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The Contender
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Are books better than the movies?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/25/2012 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,306 times Debate No: 23188
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)




I have been an avid reader my entire life. Spending hours pouring over books and enjoying every story just as much as the last. I will read just about anything. But the truth of the matter is that Hollywood has taken many successful books with amazing story-lines and turned them into movies. But at the end of the day fact is fact. The books are ALWAYS better than the movie. I think that the books take so much time and planning and making the story just right. Giving us all of the details that we need to know to understand the characters and the way they feel. But when directors and screenwriters take these books and transfer them onto the big screen, something gets lost. They never do the book justice, and they lose all the love and devotion that the author put into making the book. It's extremely saddening to watch, and it really makes me mad when these movies do eventually come out.


I'll accept. And I'll beginning by asking you to clarify something you said in your opening argument. You said that "books are ALWAYS better than the movie".

As you know, the quality of books and movies is always of the reader's or viewer's opinion, but I'll give you a few examples of movies that are generally accepted to be superior to the books they were adapted from -

The Godfather (1972)
Drive (2011)
No Country For Old Men (2007)
There Will Be Bood (2007)
Fight Club (1999)
Jaws (1975)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Stand By Me (1986)
Goodfellas (1990)

I'll admit, that I haven't read all of the books these movies from adapted from, but I highly doubt that the book could match the movie's daring, humour or entertainment value.
Debate Round No. 1


I am just pointing out that no matter what directors do or try to accomplish they never have the right idea. How many times when you read a book do you put yourself in that setting? You close your eyes and you picture the ways the characters look, or the places they are in come alive to you. It's all about your imagination. Now that is not to say that every person thinks of everything the same way. But the most annoying thing that the movies do is cast actors that do not fit the appearance of the character in the book. Or they don't find a character who does the role justice.

A prime example would be Amanda Seyfried in the Nicholas Sparks novel turned movie, Dear John. Seyfried played the character Savannah Curtis, who in the book is described as a brown haired, brown eyed girl with average looks. Well it's pretty obvious if you Google pictures of Seyfried you'd find she is in fact has blonde hair and blue eyes, and she's got supermodel looks. She also brought no depth and emotion to the character what so ever on screen and her overall performance was flat. I compare that mediocre acting to the warmth and beautiful nature of Savannah in the novel. Savannah's character was an admirable one, and one that people could relate too. With books we often have a picture in our head, and we see the character moving their way through the story, and we begin to learn who they are. However in this movie it was painful to watch this actress pretty much butcher the character that many readers have grown to love.

But this is not the only example. I could name tons of movies where actors and actresses have been brought in to play roles and fall below the expectations of the fans of the books. There is no person who can make the character the way we imagine. And sometimes it's almost laughable when movie productions try to find someone to step into their shoes.


You say that directors and screenwriters never have the right idea, but what if it was their intention to do things differently from the book?

You have to admit that reading a book and then watching a movie exactly like it would be pretty boring. Also, films are usually at most about 3 hours long, with the average length about 2 hours. To fit in all the contents of the book in that time would be impossible. The writer and director of the movie have to make a choice about what material form the book is the most entertaining and relevant.

As for how the actor or actress looks nothing like the character they are playing... well, the fact is no one on Earth will look exactly like a character from a book. The performers are chosen purely for they acting skills, or because they will be a big draw at the box office.

I'd like to end with giving a prime example of a movie that is better than the book. Jaws (1975). Having read the book and seen the movie, I came to the conclusion that the movie improved upon the book in every single way. It was funnier, it was scarier, it was more suspenseful and I cared more for the characters in the movie than the ones in the book.

You can't just say that all books are better than movies. You have to look at each case before you can really decide which is better.
Debate Round No. 2


The biggest problem is that the plots make more sense in book form than in movie form. The whole point of a book is to tell a story, not to make it visually incredible. A perfect example would be Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The book itself had tons of action. But when the movie was released the writers cut out some of the more important scenes to replace them with more action sequences.The entire dragon chase sequence around the school, ending with Harry crashing into the roof did not exist in the book. It didn't add a single thing to the story and because of this lengthy sequence the movie dragged on and still didn't make any sense because key pieces of information were never revealed.

Directors and writers think the best way is to make the movie as appealing visually as possible. But their losing more fans this way. Instead of cutting out the pieces we need to make sense of it. it's annoying and frankly while most movies never measure up.


I agree with my opponent that some books are just too great to be adapted to movies. The Catcher In The Rye, for example. Even Ulysses has been adapted in to a movie, which was rubbish.

But you have to agree that for every good book, there are thousands of bad books. Books like the the Twilight Series, or The Hunger Games. Books that are terrible, but get adapted due to studio knowledge that there will be an audience.

I would also argue that the dumbing down of modern audiences is key to this debate. Teenagers and young adults are more likely to go to see a movie than there are to read a book. So, no matter how bad the movie is, at least they will be aware of the story and the characters, and may even be interested enough to read the book.

Also, books and movies are different mediums. You can't compare the two. A movie is designed to be quick and get to the point, where as a book can take it's time.

Just because the movie doesn't live up to the reader's expectations, doesn't mean it's a bad movie.
Debate Round No. 3


So let's look at it from an academic point of view than. If we're realistic we know that our society today is filled with technology and all kinds of new inventions. Not to mention we can stream movies and TV at any location with the click of a button. But the sad truth is all of these new advances in technology are actually harming us more than hurting us. There was a study done by the New York Times that stated that children who read more books have a stronger vocabulary and better comprehension.

Kids now have found a way to get out of reading books though, and that's by just watching the movie. Schools across the world assign books that are to be read at each grade level. And i know from personal experiece that while yes the books may not always be fascinating they are indeed more beneficial. How many times have we heard kids say oh i don't need to read the book I can just watch the movie. Kids are losing valuable skills that come from reading. Which is just another reason why books are better than movies


I think you are confusing the skill of reading with the personal pleasure of reading fictional literature. Kids are taught to read at an early age.. it's up to them, or their parents if they choose to search out the world's great books.

I agree with you that kids who read less or more likely to have a weaker vocabulary.

I'd like to add that seeing a movie.. a really great movie can be just as powerful and life changing an experience as reading a great book. People go to the cinema with their friends, and a few hundred other strangers, the lights dim and the movie starts. It's a great story, great actors, great music and great cinematic technique, like Scorsese, or Paul Thomas Anderson. Movies are a much more social experience and can be just as smart and provocative as books.
Debate Round No. 4


I'm not confusing the two. I just brought up that kids see viewing a movie as a way to get around reading the book. Look at books that high school students are required to read. A perfect example would be The Scarlet Letter . In 1995 Demi Moore starred as the lead role of Hester Prynne. The book is known for touching on some very adult subjects and showcasing Nathaniel Hawthorne's incredible writing skills. But how many students who are required to read these books actually do it?

I know from personal experience that majority of my classmates rented the movie with Demi Moore and ended up failing the final quiz on it. This is because the movie showcased bad acting not to mention Demi Moore attempting to do a British accent which failed HORRIBLY. But it also left out many key elements of the book and were replaced by scene where Moore was taking a bath. But the biggest annoyance was how many of the key points they left out. for example the book starts off with Hester on on the scaffolding. But in the movie it starts with Hester arriving in the new world. and meeting and falling in love with Dimmesdale. Or the biggest difference is that in the book she wears the Scarlet A for the rest of her life. But in the movie Hester's daughter Pearl plays with the A and eventually drops it on the ground and Hester doesn't put it back on. I think these are some pretty big differences.

Now I understand that while reading isn't for everyone, but when it comes to schoolwork and grades I think it's mandatory for the book to be read. I could understand maybe using a movie to show the differences in the two. These movies are trying to change the classics and make it more interesting, but their missing the point. You can't change the story because these stories are years old.

I've presented my case and shown examples. Books are better than the movies, and are much more enriching and imaginative as well.


You have presented your case and you have shown some of your personal examples, but you have not convinced me.

You are wrong to say all books are better than movies. Many movies have been more acclaimed then their books, some of which I have given examples of.

Perhaps you could look at this the other way around. What if someone watched the movie Dr. Strangelove? Is it not fair to say that if they then read the book it was based on, Red Alert, they would be disappointed? The movie is completely different from the book. It is funny, shocking and original, but the book is just an average thriller (at best).

I urge the voters to realise that my opponent is making a very harsh comment about the art of cinema and vote in my favour.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by rnannarone 4 years ago
yes correct books vs. movies
Posted by Thaddeus 4 years ago
This debate is comparing the two media, correct?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by whyt3nn3rdy 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Obvious win.
Vote Placed by 1dustpelt 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Con proved this is objective and that Pro is making very harsh arguments. If you choose the worst movies against the best books, of course it is not going to be good