Opinion & Featured Articles

Top 5 Stephen King Movies

salems lot

There are way too many movies based on Stephen King novels and short stories. Some are absolute gems, some are plain watchable and a few are total freak shows. Want the best of the lot? Here’s our two cents:

the shinningThe Shining (1980)

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd

A frustrated writer (Jack) takes up a winter caretaker job at an isolated hotel. Before he moves to the hotel with his family, the manager warns him about the terrible history of the place. Jack’s psychic son also has scary visions, and eventually all the nightmares come true as an evil presence starts having its way.

“The Shining is like a near-miss auto accident: You don’t know how scared you really were until you start shaking a few hours later.” — People Magazine

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)the Shawshank Redemption

Director: Frank Darabont
Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman

An innocent fellow gets arrested and ends up being surrounded by the corruptions of the legal system. He bonds with a prison inmate and finds solace through acts of common decency. Based on Stephen King’s novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.

“If you don’t love Shawshank, chances are you’re beyond redemption.” — Empire Magazine

carrie stephen kingCarrie (1976)

Director: Brian De Palma
Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, John Travolta

Carrie White, a teenage girl who gets abused by bullies, finds out that she has telekinesis. When humiliated on the night of her school’s prom, she uses her telekinetic fury on the smartass tormentors.

“An exercise in high style that even the most unredeemably rational among moviegoers should find enormously enjoyable” – Time Magazine

The Dead Zone (1983)the dead zone

Director: David Cronenberg
Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, Martin Sheen

Johnny Smith awakens from a five year coma to discover that he has developed an ability to see a person’s future by touching him. He realizes that he can also change the future, but this proves to be a curse as he meets Greg Stillson — a ruthless politician.

“Mr. Cronenberg’s direction is vivid and effective; his pacing is a little unemphatic at times, but the film’s individual scenes are very well staged.” — New York Times

the mist stephen kingThe Mist (2007)

Director: Frank Darabont
Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden

An unnatural mist envelops a town and unleashes nightmarish, otherworldly creatures. Survivors hide in a supermarket and tensions rise among them as things become worse with every passing moment.

[This] grocery-store survival drama, dominated by Marcia Gay Harden as a shrill fundamentalist, serves as a crude but effective allegory for post-9/11 America.”  — Chicago Reader

11 thoughts on “Top 5 Stephen King Movies

  1. I loved Shawshank and The Shining but overall Stand By Me was my favourite, there is something about the way he writes his non horror stuff that is wonderful. I was hoping you would have added Pet Semetary just so I could hear your arguments about why it was good…I await part two in that case.

    • I’m having a feeling that this should have been a 10-movie list. I wanted to include Pet Sematary as well as Salem’s Lot (1979 version) but eventually decided to leave them out as they were panned by the critics (Pet Sematary got a hopeless 45% from Rotten Tomatoes). I felt both the films. though quite creepy, might not fit in a small list. Stand By Me should have made it to the list though.

  2. Pingback: Stephen king books have been the basis of amazing movies - Stephen King Movies

  3. Great to see The Mist in this. A bit of a hidden gem. Shawshank would probably be my top film, but would run close with The Shining as well. Not a coincidence that the directors of the above five films are among the most respected and celebrated practitioners of their art.

    • Shawshank is the most appreciated SK movie hands down. The Mist, however, is my personal favorite due to its fantasy/SF element. Stephen King books are typical Hollywood stuff, so no wonder that top directors see them as a safe bet.

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