Literature has had a deep impact on society, but film as a medium has given new heights to literature because cinema certainty has democratized literature to a great extent by giving a much-needed emphasis on story.
So here are some of the few films which made a significant impact in the world of cinema.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
A film that is hard to forget indeed, winner of the Big Five, and a classic that is still much sought after and talked about, the iconic Mcmurphy played by Jack Nicholsonattempts to lead a mental hospital’s inmates in rebellion against the tyrannical Nurse Ratched played by Louise Fletcher. The book is an altogether different experience, narrated by the seemingly deaf and mute “Chief” Bromden. A character that was inspired by author Ken Kesey’s own experience working at a mental asylum. Reportedly Ken Kesey didn’t like the film adaptation but that didn’t stop the film from becoming a cult classic.
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Harper Lee’s to kill a mockingbird is an extraordinary piece of literature when racial segregation was at it’s height and it almost seemed that this prejudice would never end. Both the film and the book retain their power more than a half-century later, with their themes remaining all too potent in contemporary America. Gregory Peck’s portrayal of noble Alabama lawyer Atticus Finch has long since been enshrined as a performance for the ages, and Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book remains as widely read as ever. We can’t fathom what else we can add to the mountains of praise heaped on both to convince you to put To Kill a Mockingbird in front of your eyes if you haven’t already.
Doctor Zhivago (1965)
Boris Pasternak is arguably one of the biggest names in Soviet Russian literature. And the beauty of this is simply too difficult to resist. David Lean’s adaptation is very faithful to the novel’s plot, depicting the events in a visually breathtaking style. Lean focuses on the love story and the dreamy poet side of Zhivago’s character, resulting in a film that is so beautiful and so fluidly shot you can enjoy it with the sound turned off __a feat few films can manage.
The Bridge Over the River Kwai (1957)
One of the endearing pieces in the world of cinema, a spectacle extraordinarily shot and a tale of great courage and then an unexpected fall feels almost like a Greek tragedy. Pierre Boulle’s 1952 novel was adapted into the 1957 film directed by David Lean, which won Best Picture at that year’s Oscars. The film is fairly faithful, adjusting one character to allow American star William Holden to appear and giving a redemptive moment to another character who isn’t in the book — but what Lean brought to the table is scope, a visual conception that makes a story of brutality and torture into a heroic tale of the human spirit. Make sure you watch the uncropped version because Lean packs a lot of great detail into the edges of each frame.
Fight Club (1999)
David Fincher’s adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel is remarkably faithful considering how different it is — which is to say, it keeps more or less everything in the novel but imposes a more traditional structure on it. Palahniuk’s novel is a primal scream of rage and frustration, while the film is a more polished criticism of modern-day consumerist culture and the concept of masculinity, but Fincher’s decision to add a voiceover maps the Narrator’s voice onto a film that visually captures the nightmarish tone of the story.
The Godfather trilogy (1972–1990ToThe greatest achievement in the history of American cinema? This crime epic has been praised for its performances, filmmaking, quotable lines, and archetypal characters. It’s rich with symbolism and history, but actually a straightforward and pleasant watch. Never meandering or slow, the story is gripping, if devastating or otherwise. But nevertheless, it surpasses everything in its ability to tell stories.