7 books that haven't been turned into movies yet

We're always reading about the greatest book adaptations of all time. But have you ever wondered about those classic works of literature that haven't yet been turned into a feature film?

With that in mind, here's our blog list of seven novels, ranging from all-time classics to contemporary hits, that need the silver-screen treatment.


1. The Catcher In The Rye – J.D. Salinger

Amazingly, this defining tale of adolescent isolation has yet to receive the big-screen treatment. Although actor Nicholas Hoult portrayed author J.D. Salinger in last year's biopic Rebel In The Rye, the writer's landmark work remains unadapted.

By turns caustic, funny and melancholy, The Catcher In The Rye centres on Holden Caulfield, a teenage misfit at odds with the alleged superficiality of the world. First published in 1951, it has attained the status of a classic, embraced by teens the world over for its insight into an angry young mindset. So, when are we due to get the movie?

The Catcher In The Rye author J.D. Salinger

2. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Another surprise – Aldous Huxley's eerily prescient dystopian thriller hasn't been turned into a movie. Although there have been a couple of loose TV adaptations, the scale and insight of Huxley's groundbreaking work, which is often compared with George Orwell's 1984, demands the big-screen treatment.

In fact, Huxley's work predated Orwell's – first published in 1932, Brave New World remarkably anticipated many trends in reproduction and social hierarchies. Despite being set in a nightmarish, imagined World State, the story has plenty to tell us about the world we're currently occupying.

Brave New World author Aldous Huxley


3. One Hundred Years Of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Family dynamics and the onward march of time underpin this sweeping saga from celebrated Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Like The Catcher In The Rye and Brave New World before it, this 53-year-old novel is ideally placed for cinematic treatment, but oddly enough, no-one's attempted it.

The tale is set in a fictional Colombian town called Macondo, and explores the fate of the Buendia family, whose patriarch founded the town. However, this is no straightforward drama, but one rendered in magic realist tones, where the ordinary becomes extraordinary in the blink of an eye. There must be filmmakers out there who could do this justice – Richard Linklater, maybe?

One Hundred Years Of Solitude author Gabriel Garcia Marquez


4. Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy

No Country For Old Men author Cormac McCarthy is famous for his terse, nihilistic and often violent prose. Both that book and the bleak, unyielding The Road have been adapted for the big screen, but few of his books are as terrifying as Blood Meridian, a gore-soaked fever dream from 1985 that's set in America's turbulent old west.

Maybe this is why attempts to bring the novel to the screen have eluded filmmakers. For a while, it was suggested that Ridley Scott would adapt McCarthy's searing allegory, which follows a group of miscreant cowboys and their enigmatic leader as they cross the land scalping Native Americans. Were it to be made into a movie, Blood Meridian wouldn't leave the mind easily.

Blood Meridian author Cormac McCarthy


5. The Secret History – Donna Tartt

In 2019, Donna Tartt's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Goldfinch received a misfiring adaptation. That only serves to make us more enthusiastic for a film based on The Secret History, the author's debut novel, and widely considered her best.

Set in a privileged New England college, the story is told from the point of view of Richard, a disaffected Californian who falls in with an enigmatic group of classics students. Coached by the erudite and well-to-do Julian, the misfits fashion themselves in the romantic mode of the revered scholars in their books. But one day, their lives change forever, and they come to realise that academic knowledge does little to prepare one for an actual tragedy.

The book's cinematic language and intriguing characters would make an excellent fit for a movie, but with the rights currently resting in Tartt's hands, it's unclear if we'll get one.

The Secret History author Donna Tartt


6. Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman

Just recently, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's irreverent Good Omens was adapted by the BBC, starring Michael Sheen and David Tennant. Prior to that, Gaiman's ambitious, Norse God-riffing American Gods was brought to American network television. But there's a distinct lack of feature films based on his books, and we can add Neverwhere to that list.

Although the novel came after the initial BBC TV adaptation (developed with Lenny Henry), we'd love for Neverwhere to get the movie treatment. Gaiman's boundless and eccentric imagination powers this tale of Richard Mayhew, an ordinary young man who discovers the dark and strange world of the title. There must be any number of fantasy filmmakers itching to get their hands on this – just think of what someone like Tim Burton could do with it.

Neverwhere author Neil Gaiman



7. The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

First published in 2011, Erin Morgenstern's dazzling and magical novel is set in an alternate Victorian London. The mysterious circus of the title wanders around, only opening from sunset to sunrise, and the novel interweaves a host of characters in non-linear fashion.

As one might expect, there's a dark secret lurking behind the facade of the circus. It's just one aspect of a complex and engrossing fable that became a critical and commercial success story on its arrival. The environment of a circus is tailor-made for the big screen (think of the recent Water For Elephants, starring Robert Pattinson), and Morgenstern's captivating work is calling out for a movie.

The Night Circus author Erin Morgenstern


What books do you want to see turned into movies? Tweet us your choices @Cineworld.