10 Best Film Adaptations Of Stephen King’s Books, According To Ranker

With a new adaptation of Fire starter set to terrify audiences, horror connoisseurs turn to discuss the myriad adaptations of Stephen King’s works. King’s books are some of the most popular of all time, and their film adaptations are beloved by many fans as well. In order to settle the debate over which is the best, the team at Ranker has put together a comprehensive list of their users’ favorites.

Sure, King is known as one of the forefathers of modern horror literature – but he’s also branched out into different genres over the years. He’s one of the most influential American authors of all time, so it’s no surprise that his books have been adapted numerous times.

ten Scary Show (1982)

Directed by George A. Romero, horror show is a horror anthology film based on the story of the same name by King. It consists of five chilling stories from King’s original book, all of which feature different elements of horror and terror through their unique stories.

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The stories feature actors such as Leslie Nielsen and Ed Harris, alongside Stephen King himself as Jordy Verrill. The film may not be the most well-known of King’s adaptations, but it’s still an underrated gem that shows off plenty of cinematic and storytelling skill.

9 Pet sematary (1989)

Gage Creed with a knife in Pet Sematary.

Pet sematary tells the story of Louis Creed and his family, who move into a new home and soon learn that the old cemetery on their property holds dark and mysterious secrets. It is one of King’s most successful supernatural stories, and the film received critical acclaim.

Although the film’s sequel wasn’t received as positively, the film remains an exciting and thrilling addition to the ’80s supernatural genre. film for two exciting hours.

8 It (2017)

Pennywise holding a balloon.

This is one of Stephen King’s best-known books to date, so it’s no surprise that the film adaptation is equally beloved by modern audiences. The main antagonist, Pennywise the Clown, quickly became one of the most iconic horror villains of all time.

Although This Deviates a bit from the source material, it’s still a hugely exciting and engaging horror movie that’s topped off with a fantastic performance from Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise. The film is filled with so many terrifying scenes and scary lines – This is a great piece of horror for critics and fans alike.

7 It (1990)

Tim Curry as Pennywise in the IT miniseries

by Stephen King This has been adapted twice over the years, and it’s the original 1990 version that is considered by most fans to be the best. Although technically a miniseries, Tommy Lee Wallace This can still be easily viewed in one sitting like a movie. And not only is it more faithful to King’s original vision, it’s also considered by most to be much more nostalgic.

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Full of genuine scares and spooky moments, the movie doesn’t let audiences breathe for even a second. Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise is truly terrifying, if much more exaggerated and exaggerated than Skarsgard’s.

6 The Shining (1980)

Shelley Duvall in The Shining

Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of Stephen King’s horror masterpiece the brilliant is widely admired among horror fans these days, despite a very mixed reception upon its release. It perfectly matches the tone and mood of the original novel, while simultaneously adding its own horrifying highlights.

the brilliant is most notable for the incredible performance of Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrence, who is slowly losing his mind to supernatural forces at the Overlook Hotel. Danny Lloyd also provides one of the best child acting performances in any horror film as Nicholson’s son, Danny.

5 Carrie (1976)


Carrie was Stephen King’s first published novel, and Brian de Palma’s adaptation also happens to be one of the defining films in the supernatural horror genre. The story follows a young girl named Carrie, who realizes she has supernatural powers and loses control of them when her classmates start bullying her.

RELATED: Every Stephen King Movie Adaptation That Isn’t A Horror Movie, Ranked

Like much of Stephen King’s work, Carrie explores the dangers and consequences of social exclusion and isolation. It’s a theme that’s often present in his books, but it’s overwhelmingly clear here in his first effort. De Palma’s film also explores these ideas very effectively.

4 Support Me (1986)


You’d be forgiven for not knowing support me is based on a short story by Stephen King, because it really doesn’t fit the same criteria as most of his books. The story, originally titled “The Body”, tells the story of a group of children who discover a dead body and wonder what to do with it.

support me is considered one of the best coming-of-age films of the 1980s, telling a seemingly timeless story that every generation can relate to – one of friendship, loneliness and longing. The film perfectly captures the dreamlike spirit of King’s writing.

3 Misery (1990)

Misery may not feature the usual horror tropes you find in King’s work, but it’s an absolutely engrossing thriller that still terrifies audiences. It follows novelist Paul Sheldon as he finds himself in a dangerous car accident, only to be rescued by a woman who claims to be his number one fan.

That woman is Annie Wilkes, and she’s a lot more dangerous and obsessive than she initially seems. She’s played by Kathy Bates in one of the actress’ best roles yet, sending chills through the audience with every line she utters. The novel (and film) is proof that King knows exactly how to pace a thriller to squeeze the maximum tension out of every scene.

2 The Green Line (1999)

Tom Hanks holds back tears in The Green Mile.

The green Line was directed by Frank Darabont and features Tom Hanks, David Morse and Michael Clarke Duncan in some of the best performances of their entire careers. The story centers on a prison guard who encounters an African American inmate accused of murdering two young girls – but who possesses powers beyond his own explanation.

Both the novel and the film seamlessly blend King’s stylistic horror tropes with his deep understanding of humanity, making for an enthralling story that’s both character-driven and full of twists and turns. It’s hugely moving and engaging, and perhaps one of the most thoughtful films based on King‘s works.

1 The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Shawshank takeover

Also directed by Frank Darabont, The Shawshank Redemption is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, and for good reason. It’s packed with philosophical insights and insightful commentary that still hold up incredibly well today, alongside some all-time great performances.

The film represents everything great about Stephen King’s books – their interesting structure, fascinating moral, gripping stories, interesting characters, and satisfying conclusions are all exemplary here. There’s a reason it’s considered one of the best, and it will be for a long time.

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