As anyone who has seen any version of Anna Karenina knows, a great book does not necessarily make a great film. And while The Godfather was a great movie, was it a great novel? Probably not.
These and other debates went into deciding a longlist of what are deemed the 50 best film adaptations of all time. Organised by the Guardian, a panel of experts has drawn up the list, which will be voted on by the public. The chains Waterstones and Borders are also involved and will promote the books in shops.
Andrew Pulver, the Guardian's film editor, who was on the panel, said: "There was some vigorous debate."
Among the issues under discussion was whether the film could be adapted from non-fiction. The answer was yes, but only in the case of Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese's mafia classic based on Nicholas Pileggi's account of the life of the gangster Henry Hill.
Short stories are allowed and Brokeback Mountain is there, based on Annie Proulx's piece originally published in New Yorker magazine.
Stephen King could have been in the list three times over for short stories from one collection. In Different Seasons, three out of four of the stories became films - The Shawshank Redemption,
Stand By Me and Apt Pupil.
The films of Stanley Kubrick could also have been in there several times since most of his movies were adapted works. The two which made the list are his version of Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange and Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita.
And then there are the ones which are not there - no JK Rowling for Harry Potter or Tolkien for Lord of the Rings, nor EM Forster for Howards End, Room With a View or Maurice.
The Guardian, in association with the Book Marketing Group, will publish a supplement in the Film & Music section on May 5 when voting will begin. The winner will be revealed at the Guardian Hay literary festival at the end of May.
From words to pictures
Alice in Wonderland
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Charlie & the Chocolate Factory
A Clockwork Orange
Close Range (inc Brokeback Mountain)
The Day of the Triffids
Devil in a Blue Dress
Different Seasons (inc The Shawshank Redemption)
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (aka Bladerunner)
Empire of the Sun
The English Patient
The French Lieutenant's Woman
Heart of Darkness (aka Apocalypse Now)
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Jungle Book
A Kestrel for a Knave (aka Kes)
Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Lord of the Flies
The Maltese Falcon
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Pride and Prejudice
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
The Railway Children
The Remains of the Day
Schindler's Ark (aka Schindler's List)
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
The Talented Mr Ripley
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
To Kill a Mockingbird