The Best: Roald Dahl Movie Adaptations

11/11/2009 15:57 | Updated 22 May 2015

Growing up, Roald Dahl books were a big part of my reading repertoire. I was as bewitched with his writing as I was with Quentin Blake's whimsical illustrations which accompanied the stories. Some of my favourites have been made into films, unsurprising given the huge variety of imaginative and magical characters that Roald Dahl had created to appeal to children of all ages.

With the imminent release of the latest movie adaptation, this time for the Fantastic Mr Fox, I think it's about time we look at some of the previous movies and consider which ones were the best!

Which is your favourite?


By far my favourite Dahl book, The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) tells the story of a giant who catches good dreams and blows them into the bedrooms of children, whilst destroying the bad dreams and eventually the child eating giants. The book itself is rumoured to have been written for his granddaughter Sophie Dahl (the supermodel) to help her sleep at night.

The film adaptation of this book was an animated version featuring the voices of David Jason and Amanda Root, and was released in 1989.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Probably the most famous of all the books, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has been made into a movie twice. The story of a poor little boy who wins a golden ticket to visit the chocolate factory, meet Willy Wonka and eventually inherit the factory was originally adapted by Mel Stuart and renamed Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. This version, filmed in 1971 and starring Gene Wilder, was so popular that it was nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Oscar.

The second version, filmed in 2005 and starring the charismatic Johnny Depp, definitely had a darker side to it. Unsurprising really as it was directed by Tim Burton, of The Nightmare before Christmas fame.

The Witches

Published in 1983, The Witches was a story based around the idea that wig wearing witches lived in giant organisations in which they plotted to kill the children they so despised. The book became a film in 1990, and starred Anjelica Huston and Rowan Atkinson. It gave me nightmares for weeks!

James and the Giant Peach

Another book that resulted in a film adaptation, James and the Giant Peach was written way back in 1961. The book follows James who, after losing both parents and suffering neglect and abuse at the hands of his evil aunts, discovered a wizard who gives him magic crystals which leads to him taking a trip on the sea in a giant peach with various insect characters.

Roald Dahl turned down several opportunities to adapt this book, and it was actually his widow who eventually consented in 1996. The movie enjoyed praise for its stop start animation and live action segments.

So which one was your favourite?


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