Many films are adaptations from books. The main aim of this paper is to examine the transformation of the novel

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Many films are adaptations from books. The main aim of this paper is to examine the transformation of the novel Atonement into a film, as very few original sources will be equal to a two-hour film. The adaptation is a new original. In this particular case the spirit of the original has been preserved although a new form has been created. We will see how the novel Atonement had to be fit into different time parameters. Adaptation demands choice. This means that much material had to be let go. In this particular case, it will be argued that condensing material has meant losing material, losing subplots, combining or cutting material or refocusing events.

Our analysis will show that the first part of the film is much more faithful to the novel. In the script some of the dialogue of the novel has been changed. The second part, when the protagonist is at war, has been greatly reduced in the film. In the novel, in this second part, we are introduced to many different characters, whereas in the film we see some other soldiers on the screen, but we only get to know one.

This study will also focus on the structure of the film Atonement; the act design, the inciting incident, the crisis, climax and resolution. We will also see how the film Atonement follows a classical design with a three-act structure. We will check how the ending is quite unexpected in both the novel and the film, which certainly helps to making a film exciting. Overall, the present study contributes to the field of film and literary studies by pointing out pertinent similarities and differences between the novel Atonement and its film version.


Mamet, David. 2007. On the Nature, Purpose, and Practice of the Movie Business. Pantheon Books. New York.

McEwan, Ian. 2001. Atonement. Anchor. London

McKee, Robert. 1997. Story:Substance,Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting.Regan Books. London.

Seger, Linda. 1992. The Art of Adaptation. Henry Holt and Company, LLC. New York.

Vogler, Christopher. 1998. The Writer´s Journey, Mythic Structure for Writers. Michael Wiese Productions. Studio City.

Matilde Roca Tellería es licenciada en Filología Inglesa y profesora titular del Departamento de Filología Española Moderna y Latina del area de inglés e imparte la asignatura de cine y literatura en lengua inglesa en los estudios de Filología Inglesa. Asimismo ha publicado el artículo “La semiótica de la música en el cine” y la comunicación “ The transcription of the novel Enduring Love into a film”. También ha asistido a cursos de introducción al cine y crítica cinematográfica.

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