From Pages to Screens

The best film adaptations of school classics.

By Gracie Helfrich, ’22.

Academics can be taxing and tiring—especially assigned reading. Over the years, the celebratory end of a required book with a viewing of the film adaptation has become one of my favorite parts of English classes. Even though we may not do this often, it always seems to be a class favorite through my travels at Barrington, Jones and now UAHS. Despite reading many books through this journey, there are three that immediately come to mind with the best film adaptations that we have viewed in class: Holes, The Outsiders and The Great Gatsby.


It’s safe to say that I became obsessed with Holes. The book was extremely well-written and the movie
was just as good. The movie, released in 2003, starred Shia LaBeouf and ironically, despite its title, was extremely good at avoiding plot holes. There aren’t very many differences between the book and movie, so if you’re a fan of the book, chances are you’ll like the movie and vice versa.

The Disney film was mainly shot in Ridgecrest, California and did a fantastic job of visualizing Sachar’s characters, setting and overall story.


Once I moved on to Jones, we graduated from finishing S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders to watching Francis Ford Coppola’s movie version. The story overall is very different from Holes and is more mature with more intertwined symbolism. Compared to Holes, it also was much older, being released in 1983. Its cast, though, is just as popular today, featuring Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise and Matt Dillon alongside many other famous cast members.

By Gracie Helfrich, ’22.

The movie grossed $33.7 million dollars on a $10 million dollar budget making it a moderately successful film financially.

Both the book and the movie share a large amount of characters which can make the plot hard to follow at some points, especially for a younger audience, although this doesn’t change the fact that both are still very entertaining.


As I got older, the books I read became more and more complex. A perfect example of one of those books is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald written in 1924. The text is very well-written but it can sometimes be difficult to imagine the setting. This is where the two movie versions of this book comes in to help. The first was released in 1974 with the main cast played by Mia Farrow, Robert Redford, Sam Waterston and Bruce Dern. The second movie, released in 2013, starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Macguire and Joel Edgerton. While both movies have the same plot, there are still differences that go a long way. In the 2013 movie, the story is told from one of the main character’s future self in a mental facility. This creative leap taken by the writers makes the viewer think about the toll the events of the movie had on the characters.