With a few rare exceptions, most people tend to agree that the book version of a story is always better than the movie. But what about the cases when those two works are so different that they’re practically impossible to compare? We don’t mean stories where things have been tweaked a bit for the film adaptation, but rather movies that feature totally different endings, story lines, and main characters than the original book. Here are a few of our favorite examples. Be warned, spoilers ahead!
Thank You For Smoking
In the movie: Nick Naylor is a charismatic tobacco company lobbyist during the early-’90s — aka, before the tobacco hearings in Congress forced the industry to formally admit that smoking can cause lung cancer. Throughout the film, Naylor works to improve his relationship with his son who lives with Naylor’s ex-wife and her current husband.
Eventually, Naylor’s smooth talking ways get him in some hot water when he starts receiving death-threats from anti-tobacco campaigners who eventually kidnap him and try to kill him by overdosing him with nicotine patches. Fortunately, Nick’s smoking habit has actually provided him a high tolerance to the drug, so he manages to survive.
In the end, it’s a sexy reporter who proves to be his undoing as she manages to get him to spill the beans on his true feelings about the industry during their bedroom pillow talks. She exposes him, causing his friends and co-workers to turn against him. Fortunately, he is able to scrape up his reputation in the Senate hearings he has been subpoenaed to attend. In the end, Naylor continues his work as a lobbyist, just moving on to a different industry.
In the book: To be fair, this one is fairly faithful rendition of the original, up until the end, when the entire story changes drastically. In fact, in this version, it’s his co-workers who stab him in the back and he ends up becoming an anti-tobacco advocate.