The list of screen adaptations of Stephen King’s literary works is mountainous, and producers have been making them for so long that some are getting their own remakes (think IT and Pet Sematary) or went on to have derivative sequels (like Children of the Corn, which has almost as many as The Fast and the Furious). For this list, I focused only on movies. Next week will be television adaptations. There are enough stage plays I could do a list on those. (Hint: I won’t be doing that list).
1. The Shawshank Redemption
Rightly considered to be a classic of American cinema, this movie (based on King’s novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption) is a no-brainer. I may or may not own the collector’s edition Blu-Ray. It’s a murder mystery, a prison escape story, a bromance, and a financial crimes thriller — with a cast led by Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.
2. Stand by Me
Another absolute classic, perhaps even moreseo than Shawshank, though I prefer the darker tone of my top pick. Based on King’s novella The Body, this iconic coming-of-age story also features the ultimate child- and teen-actor cast, including Kiefer Sutherland, John Cusack, Jerry O’Connell, River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, and Corey Feldman.
3. The Green Mile
I never tire of the late Michael Clarke Duncan’s portrayal of John Coffey, the wrongly imprisoned man on Louisiana’s Death Row. Based on the novel of the same name, this is at once a historical snapshot of the 1930s South and a story about hope and justice. In addition to Duncan, the cast is superb, including Tom Hanks, Bonnie Hunt, and James Cromwell.
4. The Shining
This is the only horror movie I’ve ever thoroughly enjoyed. Based on the classic novel of the same name, it features some of the creepiest and scariest scenes in American cinema lore and some great lines that, while not always original (Here’s Johnny; Come out, come out, wherever you are) are delivered in unforgettable ways by Jack Nicholson.
5. Gerald’s Game
The most recent movie (2017) on this list, Gerald’s Game is based on King’s 1992 novel of the same name. The movie has a great premise and starts out with a bang, and I love the psychological aspects of the story. The cinematography is great and the acting by Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood (two of my favorites) is superb.
There are far too many great movies based on King’s work for me to have just one honorable mention on this list. So here are several: Carrie (1976), 1922, Misery, and IT (2017) (you should watch Chapter Two, but it’s not technically included here). Why not just make this a list of 10? Because the name is My Favorite Five.