In the midst of the onslaught of comic book superheroes, it is undeniable that most films that have managed to get ratings or commercial success are the result of adaptations of popular books. While many books have had good adaptations (or poor adaptations), there have also been successful films whose stories have actually been based on original screenplays. Some directors even write their own film scripts. The following is a list of 10 great films that are not book adaptations, but are the result of carefully crafted script formulations.
Eight Grade (2018)
Written and directed by comedian Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade covers important topics such as mental illness, sexuality and consent. With a score of 99 percent, the film made it into the Rotten Tomatoes Top 100 list, and Burnham won the Writers Guild of America Award for best original screenplay. This great film tells the story of Kayla, played by Elsie Fisher, who tries her best to navigate the eighth grade while dealing with anxiety and panic attacks. Burnham managed to make the audience unsure whether to laugh, cry, or close their eyes in shame.
La La Land (2016)
La La Land is an original screenplay and musical written and directed by Damien Chazelle. This great film stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling as a jazz actress and musician who fall in love. Nominated for 14 Academy Awards, including Best Script, La La Land won a total of six. Chazelle, also known for the films Whiplash, initially had to struggle to find a studio that could accept the vision of taking the film as he wanted it until after the success of Whiplash, Summit Entertainment took up the project.
Baby Driver (2017)
Baby, played by Ansel Elgort, is a very quiet professional driver. Baby Driver, written and directed by Edgar Wright, takes audiences on a wild journey through crime, violence and love, while listening to Baby’s carefully selected playlist. Music may not be something most people imagine coming from a book, but the turmoil Baby goes through is a common theme in many novels. While not nominated for a major writing award, the editing and sound mixing in this great film is spectacular and makes it worth watching, and earned it three Academy Award nominations in the sound and editing categories.
Django Unchained (2012)
Quentin Tarantino is known for writing original screenplays and playing the same actor in several films. Django Unchained, starring Jamie Foxx as Django, was written and directed by Tarantino and is a tribute to the Spaghetti Western and the 1966 film Django, which is also the original screenplay. The film won two Oscars and was nominated for a total of five: Best Supporting Actor going to Cristoph Waltz, and Best Script, Original Script going to Tarantino. The same two awards were won at the BAFTA Awards along with several nominations.
The Hunt (2012)
This great Danish film was written and directed by Thomas Vinterberg and stars Mads Mikkelsen, best known for the cult hit series Hannibal. The film with the original title Jagten won the Robert Denmark Award for Best Original Screenplay, and Mikkelsen won several awards for Best Actor. While many are intimidated by watching foreign films with subtitles, The Hunt is worth an IMDB score of 8.3 and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 93 percent. But be warned, while it’s good, it’s a heavy and heartbreaking film that may not be suitable for some.