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Movie Tie-Ins: A Literary Look at the Oscars

By Kristin Masters. Feb 24, 2013. 6:32 PM.

Topics: Literature, Movie Tie-Ins

Tonight marks the 85th Annual Academy Awards, lovingly known as the Oscars. The awards recognize the year's best in film, acting, and production. This year's nominees for the honor of best film include Life of Pithe charming and innovative novel by Yann Martel. Movie adaptations of books are frequent contenders at the Oscars, and if Life of Pi wins Best Picture, the movie will join an illustrious list of films that started as books. Find it and many other first editions in our Movie Tie-Ins category.


Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

Written by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall in 1932, Mutiny on the Bounty is based on the mutiny against Lieutenant William Bligh aboard the Bounty in 1789. The novel was the first in "The Bounty Trilogy" and was made into several movies and musicals. The 1935 adaptation by Frank Lloyd was considered the most successful. It starred Charles Laughton and Clark Gable.

Mutiny on the Bounty Oscar Winner

Gone with the Wind (1939)

Margaret Mitchell's epic novel recounts the story of classic Southern belle Scarlett O'Hara who struggles to overcome poverty after the American Civil War and rebuild her life during the Reconstruction. The 1939 film adaptation, directed by Victor Fleming, won numerous Academy Awards. Vivian Leigh won Best Actress in a Leading Role, and Clark Gable was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role.



Rebecca (1940)

When she published Rebecca in 1938, Daphne du Maurier was surprised to find herself one of the most popular authors of her day. A Gothic tale of lost love, Rebecca explores how the lingering memory of Maxim de Winter's first wife haunts him and his new wife. The psychological drama, released in 1940, was director Alfred Hitchcock's first American project. It stars Laurence Olivier as de Winter, Joan Fontaine as his second wife, and Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers.



Hamlet (1948)

Laurence Olivier both directed and starred in this Shakespeare film. Of all adaptations of Shakespeare's plays, this one received the most accolades. It was the only black and white film that Olivier directed. It was also the first sound adaptation of the play in English and the first British film to win an Oscar for Best Picture.


All the King's Men (1949)

Robert Penn Warren published All the King's Men in 1946 and won the Pulitzer for the novel the following year. It was adapted for film twice: first in 1949 and again in 2006. The 1949 adaptation, directed by Robert Rossen and starring Broderick Crawford, won an Oscar for Best Picture.



Around the World in 80 Days (1956)

One of Jules Verne's most acclaimed works, Around the World in Eighty Days was originally published in 1873. It recounts the story of Phileas Fogg and his valet, Passepartout, who try to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a bet. Michael Anderson directed the 1956 film adaptation, which starred David Niven and Cantinflas. The film won multiple Academy Awards, including the award for Best Picture.



Bridge Over the River Kwai (1957)

This novel, by Pierre Boulle, was published in French in 1942. It's based on the construction of the Burma Railway and the struggles of the British POW's who were forced to build the bridge. The novel won France's Prix Sainte-Beuve in 1952. David Lean adapted it for film in 1957, winning seven Oscars that year. It's often considered one of the greatest films of all time and was selected for preservation in the United States Library of Congress National Film Registry.



Ben-Hur (1959)

Lew Wallace's 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ was considered the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century. It remained a bestseller in the United States until Margaret Mitchell published Gone with the Wind in 1936. After the 1959 film adaptation won multiple Academy Awards, Ben-Hur again surpassed Gone with the Wind. The novel was the first work of fiction to be blessed by the Pope.



West Side Story (1961)

This 1961 film was an ingenious adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.  First a Broadway musicalthe film adaptation of West Side Story was directed by Robert Wise. The movie stars Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, and George Chakiris. The film has won more Oscars than any other musical film.


Oliver! (1968)

This 1968 British musical film is an adaption of the eponymous musical by Lionel Bart. The film was directed by Carol Reed, who went on to win an Oscar for Best Director. The film brought Charles Dickens' famous novel Oliver Twist to the big screen.

Oliver-Carol-Reed-Academy Award


The Godfather (1972)

Italian American author Mario Puzo published The Godfather in 1969. It details the exploits of a New York-based Sicilian Mafia family. In 1972, Francis Ford Coppola directed the film adaptation, which is held to be one of the greatest films of all time--and the second greatest film in American cinema. It was the highest grossing film ever made for some time and won three Oscars. Sequels to the film were produced with the input of Puzo.



One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

This 1962 novel by Ken Kesey critiques the institutional practices of psychiatry of the era, especially Behaviorism and humanist principles. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was first adapted for Broadway in 1963 by Dale Wasserman. Milos Forman directed the film adaptation (1975), which starred Jack Nicholson and won five Academy Awards.



Dances with Wolves-1990

Dances with Wolves author Michael Blake undertook writing his most famous novel at the urging of Kevin Costner, who had starred in Blake's Stacey's Knights. Blake completed Dances with Wolves in 1988. He'd collaborated closely with Costner (who went on to direct and star in the movie) throughout the writing, and during the screenplay adaptation. This story of a Union Army lieutenant's journey to the American frontier and gradual relationship with a group of Lakota Indians revived the Western genre.



The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Renowned thriller writer Thomas Harris published The Silence of the Lambs in 1988. A sequel to Red Dragon (1981), the novel pits serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter against FBI trainee Clarice Starling. Jonathan Demme directed the 1991 movie adaptation, which starred Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. The film won the five most prestigious Academy Awards and is still often listed as one of the best movies ever made.



Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump, a 1986 novel by Winston Groom, follows the eponymous protagonist from childhood through adulthood. His life weaves in historic events like the Vietnam War and Watergate. Robert Zemeckis directed the 1994 film adaptation of the novel, which starred Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, and Sally Field.



The English Patient (1996)

Written by Michael Ondaatje in 1992, The English Patient recounts the story of a British soldier and his Canadian nurse as they survive the end of World War II in Italy. The novel was adapted for film in 1996 by director Anthony Minghella and won nine Academy Awards.



Lord of the Ring: Return of the King (2003)

The last volume in the Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR TolkienReturn of the King was first published in 1955. An animated film adaptation was produced in 1980, but it was Peter Jackson's 2003 film adaptation that gained critical acclaim. The cast includes cinematic heavyweights like Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, and Cate Blanchett.

No Country for Old Men (2007)

American novelist Cormac McCarthy wrote No Country for Old Men in 2005. The thriller details the repercussions of a fictional drug deal gone wrong along the US-Mexico border in 1980. Joel and Ethan Coen directed the film adaptation, released in 2007. The movie stars Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, and Josh Brolin. It premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and went on to win four Oscars, three British Academy Film Awards, and two Golden Globes.


Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Indian diplomat Vikas Swarum published his first novel, Q & A, in 2005. His first novel follows Ram Mohammad Thomas, a young waiter who becomes the biggest quiz show winner in history. Ram is thrown in jail for cheating, despite no evidence of his dishonesty. In 2008, Danny Boyle adapted the novel for the big screen and renamed it "Slumdog Millionaire." The film, which starred Dev Patel, won eight of the ten Academy Awards it was nominated for.


Kristin Masters
Master Content Brain. You think it, she writes it, no good thought remains unposted. Sprinkles pixie dust on Google+, newsletters, blog, facebook, twitter and just about everything else.


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