Now more than ever film studios are continually turning to books for inspiration. More audiences are likely to flock to cinemas to see their favourites novels hit the big screen. Over the years, book adaptations from a number of British authors have proven to be hugely successful. On the 22nd July, Roald Dahl’s BFG will hit the big screen. Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Bridge of Spies’ Mark Rylance, the film is set to be a summer hit. To celebrate the release, we’re taking a look at the best British book to film adaptations.
James Bond – Ian Flemming
Flemming created the fictional character of James Bond, a British Secret Service Agent in 1953. Bond was adapted for TV, radio, comic strips, video games, and most notably film. The franchise was hugely popular and is the longest running film series to date with twenty-four films. The franchise has made a massive cultural impact. Daniel Craig was even chosen to play the role as the Queen’s escort to the 2012 London Olympics. Bond is seen as something of a national treasure for Britain.
The Borrowers – Mary Norton
Mary Norton wrote The Borrowers in 1952, earning her the Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising The Borrowers as the year’s outstanding children’s book by a British subject. The story features a family of tiny people who live secretly in the walls and floors of an English house and “borrow” from the big people in order to survive. The book was adapted into a live-action film in 1997 and was nominated for a BAFTA for Best British Film.
The BFG – Roald Dahl
Following the successful adaptations of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, Fantastic Mr Fox and The Witches, Dahl’s The BFG will finally hit screens on the 22nd July. The BFG tells the extraordinary tale of a young girl named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) and the Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance) who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant County. Together they embark on a marvellous and buckswashling adventure filled with snozzcumbers, dream jars, frobscottle and even the Queen! The mismatched pair form an unlikely friendship that will inspire enormous bravery in the BFG and give Sophie a taste of the family she dreams of.
Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling
The Harry Potter series is the second highest grossing franchise of all time. Written by J.K. Rowling, the fantasy novels were incredibly popular and attracted fans around the globe of all ages. The stories follow Harry Potter and his friends at their time at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. At the 64th British Academy Film Awards, J. K. Rowling, along with members of the cast and crew, collected the Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema for the series.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy – J. R. R. Tolkein
The Lord of the Rings trilogy was written by J. R. R. Tolkein. It was originally intended to be a sequel for Tolkein’s earlier novel, The Hobbit, but it turned into a much larger piece of work. The Lord of the Rings is one of the best-selling novels ever written, selling over 150 million copies. Peter Jackson directed the film adaptations and the entire project took eight years to produce. The film series was both critically and commercially acclaimed, and won 17 out of the 30 total Academy Award nominations.
Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
Helen Fielding’s original novel was a reinterpretation of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice. The story follows Bridget on her quest for romance, having to choose between the charming yet fickle Daniel Cleaver and the caring and respectable Mark Darcy. The first two films received positive reviews and were a huge commercial success. The latest film, Bridget Jones’s Baby, is set to be released this September. Renee Zellweger was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as Bridget.
Atonement – Ian McEwan
Atonement was originally written by Ian McEwan in 2011. The novel is set in three time periods, 1935 England, wartime England and France, and present-day England. It follows the story of Briony Tallis, an upper-class girl who makes a catastrophic mistake as a young girl. The film adaptation starred James McAvoy, Keira Knightley , Saoirse Ronan and directed by Joe Wright . It was nominated for 14 Academy Awards and won both Best Film and Production Design.
The BFG is in cinemas now