10 Modern Movies You Didn’t Know Were Based On Short Stories


The movie industry continues to surprise audiences and innovate the medium in exciting ways. The cinematic experience remains unparalleled and ballooning box offices have pushed movies to bigger places than ever before. Cinematic adaptations of popular franchises and pre-existing stories have never been more popular and it’s always advantageous when a movie has a built-in audience.



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Many adaptations of novels and sprawling book series are forced to inevitably edit out content from the source material, but there’s also a healthy trend to adapt short stories where additional depth can be provided. There are some remarkable modern movies out there that many people don’t realize have their roots in short stories.

10 The Green Knight Reinterprets A 14th Century Poem Into A Surreal Fantasy Epic

David Lowery is a visionary filmmaker who’s responsible for one of 2021’s most uniquely unforgettable movies, The Green Knight. The dark fantasy adventure chronicles the hubristic journey of Sir Gawain, King Arthur’s nephew, who enters a fatal pact with the monstrous Green Knight.

Gawain’s journey is filled with many obstacles and delights, all of which is elevated through Dev Patel’s conflicted performance. Lowery’s film tells a rich story that takes many liberties from its source material, a chivalric poem from the 14th century titled Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

9 Drive My Car Presents A Sobering Story Of Connection And Humanity

Haruki Murakami is an inscrutable Japanese fiction writer whose dark examinations of the human soul don’t always make for the most palatable cinematic adaptations. Many of Murakami’s stories look at the dark secrets that consume ordinary people and how tradition can be both a healing and destructive force.

“Drive My Car,” a short story out of Murakami’s Men Without Women collection, was adapted into one of the most popular movies of 2021. Drive My Car presents a tender, honest bond that forms between a widowed actor and the young chauffeur that enters his life.

8 The Black Phone Creates A Horrific Boogeyman Out Of A Fearful Foundation

dr. Strange helped put Scott Derrickson on the map as a blockbuster filmmaker, but he’s a storyteller whose heart lies in horror. Derrickson is responsible for Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and 2022’s The Black Phone, his most recent horror masterpiece.

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The Black Phone is a terrifying story about a young boy who becomes the latest hostage of a disturbing masked murderer, who’s played to perfection by Ethan Hawke. The Black Phone started as a 26-page short story from horror novelist, Joe Hill. There’s a lot in common between the texts, although Derrickson’s movie turns The Grabber into a significantly creepier figure.

7 The Gray Is A Deadly Fight For Survival That Brings Its Horrors To Life On The Big Screen

A plane crash in the harsh Alaskan wilderness is an insurmountable task without also adding a pack of hungry wolves into the mix. The Grey is a vicious survival film where Liam Neeson leads a team of stranded oil workers who need to brave these brutal conditions, as well as the predators that advance upon them.

Based on Ian MacKenzie Jeffers’ short story, “Ghost Walker,” The Grey recruits Jeffers’ to pen the screenplay, which allows the heart and soul of the source material to make it over into the grisly movie.

6 Real Steel Is Heightened Robot Boxing That Comes From A Sci-Fi Savant

Richard Matheson is an absolute legend in the science fiction genre and his writing is the inspiration behind some of the best episodes of the original Twilight Zone. Matheson’s short story, “Steel,” examines futuristic android boxing during a time when human boxing has been outlawed.

This simple premise is adapted into a Twilight Zone episode in the 1960s, but it’s also the source material for Shawn Levy’s bombastic robot boxing movie, Real Steel. Real Steel failed to connect with audiences, despite Hugh Jackman taking the leading role, and it’s one of the louder and flashier takes on a Matheson story.


5 The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button Is A Magical Story That Must Be Seen To Be Believed

David Fincher’s perfectionism usually translates into incredible stories, but there are a few occasions where style and artificial become roadblocks instead of assets. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is one of Fincher’s most polarizing movies and this exercise in magical realism is mostly a showcase for the admittedly impressive special effects that allow Brad Pitt’s Benjamin Button to age in reverse.

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Brad Pitt does impressive work as this conflicted character, but one of the most surprising details about the movie is that Fincher turns F. Scott Fitzgerald’s original 39-page short story into a lethargic movie that closes in on three hours.


4 Minority Report Is A Science Fiction Classic That’s Even More Relevant Today

“Pre-crimes” are a fascinating concept that can explore greater themes of free will, fate, and determinism. Philip K. Dick is one of the greatest minds to come out of science fiction and so many of his writings have come to life in film and television.

Dick’s “The Minority Report” from 1956 is fueled by Cold War paranoia, but Steven Spielberg’s 2002 sci-fi/action hybrid incorporates the director’s frequent theme of fractured families. Tom Cruise gives one of his best performances in the leading role and Minority Report remains a highlight of Spielberg’s esteemed filmography.


3 Brokeback Mountain Is A Transcendent Love Story

Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain is a transformative, subversive love story that shines courtesy of the emotional performances delivered by its accomplished cast. The movie digs into painful repression and a longing love that can’t properly bloom.

Brokeback Mountain tells a heartbreaking story that’s almost impossible to not be moved over, especially since these same fears and doubts are rampant today. The origins of Brokeback Mountain lie in a short story by Annie Proulx, but the film has become an important turning point in cinema and a beacon for representation.


2 Million Dollar Baby Pulls From The Truth To Deliver Its Knock-Out Punches

Million Dollar Baby was one of the biggest films to come out of 2004, winning Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director for Clint Eastwood, as well as acting statues for Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman. The underdog boxer story looks at an amateur’s dedication to prove herself and how she helps a down-and-out trainer find a sense of purpose again.

Million Dollar Baby is both inspirational and heartbreaking, but it’s able to make such an impact because its screenplay pulls real-life stories out of its source material, Rope Burns: Stories from the Corner, a collection of boxing stories by FX Toole.


1 The Mist Is A Nihilistic Horror Classic That Still Packs A Punch

The Mist is technically a novella that was included in Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew collection. Coming in at under 200 pages, The Mist is the perfect length to adapt into a movie. The story is a triumph of claustrophobic horror.

The film sees the residents of a community get trapped in a supermarket after a supernatural fog that shrouds deadly monsters surrounds them. King has never been one to stiffle his opinion when it comes to adaptations of his works. Not only does he approve of Darabont’s the mist, but he considers its pitch black bleak ending to be superior to that of the original.

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