I’ve had a lot of fun putting together a list of the best books (to me) of the decades from 1980 to now … but what about all of those movies that were adapted from books and short stories to the silver screen?
1980: Somewhere in Time is a movie where Christopher Reeve falls in love with the photograph of a stage actress and somehow, through the magic of hypnosis, travels back to be with her, though this is abruptly ended due to finding one very unlucky penny. This was based on the novel Bid Time Return by Richard Matheson, who also wrote the screenplay for the movie.
1981: The tales of King Arthur have been written, time and time again. His knights and their round table, the different versions of every story. One of those tales was Exaclibur, based on the specific story Le Morte d’Arthur (translates to The Death of Arthur). Very few characters catch our minds as completely as this one does. “The future has taken root in the present” – Merlin.
1982: First Blood – John Rambo first showed up wearing his iconic headband (often innovated by young boys from ties found in their father’s closets for years and years after …) and saying classic 80s lines like: “They drew first blood, not me” – but did you know that he first graced the pages of David Morrell’s novel of the same name 10 years earlier in 1972?
1983: Classic high school literature, S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders touches on truth, and coming of age. Hinton started writing the novel at fifteen, and maybe that’s why it still feels like it gets the perspective right, regardless of the era. The novel translates well to film, too. “Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold” – Johnny.
1984: The Neverending Story is one that I don’t think surprises us too much that it was adapted from a book of the same name. Afterall, our protagonist does find himself avoiding bullies in a bookstore, or diving into a new world through the words on the page as he reads … really it makes perfect sense. “Never give up and good luck will find you” – thanks Falkor.
1985: The Black Cauldron is an animated fantasy film from Walt Disney, but it’s also from a book series called The Chronicles of Prydain. I not only remember this film from my childhood, but the first video game I ever played was the computer game – on the giant floppy disks that I swear you could remove the center and go play frisbee. “Oh, poor miserable Gurgi deserves fierce smackings and whackings on his poor, tender head. Always left with no munchings and crunchings.” – dear, sweet, Gurgi …
1986: Stand by Me, the super iconic coming of age tale, was adapted from a Stephen King novella, The Body. Stephen King worked on the screenplay for the movie as well (along with two other writers, Raynold Gideon and Bruce Evans). “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?” – The Writer.
1987: I don’t know very many people who aren’t familiar with The Princess Bride; there was a good chance if you hadn’t seen it at home you were going to catch it on a down day at school (Middle and High schools, of course), and if you haven’t seen it you’ve probably seen a meme or heard a quote (at least one) from it – “As you wish” surely is running through your head by now … Anyway, this beloved movie also comes from a book, though perhaps you knew that given the grandpa reading the story at the beginning of the movie?
1988: In true 1980’s fashion action movies were the name of the game, and one of the most iconic action heroes was John McClane from Die Hard. Nowadays it’s revered as one of the best Christmas movies, but when it came out (in middle of July, mind you), it was the adaptation of Roderick Thorp’s Nothing Lasts Forever. Interested in John McClane pre-Die Hard? Check out the first book in the series, The Detective. “Welcome to the party, Pal.” – John McClane.
1989: “If you build it, they will come” went from a movie quote, to a motivational speaker’s dream speech. Field of Dreams taught us that all we had to do was have a dream, build said dream (so long as building something was required, if not … well, good luck folks), and BAM! Success abounds. Okay, I’m really oversimplifying the movie – and the book, Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella, as well (I think, I didn’t realize it was a book until 5 minutes ago).
I’d love to hear your favorite quotes from these, or any others that maybe I missed.