… This is a film that no one will dispute deserves a place on this list. It is perhaps the greatest horror movie across all generations.
Interesting Fact: When the cast and crew began work on the first day they had to raise their right hands and promise not to divulge one word of the story. Hitchcock also withheld the ending part of the script from his cast until he needed to shoot it.
8 Jaws Steven Spielberg, 1975
Original Story By: Peter Benchley
A Great White shark decides to make the small beach resort town of Amity his private feeding grounds. This greatly frustrates the town police chief who wants to close the beaches to chase the shark away. He is thwarted in his efforts by the town’s mayor who finally relents when nothing else seems to work and the chief, a scientist, and an old fisherman with revenge on his mind take to the sea to kill the beast. Jaws was a bestselling book for Peter Benchley, but it took the force of a movie to frighten generations away from the beaches!
Interesting Fact: After the shark was built, it was never tested in the water, and when it was put in the water at Martha’s Vineyard, it sank straight to the ocean floor. It took a team of divers to retrieve it.