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22 Banned Books You Can Watch as Movies

Some of the best novels ever written have been banned for silly reasons, and they've been adapted into some of the best (and worst) movies ever created. Here are banned books turned into movies.

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Banned Books You Can Watch as Movies

You can watch these movies based on banned books. Use this Book vs. Movie Review worksheet, too.

A Wrinkle in Time

After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him. | Stream on Disney+

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry was a TV pilot film in the form of a three-part miniseries. Set in 1933 Mississippi, the story focuses on the Logans, a closely knit, fiercely independent African-American family.

The Handmaid's Tale: Season 1
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski, Alexis Bledel (Actors)

The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale starring Elisabeth Moss and based on Margaret Atwood’s classic novel about life in the dystopia of Gilead, a totalitarian society in what was formerly part of the United States.

The Catcher in the Rye

This is 75 minutes and 6 seconds of pure blue screen, and nothing more, just clear new absurdism. In 2008, a film ‘The Catcher in the Rye' directed by Nigel Tomm was filmed. Intelligent. Eccentric and subversive.

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Of Mice and Men

John Malkovich, Gary Sinise and Sherilyn Fenn shine in this contemporary remake of the beloved classic about a nomadic farm worker who looks after his dimwitted, gentle-giant friend.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Tony Randall, Patty McCormack, Neville Brand (Actors)

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Huckleberry Finn, a rambuctious boy adventurer chafing under the bondsof civilization, escapes his humdrum world and his selfish, father bysailing a raft down the Mississippi River.
Forever (1978 TV-movie)
  • Stephanie Zimbalist, Dean Butler, John Friedrich (Actors)
  • John Korty (Director)


This movie was made for TV in 1978. This is a very rare hard to find movie & was controversial back then. A teenager (Stephanie Zimbalist) feels confusing pangs of love with her first boyfriend (Dean Butler).

The Kite Runner
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Khalid Abdalla, Homayoun Ershadi, Shaun Toub (Actors)

The Kite Runner

Amir is a young Afghani from a well-to-do Kabul family; his best friend Hassan is the son of a family servant. Together the two boys form a bond of friendship that breaks tragically on one fateful day.
To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Phillip Alford (Actors)

To Kill a Mockingbird

Told through the eyes of “Scout,” a feisty six-year-old tomboy To Kill A Mockingbird carries us on an odyssey through the fires of prejudice and injustice in 1932 Alabama.
The Giver
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites (Actors)

The Giver

Based on the beloved young adult novel. A young man (Brenton Thwaites), who lives in a seemingly ideal world, must escape after discovering the deadly truths of his community's secret past.
The Outsiders
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • C Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Diane Lane (Actors)

The Outsiders

A teen gang in rural Oklahoma, the Greasers are perpetually at odds with the Socials, a rival group. When Greasers Ponyboy (C. Thomas Howell) and Johnny (Ralph Macchio) get into a brawl that ends in the death of a Social member, the boys are forced to go into hiding.

RELATED:  11 Awesome Books That Became Movies

Soon Ponyboy and Johnny, along with the intense Dallas (Matt Dillon) and their other Greaser buddies, must contend with the consequences of their violent lives. While some Greasers try to achieve redemption, others meet tragic ends.

Thirteen Reasons Why

High school student Clay Jensen lands in the center of a series of heartbreaking mysteries set in motion by a friend's tragic suicide. | Stream on Netflix
Harry Potter 8-Film Collection
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Various (Director)

Harry Potter Series

The Magic Is All Here in the Complete 8-Film Collection.
In this powerful drama based on the best-selling novel, when a teenager witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood friend, she must find her voice and stand up for what’s right.
The Hate U Give
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby (Actors)

The Hate U Give

In this powerful drama based on the best-selling novel, when a teenager witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood friend, she must find her voice and stand up for what’s right.
The Grapes Of Wrath
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Dorris Bowdon, Jane Darwell, Russell Simpson (Actors)

The Grapes of Wrath

The chronicle of a depression-era family of dispossessed farmers who migrate from the Oklahoma dust bowl to the supposedly greener pastures of California.
The Color Purple
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Danny Glover, Adolph Caesar, Margaret Avery (Actors)

The Color Purple

Celie, a Southern Black woman, gradually gains self-respect as she strives to educate herself and to find love, despite an abusive spouse.
Lord of the Flies
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • James Aubrey, Tom Chapin, Hugh Edwards (Actors)

The Lord of the Flies

The story of thirty English schoolboys stranded on an uncharted island at the start of the “next” war, Lord of the Flies is a seminal film of the New American Cinema and a fascinating anti-Hollywood experiment. In his daring translation of William Golding's novel, director Peter Brook found the cinematic “evidence” of the author's terrifying thesis: there is a beast in us all.
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • John Hurt, Richard Burton, Suzanna Hamilton (Actors)


The classic George Orwell story set in a world where absolute conformity in action, word and thought including loyalty to Big Brother is demanded.
The Call of the Wild
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Harrison Ford, Omar Sy, Dan Stevens (Actors)

The Call of the Wild

Jack London's beloved story is brought to life in a delightful adventure series for the whole family. This TV series follows a 15-year-old boy living in an Alaskan mining town at the turn of the century whose life changes forever when he encounters a heroic and powerful dog named Buck, who together battle natures toughest elements, stand up against hardened criminals and rescue people in danger.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Viggo Mortensen, Christopher Lee, Andy Serkis (Actors)

The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings is a series of three epic fantasy adventure films directed by Peter Jackson, based on the novel written by J. R. R. Tolkien. The films are subtitled The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King

Bridge to Terabithia
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb, Robert Patrick (Actors)

Bridge to Terabithia

The life of Jesse (Josh Hutcherson), an adolescent, changes when he befriends Leslie (AnnaSophia Robb), the class outsider. The children create an imaginary world called Terabithia, which is inhabited by all manner of magical creatures.

RELATED:  Book vs. Movie Review

Though difficulties fill their ordinary lives, Jesse and Leslie rule as king and queen in Terabithia. Soon one of the friends must draw on the strength of their imaginary kingdom to cope with a tragedy.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

This film adaptation of Maya Angelou's autobiography focuses on the author's extremely difficult youth. Young Maya (Constance Good) lives at her grandmother's in Arkansas. Life is hard for the little girl, but a truly dark turning point comes when she is raped by her mother's boyfriend (Paul Benjamin).

After she identifies her rapist, her uncles murder him. Overwhelmed with guilt and confusion, Maya becomes mute for years, struggling all the while to come to terms with her trauma. | Stream on Youtube

To continue learning, check out the General Book/Movie Study Guide.a mock up image of general study guide

If you enjoyed this list of movies, I have a monthly membership for parents and educators that want to teach or supplement lessons with shows and movies.

“I absolutely love sharing movies with my kids as a way to teach them valuable lessons. It's like this awesome bonding experience where we all snuggle up on the couch with some popcorn, and I get to see their little faces light up with curiosity. Whether it's a classic with timeless morals or a new animated flick with hidden gems of wisdom, it's a fantastic way to impart important life lessons in a fun and engaging way. Plus, the post-movie discussions are priceless – hearing their take on the characters and the story adds a whole new dimension to our family time.” –a Homeschooling parent

RELATED:  18 Upcoming YA Books Turned Movies

With Homeschooling with Shows and Movies membership, you will get resources every month, including:

  • List of This Month’s Suggested Themes
  • List of Monthly Observances
  • List Of Movies for Unit Study
  • Unit Study Resource
  • Seasonal Activities (minimum of three)
  • (BONUSES) Resources for you, the teacher

These resources are worth it if you'd like to easily incorporate shows and movies into your homeschooling.

Grab your membership here.

People also ask:

What books are completely banned in the US?

Banned & Challenged Classics
  • The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
  • The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger.
  • The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.
  • The Color Purple, by Alice Walker.
  • Ulysses, by James Joyce.
  • Beloved, by Toni Morrison.
  • The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding.

For more list here.

What is the number 1 most banned book?

For all time, the most frequently banned book is 1984 by George Orwell.

What books have been banned 2021?

Banned Books Week 2021
  • Slaughterhouse-Five Or the Children's
  • 1984
  • Alchemist. by Paulo Coelho
  • Her Body and Other Parties: Stories. by Carmen Maria Machado
  • Norwegian Wood. by Haruki Murakami and Jay Rubin
  • The Catcher in the Rye
  • Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (Book 1)
  • The Handmaid's Tale.

For more list here.

Is it illegal to read a banned book?

The American Library Association reports hundreds of attempts each year by groups and individuals to remove books from schools and libraries. It is not unlawful to read a banned book, although it may be difficult to locate.

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