Filmmakers often draw inspiration from great works of literature and bring the writer’s vision to the screen. Although the interpretation of these stories can differ significantly between writer and filmmaker, they often follow the same baseline. Along with classics, sci-fi series, and popular novels, there are several movies based on short stories. Although there are fewer adapted short stories compared to other art forms, they are not disappointing.
Short stories often have an interesting plot that grabs the reader’s attention right from the start. Compensating for their faster-paced narratives, they often incorporate unique twists. This ensures that movies based on great short stories will keep audiences on the edge of their seat. Netflix has a great collection of movies and especially offers some of the best movies adapted from short stories.
ten Eyes Wide Shut’s fantasy portrayal of Novella Desire
One of those unusual films that blurs the lines between reality and fantasy is that of Stanley Kubrick Eyes wide closed with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Eyes Wide Shut is based on Arthur Schnitzler’s 1926 novel Traumnovelle (Dream Story)full of passion, murder and conspiracy.
Eyes wide closed follows the torrid relationship between Bill and Alice after the latter decides to fulfill her lifelong desire. The acclaimed author’s final work is infamous in every sense of the word, producing one of the most interesting feature films ever made. Kubrick changes the location from decadent-era Vienna to New York, choosing to hold up a mirror of modern society.
9 Jumanji (1995) is a children’s picture book turned mega-franchise
the original Jumanji is based on the book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. Starring Robin Williams, Bonnie Hunt and Kirsten Dunst, the film depicts three children playing a supernatural board game.
Even though the film is an adaptation of a children’s picture book jumaji, it has become a much-loved and world-renowned franchise. Filmmaker Joe Johnston barely altered the book’s original plot, keeping all of its minute details and fantastical absurdities. Jumanji became one of the most successful and enduring short story adaptations.
8 The Lorax Brought Dr. Seuss’ Vision To A Fun Animated Marvel
A surprisingly delicious animated film starring Zac Efron, Danny DeVito and Ed Helms, The Lorax delivers the heart with meaningful morality. As it is an adaptation of the book of the same name by Dr. Seuss, the story is aimed at children.
The beauty of the film is that it remains applicable to all ages. Addressing the themes of environmental prevention and childish wonderment, The Lorax appeals to Dr. Seuss fans and encourages the public to take care of nature. With great animations and an adorable story, the film is sure to bring out the inner child in viewers.
seven The Minority Report’s Prediction of the Troubling Future
Based on a short story of the same name by Philip K. Dick, Minority report follows the exploits of DC’s new “Precrime” division. The division relies on three mediums known as “precogs”. Using the precogs’ death dreams, the PreCrime Division eradicates murder in their town by preventing homicides before they happen.
Starring Tom Cruise and directed by Steven Spielberg, the Minority report turns out to be an exhilarating and disturbing experience in the most entertaining way possible. The sequences are way ahead of their time, and Spielberg portrays Philip K. Dick’s prediction of the future as accurately as possible.
6 3:10 Yuma (1957) is a western adaptation on honor
3h10 to Yuma, a thrilling and compassionate action film directed by incredibly gifted studio executive Delmer Daves, is based on Elmore Leonard’s short story of the same name. Van Heflin plays a mild-mannered cattle rancher who accepts the responsibility of escorting a captured criminal (played by Glenn Ford) to the train that will transport him to prison.
3h10 to Yuma is a beautifully filmed and psychologically complicated Western, setting the pattern for all other Westerns after it. This seemingly simple task becomes a tense game of cat and mouse that tests every man’s unique sense of honor.
5 The Invisible Man’s Scary Story of Abuse and Toxic Relationships
Leigh Whannell bases her film The invisible Man out of the HG Wells short story of the same name. Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) worries that her controlling ex-boyfriend Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) has discovered a way to turn invisible before he stages his own disappearance and comes back to taunt her.
This differs from the HG Wells short story, but aside from the minutiae, both stories depict the horrors of relationship abuse. Although primarily a horror film, it also serves as a reflection on the sinister dynamics of domestic violence and victim blaming on some level.
4 The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’s relatable view on the monotony of life
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty depicts the change a man goes through when he learns to be brave. It is based on a short story of the same name published in The New Yorker in 1939 by James Thurber.
Ben Stiller plays Walter, a man inclined to dream and lose touch with reality. Alongside him are Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Wiig and Sean Penn. Walter Mitty’s story has been modernized for today and the world of online dating, downsizing, job loss, and international travel, but it’s otherwise true to its source material.
3 Spiderhead is an eye-pleasing adaptation of a horrifying story
Directed by Joseph Kosinski, spider head tells the dystopian story of inmates who agree to use experimental drugs in exchange for living in better facilities, getting shorter sentences, and improving humanity. Miles Teller plays prisoner Jeff and Chris Hemsworth portrays Steve, the mastermind.
The short story “Escape from Spiderhead” by George Saunders, published in The New Yorker in 2010, inspired the film. While the film took several creative liberties, like the source material, it questioned capitalism and consent. Both Miles Teller and Chris Hemsworth delivered excellent performances.
2 The jaw-dropping look of arrival at the bittersweet future
The award-winning news Story of your life by Ted Chiang served as the basis for the story Arrival. Unlike any particular political period, Arrival is much more interested in fundamental truths about language, imagination and interpersonal relationships and delivers incredibly artistic sequences.
Dr. Banks (Amy Adams) suffers an unthinkable loss after Earth is attacked by pod-like aerial craft. She joins military intelligence, determined to bring life back to what she was. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, the film is a beauty to behold. It relays Chiang’s fears and grips the audience from the start.
1 Brokeback Mountain is a heartbreaking love story
Brokeback Mountain is a popular romance film. It is based on the short story of the same name, written by Annie Proulx. Published in the New Yorker in 1997, it follows two breeders, Ennis and Jack.
Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal gave some of their best performances in this film, communicating the pain and longing their characters felt due to their then-forbidden love. Staying extremely true to the source material, Ang Lee won over audiences and critics alike with this beautiful story.
NEXT: 10 Book-to-Movie Adaptations From The 2000s That Still Hold Up Today