With our internet research yielding more data and statistics that undoubtedly prove that literature is the most prolific and ubiquitous source of film materials, the more we are convinced that Sine Panitik—a joint undertaking of the Film Academy of the Philippines and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts—must be launched as early as possible.
Literature and film are indeed kindred forms of art that complement one another though there are few cases of films being adapted into novels or other literary forms. No expert on literature and film can deny that the Bible, world mythologies, the Shakespearean library of tragedies, comedies and historical dramas are the most-cultivated sources of film stories through the years.
Is this also true of Philippine cinema? This indeed calls for a separate article. But offhand, we can cite the fact that Dalagang Bukid (1914) of Jose Nepomuceno (the Father of Philippine Movies) was based on a sarzuela of Hermogenes Ilagan and Leon Ignacio and that the two novels of Jose Rizal—the Noli and the Fili—were adapted into films by the first National Artist for Film Gerardo de Leon in 1961 and 1962, respectively.
But first, let us conclude the list which the Guardian, a British journal, drew up in 2006 enumerating the 50 best film adaptations of predominantly American and British literary classics—mostly novels—in the history of world cinema.
Last week, we printed the best film adaptations of world literature during the decades of the 1940s to the 1970s. Hereunder are the succeeding decades and the outstanding films based on or adapted from literary classics.
Films of the 1980s:
(1981) The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles, directed by Karel Reisz, starring Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons and David Warner.
(1982) Bladerunner (based on Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Philip K.Dick), directed by Ridley Scott, starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer and Sean Young.
(1983) The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, starring Thomas Howell, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Ralph Macchio and Diane Lane.
(1984) 1984 of George Orwell, directed by Michael Radford, starring John Hurt and Richard Burton.
(1987) Empire of the Sun by J. G. Ballard, directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Christian Bale, John Malcovich and Miranda Richardson.
Films of the 1990s:
(1990) Goodfellas (based on non-fiction book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi), directed by Martin Scorcese, starring Robert de Niro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Braco and Paul Sorvino.
(1990) Lord of the Flies by William Golding (remake), directed by Harry Hook, starring Baltazar Gervey, Chris Furruh and Daniel Popoly.
(1992) Orlando by Virginia Woolf, directed by Sally Potter, starring Tilda Swinton, Billy Zane and John Wood.
(1993) The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, directed by James Ivory, starring Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, James Fox, Christopher Reeve, Hugh Grant and Ben Chaplin.
(1993) Schindler’s List (based on Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally, directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley and Caroline Goodall.
(1993) The Vanishing (based on the Golden Egg by Tim Krabbe), directed by George Sluizer, starring Jeff Bridges, Kiefer Sutherland, Nancy Travis and Sandra Bullock.
(1994) The Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King, directed by Frank Darabont, starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.
(1995) Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley, directed by Carl Franklin, starring Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals and Don Cheadle.
(1995) Get Shorty by Elnore Leonard, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, starring John Travolta, Gene Hackmann, Rene Russo and Danny De Vito.
(1996) The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, directed by Anthony Minghella, starring Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Defoe and Colin Firth.
(1996) The Fight Club by Chuck Palaniuk, directed by David Fincher, starring Edward Norton, Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter.
(1996) Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh, directed by Danny Boyle, starring Ewan Macgregor, Ewen Bremmer, Sonny Lee Miller and Kelly Macdonald.
(1997) LA Confidential by James Ellroy, directed by Curtis Hanson, starring Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Bassinger and Danny de Vito.
(1999) The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, directed by Anthony Minghella, starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jack Davenport.
Films of the 2000s:
(2000) American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, directed by Mary Harron, starring Christian Bale, Willem Defoe and Reese Witherspoon.
(2005) Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (remake), directed by Roman Polanski, starring Ben Kingsley, Jamie Foreman and Barley Clark.
(2005) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (remake), directed by Joe Wright, starring Keira Knightley, Matthew Mcfadden, Donald Sutherland and Judi Dench.
Films of the 2010s:
(2005) Brokeback Mountain (based on a short story of Annie Proulx), directed by Ang Lee, starring Heath Ledger, Jack Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway and Michelle Williams.
(2005) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, directed by Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp, Freddie Highman, Helena Bonham Carter and Christopher Lee.
(2005) Sin City, a graphic novel of Frank Miller, directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez, starring Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Jessica Alba, Benicio del Toro, Rutger Hauer and Michael Madsen.
(2010) Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll, directed by Tim Burton, starring Mia Walsikowska, Johnny Depp (as the Mad Hatter), Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway.
(2010) Brighton Rock by Graham Greene, directed by Rowan Joffe, starring Sam Riley and Andrea Riseorough.
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