I love it when a film adaptation ends up much as I envisioned it as I read a book! It's really quite amazing when that happens. When it does, I credit it an author who writes vividly enough that one captures the story line as it was truly meant to be. Of course the producer and director have to see it the same way in order for it to come to fruition in the final product.
One film that I can watch over and over again is The Prize Winner of Defiance, OH. The book was written by Terry "Tuff" Ryan. Both the writing and the film take you back to the era in which the original story occurred. Simple and beautiful. (I wrote a review of the book here previously if you missed it: http://boundtogetherforgood.blogspot.com/2010/08/prize-winner-of-defiance-oh-how-my.html )
Another adaptation that I envisioned much as the film turned out is The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. ( http://boundtogetherforgood.blogspot.com/2011/03/time-travelers-wife-by-audrey.html ) Perhaps I was able to envision it a certain way because we live near Chicago. I also feel that Niffengger's writing voice is dreamy and picturesque.
Can you think of any book-to-film adaptations that pleased you because they seemed so similar to the book?