Film vs Book: Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

This is a series which I am going to write alongside book reviews. I often find myself watching something and mentally comparing it to the book so I thought some other people may also be wondering what the differences are.

For the first one of the series I am going to compare the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (The one with Martin Freeman in). As you may be aware I read the book a couple of weeks ago for the International Outer Space day, (give the review a read if you haven’t already).

Now I am comparing the book and the film to see what the differences are, but I will add what I think overall of the film.


  1. Trillian being captured by the Vogans and needing to be rescued

In the book Trilliian wanting to go to space makes much more sense, she had two degrees one in Maths and the other, most significantly in Astrophysics. She is curious about the universe and as such Zephod in a very interesting person for her to spend time with. However, this is not really explained in the film and while she is clearly an adventerous character her motivation needed to change for the film and it became a love interest.

I persoanlly feel that Trillian’s character is much stronger in the book.

  1. The love triangle of Zephod, Trillian and Arthur

As above the film needed a story line which would give Trillian some motivation, and with a lot of Hollywood movies there is a romantic element added. I am not saying that this was a bad change but in the book Arthur spends it floundering trying to come to terms with the fact that his home has just been destroyed. He does not have time to start thinking about Trillian as the woman who abandoned him at a party (a few months before) for ‘the president of the galaxy’. Now this change means the interplay between Zephod and Arthur is different. It is a lot more confrontational, and in Arthur’s case a little petulant.

  1. The Point of View Gun

In the book the point of view gun is not there… no matter how cool (though there are four more in the trilogy so I cannot say that it doesn’t appear in the fandom, please let me know if this is the case!)


While the above list is not exhaustive of the differences in the film verses book below I have put my top three things that are the same in the book.

  1. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy… the book

Just to be clear, I mean the version that appears in the book. Most of the narration from the book with Dont Panic printed on its cover is almost word for word as the original book. Now unfortunately (or fortunatley) I watched the film before I read the book and any excerpts from the book in my head now sounds like Stephen Fry… there are certainly worse people to sound all knowing

  1. The whale and bowl of pertunias

This is iconic, a whale appearing in thin air and deciding to make friends with the ground… I was so glad to see that this was in the film.

  1. 42…

Do I really need to say more??

Well I will anyway, from the mice who run the world, to the computer who spent 7.5 million years to work out the answer of 42 when it wasn’t sure of the question. I am so glad that this was left in, the number of times that I have quoted this to my friends is innumerable.

Overall I did enjoy the film, though not as much as the book. The characters in the book had more depth but regadless of this the film is well worth a watch.

What do you think the differences are? Do you think any of the differences were an improvement? Let me know in the comments below.

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