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33. The Jersey Trilogy

A truly fantastic film of a fantastic book. Unsurprisingly, therefore, the film stays faithful to the manner and quality of the book.

Some backstories are eliminated, while others appear in The Godfather II. The ending of the film is actually more gloomy than the book. But both film and book complement each other perfectly. A three-in-a-bed-violent-death romp, if you will. Film noir at its finest and one of the best film adaptations ever. Gregory Peck mesmerises as the unbalanced Captain Ahab, while Orson Welles nearly steals the show with a wonderful cameo. Richard Attenborough sparkles as the psychopathic gangster, while the criminal underbelly of interwar Brighton is also brought chillingly to life.

It sounds remarkable now, but Welsh had made fiction cool again when he penned this, ahem, addictive book: Boyle, assisted by Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Kelly McDonald and co, did the same for film. They came as close with the sequel to recapturing lightning in a bottle as anyone ever manages.

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Upon its release in — just a year after the book was published — it was regarded as a powerful statement of intent from the then fledgling movie industry. The tone is exquisite, capturing the ideas of dignity, service and loyalty impeccably.

Martin Scorsese, who knew this subject intimately, was the ideal director to bring this fascinating story to life. His film, retitled Goodfellas , is possibly the greatest gangster movie of all time.

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The subject material — essentially paedophilia — had to be toned down in the censorious Sixties and much of the graphic sexual scenes contained in the book had to be implied on film. That Kubrick made such a colourful and provocative film is a testament to his genius behind the camera.

This was not the case with Fight Club. It was visceral, inflammatory and, above all, entertaining. A brilliant book, and film.

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How to squeeze that into a feature film? Well, Tomas Alfredson did it with aplomb. Confidential was the novel that finally saw James Ellroy compared to the likes of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, those arbiters of hard boiled fiction. In doing so, he reinvented film noir for the dying embers of the 20th Century.

Kesey claimed to have hated it, despite never allegedly never seeing it. Whatever, the film is hypnotic from beginning to end. This version is the one that is remembered to this day, though.

21 World War II Novels Inspired by True Stories

Thankfully, it was the first version. It pays handsome and stylish dividends.

As usual, Kerr is superb at imaginatively mixing his fictional detective with well researched true-life characters and events. A brilliantly twisting tale of espionage and betrayal.

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The Other Side of Silence makes for a welcome break from the relentlessly grim atmosphere in which Bernie is accustomed to working. Kerr's novels are modern classics. Streets ahead of most other historical thrillers in its blend of wit, careful plotting and the kind of detail that brings the past to life - Sunday Times.

Bernie Gunther is one of the more interesting and original private eyes in thriller fiction. His Raymond Chandleresque mysteries about a cynical Berlin cop reluctantly working for the Nazis are [Kerr's] masterpiece. As near perfection as makes no difference.