11 Books from the '80s and '90s That Were Turned Into Popular Movies

When you suggest a good book to a friend, how many times have you heard them say, “I’ll wait ’til the movie comes out.”? What if you could change it up and tell them, “Hey! You love that movie. Did you know it was a book first?”

Well, now you have a chance to impress your friends. Here’s our list of 11 books from the 1980’s and 1990’s that were turned into popular movies.

11. Election

Election hit theaters in 1999 and starred Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon. It was well received, getting a 92% Fresh rating on

The movie was based on the book Election by Tom Perrotta, published in 1998.

Available for check-out at the Salt Lake City Library.

10. The Brave Little Toaster

The Brave Little Toaster premiered in 1987, featuring the voices of John Lovitz, Timothy E. Day, and Tim Stack. This one got a 75% Fresh rating from

The movie was based on the book The Brave Little Toaster: A Bedtime Story for Small Appliances by Thomas M. Disch, published in 1980.

Available for check-out at the Salt Lake City Library.

9. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Who Framed Roger Rabbit made its theatrical debut in 1988, starred Roger Rabbit (voiced by Charles Fleischer), Christopher Lloyd, and Bob Hoskins, and killed it, earning a 98% Fresh rating from

This film was loosely based on the book Who Censored Roger Rabbit? by Gary K. Wolf, published in 1981.

8. Apollo 13

Apollo 13 hit theaters in 1995 and starred Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, and Gary Sinese. This one was a hit, getting a 95% Fresh rating from

The film was based on the book Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 by Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger, published in 1994. Tom Hanks played Jim Lovell in the movie.

Available for check-out at the Salt Lake City Library.

7. Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Fast Times at Ridgemont High became an instant classic when it made its debut in 1982. Starring Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Judge Reinhold, this film scored a 79% Fresh on

It was based on the book Fast Times at Ridgemont High: A True Story by Cameron Crowe, published in 1981. Supposedly, the stories in this book actually happened to Cameron Crowe and friends while they were in high school.

6. Goodfellas

Goodfellas premiered in 1990 starring Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, and Joe Pesci. This movie continues to get rave reviews from its fans and has earned a 96% Fresh rating from

The film was based on the book Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family by Nicholas Pileggi, published in 1986.

5. Shrek

Shrek appeared in his first feature film in 2001. Audiences loved Mike Meyers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz as the stars. Critics loved them too. gave this one an 88% Fresh rating.

Shrek was based on the book Shrek! by William Steig, published in 1990.

Available for check-out at the Salt Lake City Library.

4. Babe

Babe the Pig stole our hearts way back in 1995 when he very politely became the first pig to ever win a sheep herding competition. Starring Babe (voiced by Christine Cavanaugh), this one took home a 97% Fresh rating from

Babe was based on the book The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith, published in 1983. The title of the book was changed to Babe: The Gallant Pig after the movie release.

Available for check-out at the Salt Lake City Library.

3. Mrs. Doubtfire

The silver screen introduced us to Mrs. Doubtfire in 1993. Starring Robin Williams and Sally Field, this one got mixed reviews coming in at 71% on Tomatometer.

Mrs. Doubtfire was very closely based on the book Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine, published in 1987.

2. Field of Dreams

1989 brought us one of the greatest sports movies of all time (one you should own in your sports movie collection): Field of Dreams. Starring Kevin Costner, Ray Liotta, and James Earl Jones, this one scored an 87% on the Tomatometer.

The film was based on the book Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella, published in 1982.

Available for check-out at the Salt Lake City Library.

1. Forrest Gump

The story of Forrest Gump became part of our lives in 1994, when Tom Hanks brought Forrest to life on the silver screen. Starring Mr. Hanks, Gary Sinese, and Robin Wright, this film only garnered a 71% on the Tomatometer despite winning six Academy Awards (including Best Picture and Best Actor for Tom Hanks’ portrayal of Forrest).

The film, based on the book Forrest Gump by Winston Groom, published in 1986, has a very different ending from the book and is well worth the read. There’s also a sequel.

Available for check-out at the Salt Lake City Library.

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