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Novels are better than the movies based on novels

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/5/2016 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,435 times Debate No: 97656
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (27)
Votes (2)




This is for anyone who thinks that movies based on novels are better than the novels themselves. Thanks to the person who accepts this challenge.

The first two rounds shall be used to explain the views of the participants on the topic with suitable examples. The third round will be the concluding round.

I am comparing the two ( Novels and Movies based on novels) considering only the people who can afford these commodities and have the skills to understand them.

I would like to give some definitions first.
Novel : A written/ printed narrative, representing emotions and characters with some degree of realism.
Movies based on novels : A movie is a story/ event which is recorded by a camera in the form of moving images. A movie based on a novel is such a movie whose plot is basically the same as the novel it is based on, with actors playing the different characters from the novel in the movie.

Reading a novel is always better than watching a movie based on it. This is because reading a story and imagining the events, and how the characters and the places look like, how the characters feel, etc. gives a person room to imagine the story in their own way. For example, people normally identify with one or another character in the story, and reading gives them plenty of chances to create the characters in their heads as they wish, still keeping in mind the limitations given by the actual author. This can not be done in a movie as the characters all have a fixed appearance. Take the example of Robert Langdon from the novels of Dan Brown.

"By his female colleagues, Langdon was called an erudite, not much handsome in the classical sense. He was described as having probing blue eyes, thick black hair with wisps of gray, dimpled chin, and a strong, carefree smile"
"He was six foot tall and his body was the one of a swimmer, lean and toned thanks to his morning ritual in Harvard's pool."

Although the author gives us readers the key aspects of Langdon's appearance, we still have lots of room to create our own Langdon. Every person to read this would create his own version of Robert and it will be highly rare that anyone's version will look like anyone else's version or like Tom Hanks. A person will create the character which they like the most and believe to be the most perfect, and the word 'perfect', my friends, is different for different people.

Movies and Novels both try to bring a sense of realism and it seems the novels clearly win the point here, since imagining your own 'perfect' characters, places, and degrees of feelings of the characters will lead to a more realistic experience of the story-line than accepting someone else's pre-created views of the things that are completely alien to you, but are still spoon-fed to you.

Another argument is that novels can describe the smallest of the things most efficiently. The person reading a well written novel can almost feel everything in real time. The thrill, the happiness, the sadness might have been ignited by the novel, but these feelings actually come from within. Take, for instance, a 500 page novel. So much can be put into those 500 pages, like facts and information, or a step can be taken out of the main story-line, giving the reader's brain some rest. Every thing that the main characters do or say can be put into those pages making the experience fulfilling.

On the other hand, Movies based on novels have to cut out so much to fit the whole novel in an approximately 2 hour frame. Most of the times, many parts of the story are manipulated and some good parts are cut out just so the whole story can be squashed into the given time period. This often leads to messy, not-well-told plots leaving the viewers confused.

Besides reading a piece of text has its own good effects. Novels are better than movies even for people who don't have English as their first language. Reading through the lines gives the brain a better knowledge about grammar and spelling, and also increases creativity of the mind (by being able to imagine the things as the person wishes). Movies evidently don't come with these benefits but rather come with disadvantages. Continuously staring at the screen can definitely stress the eyes. I am not saying that reading for a long duration won't do the same, but note that the time taken by a book to stress someone's eyes is relatively much greater that the time taken by a movie to do the same.

These are my opinions about why Novels are better.


I thank my opponent for being chill.

For starters, I would like to make clear that my opponent is taking an absolute side. My goal for this debate is to cast some doubt that all novels are better than their movie adaptions. Keep in mind, that even a critical standpoint has differences among different people, so you may not all agree with what I'm about to say.

I'm going to focus more on directors with this argument, because the director is like the author in that his/her job is to make sure the movie tells the exact story they want it to tell.

Most movies these days aren't that serious. Gods of Egypt is a good example, where the movie was just kind of smashed into a fantasy action category and thrown at a theatre. Except that Gerard Butler is literally so hot omg.

Even these days, the movie adaptions of good books are kind of sucky. Especially since all of them appeal to a post-apocalyptic dystopia. That's why all the X genners are like "Aren't these all the same movie?"

I only make this point to give you a bottom line. Movies have not always been what they are. Here's a few directors that got it right.

Stanley Kubrick:

Stanley Kubrick did a couple classic novel adaptions: The Shining and A Clockwork Orange. Of course, Stephen King was hacked off (lol) at the way Stanley changed the movie The Shining from its source material, but it was arguably for the best. Stephen King focused on a paranormal element that may have been creepy in its own right. However, Kubrick presented a character who went insane just becaue he went insane, and he made the audience believe it. To me, that was far more bone chilling.

Even to this day, The Shining is praised as one of the best horror films ever made. Most people don't even know it was based off of a book written by Stephen King.

Francis Ford Coppola:

Did you know the Godfather is based off of a book? Most people wouldn't. The Godfather is a brilliant movie. In fact, most people would argue that in fact this movie is the greatest movie ever made. Understandably so because the way that the director and the actors made you feel the story. Granted, you kind of have to have an evening planned out to actually watch the movie start to finish, but it's so worth it.

The novel was fun, but there's a reason people don't remember that it existed. The movie is just way better.

Rob Reiner:

Reiner is incredible at adapting movies. He took one of Stephen King's lesser works, The Body, and turned it into something a step deeper, Stand By Me. He also adapted the movie Princess Bride (with help from the author), and even that movie is praised as the perfect classic fairy-tale. It's funny, it's suspenseful, the actors were great, the storywriting was great. Everything about that movie was great. (And if someone tells you different, they're trying to sell you something). The way the movie plays out ultimately does just a slightly better job than the novel at capturing the magic of the story.

A lot of commentary on these movies was stolen from here:

Movie Potential:

Now, since my opponent is taking tests, I don't want to go through the rest of the list I just posted. However, I want you all to understand something. There's a reason that movies even became bae once upon a time. It was their ability to put you inside the story and let you watch it take place.

If the actors are good, they can be the character better than your mind can. Some people just have a gift for that.

If the director is good, he/she will make sure that the story, the actors, and the aesthetics make you feel something inside whether you're a cryer or not.

If the composer is good, the music will match the story so that it's not just the people or the words or the events. Music is powerful. It can make the gooesbumps run all over your body.

This isn't to say I don't appreciate authors. I actually write books myself. In most cases of a good author having their work adapted, the movie pretty much destroys all that was good about it. However, that's not always the case. We can have movies that are sincerely better than the books.

Thank you for reading.
Debate Round No. 1


My opponent here basically summed up that all movies might not be better than their novels, but some exceptions are there. She also gave some excellent examples making this debate all the more interesting.

I agree that there are movies in which the director has done a wonderful work. I myself am an emotional person and might get my eyes watery and a lump in the throat *sigh* while watching a really heartbreaking scene, accompanied by a good music, but not all, not even 50% of the movies based on novels are that good. Besides, novels are better than movies in other grounds too other than just entertainment.

Books last longer and are more detailed, while movies have a fixed time. Reading lets the story mingle for a long time and only a good movie can compare to that.

My opponent says, 'If the actors are good, they can be the character better than your mind can. ' I disagree.
No matter how good the actor is, or how hot he or she is :p, they can not be everyone 'perfect' character in the audience. The actor might be appealing to some people, fifty people? Maybe a 100 people... But that's sill less than 10% of the audience.

Let me elucidate what the other benefits of novels are over movies.
1.) Books are portable -

To read a book, you don't have to carry a laptop, or strain your eyes looking at the smart phone screen, although you might choose to read an e-book. If you want to read an e-book, you can simply zoom in so the text is big enough not to strain your eyes, but you can't zoom into a movie because it is constantly moving and the images are changing fast, so you will miss most of the things even if you find a way to zoom into a movie.

2.)Books improve your vocabulary, and they are cheaper.

To me, it seems like books are just promoting the need to at least learn to read. Learning to read basic English will not take more than a couple of years, and won't cost much either in today's technologically advancing world. Notice that I am only saying this for learning BASIC English. Novels are cheaper than movies almost always, so they are better economically too.

3.)A lot of movies are made just for money, lowering the quality by a lot,

But the movie can still get successful, even if it is just a waste of time and money, because it has a good handsome man and a gorgeous woman acting in it. This is because more people care about the attractiveness of the people acting, than caring about the story. This can't be with a novel. If a novel is bad, good acting or something like that can't save it from going down. So you almost never waste time and money on a novel. You are getting what you paid for.

Sources -
2.) Personal experiences through life

Thanks a lot for reading. Have a good day!


My opponent brings up some good points.

However, I'm going to contest a few of the things that he's said. I think. I haven't really put together a comprehensive argument.


I think sometimes the actor can definitely be a character better than our minds can. I mean, who wants to think as crazy as Jack Nicholson acts? That guy is seriously bonkers in some of his movies, and that's something the man does much more perfectly than I can. Sometimes, it's even better than the author could do.

There's probably more examples of that.


Length is a thing that books can have over movies. Length often isn't respected when translating a book to a movie script. Most of that is budgeting. Even Lord of the Rings (which is a series that's 12 hours long if you watch it first dvd to last dvd) cut a lot of the book in order to make it happen. (Then there was the Hobbit that added a lot just to dovetail into Lord of the Rings and add some cool CGI fight scenes). However, the cuts they made in Lord of the Rings are respectable. Like, raise your hand if you would have liked about a half hour of singing with almost no breaks in Fellowship of the Ring.

Another movie that took length cuts was Forest Gump. In the book, Forest Gump goes on a few other adventures, including going to space. The movie took a much more directed approach, and it was still really long. However, the movie still makes perfect sense with developing Forest Gump's character.


This is my only response.

Cash Grabs:

Cash grabs exist. However, they're normally performed by Michael Bay or some other similar actor. They're also typically not based off books. I think the length of the Hobbit movies may be the only thing that I would consider a cash grab. Maybe some of the older, standalone DC and Marvel movies (graphic novels are books. shut up).


Entertainment is probably the most important thing in a movie. I get it. Movies are not that intellectually stimulating. Don't act like Inception gave you new insight into the world. It was brilliant, but most of the time all a movie can teach us is about what the character is learning. Obviously there's very intellectual satire that happens in some movies, and some movies are very accurate representations of something that may trouble some people in real life.

However, I put the ball of intellectualism in the court of the books. But it's okay that movies aren't as intellectually stimulating, because they perform a different job that they're supposed to be good at. You wouldn't walk into the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and order a salad, nor would you walk into McDonald's and order a pound of fresh made fudge and candy apples. Books and movies both appeal to different segments of the same market. Kind of like the example: both are food, neither is the same. (That last sentence is like a semester of high school english for real, and I'm still not that confident about it).

So how do we compare them? Well, I'd say that so far my opponent and I have some nice criteria layed out, because obviously you don't want something that's going to make you even dumber, and you want something you can get into, and you want something that's just overall well made.

I would propose that movies are often times better made than we give them credit for. For example, were the Hunger Games movies really that bad? I think the second one did a great job of representing the book. It stayed a lot more on plot and told the story perfectly. The third movie was pretty good too. Honestly, it loses on the front end because that movie just didn't represent the book, and the fourth movie just couldn't capture Katniss's state of mind the whole time. The middle two were brilliant, though. That's 50% right?

That's all I have to say for this round. I can't believe I actually said that much already.

Goodnight everyone. Stay classy DDO.
Debate Round No. 2


I still hold my opinion that the best character is the character created my the audience themselves, personally. Though there are exceptions like the one my opponent mentioned and Heath Ledger (THE JOKER! ( Yeah, Graphic Novels! )).

This debate has been about which among the two, novels and movies based on novels are better. I say novels are better, and my opponent has just substantiated my point. I never said that movies aren't good, they are just not as good as the novels. They don't hold so many advantages as the novels hold. And comparisions are held with respect to the majority of the stuff, so, the few exceptions that do exist don't really make a big difference while deciding which of the two (Novels and movies) is better, from an overall perspective.

The few movies that do come out to be better than the novels have to be super splendid, or the book has to be super boring, or maybe both.

So, I reach the conclusion that even though some movies are awesome, if they have a novel counterpart, its probably a good idea to read them, and they will come out to be better than the movie most of the times. That doesn't mean, obviously, that movies suck. Movies actually can be very good and awe inspiring. But the novel has more wide spread advantages, and definitely is better.

I think I have been successful in proving my point.

I would like to thank you a lot for reading this far, if you did, and I would definitely thank Jonbonbon for this debate! Its nice to see things from the perspective of a different person!

I would like to see if the conclusion my oponent draws is similar or if there still are some differences among us.

Please vote for Pro! :D


Well bravo to my opponent.

I'm a little pressed on time due to a final presentation I'm putting together, but Jonelle never forfeits (anymore)!

So I'll focus on the important stuff.


My opponent has presented several great reasons for why he feels novels are better than the movies based off them. Of course, some of these are correct, but let's not underestimate the power of entertainment. Afterall, can your mind realy create all of the aesthetics so simultaenously that you're able to feel the scene from the book the way you do from the movie?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This is true if you have a good photographer. This is why movies need to hire good videographers (Ahem... I'm talking to you Battleship). Anyway, the point I wish to make is that movies and shows have the capability to do these things and often utilize them. Especially with the advancement of cinematography in general. However, I think the movies can and do often times do a better job at engulfing the audience into the story in a way that feels almost effortless to us.

Movies have gotten a bad imprn the eyes of many for this awkward cash-grabbing phase they've been going through, but if you look to emerging directors and screen writers, you can see a positive wave that may take us beyond the storywriting quality of old movies with the cinematic quality of the latest technology. In fact, I believe movies will make a signficant improvement, and I won't need to rest my case on movies from back in the day like the Shining.

Thank you for reading!
Debate Round No. 3
27 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Jocularly_Solemn 2 years ago
Posted this just after my maths exam lol
Posted by Jonbonbon 2 years ago
Thanks. You have no idea how tired I was when I wrote that XD
Posted by Jocularly_Solemn 2 years ago
Once again, you gave a pretty strong argument lol...and yeah, graphic novels are included! I will try to put forward a good conclusion. ( ^_^ )
Posted by Jonbonbon 2 years ago
I finally got it up lol.
Posted by Jonbonbon 2 years ago
Thanks, I just turned in a 17 page paper and took a test. So that's what's going on in my life XD
Posted by Jocularly_Solemn 2 years ago
yeah, its cool.... Just giving a reminder :D
Posted by Jonbonbon 2 years ago
I will later
Posted by Jocularly_Solemn 2 years ago
You can post your argument now.... Thanks for waiting to post it!
Posted by Jonbonbon 2 years ago
Ah I'll find some way to bull around this :P
Posted by Jocularly_Solemn 2 years ago
Thanks! :D I hope I am doing good! I know you would put another excellent and convincing argument but I will try to win all the same :D
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by TheMarketLibertarian 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:20 
Reasons for voting decision: Wikipedia on Con's side, thetoptens on pro's side- I vote pro.
Vote Placed by cloebowie 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I loved this argument so much as a whole that I don't know who half to vote for. The best part of the argument, in my book, was whether characters are better in one's head or right before one's eyes, and it could go either way, I'd say. Although it's nice to imagine things, some things you couldn't imagine. For example, I had someone draw a picture for me, and, even though I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like, it came out looking better than I could've ever pictured. A lot of things can look better than they sound, such as "a dark and stormy night," which can sound generic, in a novel, but in a movie, it can look like no dark and stormy night you've ever seen, so if seeing really is believing, as they say, then it's possible seeing a movie could make the story more believable than reading it. There's a difference between imagining someone crying and seeing someone crying, you know? I love words as much as the next nerd, but a movie now and then, it's nice is all I'm saying