This isn’t a definitive list or placed in any particular order.
Rebecca (1940) Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier: Saved by the producer! If Hitchcock had his way I would have hated it, but David O. Selznick insisted he stay true du Maurier’s work and why wouldn’t you?
Although I have recently heard that the rights have been bought once again, so this could mean a remake! If any one involved happens to come across this post, I’d just like to suggest Luke Evans for Maxim.
I mean honestly?! Just look at him, he was born to play the part!
Jane Eyre (2011) Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender: Loved the change in plot structure because even I find the time at Moor house pretty dull, and it’s one of my favourite books of all time. Also, Fassbender is exactly how I imagined Rochester.
Pride and Prejudice (2005) Keira Knightly, Matthew MacFadyen: I loved the sensitivity MacFadyen brought to Darcy’s role, he was more vulnerable in this adaptation than any of the others.
Gone Girl (2014) Ben Afleck, Rosamand Pike: This book was made to be a film, and it did not disappoint. Rosamond Pike is devastatingly brilliant as Amy and deserved the Oscar nomination.
The Hunger Games Franchise (2012-2015) Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutchinson, Liam Hemsworth: How could I not really? Catching Fire is my favourite of the 4 films (and books), but they all deserve recognition. The films definitely captured the essence of the books. It was also the first film I saw with all of my university flat mates, and the first midnight showing I ever went to see. It therefore holds a special place in my heart.
The Great Gatsby (2013) Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan: Baz Luhrmann’s films are visually stunning, and the soundtrack was to die for. Like the book it was atmospheric and filled with tension.
Macbeth (2015) Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard: Speaking of visually stunning! Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth is the definitive adaptation for me. Powerful and absolutely devastating even its more quiet moments.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist: Why they felt the need to do remake when this adaptation was so perfect, I’ll never know. It stayed true to the book, gritty and raw.
Poldark (2015) Aiden Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson: A straight adaptation that directly follows the storyline of the first two books. Great casting, and not just for the beautiful Mr. Turner. Tomlinson was wonderful as Demelza. My favourite scene was when she sings to them all at Christmas, and Poldark is simply amazed by how much he loves her *swoons*.
And Then There Were None (miniseries 2015) Aiden Turner, Douglas Booth, Toby Stephens, Charles Dance, Maeve Dermondy, Burn Gorman, Anna Maxwell Martin, Sam Neill, Miranda Richardson, Noah Taylor: Aiden Turner is killing it. This adaptation got me to read my first Agatha Christie book, so well done.
The Vampire Diaries (2009 – Ongoing) Ian Someholder, Paul Wesley, Nina Dobrev: One of the rare instances were I prefer the adaptation to the book. Admittedly I’d started watching the series before I’d read any of L.J. Smith’s books but when I did, I gotta say I was disappointed, and this never happens to me.
The next few adaptations are slightly different because they are modernisations of classical works.
Clueless (1995) Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd, Brittany Murphy: Loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma, and a classic in its own right.
1o Things I Hate About You (1999) Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger: Loosely based on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew and possibly my favourite chick flick of all time. I’ve actually lost count of how many times I’ve watched this.
Sons of Anarchy (2008 – 2014) Kurt Sutter, Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, Katy Sagal: Loosely based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and I really will find any reason to talk about this amazing series. All hail Kurt Sutter, hail. The best thing that has ever been on TV.
Romeo + Juliet (1996) Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes: Yes, I love Baz Luhrmann. Romeo and Juliet has never been one of my favourites, but this adaptation is. I loved the modernised concept of warring mafia families, but more importantly that they retained the original Shakespearean dialogue!
I’ve just realised that there’s a lot of Shakespeare in here, but this proves that he is king, and his stories are universal.
I also have to stop here because this post is getting ridiculously long.
However, my honourable mentions include: The Fault in our Stars (2014), The Help (2011), Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001), The Time Traveller’s Wife (2009), Red Dragon (2002), The Lovely Bones (2009), Shadowhunters (2015-ongoing).