4 classic books you read in high school adapted to film

(The Weinstein Company/David Bloome)

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ENGLISH CLASS — With school back in session, high school students all across the United States are reading numerous classic books in their English classes. Here are four terrific film adaptations of commonly assigned books or plays so you can watch the literature come alive or get a quick synopsis of the reading that you did not do (kidding, of course).

The Hiding Place (1975)

In “The Hiding Place,” Corrie ten Boom is a middle-aged woman in Holland who decides to protect and hide her Jewish neighbors from the Nazis in a secret room in her home. When news of her heroics reach Nazi ears, Corrie and her family are sent to a concentration camp. Amidst deep evil, Corrie finds peace and the will to survive in her Christian faith. But can she forgive those who did horrible things to her and many people that she loves? “The Hiding Place” is a powerful autobiography, as is the film adaptation, about the power of hope and the healing power of forgiveness.

The Giver (2014)

The dystopian novel "The Giver" was released earlier this year. (Photo: The Weinstein Company/David Bloome)
The dystopian novel "The Giver" was released earlier this year. (Photo: The Weinstein Company/David Bloome)

In “The Giver,” Jonas is a young man who lives in an “ideal” world without pain and suffering. When he becomes of age, however, Jonas learns from a mysterious man named “The Giver” who unfolds to Jonas the secrets of the community’s past. What Jonas is forced to do with this knowledge is where the book and the movie get especially interesting. If your teacher assigns you “The Giver,” be prepared for a good dystopian novel and film.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

"To Kill a Mockingbird" starring Gregory Peck. (Photo: Universal Movies)
"To Kill a Mockingbird" starring Gregory Peck. (Photo: Universal Movies)

In “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Atticus Finch is a well-respected lawyer in 1930s Alabama. Finch’s reputation comes under a serious threat, however, when he decides to represent an African-American man named Tom Robinson who is accused of rape. The novel by Harper Lee was an important book in the 1960s that won the Pulitzer Prize. The film, starring the ever-charismatic Gregory Peck, is also powerful and thought-provoking.

Hamlet (1996)

Arguably one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, “Hamlet” is a classic tale of the destructive power of revenge. While the play has received numerous theatrical and film treatments, perhaps the best of all is Kenneth Branagh’s take in 1996. To earn extra points in your English class, watch and read “Hamlet” and try to pick up on religious and other themes throughout the play and film.

What are your favorite classic book-to-film adaptations?

Dylan Cannon is a regular KSL.com contributor and can be reached by email at dylancannon86@gmail.com or via Twitter @DylanCannon11.

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