The Best Stephen King Film Adaptations

Stephen King

Stephen King | Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images

Author Stephen King has had unbelievable success in having his work translated to the big screen. Although King has sometimes been criticized over the years for his sentimentality and a knack for convention, there’s no doubt his work has been remarkable in making the leap to a film world that has proven anything but straightforward.

You only have to take a glance at the list of King adaptations to see just how successful and prolific the author’s work is on the silver screen. Along with 2013’s Carrie reboot, his 2009 novel, Under the Dome, was successfully turned into a record-breaking drama on CBS. Additionally, an adaptation of The Dark Tower series — which King refers to as his magnum opus — will soon make the leap to the TV and the movie screen, while new adaptations of The Stand and It loom in the near future.

For now, here’s a list of the top five Stephen King film adaptations.

5. Carrie (1976)

Carrie (1976)

Carrie (1976) | Red Bank Films

Starting off this list is the first film ever adapted from King’s novels: Carrie. Directed by Brian De Palma and starring Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie, the now-iconic adaption of Carrie was released in 1976, only two years after King’s novel was published.

Like the newest adaptation, De Palma’s Carrie revolves around Carrie White, a teenage outcast who suffers abuse at the hands of her religious mother and classmates. But when Carrie discovers she has telekinetic powers and gradually hones her abilities, a prank at prom causes her to exact revenge on those that have hurt her.

King was only 26 when Carrie was optioned by De Palma, and he was paid $2,600 for the rights. With a budget of around $1.8 million, the film was one of the biggest hits of 1976 and went on to gross $33.8 million. The film drew glowing reviews from critics and became one of the few horror films at the time to be rewarded with Oscar nominations (Spacek was nominated for Best Actress, and Laurie was nominated for Best Supporting Actress).

In recent years, the film has continued to rank as one of the greatest horror movies of all time; director Quentin Tarantino has named the film among his favorites as recently as 2008. The consistent critical acclaim the film has received has led many to wonder why a second adaptation was necessary in the first place. In 2013, a second adaptation was made starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore