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Nobel Prize Literature on Film

See also: Nobel Prize Winners on CD

If you haven't gotten around to reading the novels, perhaps these feature films will inspire you! More information about Nobel Prizewinners is at the Nobel Foundation web site.

Adventures of a Young Man
Based on the Nick Adams stories by Ernest Hemingway (Nobel Prize 1954), this 1962 motion picture is a coming of age story that chronicles a young man's experiences growing up in the North Woods in the early 20th century, leaving home and serving in the Red Cross during World War I.
Based on the novel by the Swede Pär Lagerkvist (Nobel Prize 1951), this 1961 motion picture stars Anthony Quinn. Pardoned instead of Christ, Barabbas is haunted for the rest of his life. After watching his former lover, Rachel, being stoned to death for her belief in Jesus, Barabbas returns to his life of thievery. Arrested again, he is sent to the sulphur mines and then to gladiator school where he witnesses yet another friend give his life in the name of the Nazarene. It is only at the end, when Barabbas himself faces crucifixion, that he discovers his faith.
Based on the novel by the Portuguese José Saramago (Nobel Prize 1998). When a plague of blindness threatens all of humanity, one woman feigns the illness to share an uncertain fate in quarantine.
The Andrew Lloyd-Weber musical Cats is based on T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, a collection of poems. T.S. Eliot was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1948.

El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba
(No One Writes to the Colonel)
In this 1999 film based on the story by Colombian Nobel prizewinner Gabriel García Márquez, a colonel goes to the post office every Friday anticipating the arrival of his pension which never arrives.
Dragon Seed
Based on the novel by Pearl Buck (Nobel Prize 1938), this 1944 motion picture stars Katharine Hepburn and Walter Huston. When a peaceful village in China is invaded by the Japanese prior to World War II, the men in the village choose to adopt a peaceful attitude toward their conquerors. But Jade (Hepburn, of course) is a headstrong young woman who intends to stand up to the Japanese whether her husband approves or not.
East of Eden
In a California farming valley in 1913, a wild adolescent rebels against his stern father, realizing that he favors his twin brother. James Dean stars in this 1954 motion picture based on the novel by John Steinbeck (Nobel Prize in 1962).
A Farewell to Arms
Based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway (Nobel Prize 1954), this 1957 motion picture stars Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones. A tale of doomed love between a wounded American ambulance driver and his nurse amidst the howl and fury of the the snowy Alpine peaks and muddy plains of northern Italy during World War I.
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway (Nobel Prize 1954), this 1943 motion picture stars Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman. The story of Robert Jordan (Cooper), an American demolition expert who lends his abilities to the anti-fascist freedom fighters of Spain. Assisting him is a band of warriors that includes the strong-willed Pilar (Katina Paxinou), the dangerously undependable Pablo (Akim Tamiroff), and the lovely, innocent Maria (Bergman). As danger mounts, Robert and Maria develop a closeness that blossoms into one of the screen's greatest love stories.
Grapes of Wrath
The story of the Joad family and their migration to California from their dust-bowl farm in Oklahoma during the Depression. Henry Fonda stars in this 1940 motion picture based on the novel by John Steinbeck (Nobel Prize in 1962).
Kristin Lavransdatter
Epic love story set in the 14th century, a remarkable adaptation of Sigrid Undset's 1928 Nobel prize-winning novel. This is also available as a downloadable video.
The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum
This 1975 motion picture is based on the novel Die Verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum by Heinrich Böll. In the period of several days, Katharina's privacy and her honor are destroyed, first by the police who terrorize her, and then by the yellow press, which creates in her name the image of a politicized Bonnie Parker.
Love in the Time of Cholera
(Amor En Los Tiempos Del Cólera)
Javier Bardem stars in this recent movie based on the novel by Colombian Nobel prizewinner Gabriel García Márquez. In the story, Florentino, a poetry-writing telegraph operator in Cartagena, waits 50 years for his true love, Fermina.
Memoirs of a Survivor
This 1981 motion picture is based on the book by Nobel prizewinner Doris Lessing. A woman living in a violent, lawless city of the not-too-distant future takes responsibility for a teenage girl and discovers another world on the other side of the wall in her flat.
Of Mice and Men
Tells the story about the strange relationship of two migrant workers who are able to realize their dreams of an easy life until one of them succumbs to his weakness for soft, helpless creatures and strangles the farmer's wife. This 1939 motion picture stars Burgess Meredith and Lon Chaney in the film adaptation of the novel by John Steinbeck (Nobel Prize 1962). You can also download this movie using your library card.
The Old Man and the Sea
Based on the short novel by Ernest Hemingway (Nobel Prize 1954), this 1958 motion picture stars Spencer Tracy and tells the story of an aging Cuban fisherman, alone in a small skiff, who catches a magnificent marlin and must defy the sea, marauding sharks, and his own flagging strength to bring his great catch home.
La Pianiste
Die Klavierspielerin (The Piano Teacher)
This 2001 French-Austrian film is based on the book by the Austrian Nobel prizewinner Elfriede Jelinek. It relates the story of Erika, a middle-aged classical piano instructor who is trapped between her rigid passion for music and her suffocating home life.
The Reivers
Based on William Faulkner's (Nobel Prize 1949) warm, humorous, poignant story about a the advent of the automobile, a horse race and a boy's loss of innocence during an great adventure in the early 1900's South. Starring Steve McQueen.
Samuel Beckett's Happy Days
This performance of the play was originally produced in 1980 as a segment of the television program Great Performances. Happy Days tells the story of Winnie, an eternal optimist facing the harsh realities of the world with a smile and impenetrable cheerfulness. Samuel Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1969.
This 1972 motion picture chronicles a young man's spiritual odyssey, filmed on location in Rishikesh and Bharatpur, and based on Hermann Hesse's novella. (Nobel Prize 1946).
The Snows of Kilimanjaro
Based on the short story by Ernest Hemingway (Nobel Prize 1954), this 1952 motion picture stars Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward, and Ava Gardner. Harry Street, a frustrated author/big game hunter, lies dying in the shadow of Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro, reliving his life of adventures, ambitions, frustrations and many loves.
The Sun Also Rises
Based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway (Nobel Prize 1954), this 1957 motion picture stars Tyrone Power, Ava Gardner, Mel Ferrer, Errol Flynn, and Eddie Albert. A group of Americans that have become friends because of the war, spend their time in Europe in 1922, still living as if every day was their last.
The Tin Drum
Die Blechtrommel
Chronicles Danzig in the 1920s/1930s and the life and times of Oskar Matzerath the son of a local dealer, a most unusual boy. Equipped with full intellect right from his birth, he decides at his third birthday not to grow up as he sees the crazy world around him at the eve of World War II. So he refuses the society and his tin drum symbolizes his protest against the middle-class mentality of his family and neighborhood, which stand for all passive people in Nazi Germany at that time. Based on the novel by Gunter Grass, awarded the Nobel Prize in 1999.
Two Soldiers
Based on William Faulkner's (Nobel Prize 1949) short story in which two otherwise inseparable brothers are pulled apart by war. 19 year-old Pete leaves behind his little brother and inspired by his own sense of duty, Willie embarks upon his own heroic journey, setting out by foot to rejoin his brother and enlist.