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April 26th, 2018

Top 10 Stephen King Movie Adaptations

4. “The Shining” (1980)

After this movie was completed, Jack Nicholson vowed to never work with Stanley Kubrick again and he kept his promise. But it wasn’t just him – the whole crew was exhausted after infinite retakes and constant dissatisfaction of the director. SK himself kept getting calls from Kubrick at 3 in the morning. As a result “Shining” turned out to be much less of a King adaptation and much more of a Kubrick movie. Nonetheless the original story elements are still here.

A struggling writer (Nicholson) with a wife and little son accepts a job watching a remote hotel during winter. It seems like a good idea and easy money until things go really bad. The little boy begins to see ghosts from hotel’s gruesome past while his father’s own hidden demons start to come out.

3. “Carrie” (1976)

“Carrie” is SK’s very first novel and the first work to be adapted for the screen – by Brian de Palma. Sissy Spacek did a convincing portrayal of Carrie – a quiet mousy girl, living under a dictatorship of a religious fanatic mother at home and bullied by the girls at school.

Due to a particularly nasty incident in the showers involving her, the girls of her class are banned from attending the prom. One of the classmates, in attempt to redeem herself, convinces her boyfriend to invite Carrie to the prom, while another plans to mock her before the whole school. What they don’t know is that Carrie has a secret – her newly developed telekinetic powers – and pissing her off is a really bad idea.

2. “Stand By Me” (1986)

The film was adapted by Rob Reiner from novella “The Body” of “The Four Seasons” collection – one of the most heartfelt and humane of all SK’s works. It’s about childhood friendships that can’t be compared to anything else and can only sadly missed ever since they end.

Four boys – Gordie, Chris (River Phoenix), Teddy (Corey Feldman) and Vern (Jerry O’Connell), go on a field trip after one of them gets a tip: there is a dead body lying in the woods – of a local little boy who recently went missing.

Boys hope to make the official “discovery” and make it into the papers, unaware that a gang of older bullies, headed by young and wild Kiefer Sutherland, is headed in the same direction. Throughout their journey the boys face some serious grownup dangers and begin to see many things in life with different eyes.

1.“The Shawshank Redemption” (1994)

It’s hard to be objective when talking about your favorite movie, but I’ll try. While the original can hardly be called a masterpiece of King’s it certainly is the biggest achievement of writer and director Frank Darabont. Taking novella “Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption” he cut out its weaker points, enhanced its strongest points, and as result wrote a screenplay for one of the most incredible onscreen stories of survival, persistence, will and hope.

Shot in a slow-paced mode, the movie didn’t do too well at the box office, but later went on to become one of the biggest rental hits ever. It’s also currently holding first place in the imdb’s top 250 movies of all time. If this doesn’t convince you the movie is a must see, I don’t know what will. Banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is unjustly convicted of murdering his wife and her lover, and sent to Shawshank Prison with two life sentences to serve.

But instead of giving up, going mad or killing himself, Andy adapts in ways he can. He befriends Red (Morgan Freeman), provides free accounting services for guards and the warden, and hangs posters of beautiful ladies on the wall of his cell. That is until one day he quietly slips out of his cell – an operation that took him almost 20 years to prepare.



  1. Good article, but I thought the ending of The Mist was fantastic. Best thing about the film IMHO.

  2. Dwulf

    Pet Cemetary instead of Carrie and replace Stand by Me with Christine for my list. I liked Dreamcatcher as well, but not enough to make my top ten.

  3. Anonymous

    Wonderful list. I had not known that Stand by Me , that classic, was originated by King. Carrie was fun, that prom picture sums it all, and the audience really got a jolt in the end. I hope Kathy Bates gets another role as meaty. Give her a chain-saw next time.

  4. Boni

    Pet Sematary all the way, a sin you guys didn’t put it in the list. It’s simply the most faithful and terrifying horror story by King ever adapted (he was the screenwriter).

    I don’t agree about The Dead Zone, I think it’s one of the worst adaptations ever. The movie runs faster that Vin Diesel. All the book details are ignored or modified, and the actors don’t convice, except of course, Chris Walken.

  5. kabville

    i like Creepshow over Running Man.

  6. Cjester66

    Running Man has to be the worse King adaptation ever. It was a great story played out over the whole country with all the viewers watching for the main character and trying to help capture him. The movie turned it into a Carnival like atmosphere with a very small playing field. As I recall, it didn’t do real well at the box office either.

    • Will

      Yes, one may not be able to match up the movie the Running Man with the short story The Running Man if they did not have the same names.  Very different plots.

  7. jamesS312

    Those were the best movies ever made there so AWESOME!

  8. WHAT ABOUT SALEM’S LOT AND THE SHINING!!!!! although Cronenbergs adaptation was great as well.

  9. Pfft. aside from the literal ending – IT was the best acted SK movie… absolutely terrifying performance from tim curry and great performances from the child actors right to our television favorites (John Ritter, Tim Reid, Annette O’Toole, Richard Masur and Harry anderson)… The MIST was PURE SHIT. While It’s ending was confusing because they made no mention of WHY “IT” was a spider (laying lil baby its) …the mist took everything good and SHAT on itself with that ending. Never in my life would I believe after all that fighting that the dad would kill his son like that. Complete horseshit that people mis-interpret as “dark”…

  10. kyldesty

    lol @ It. I read that longass book a few times and a pg rated tv movie could never do it justice. shawshank is superb as is green mile. carrie is great, man i love watchin her give it to those fuckers. the dead zone is underrated. walkens portrayal really gives johns character an emotional depth. i watched that movie last week and i really was sucked into it even though ive seen it half a dozen times before. HAVE YOU EVER DONE A WORST KING ADAPTION LIST? ei graveyard shift

  11. SeamusDsGirl


  12. SeamusDsGirl

    I am in LOVE with The Shining! Such a fantastic movie, so well done! Kubrick is a genious!

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