Top 5 Movie Reimaginings of Classic Literature

I love books, and I love reading. Classic literature has always held a special place in my heart, and even though it can be tough to slog through at times, I love it. I mean, I was an English major in college. I’m ALL ABOUT classic lit, y’all, and I get so excited when I see people take classic literature and do a creative or modern spin on it. I even like it when it isn’t that great. *shrugs and winks at Kenneth Branagh’s musical version of Love’s Labour’s Lost*
(I’ll just leave this here if you’ve never seen it)

Regardless, I love it when people are so influenced by classic literature that they create something new and creative based on the classic work. If you haven’t seen any modern re-tellings of classic lit (chances are you have and you just didn’t know it), here are five you should start with:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (based on Pride and Prejudice)

PPZ

This one is in theaters right now, so you can see it on the big screen–which I highly recommend. This movie has enough tips of the hat to the original Jane Austen novel while maintaining a pretty solid zombie story–all the while not taking itself too seriously. The movie is a riot, and I defy you to not utterly fall in love with Matt Smith’s Parson Collins.

10 Things I Hate About You (based on Taming of the Shrew)

10 Things I Hate About You Heath

Incidentally, this also happens to be one of my favorite Heath Ledger performances. Made in the heyday of the late 90s/early 00s teen movie, this flick takes a modern spin on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew in a great way. Don’t get me wrong, this is most definitely a teen flick, so it’s a bit goofy in places, but it brings Shakespeare’s story into a modern light in a creative and fun way. Plus, I’ve never met a human who doesn’t love this movie.

Bridget Jones’s Diary (based on Pride and Prejudice)

I don’t care what you say, I love this movie (and the books–though I’ve not read Mad About the Boy). The story is light and fun, and Bridget is just hilarious to me. I also love how infatuated Bridget is with Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy in the books. Obviously they couldn’t recreate that in the movies (though they did make it a special feature on the Edge of Reason DVD, I think), but having Firth play Mark Darcy almost made it a private joke between the filmmakers and the fans of the book. Plus, if you don’t love Colin Firth and Hugh Grant fighting awkwardly to “It’s Raining Men”, I’ll fight you. Watch it here:

She’s the Man (based on Twelfth Night)

She's the Man

Oh, Amanda Bynes…. The flick was made in her early 2000s, teen romantic comedy heyday, and has always been one of my faves. Also starring a younger Channing Tatum, this movie brings Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night into modernity in a fun and goofy movie. Don’t get me wrong, this is no 10 Things I Hate About You, but this is vintage, pre-breakdown Amanda Bynes and always takes me back to my high school days.

Warm Bodies (based on Romeo and Juliet)

Warm Bodies

I can’t speak highly enough of this movie–or the novel by Isaac Marion upon which the film is based. It takes the zombie genre and turns it on its head a bit by showing us a world where “zombies” aren’t actually the walking dead (meaning nothing more than a reanimated corpse with no human soul inside). Zombies are more like really, really sick people who can ultimately be cured–without being as heavy as something like In the Flesh. Making our Romeo a zombie (called R) and our Juliet (called Julie) a human living in one of the last remaining human strongholds takes the “star-crossed lovers” thing to a whole different level. Plus, it takes the story away from the occasionally eye roll-inducing story of two infatuated teens who end up offing themselves thanks to ill-advised, rash decisions to two people trying to survive in a world gone mad. Plus, Marion writes R some truly beautiful internal monologue in his book. Seriously, the film is great, but you’re really missing out if you don’t read Marion’s novel, too.

What are some of your favorite films that take classic literature and give it a twist? Have you seen any of the films on my list? Let me know in the comments! 

12 Replies to “Top 5 Movie Reimaginings of Classic Literature”

  1. I didn’t expect to fall in love with Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but Matt Smith was hilarious and perfect. I really liked the movie on the whole, but he was the best part about it!

  2. Okay, love them all but I haven’t seen Pride and prejudice and zomies in theaters yet (although I am planning too!!!! I can’t wait. Maybe we’ll just need to go this weekend. Funny thing when I saw the preview I knew you would be seeing it! It’s the best of both worlds! 🙂

  3. Going by the first half, which is unfortunately as far as I’ve gotten through so far, the book “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” is every bit as entertaining as the movie. The tone is SO in keeping with the original Austen, but then they start talking about “unmentionables” (zombies) and it just gets hilarious. As to the movie, I’m not even a big fan of the Eleventh Doctor, and Matt Smith was still my favorite part! 🙂

    Also: I heartily second “10 Things I Hate About You” (just bought it–finally–two days ago, yay!) and “She’s the Man”. Goooood picks. 🙂

  4. I love 10 Things I Hate About You so much. I’m actually quite looking forwards to Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, even if the book didn’t interest me much. The movie looks incredibly fun.

  5. Nice list! Bridget Jones is one of my favorite go-to movies. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was so awesome! It’s amazing to see so many different versions come out of one classic.

  6. I loved Warm Bodies and really want to read the book; definitely need to add it to my list! Also, 10 Things I Hate About You…so much yes. One of those movies that’s so enjoyable, plus makes me feel completely nostalgic for being a teenager.

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