Movies That Star Books As Main Characters

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Yesterday, I posted about the best libraries featured in movie which got me thinking about movies that feature books. Some of my favorite movies feature books as a pretty big part of the storyline in their own right. Coincidence? I think not.

Never-ending Story

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So this kid gets so into reading this fantasy book that it becomes real. Or rather, it is a magic book that becomes real for the person reading it? Anyway, if you want to scare your kid out of ever reading ever again, show them this. Unless they are the kind of kid that likes being scared, in which case show it to them if you want them to read. All I know is this one still gives the chills.

Hocus Pocus

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What do you do if three witches come back to life? Well, you steal their spell book of course. This creepy book has a mind of its own, not to mention a very sinister looking eye. My absolute favorite Halloween movie.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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Dumbledore has died and left you a book, you know it’s not just because he knows you adore books. Would the Deathly Hallows really have been the same without the brothers Peverell? Of course not. It just again aludes to the genius of Rowling that she wrote a book within a book.

Dead Poets Society

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Ah, the early 1960s, when even an anthology of English poetry could seem rebellious. Part incantation, part initiation-rite, reading from Five Centuries of Verse was the Dead Poets’ sacrament.

Back to the Future II

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Gray’s Sports Almanac is an unlikely anti-hero, but when time travel is involved, knowing the outcome of every sporting event in the past/coming decades turns it into a cash-generating butterfly whose flapping wings rewrites future-history.

Se7en

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As we now know from both Se7en and Dan Brown’s latest novel, you really don’t want to find out that the guy you are trying to find and stop is a huge Inferno fan. In fact, outside of finding a complete text of The Book of Revelation hand-copied in blood, it is basically the worst-case scenario for your villain’s favorite book. I mean terza rima, gag.

The English Patient

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I could spend several thousand words expounding on Ondaatje’s choice of Herodotus’ The Histories to be Count Amache’s sacred text/journal, but I will restrain myself. Let’s just say that war, desire, sacrifice, betrayal, and story-telling figure heavily. And those scenes of Binoche reading to a scarred Fiennes: sublime.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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A book that must itself be killed! As far as I know, this is the only movie where it is a book that must be vanquished (and with the tooth of a basilisk nonetheless). By most accounts the least successful of the Harry Potter movies, Chamber of Secrets is a lot of fun when Tom Riddle’s diary is on-screen.

Labyrinth

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The opening scene of this movie is Sarah reading a book and acting out the scenes. How many of us have not had a desire to put on a costume and be our favorite characters? The book proves to be more than just a bibliophile’s love, it is the ending of the nightmare of the Goblin King.

The Princess Bride

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Now THIS is how you do a frame story. Heck, I would’ve watched Peter Falk just read the book aloud to Fred Savage for 90 minutes.

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6 Comments

  1. Some great choices! I haven’t seen Hocus Pocus. I will have to check that out.

    Don’t forget Inkheart! (Movie/Book that features a book)

    • Ooh, I did forget that one. I am going to have to make another list soon. I do love lists.

    • Inkheart is one of my favourites! Paul Bettany as Dustfinger was the most perfect casting I’ve ever seen in a movie adaptation of a book. He was absolutely spot on. I’m going to have to watch that movie again some time.

      • I’ve heard rumours about sequels…

      • Oooh, I hope so.

      • I am now going to be renting this movie this weekend. Now I just have to watch it.

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