Classic Children’s Novels Adapted Into Films

To celebrate the release of THE SECRET GARDEN, a Sky Original, on October 23rd, we are celebrating some of our favourite movie adaptations of classic children’s novels. From Mary Poppins to Willy Wonka, these classic tales have won our hearts both in the pages and on the screen.

The Secret Garden (2020)

Based On:
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911)
Set in England, it is one of Burnett’s most popular novels and seen as a classic of English children’s literature. Set in Victorian England, the plot follows a young orphan who is sent to live with her uncle, only to discover a mysterious garden at his estate.

The Movie:
The Secret Garden has taken on many adaptations in its’ time, both on screen and stage. The latest reimagining of the tale is full of childhood adventure and looks absolutely stunning; it makes its’ way to UK Cinemas and on Sky Cinema from October 23rd, starring Colin Firth, Julie Walters and Dixie Egerickx.

Alice in Wonderland (1951 and 2010)
Based on:
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)
A young girl travels to Underland and eats her way around, growing and shrinking with every bite. Along the way, she makes friends with The Mad Hatter and various talking animals, but also finds a serious enemy in the shape of The Queen of Hearts.

The Movie:
Adapted into an animated film by Disney in 1951, Alice quickly won the hearts of many. While the film was critically panned on its initial release, it has since been regarded as one of Disney’s greatest animated classics, notably one of the biggest cult classics in the animation medium, as well as the best film adaptation of Alice. A live-action adaptation of Carroll’s works and the animated film, Alice in Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton, was released in 2010.

Mary Poppins (1964)
Based on:
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers (1934)
Two children wish for a nanny who is kind, witty, very sweet and fairly pretty – enter Mary Poppins. A magical nanny who sings her way through tasks whilst taking care of the Banks children and her chimney sweeping companion Burt.

The Movie:
P.L. Travers famously made the production of the Disney film difficult by trying to keep it true to her original vision (portrayed in 2013’s Saving Mr Banks). This meant, in her mind, having a strict and stern nanny, no singing, no dancing – and certainly no made-up words. Walt Disney obviously ignored her requests but in turn offered us one of the most beloved classics in the Disney live action department. The film received a sequel in 2018 starring Emily Blunt in the titular role, which explored further tales from P.L. TraversMary Poppins back catalogue.

Willy Wonka/Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1971 and 2005)
Based on:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (1964)
A poor boy who has lives in a tiny London home with his parents and 8 bedridden grandparents finds one of only five golden tickets in existence which permit him and his grandfather (affectionately known as Grandpa Joe) to enter Willy Wonka’s secret chocolate factory.

The Movie:
It is widely-known that Roald Dahl strongly disliked the 1971 adaptation because of how far the plot strayed from the original, including how Wonka was portrayed. Tim Burton’s 2005 re-make is much truer to Dahl’s original vision but is coated in extra Burton creepiness.

Where the Wild Things Are (2009)
Based On:
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (1963)
This story centres on a lonely boy named Max who sails away to an island inhabited by creatures known as the “Wild Things,” who declare Max their king, in his final attempt at embracing his life.

The Movie:
Released in 2009 and directed by Spike Jonze, some slight details in the film were changed but author Maurice Sendak gave his full approval of the updated re-telling. Though the wild things might be in Max’s imagination, the tears we’re shedding are definitely real.

THE SECRET GARDEN COMES TO CINEMAS AND SKY CINEMA OCTOBER 23