Banned Books Week: But you can go to the movie

We are frequently surprised at some of the books that are subject to challenge in libraries and schools, such as Huckleberry Finn or Harry Potter. Yet banned books are frequently a source of highly acclaimed films.

In connection with Banned Books Week, there’s a list circulating of 15 of “the most iconic, popular, and/or celebrated movies of all time — all of which are based on books that have been banned, formally challenged, or burned.” So what’s on the list?

  • A Clockwork Orange (which was itself condemned by the Catholic Church and was withdrawn from general circulation in the U.K. despite earning four Oscar and three Golden Globe nominations)
  • Brokeback Mountain (five Academy Award nominations and winner of the Golden Globe for Best Picture)
  • Forrest Gump (won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and three Golden Globes, including Best Drama)
  • Gone With the Wind (not only did the book win the Pulitzer Prize, the movie won the Best Picture Oscar)
  • Harry Potter films (only the highest grossing film franchise of all time)
  • Lord of the Rings films (combined for 30 Academy Award nominations and 17 Oscars, including Best Picture for The Return of the King)
  • Precious (six Oscar nominations, including winning the Oscar for Best Writing, and three Golden Globe nominations)
  • Sophie’s Choice (earned Meryl Streep the Best Actress Oscar and Golden Globe)
  • The Color Purple (11 Oscar and five Golden Globe nominations)
  • The Godfather (need I say anything?)
  • The Shining (despite Jack Nicholson, the only one of director Stanley Kubrick’s last nine films to get no Academy Award or Golden Globe nominations)
  • There Will Be Blood (eight Oscar and two Golden Globe nominations)
  • To Kill A Mockingbird (Gregory Peck, Best Actor awards — ring a bell?)
  • Twilight series (for those who think movies can’t lead kids to books)
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (okay, Gene Wilder’s Willy is awfully irritating creepy)

A censor is a man who knows more than he thinks you ought to.

Laurence Peter

1 comment to Banned Books Week: But you can go to the movie

  • That Mockingbird would be on this list is simply stunning. Horton Foote, who wrote that movie, changed my writing life, so I can only say–watch it, rewatch it, introduce others to it, and you’ll be seeing one of the most humane films ever made.