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Learning Literature Through Movies: 5 Movies Based on Literary Classics

First-period pupils, who would much rather sleep in than read about Heathcliff and Catherine’s stormy romance, did not always have a positive reaction to the classics. They would sooner sleep in than read about their turbulent love affair.

However, those same students might not be aware that some of their favorite films are based on well-known works of literature. One example would be any one of the following five films, which you might not have realized were really adapted from well-known works of literature.

Why Watch Movies of Classic English Books?

  • The appeal of watching adaptations of well-known works of English literature on the big screen.
  • Learning English through the medium of a film adaptation of great work has many advantages:
  • If your English skills are not up to reading the book, you may find that viewing the film is a better option.
  • Word usage and pronunciation can be learned through viewing the film.
  • It’s interesting to hear how people of different eras spoke by seeing film adaptations of great literature.
  • If you want to test your comprehension of a book, watch the film adaptation.
  • As a result of their age, many classics employ terminology that modern readers may find unfamiliar.
  • Watching the film adaptation can help you decide which book to read. It will save you time, and give you an idea of what the book is like.
  • Watching adaptations of literary classics on film is a great way to gain insight into the original works. We’ve got some terrific advice that’ll make this time much more enjoyable for you.

5 Classic English Books You Can Read and Watch

Many well-loved books have been made into films more than once because of their widespread appeal. Here are some of our favorite renditions that we think you’ll love:

1. Romeo + Juliet

Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, which is probably his most well-known, is one that is covered in practically every high school. It is frequently cited and modified, Writix making it appropriate for audiences across all generations. Romeo and Juliet have been adapted into a number of movies, but we advise watching Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 version the one with the plus sign in the title. (You can tell something is hip that way.) 

Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, and Hawaiian shirts are all elements of Luhrmann’s movie that appeal to teenagers. Incorporating elements of weapons and gangs into the story while keeping the original dialogue, modernizes the narrative while still exposing adolescents to Shakespeare’s language.

2. Winter’s Bone

Winter’s Bone, directed by Debra Granik and co-written by Granik and producer Anne Rosellini, is a stunning, realistic, and terrifying work of art. Filmed in the Ozark Mountains with her mother and younger siblings, Ree (Jennifer Lawrence, before her rise to fame and providing the best performance of her career) lives with her father, who works as a coal miner, and her brother and sister. Her drug dealer father has vanished, and her mentally ill mother relies on her for almost all of the family’s needs. She goes looking for her father when she learns that her family may soon be homeless. 

However, her neighbors are uncooperative in her attempts to probe into her father’s life, and her uncle, a confused meth addict named Teardrop (John Hawkes), strongly advises her not to continue her investigation. The acting (often stony) is superb, and the film’s tempo is tense and effective. It’s a film about whiteness and stillness, with muted colors and muted noises. Until it isn’t, that is; then it becomes a bright, scarred, and shocking horror show. Every film should be helmed by Debra Granik.

3. Harry Potter

With four directors and two credited screenwriters and eight films, the Harry Potter film series had to cut down J.K. Rowling’s plot significantly. The films stay loyal to Rowling’s plot and character development, which she credits as her actual genius, by mirroring the progression from a lighthearted children’s story to a darker, more ethically complicated tale in the later books. They’re perfect for readers who can’t wait to witness the fantastic events they’ve read about on the big screen.

4. Arrival 

What if language held the secret to understanding strangers, as well as yourself and your neighbor? The spectator realizes that this is the main question of Arrival, a Denis Villeneuve film based on Ted Chiang’s 1998 short story “Story of Your Life.” The US Army requests the assistance of linguist Louise Banks (played by the ever-reliable Amy Adams) and physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) to investigate one of twelve extraterrestrial spaceships that have set up shop in various areas across the globe. 

On board, the craft, Banks, and Donnelly find two amorphous extraterrestrial creatures they refer to as “heptapods” that communicate via a complex system of logograms, or written characters that stand in for words or phrases. This simple setup creates the framework for a compelling, and frequently anxiety-inducing study of language, empathy, and misunderstanding. One of the most touching films of the past ten years, Arrival is known for its unexpected ending. The late, legendary Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s fairly primitive, ruminative score also contributes to the film’s meditative style.

5. The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby, a classic by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a different book that is essentially always taught in high schools. This timeless novel, which is frequently mentioned as people’s favorite book, may be the one that inspires your students to fall in love with reading. You can choose one of the five film adaptations, the most recent of which was released in 2013 and was also directed by Baz Luhrmann, to supplement your Gatsby studies. Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan are among the characters in the movie that your kids are likely familiar with. It also includes songs from contemporary artists like Lana Del Rey, Beyonce, and Jay Z. All of these components will be able to hold your pupils’ interest as they are exposed to the novel’s most significant themes and symbols.

Frequently adapted into the film are well-known works originally written in English. Especially if the source novels are lengthy or otherwise challenging to read, these films can serve as great supplementary materials for students of English as a foreign language.


Many of the novels that are adapted into films are English classics that have been read and enjoyed by many people. If the source novels are lengthy or otherwise challenging to read, these films are a fantastic alternative for students of the English language. We have therefore compiled a list of the five most important classic English books that are also available to watch.

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