1. The Princess Bride. It's my favourite movie of all time. And it's based on one of my favourite books. It's awesome as a movie in itself, but it's also a fantastic adaptation. It really captures the whimsicality and humour of the novel, as it should - author William Goldman wrote the screenplay! On top of that, the casting is perfect, the costumes are great and the sets - well, they're kinda crappy, but that only adds to the charm.
2. The Notebook. This is one of those rare movie adaptations that's actually better than the book. While Nicholas Sparks' novel focuses mainly on the reunion of Noah and Ally, and refers to their teen romance briefly in flashbacks, the movie takes the time to build up their relationship before finally tearing them apart. Which makes their reunion all the more powerful - and, of course, romantic! Oh, and Ryan Gosling + Rachel McAdams = Total perfection.
3. Adaptation. This is based on Susan Orleans' The Orchid Thief, a book which I had to read for uni and which I hated. It's totally nuts and kinda boring. The movie, too, is totally nuts, but it's most definitely not boring. It takes a non-fiction, non-linear ramble and turns it into a fictional, non-linear ramble - completely changing the story but staying true to the essence and themes of the book and making it 100 times more entertaining in the process. Plus, it gets bonus points for Meryl Streep.
4. The Secret Garden. The movie isn't the most faithful adaptation ever, but, like Adaptation, it stays true to the spirit of its source material (Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel). Mary's blossoming (garden puns FTW!) from a churlish, selfish loner into a caring, lively girl is as magical to watch as it is to read. And Andrew Knott's Dickon was, like, my third love (after Prince Eric and Westley. I was eight by this stage).
5. Jane Eyre. The latest version of Charlotte Bronte's classic romance is ah-mazing. Inevitably, big chunks of plot are left out, but it does a fantastic job of condensing hundreds of pages of story into a couple of hours of film. The important stuff is there, and then some. Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska are brilliant as Rochester and Jane, and their chemistry is crazy-hot. The passion which is so central to their story - and is sometimes missing in adaptations - sizzles and leaps off the screen. Swoon!
Coming soon: my top five mini-series/TV adaptations!