When comparing movies to novels, particularly in the context of adaptations, two beloved fantasy works that often spark discussions are “Stardust” and “The Princess Bride.” Both the novel “Stardust” by Neil Gaiman and “The Princess Bride” by William Goldman have been adapted into films that captivated audiences with their whimsical storytelling, memorable characters, and fantastical worlds. Each adaptation offers a unique perspective on translating rich literary narratives onto the silver screen, presenting intriguing contrasts and similarities between the mediums of literature and film. This comparison explores how these adaptations handle elements like character development, world-building, and narrative structure, ultimately delving into the question of how successfully each medium brings these enchanting tales to life for audiences.


Original novel by Neil Gaiman

The novel:

The original book, Stardust by Neil Gaiman (first released in 1998), revolves around the adventures of a young man, Tristran Thorn, from the village of Wall, which borders the magical land of Faerie.

The movie:

The film, which debuted in 2007, essentially follows the same plot. Charlie Cox, Ben Barnes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, Sienna Miller, Mark Strong, Jason Flemyng, Rupert Everett, Ricky Gervais, David Walliams, Nathaniel Parker, Peter O’Toole, David Kelly, Robert De Niro, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Mark Heap, and Henry Cavill are among the ensemble cast. The movie is based on Neil Gaiman’s novel Ian McKellen provides the narration.


Both the novel and the movie is a definite must read / watch.


Plot summary:

To win the heart of his beloved Victoria, a young man named Tristran ventures into the realm of fairies to retrieve a fallen star. What Tristran finds, however, is not a chunk of space rock, but a woman named Yvaine. Yvaine is in great danger, for the king’s sons need her powers to secure the throne, and a coven of evil witches wants to use her to achieve eternal youth and beauty.


BBC Radio 4 Extra has produced a radio dramatized adaptation first broadcasted 17 December 2016. The BBC radio drama is currently available to listen to for free until 25 January 2022.


Original novel by William Goldman

The novel:

William Goldman’s beloved story of Buttercup, Westley, and their fellow adventurers in a beautifully illustrated deluxe edition that is perfect for fans of the book and film.


William Goldman published the fantasy romance book The Princess Bride in 1973. The book incorporates aspects of fairy tales, romance, fantasy, romantic love, and humour. Although there is no such book, it is portrayed as an abridgment of S. Morgenstern’s The Princess Bride, and Goldman’s “commentary” asides are there at every turn.

Rob Reiner turned it into a movie of the same name in 1987, and Adam Guettel tried to turn it into a musical. Goldman, William, remarked “Compared to anything else I’ve done, The Princess Bride has received me more feedback—all kinds of bizarre outpouring messages. People are affected by something in The Princess Bride.”


The movie:


Rob Reiner is the director and co-producer of the 1987 American romantic comedy fantasy adventure movie The Princess Bride. William adapted it from his eponymous book from 1973. A grandfather (Peter Falk) reads the story to his ill grandson (Fred Savage) in the movie, effectively maintaining the novel’s narrative structure. The Princess Bride has become a cult favorite in America.

Plot summary:


A loving grandfather tells a story to his sick grandson while they sit together. The tale has been passed down orally from father to son for many years. The action comes to life as the granddad narrates the tale. The lovely Buttercup, who is engaged to the evil Prince Humperdinck, is abducted and kept against her will in order to incite a war. Westley, who was once her childhood sweetheart and is now known as the Dread Pirate Roberts, must act quickly to save Buttercup. Along the way, he encounters a thief and his hired assistants, including a skilled swordsman and a large, extremely powerful giant, both of whom join Westley in his quest.



Disney Theatrical Productions confirmed that the Princess Bride Musical project was in the works from co-book writers Rick Elice (The Cher ShowPeter and the StarcatcherJersey Boys) and Bob Martin (The PromThe Drowsy Chaperone) and composer-lyricist David Yazbek. More here from Broadwayworld.