Freebase: Films Adapted from Books in the Last Decade

21:37 Tue 19 Aug 2008. Updated: 17:56 28 Jan 2009
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I’m usually pleased when I stumble across questions that it seems can only be answered by Freebase or a lot of work—even though I don’t see Freebase as being primarily for casual searching/browsing in the way that Wikipedia is, it’s always nice when I come up with a casual question (one that might come up in conversation, say) that suits the site very well.

In this case, after reading The Bourne Identity, I started wondering about films based on books that are better than the original book. I consider The Bourne Identity film to be better than the book by some distance, and might blog about that at some point, but first I wondered how rare it was. Freebase can’t answer that directly, obviously, but I thought it could give me a list to work with. I wanted to restrict it to the last ten years, to make it easier, and it wasn’t hard to write a query to do just that:

    "/media_common/adaptation/adapted_from" : [
        "name" : null,
        "other:type" : {
          "id" : "/comic_books/comic_book_story",
          "optional" : "forbidden"
        "type" : "/book/book"
    "id": null,
    "initial_release_date" : null,
    "initial_release_date>=" : "1998",
    "name" : null,
    "second:type" : "/media_common/adaptation",
    "sort" : "name",
    "type" : "/film/film"

The stuff with “other:type” is in there to filter out films based on comics, since I didn’t want to consider those in my musings.

There are 90 candidates in Freebase. I haven’t gone through them exhaustively, but collating them that way is a lot better than trying to figure out the list by going through every film released in the last ten years and checking to see if they’re adaptations of books. Even given that Freebase is likely to miss some, it’s better this way than wading through all the IMDB entries or similar.

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