Audrey Hepburn created a cultural icon when she stepped into the high heels of Breakfast at Tiffany’s leading lady. Swati Sharma asks authors if they prefer the book or film.

‘What I’ve found does the most good is just to get into a taxi and go to Tiffany’s. It calms me down right away, the quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there, not with those kind men in their nice suits.’ – Holly Golightly

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a story about a free-spirited girl Holly Golightly who lives in New York City. With her tousled blonde hair, black glasses and chic black dresses she can make your heart miss a beat. She is a style diva, a party girl and loves anyone who is a millionaire. The story is set in the late 1940s and is a sharp take on what one can do for money.

The 1958 novella by Truman Capote was adapted into the movie by Paramount Pictures in 1961, with Audrey Hepburn taking on the lead role. With her signature hairdo and style, she turned Holly into one of cinema’s most memorable characters.

Here some chick lit authors reveal whether they preferred the book or film version of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Scarlett Bailey, author of The Night Before Christmas:

For me, if I have to choose between the two then it’s the film over the book. Not because I don’t love the book, but because I am an old romantic and although my head appreciated what an amazing novel Capote wrote, my heart wants that happy ending for Holly, and the warmth and romance that Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard bring to what otherwise is a much colder crueler, if brilliant book. The moment that George and Audrey kiss in the rain at the end of the movie makes it one of cinema’s all-time greatest scenes. I don’t think Capote liked the adaptation of his book too much but I loved it.

Julie Cohen, author of Getting Away With It:

Capote’s story was much darker and more cynical than the film, much less about romantic comedy and much more about what people will do for money. The film has a magic all of its own because of Audrey Hepburn, though I do think it’s more complicated and sad underneath than many people think, about the chasm between dreams and practical reality, and about selling your true self for money.

Lotte Daley, author of Faking It:

I would choose the book anytime as I feel the movie loses the essence of the story. I have been heavily disappointed with movie adaptations of my favorite books. The book is classic and any day is better than the movie.

Carole Matthews, author of Wrapped Up in You:

I have always loved the film, Audrey Hepburn is such a style icon but, unfortunately, I think that it looks dated now. Had a living room picnic a few months ago and settled down to watch it again for the first time in a while. I was so excited and yet I felt quite disappointed. The clothes and the look of the film are still beautiful, but the characterisation is quite irritating. The book, however, is a classic. This reminds me to go and read it again!

Nicky Wells, author of Sophie’s Turn:

I will vote for the movie, simply because I saw the movie before I knew about the book. And thus I am totally biased. The movie has great actors. Well, it’s iconic, what can I say?

Swati Sharmi is the editor and writer of coffee table book Youth Icons of Rajasthan. She is a freelance writer and blogger from Delhi in India who is working on her first novel.

10 comments on “Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Book vs Movie”

  1. Well, I never! I totally forgot that I had offered my 10 cents worth on this matter. And I just as I’ve found this lovely feature, guess what I’m watching? Yup, you got it. Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Just another one of life’s bizarre coincidences. I stand by the film, btw. Totally love it. XX

    • I’m *almost* always going to prefer a book to a film because I love the images a beautifully written novel will inspire in my head, but I also LOVE seeing movies. I wasn’t able to take time to wade through The Lord of the Rings before seeing the film, so I enjoyed the shortcut of going right to the movie. With the Jane Austen Book Club, I liked the book but loved the film. With Pride and Prejudice adaptations, they’re often different from the novel, but I still enjoy them. And, though I haven’t seen all of the Harry Potter films, I really liked the ones I watched and appreciated the differences between the books and the movies I thought they did a terrific job with them

  2. I love the movie…haven’t read the book yet. I can’t imagine liking the book better but I want to read the book. Audrey is so magical, she lit up the entire movie. One of my all time favourites!

    • I think Christopher Waltz did a fantastic job with the August character. I wasn’t super excited about the movie’s treatment of August, because without pointing out the mental illness part of him, it just made him come across more evil than I think the book intended that character to be. I’ve seen that guy in Inglorious Basterds, and he does play the villain well. He has that look about him that makes him just… skeevy. But honestly, even though they didn’t mention that August had the mental illness, I don’t think anyone else could have played him better. Now, about the Jacob-Robert comparison? I don’t think he was the right actor for the part. He did very well, don’t get me wrong, but he is not who I would have seen playing Jacob if you asked me before the cast list was released.

  3. Renae… You know the book is more on the serious side. It’s a lot darker and thought provoking then the movie. You know Capote wanted Marilyn Monroe to play the Holly but i just can’t help but think that she couldn’t have done what Audrey have done with this character!

  4. I appreciate the article, it was interesting and compelling. I found my way here through Google, I shall get back more 🙂

    • It depends on how much care they take to make sure the movie matches up with the book. In terms of To Kill a Mockingbird, it’s a toss up, which means they did a fantastic job with the movie. The same with Twelve Angry Men. But notice those movies are from way back in the day where they probably took special care not to make a mockery of them. With books that are available today, it’s like they’re rushing to make a buck off a trend rather than keeping in step with the storyline we love. So for upcoming movies like Hunger Games and The Hobbit, I have no desire to see the movie until others have so they can report back if it’s worth the a doggone $10 a pop. Perhaps producers should just go the True Blood route instead and do a series instead.

  5. Great topic. I’ve eojnyed the HP movies all of them, but I finally cracked open the books last fall and recently finished reading the series. I’m glad I did. The movies are terrific, but there is more going on in the book. My favorite example of this was seeing The Hunt for Red October years ago. I walked out of the movie convinced there was much more to the story. So I got the book at the library. I then went on to read a half-dozen Tom Clancy books. I was totally hooked. So, while I believe that movies can be brilliant, especially when it comes to action scenes, give me the books. Always the book. To know where the heart of the author was.

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