Top Ten Stephen King Film Adaptations

Top Ten Stephen King Film Adaptations

Stephen King has written over 50 novels and 200 short stories. The man is an infamous horror icon and master of horror. This is my list of the best Stephen King film adaptations. This list only includes related horror movies, no Shawshank Redemption, and also does not include TV mini-series events (It, The Stand, The Tommyknockers, etc.). Author Stephen King has been amazingly successful in having his novels/books translate into movies, but at the same time, some turned out to be great while others fell short along the way. Continue below for the full list along with some worthy mentions.


Carrie 1976

Carrie (1976)

Synopsis: It's nearing the end of the school year. High school senior Carrie White is a social outcast, largely due to being unwise to the ways of the world based on her upbringing. Her mother, Margaret White, is a religious fanatic, her extreme views primarily targeted against sex, which she believes is a sin. She even believes natural associated processes such as menstruation are a sin, about which she has refused to mention to Carrie. Mrs. White's beliefs were taken to that extreme largely because of her own failed marriage and her husband Ralph long ago having run off with another woman. The only adult authority figure who tries to help Carrie with her life is her phys ed teacher, Miss Collins, who is nonetheless warned not to get too close to go against how Mrs. White chooses to raise Carrie, Mrs. White whose beliefs are well known in the community. An impromptu event that happens among Carrie's phys ed classmates against her leads to her classmates being punished. One of those students, self absorbed Chris Hargensen, vows revenge against Carrie for that punishment, the method of the revenge associated to the phys ed class incident. Another student however, the popular Sue Snell, begins to feel sorry for Carrie. In wanting to help her get out of her shell, Sue asks her boyfriend, the equally popular Tommy Ross, to take Carrie to the senior prom instead of her. This move does not sit well with Mrs. White, who in her extreme view believes Carrie will fall prey to sin. All these competing issues lead to Carrie deciding on an impulse to use a newfound skill to free herself from the figurative chains that have long been placed around her, with tragic consequences.
Cast: P.J. Soles, William Katt, Priscilla Pointer, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, Betty Buckley, Sissy Spacek, Cindy Daly, Nancy Allen, John Travolta, Harry Gold, Sydney Lassick, Noelle North, Stefan Gierasch, Michael Talbott, Deirdre Berthrong, Anson Downes, Rory Stevens, Cameron De Palma, Janie Squire, Terry Bolo, Katie Irving, Edie McClurg, Dan Protheroe, James Saad, Mike Towers, Doug Cox, Glen Vance, Sharon Benson, Cynthia Schuler Larsen
Directors Brian De Palma
Genres Horror
Year: 1976
Runtime: 98
MPAA Rating: R
Awards: 3
Nominations: 5
Writers: Stephen King, Lawrence D. Cohen
Producers: Paul Monash, Louis A. Stroller, Brian De Palma
Musicians: Pino Donaggio
Editors: Paul Hirsch


Cujo movie still

Cujo (1983)

Synopsis: Donna Trenton is a frustrated suburban housewife whose life is a turmoil after her husband learns about her having an affair. Brett Camber is a young boy whose only companion is a Saint-Bernard named "Cujo", who in turn is bitten by a rabid bat. Whilst Vic, Donna's husband is away on business, and thinking over his marital troubles, Donna and her 5-year-old son Tad take her Pinto to Brett Cambers' dad's car shop... the car fails, and "Cujo" is very, very sick...
Cast: Dee Wallace, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Ed Lauter, Robert Craighead, Christopher Stone, Kaiulani Lee, Billy Jayne, Jerry Hardin, Daniel H. Blatt, Danny Pintauro, Clare Torao, Mills Watson, Sandy Ward, Merritt Olsen, Arthur Rosenberg, Terry Donovan-Smith, Robert Elross, Robert Behling, Clare Nono
Directors Lewis Teague
Genres Horror, Thriller
Year: 1983
Runtime: 93
MPAA Rating: R
Nominations: 3
Writers: Stephen King, Don Carlos Dunaway, Lauren Currier
Producers: Daniel H. Blatt, Neil A. Machlis, Robert Singer
Musicians: Charles Bernstein
Editors: Neil Travis

Silver Bullet

Silver Bullet movie still

Silver Bullet (1985)

Synopsis: The small town of Tarker's Mills was a place that was very peaceful, where nothing extraordinary ever happened until one night when murders began. The townspeople believe it's some maniacal killer on the loose whom they intend to hunt down. Marty, a young handicapped boy, believes the killer is no man at all, but a werewolf. After a run-in with the werewolf, Marty and his sister Jane hunt all over town for the man who is the werewolf.
Cast: Corey Haim, William Newman, Laura Warner, Bill Smitrovich, Julius LeFlore, Gary Busey, Everett McGill, Lawrence Tierney, James Gammon, Laurens Moore, Leon Russom, Terry O'Quinn, Kent Broadhurst, Paul Butler, Heather Simmons, James A. Baffico, Rebecca Fleming, Pearl Jones, Sam Stoneburner, Ish Jones Jr., Tovah Feldshuh, Lonnie Moore, Steven White, Rick Pasotto, Conrad McLaren, Cassidy Eckert, Wendy Walker, Michael Lague, Megan Follows, Myra Mailloux
Directors Daniel Attias
Genres Horror, Thriller, Drama, Mystery, Adventure
Year: 1985
Runtime: 95
MPAA Rating: R
Writers: Stephen King
Producers: Martha De Laurentiis, John M. Eckert, Dino De Laurentiis
Musicians: Jay Chattaway
Editors: Daniel Loewenthal


1408 movie still

1408 (2007)

Synopsis: The cynical and skeptical writer Mike Enslin writes books evaluating supernatural phenomena in hotels, graveyards and other haunted places, usually debunking the mystery. While writing his latest book, he travels from Los Angeles to New York to spend one night in the Dolphin Hotel's posessed room 1408, which is permanently unavailable for guests. The reluctant manager Mr. Gerald Olin objects to his request and offers an upgrade, expensive booze and finally relates the death of more than fifty guests over decades in the cursed room. However Mike threatens Mr. Olin, promising to sue the hotel, and is finally allowed to check into the room. Later in the night, he finds that guests of room 1408, once they have checked in, might never leave the room alive.
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Tony Shalhoub, Paul Birchard, John Cusack, Paul Kasey, Kate Walsh, Len Cariou, Noah Lee Margetts, Gil Cohen-Alloro, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Benny Urquidez, Walter Lewis, Holly Hayes, Bill Armstrong, Johann Urb, Andrew Lee Potts, William Armstrong, Anthony C. Mazza, Drew Powell, Thomas A. McMahon, Chris Carey, Kevin Dobson, Lily Grace Alexander, Peter Conboy, Margot Leicester, Georgie Lee-Robinson, Mary McCormack, Bernadette Lords, Eric Meyers, Jasmine Jessica Anthony
Directors Mikael Håfström, Mikael Håfström
Genres Horror, Drama, Mystery, Fantasy
Year: 2007
Runtime: 104
MPAA Rating: R
Awards: 4
Nominations: 9
Writers: Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski
Producers: Kelly Dennis, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Antonia Kalmacoff, Jake Myers, Richard Saperstein, Jeremy Steckler, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein
Musicians: Gabriel Yared
Editors: Peter Boyle


Thinner movie still

Thinner (1996)

Synopsis: A fat Lawyer finds himself growing "Thinner" when an old gypsy man places a hex on him. Now the lawyer must call upon his friends in organized crime to help him persuade the gypsy to lift the curse. Time is running out for the desperate lawyer as he draws closer to his own death, and grows ever thinner.
Cast: Stephen King, Kari Wuhrer, Daniel von Bargen, Allelon Ruggiero, Josh Lucas, Peter Maloney, Robert John Burke, Time Winters, Sean Hewitt, Robert Fitch, Angela Pietropinto, Jeff Ware, Lucinda Jenney, Irma St. Paule, Randy Jurgensen, Christopher C. Murphy, Bridget Marks, Michael Kevin Walker, Mitchell Greenberg, Alexandra Dimopoulos, Ed Wheeler, Michael Constantine, Josh Holland, Bethany Joy Lenz, Steven Belgard, Howard Erskine, Tom Cumler, Terrence Garmey, Kenneth Londoner, Antonette Schwartzberg
Directors Tom Holland
Genres Horror, Thriller, Fantasy, Comedy
Year: 1996
Runtime: 93
MPAA Rating: R
Writers: Stephen King, Michael McDowell, Tom Holland
Producers: Mitchell Galin, Andrew Golov, Randy Jurgensen, Stephen F. Kesten, A. Welch Lambeth, Richard P. Rubinstein
Musicians: Daniel Licht
Editors: Janice Hampton, Marc Laub

Children of the Corn

Children of the Corn

Children of the Corn (1984)

Synopsis: A boy preacher named Isaac goes to a town in Nebraska called Gatlin and gets all the children to murder every adult in town. A young couple have a murder to report and they go to the nearest town (Gatlin) to seek help but the town seems deserted. They are soon trapped in Gatlin with little chance of getting out alive.
Cast: R.G. Armstrong, Linda Hamilton, John Franklin, Courtney Gains, Robby Kiger, John Philbin, Julie Maddalena, Teresa Toigo, Mitch Carter, Anne Marie McEvoy, Dennis Carl, Eric Freeman, Corey Frizzell, Peter Horton, Jonas Marlowe, Dan Snook, David Cowen, Suzy Southam, D.G. Johnson, Patrick Boylan, Elmer Soderstrom
Directors Fritz Kiersch
Genres Horror, Thriller
Year: 1984
Runtime: 92
MPAA Rating: R
Nominations: 3
Writers: Stephen King, George Goldsmith
Producers: Donald P. Borchers, Earl A. Glick, Terrence Kirby, Mark Lipson, Charles Weber
Musicians: Jonathan Elias
Editors: Harry Keramidas


Stephen King Creepshow

Creepshow (1982)

Synopsis: Five tales of terror are presented. The first deals with a demented old man returning from the grave to get the Father's Day cake his murdering daughter never gave him. The second is about a not-too-bright farmer discovering a meteor that turns everything into plant-life. The third is about a vengeful husband burying his wife and her lover up to their necks on the beach. The fourth is about a creature that resides in a crate under the steps of a college. The final story is about an ultra-rich businessman who gets his comeuppance from cockroaches.
Cast: Tom Savini, Stephen King, Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins, David Early, Bingo O'Malley, Leslie Nielsen, Christine Forrest, John Amplas, Ed Harris, Viveca Lindfors, E.G. Marshall, Warner Shook, Fritz Weaver, Chuck Aber, Gaylen Ross, Marty Schiff, Hal Holbrook, Robert Harper, Carrie Nye, Carol McCloskey, Ann Muffly, Ted Danson, Richard P. Rubinstein, Charles Van Eman, Elizabeth Regan, Jon Lormer, Don Keefer, Nann Mogg, Iva Jean Saraceni
Directors George A. Romero
Genres Horror, Fantasy, Comedy
Year: 1982
Runtime: 120
MPAA Rating: R
Nominations: 2
Producers: Salah M. Hassanein, Richard P. Rubinstein, David E. Vogel
Musicians: John Harrison
Editors: Pasquale Buba, Paul Hirsch, George A. Romero, Michael Spolan

The Mist

The Mist

The Mist (2007)

Synopsis: The Draytons - David, Steff and their son Billy - live in a small Maine town. One night a ferocious storm hits the area, damaging their house. The storm is accompanied by a strange mist the following morning. David and Billy and their neighbour Brent Norton go into town and find themselves trapped in a grocery store with several other people. There they discover that the mist contains something frightening and intent on killing humans.
Cast: David Jensen, William Sadler, Toby Jones, Thomas Jane, James Paul, Ritchie Montgomery, Robert C. Treveiler, Jeffrey DeMunn, Ron Fagan, Frances Sternhagen, Dodie Brown, Ted Ferguson, Louis Herthum, Laurie Holden, Sam Witwer, Eric Kelly McFarland, Cherami Leigh, John F. Daniel, Andre Braugher, Andy Stahl, Charles Sutherland, Nathan Gamble, Ron Clinton Smith, Tiffany Morgan, Amy McGee, Taylor E. Brown, Steven E. Williams, Alexa Davalos, Amy McGee-Harrell, Melissa McBride
Directors Frank Darabont
Genres Horror, Thriller, Sci-Fi
Year: 2007
Runtime: 126
MPAA Rating: R
Awards: 6
Nominations: 11
Writers: Frank Darabont, Stephen King
Producers: Frank Darabont, Anna Garduno, Liz Glotzer, Denise M. Huth, Randi Richmond, Richard Saperstein, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein
Musicians: Mark Isham
Editors: Hunter M. Via


Stephen King Sleepwalkers

Sleepwalkers (1992)

Synopsis: Charles Brady and his mother Mary move to a small Indiana town, having recently fled Bodega Bay, California after draining and killed a young girl there. They are sleepwalkers - they can change their appearance and they need the lifeforce from young women. Charles has picked out young Tanya Robertson, whom he meets at a local high school, as his next victim. He asks her out for a date and invites her home... however, she did not suspect his real interest in her. On their first date, a picnic at a nearby cemetery, Charles attempts to drain the lifeforce from Tanya for himself and his mother.
Cast: Ron Perlman, Stephen King, Michael Reid MacKay, John Landis, Rusty Schwimmer, Cynthia Garris, Stuart Charno, Frank Novak, Glenn Shadix, Alice Krige, Dan Martin, Lyman Ward, Mädchen Amick, Jim Haynie, Mädchen Amick, Mark Hamill, Bojesse Christopher, Joe Dante, Norman Fessler, Brian Krause, Tobe Hooper, Diane Delano, Clive Barker, Joey Aresco, Ernie Lively, Hayden Victor, Richard Penn, Charles Croughwell, Karyn Sercelj, Sparks
Directors Mick Garris
Genres Horror
Year: 1992
Runtime: 91
MPAA Rating: R
Awards: 5
Producers: George Edde, Michael Grais, Dimitri Logothetis, Joseph Medawar, Richard Stenta, Mark Victor, Nabeel Zahid
Musicians: Nicholas Pike
Editors: O. Nicholas Brown

Pet Sematary

Pet Sematary

Pet Sematary (1989)

Synopsis: With dreams of a better life, the young doctor, Louis Creed, and his family--his wife, Rachel, their daughter, Ellie, and their three-year-old toddler, Gage--move to their new home in the small rural town of Ludlow, Maine, alarmingly close to a busy highway. However, when Rachel's cherished tomcat is inadvertently killed in an awful accident, a desperate Louis will reluctantly take his friendly neighbour's advice to bury it in an ancient Micmac graveyard--a mystical burial ground imbued with reanimating powers. Despite the terrible results and the insistent warnings from a recently deceased, tragedy-stricken Louis is forced to go back to the Indian cemetery, hoping that, this time, things will be different. But, can the dead return from the grave?
Cast: Stephen King, Brad Greenquist, Dale Midkiff, Susan Blommaert, Richard Collier, Miko Hughes, Denise Crosby, Michael Lombard, Liz Davies, Matthew August Ferrell, Lisa Stathoplos, Elizabeth Ureneck, Chuck Courtney, Peter Stader, Chuck Shaw, Dorothy McCabe, Mary R. Hughes, Eleanor Grace Courtemanche, Fred Gwynne, Donnie Greene, Blaze Berdahl, Lila Duffy, Mara Clark, John David Moore, Kavi Raz, Beau Berdahl Oliver, Mary Louise Wilson, Kira Willoughby, Andrew Hubatsek, Kara Dalke
Directors Mary Lambert
Genres Horror, Thriller, Drama
Year: 1989
Runtime: 103
MPAA Rating: R
Nominations: 5
Writers: Stephen King
Producers: Mitchell Galin, Richard P. Rubinstein, Ralph S. Singleton, Tim Zinnemann
Musicians: Elliot Goldenthal
Editors: Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill

The Shining

The Shining - Jack Nicholson

The Shining (1980)

Synopsis: Signing a contract, Jack Torrance, a normal writer and former teacher agrees to take care of a hotel which has a long, violent past that puts everyone in the hotel in a nervous situation. While Jack slowly gets more violent and angry of his life, his son, Danny, tries to use a special talent, the "Shining", to inform the people outside about whatever that is going on in the hotel.
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Barry Dennen, Burnell Tucker, Derek Lyons, David Baxt, Aileen Lewis, Tony Burton, Manning Redwood, Joe Turkel, Scatman Crothers, Chris Parsons, Barry Nelson, Billie Gibson, Lisa Burns, Louise Burns, Philip Stone, Robin Pappas, Alison Coleridge, Jana Shelden, Kate Phelps, Vivian Kubrick, Norman Gay, Bertha Lynn, Glenn Rinker, Shelley Duvall, Cathy Munroe, Danny Lloyd, Paul Desbois, Anne Jackson, Lynda Fisher
Directors Stanley Kubrick
Genres Horror, Drama
Year: 1980
Runtime: 146
MPAA Rating: R
Awards: 3
Nominations: 7
Writers: Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick, Diane Johnson
Producers: Robert Fryer, Jan Harlan, Mary Lea Johnson, Stanley Kubrick, Martin Richards
Musicians: Wendy Carlos, Rachel Elkind
Editors: Ray Lovejoy

Worthy Mentions

  • Misery (1990)
  • The Dead Zone (1979)
  • Firestarter (1984)
  • Silver Bullet (1985)
  • The Dark Half (1989)
  • Christine (1983)
  • Dreamcatcher (2003)
  • Salem’s Lot (1979)
  • Salem’s Lot (2004)
  • Dolores Claiborne (1995)

Like I said, these are my top Stephen King horror movies, hope you enjoyed them.

What are your favorite Top 10 Stephen King Film Adaptations?