Go read the story.
Movies better than the books that spawned them is the title of an article at SignOn San Diego, which I picked up via Books, Inq., who in turn picked it up from Dave Lull (who, as Books, Inq.’s blogger, Frank Wilson, once wrote, is probably single-handedly responsible for maintaining the Internet).
But, back to the plot. Here’s the list, with my comments in brackets: The Graduate (film good, can’t recall if I’ve read book, no wish to now); The Birds (film and book (a longish short story, in fact) about the same — good suspense build-up, disappointing end); Shane (book great, a massive early influence on me, not seen film but I know that people acting opposite Alan Ladd had to stand in a trench); Babe (managed to avoid both, thankfully and amazingly, given ages of film and my children); The Godfather (liked the book, found the film bloated and boring); Wizard of Oz (disagree, book (read as a child) was far better than the film); To Have and Have Not (quite liked the book, can’t remember if I’ve seen the film); From Russia with Love (both are good if light, but different. If I had to choose, I’d say book was better); Carrie (tough one, both excellent of their genre, though too cruel for me in both cases); The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming (avoided both, I am thankful based on the title).
Jeff in Frank’s comments suggests The Natural — I quite liked the film (well, the Robert Redford bits at least), I may well have read the book but it didn’t leave an impression. I’ve thought of a lot of films I’ve seen of books I’ve read, and I can’t think of any examples of films I’ve liked better— though some have been impressively different and hence distinctive in their own way. I am sure there are some, though, so will leave this post here to see if any float into my mind in future. (Children of Men by P D James is one possibility — but it is so long ago that I read the book that I need to read it again to remember it.)
If I can think of any examples, I will log them in the comments. Of course, I can think of lots of books that I found better than films made of them, but that isn’t the point.