Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

From the mediocrity of The Dark Tower just a month ago, we swing back to the strong reviews and deafening buzz of It that just arrived in theaters with some of the biggest hype of any Stephen King feature film adaptation ever. And with 2017 shaping up to be the biggest year for King on big and little screens in memory, what better time for us to select our favorite films based on the blockbuster author’s extensive bibliography?

In Worth Mentioning we all made it to theaters to see It (2017), Rob talks The Founder, while Tim bring us Quick Change.


The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Stand by Me (1986)
The Shining (1980)
The Mist
The Running Man (1987)


The Green Mile (1999)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Stand by Me (1986)
It (2017)
The Mist


The Shining (1980)
Misery (1990)
Dolores Claiborne (1995)
Creepshow (1982)
Stand by Me (1986)

28 Responses so far.

  1. Not Fenimore says:

    Well, this is easy, if embarrassing: I have seen exactly one (1) Stephen King movie. So, by process of elimination, my top Stephen King movie is 2004’s Secret Window. It’s not horrible, although I’d be lying if I said I’d thought about it in the last decade.

  2. Diane Wolfe says:

    I only read a few of Stephen King novels or and I’ve not seen many films based on his books. Of those I have seen, I’d say my top five would be:

    The Dead Zone (1983)
    Stand By Me (1986)
    The Green Mile (1999)
    Creepshow (1982)
    Carrie (1976)

    Runner up would be the “Quitter’s, Inc.” segment of Cat’s Eye.

  3. WBTN says:

    Because King hates Kubrick’s The Shining, I will respectfully keep it off this list.

    …that schmuck.

    5. ‘Salem’s Lot – well, on the one hand, I like the book much better, but this one’s still pretty entertaining. Great vampire design and James Mason performance

    4. Carrie – now, I definitely like this one more than the book, but it’s a bit of a waiting game putting up with all those high school antics until the prom rolls along. Still, the last thirty minutes are amazing .

    3. Creepshow – hey, you didn’t say Top 5 Adaptations, just implied it. Love the campy comic book effects and proto-Tales from the Crypt sensibility (I mean, obviously the old comics helped, but you can still see this movie’s influence on that show a lot). One of the better horror anthologies out there.

    2. Misery – Kathy Bates, James Caan, Richard Farnsworth, big pig, and some really cold exteriors. Probably the most effective adaptation of King’s horror stories, without, y’know, pissing the guy off

    1. Stand By Me – it’s a cold day in hell when two Rob Reiner movies top my list, but at least these were made when he was good. I honestly owe it a rewatch, but I can’t think of anything bad about it; only good, sad memories

    0. Maximum Overdrive – eyyy, fuck you, this movie has AC/DC doing Psycho strings. Dumb as hell, and it gets boring around the middle, but this was the first bad I really loved despite itself, and without it, we wouldn’t have cross-eyed, coked-out Stephen King telling people he’s gonna scare the hell out of them

  4. Peter Brown says:

    How can everyone leave out The Shawshank Redemption?

  5. vilsal says:

    Stand By Me
    The Shining
    The Running Man

  6. Brigdh says:

    The Shawshank Redemption
    The Shining
    Carrie (1976 version)
    Pet Cemetery
    Stand by Me

  7. Julian says:

    The Shining
    Stand By Me
    Shawshank Redemption

    My favorite Stephen King film is the worst Stephen King adaptation.

  8. Grant Hagey says:

    1. The Shining – They say Steven Weber just played Steven Weber, but damn is he good at it.
    2. Dead Zone – Who among us can say he absolutely wouldn’t use a baby as a human shield in a moment of panic?
    3. Creepshow – not a bad segment in the lot, not even the one you’re thinking of.
    4. It – I’m hoping Tim reviews the miniseries as well as all 52 episodes of the Hindi language Woh.
    5. Sometimes They Come Back – but not Again or For More. Never those.

    • Carrie Jarosinski Carrie Jarosinski says:

      Noted, never see Dead Zone.

      • Grant Hagey says:

        Nah, it’s cool. No baby gets harmed. Just the bad guy making sure we know he’s a Stephen King villain.

        Also, these are my favorite King movies, not the best, so that’s why there’s no Shawshank or Green Mile. I like horror more than drama.

  9. John Taylor says:

    1. Stand By Me
    2. Carrie
    3. The Shawshank Redemption
    4. Cujo
    5. Creepshow

  10. haajen says:

    1 Dolores Claiborne – brilliant moviemaking and Kathy Bates is golden
    2 The Mist – great pulp and the ending works for me
    3 The Shining – a masterpiece but not a good adaptation
    4 Cujo – underrated, Dee Wallace is rock solid!
    5 The Dead Zone – one of Cronenbergs best, Walken is great and love the music

    Shawshank, Misery, Stand by me, Creepshow, The Nightflier are all well worth seeing.

  11. Andrew Milne says:

    Ooh, good topic choice! My picks would be:

    1: The Shining
    2: Stand by Me
    3: The Shawshank Redemption
    4: Misery
    5: Carrie

  12. Brian Fowler says:

    5. It! (1990)
    4. The Green Mile
    3. Stand By Me
    2. The Shining
    1. The Mist

  13. 1) Carrie (2013 version). The film that gave the world a long overdue teenaged superhero. While the Spiderman films either downplayed Spiderman’s youth or else barred him from doing anything heroic, while “Smallville” made Super-Boy the wimpiest superhero ever, Kimberly Peirce grabbed this cheesy property and reinvented it as a super hero origin story with a teenaged heroine.
    2) The Shining. Kubrick and some top-notch actors made this worthwhile.
    3) Misery.
    4) The Mist.
    5) Shawshank Redemption

  14. Damian says:

    1. The Dead Zone
    2. The Shawshank Redemption
    3. The Shining
    4. Carrie (1976)
    5. The Green Mile

  15. just_some_guy says:

    I know this is completely off topic, but would you folks consider doing a top 5 movies in the public domain? There’s certainly plenty of good stuff in that bin and all of it’s free.

    Back to the topic though. I’ve actually never seen the Shawshank Redemption (to the consternation of all my film friends) so I’ll leave it off the list.

    1. The Shining
    2. Misery
    3. The Green Mile
    4. Stand by Me
    5. The Mist

  16. In no particular order:
    The Mist — A bit abrasive in its depiction of religion and its hold on the masses, but I find the concept to be fascinating.
    The Shining — A “poor” adaptation perhaps, but no less affecting because of it. A classic, obviously.
    The Green Mile — Given his reputation for horror stories I find I’m often more impressed by King’s yarns that dabble in other genres. Excellent performances all around, and just enough of a suspenseful bent to remind you where the story originated from.
    Silver Bullet — Dated and goofy, primarily because of the werewolf effects, but I dig it. A decent adaptation of Cycle of the Werewolf, and one that would perhaps benefit from a remake.
    The Shawshank Redemption — Apparently I’m very fond of Frank Darabont’s dabbles with Stephen King, but I quite enjoy this film. I don’t think it’s necessarily deserving of its holy reputation, but it’s still very good.

    Honorable mention:
    Maximum Overdrive — How many other films feature a truck with a Green Goblin (of Spider-Man lore) grill mount and a soundtrack by Aussie rock legends ACϟDC? None, I’ll remind you.

  17. Mr Tinkertrain says:

    1) The Shining
    2) Shawshank Redemption
    3) Cujo
    4) Stand By Me
    5) Misery

    Honourable mention to The Running Man

  18. CRD says:

    1. The Shining – Stephen King may hate it, but it’s an absolute horror classic.
    2. Stand By Me – One of the best depictions of childhood in cinema.
    3. Carrie (1976) – that final half hour is pure nightmare fuel.
    4. The Green Mile – moving and just the right amount of suspense.
    5. Misery – Kathy Bates is scary as hell.

  19. Alex Frith says:

    1. Stand By Me
    2. The Shining
    3. The Running Man (I know it has barely anything to do with King’s original story, but I love this film so much)
    4. Carrie (1976 version, obvs)
    5. Christine

    This list was suprisingly tough! I think of King as someone ill-served by movie adaptations but actually there are plenty of decent ones, and a bunch I like even though I’m not supposed to – Lawnmower Man, anyone?

  20. Nathan Morrow says:

    1. The Shining (Kubrick’s Version)
    2. Carrie (1976)
    3. Stand By Me
    4. The Dead Zone
    5. The Shawshank Redemption

    I decided to group my list in order of best movies based on Stephen King novels rather than the most faithful adaptions which would have been a very different list of much worse movies.

  21. Anduinel says:

    With the caveat that I actually haven’t seen that many King adaptations, all told:

    5. Pet Semetary
    4. IT – I’m another one hoping for a retro-review of the miniseries.
    3. The Shawshank Redemption
    2. Carrie (70’s version)
    1. Delores Claiborne

  22. Conrado Falco says:

    I can’t believe nobody picked Carrie! I would have thought that’d be in all three top fives.

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