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Books That Inspired Award-Winning Movies and Performances

By Kristin Masters. Aug 25, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Movie Tie-Ins, Modern First Editions

Since the invention of cinema, directors and producers have borrowed stories from the pages of books to grace the silver screen. And exceptional books often make exceptional films, as evidenced by the number of award-winning moviesand performancesbased on books. In honor of legendary actor Sean Connery's birthday, here's a look at some favorites, which have remained popular both on screen and among collectors of modern first editions. 

Collectible Books That Inspired Award-Winning Movies



Fleming's ninth James Bond novel, Thunderball introduces us to the villainous Ernst Stavro Blofeld and his role as head of the criminal organization, SPECTRE. In the novel, M directs Bond to travel to the Bahamas to conduct operations and investigate SPECTRE’s movements. 

Thunderball was the basis for the Academy Award winning movie of the same name starring Sean Connery as 007. Interestingly, Thunderball (the novel) was itself based off of a screenplay that Fleming wrote in collaboration with others. By failing to give credit to his co-writers, he ended up in a massive plagiarism debacle.


The Name of the Rose

Umberto Eco's debut novel Il nome della rosa tells the tale of heresy, murder, and the search for truth. The mystery is set in a monastic library and takes as its protagonist William of Baskerville who is Eco's own nod to Sherlock Holmes.

The Name of the Rose was adapted into a film and starred Sean Connery as Friar William and a young Christian Slater as his apprentice Adso. Sean Connery won a BAFTA for best actor.


The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

Tolkien began The Lord of the Rings between 16 and 19 December 1937, three months after The Hobbit was published and George Allen & Unwin were encouraging Tolkien, against his inclination, to write a sequel. The rest is history. 

The cinematic adaptation of Fellowship of the Ring won numerous Academy Awards in 2002. 


Cold Mountain

One of the most acclaimed novels in recent memory, Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain is a masterpiece that is at once an enthralling adventure, a stirring love story, and a luminous evocation of a vanished America in all its savagery, solitude, and splendor. 

This book was the basis for the Academy Award-winning motion picture starring Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger, and Jude Law.


Silence of the Lambs

In Harris' Silence of the Lambs, a serial murderer known only by his nickname, Buffalo Bill, is stalking women, their bodies are discovered in different states. Clarice Starling, trainee at the FBI Academy, receives the assignment to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter, who is kept under close watch in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. 

The book won the 1989 Anthony Award for best novel, and it serves as the basis for the Academy Award-winning film starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins and Scott Glenn.


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 

JK Rowling's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third book in the series. For twelve long years, the dreaded fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to Dark Lord Voldemort. 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is an Academy Award nominated film, released June 2004, starring Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger. Michael Gambon replaced Richard Harris as Dumbledore.


Mystic River

Dennis Lehane's tense and unnerving psychological thriller, Mystic River is also an epic novel of love and loyalty, faith and family, in which people irrevocably marked by the past find themselves on a collision course with the darkest truths of their own hidden selves. 

The book is the basis for the Academy Award-winning movie starring Sean Penn and Tim Robbins.


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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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