Originally Posted by Fedaykin
I'd say there are several movies better than the books:
The Princess Bride
The Shawshank Redemption
Generally these fall into the category of "Hey that book has an overall good story but the actual details are terrible, let's adapt it and make it better". It's roughly equivalent to why Empire Strikes back is far and away the best Star Wars movie -- Lucas wasn't involved in the details but rather just the overall story.
There there's the movies that are "based" on books but both are good for different reasons. A good example of that is Starship Troopers. The movie and the book are nothing alike -- not thematically, not based on plot or even basic characterization. However, both the book at the movie are "good" (IMHO). The movie is good because of its satirical content and the book is good because of its philosophical content (the book follows Rico's military career from his recruit days to high ranking officer days and is a examination of civic responsibility, sufferage and the realities of war and the people who fight).
In the case of Game of Thrones - I am impressed at the creators ability to take something that is a good on screen adaption of a much more "heady" story. By that I mean a lot of the content of the books is based on the inner monologue of the characters (Tyrion in particular) with the action sequences generally left primarily up to the reader's imagination. To see this type of novel adapted to screen in a terrible fashion, see the original Dune movie.
Such a shame. The dune novels were fantastic philosophical literature and the movie was a disgrace.
The Dune novels however, are nothing short of spectacular in the imagination and fully realized world that Herbert created. Only Tolkien, perhaps, created a richer world in Middle Earth (as far as history, languages, cultures, etc) but Herbert was a better writer and his world is nearly as deep. Such novels cannot accurately be made into movies, or really, even trilogies.
FEW movies are better than the books. THere are a lot of them on par with their book counter parts (the first two Harry Potter's were practically word for word with the books, after those two however, they start leaving a great deal of details out). MOST movies however are pale comparisons to their book counterparts and another great example of this is "Sphere". Horrendous movie but the book was extremely suspenseful and there was a feeling of overall dread throughout the book that never once came across in the movie.