Pop Battles: Fight Club movie vs book


Jayden Bartlebaugh, Staff Writer

Fight Club is a 1996 novel written by Chuck Palahniuk which was adapted into a 1999 movie directed by David Fincher. The movie brought in $100.9 million in its original run in theaters. The book has sold over 600,000’s copies since its publish date.

Both pieces of work have gained a huge cult-like following over the years for the incredible story and its twist and turns.¬† Although the book and movie share a lot of similarities, there’s still a lot of differences, as well.

Fight Club follows an unnamed Narrator, who is a struggling insomniac attending meetings for people with terminal illness to help cope with his disorder. One day after coming home from a flight for his job at a car company, the Narrator runs into a strange soap salesmen, Tyler Durden. Tyler is a impulsive person who introduces the Narrator to the world of Fight Club, an underground fighting ring located at a bar. Throughout the story Tyler becomes more erratic and destructive, like starting Project¬†Mayhem, which is a project used to destroy buildings and bring the world to “rock bottom”. The Narrator becomes increasingly uncomfortable with these actions and sets out to stop Tyler when he discovers that Tyler is actually himself.


The book and movie are very similar in that the dialogue is almost exactly like the book; however, there are still many differences. One of the major difference is in the character Tyler Durden. Tyler is first met on a nude beach rather than a plane in the movie. In the book, Tyler is described as a middle aged man who has long stringy hair in the beginning of the book, and has shaved hair at the end. The book also describes Tyler as a selfish, manipulative, and hypocritical. This is different from the movie where Tyler Durden is played by Brad Pitt, a young muscular man who seems to be more friendly and caring for the Narrator in the movie.

The overall atmosphere of the two pieces is widely different as well. The movie seems to focus more on the story and visual aspects of the book. This is most prevalent when you notice that almost all the dialogue is taken directly from the book. The book, however, seems to focus on the introspective part as the Narrator’s mental health slowly deteriorates in the book. We can see the Narrator become more and more distant from reality and more alienated from society as he has a lot of internal conflict with himself.

The last main difference from the book to the movie is the ending. At the end of the movie the Narrator is being held at gun point by Tyler while they wait for credit card headquarters to blow up, destroying the financial system. The Narrator realizes that Tyler can’t hold a gun since he’s a figment of his own imagination. The movie ends with the Narrator shooting himself in the face, surviving, and successfully removing Tyler from himself. The final scene shows Marla Singer and the Narrator watching the credit card company buildings fall. This is somewhat different from the book’s ending. In the book, Tyler plans to blow up a skyscraper, targeting a local business nearby rather than credit card companies in the movie. Nearing the end, Marla Singer walks up onto the skyscraper with several people from the support groups. This causes Tyler to disappear since its the Narrator’s hallucination and not Marla’s. With the bomb’s malfunctioning, the Narrator makes his own decision to shoot himself to stop Tyler from ever returning. The final scene is the Narrator waking up in a mental hospital thinking it’s heaven. The hospital employees reveal themselves as Project Mayhem members, assuring the Narrator that Tyler will return.


To conclude, I think both pieces of art are amazing in their own right, but which is better? The movie does a great job portraying the overall story and creating its own unique ending. The book does a great job portraying the emotion side of the story. In the book, the emotions are a bigger focus point as we watch the Narrator’s mental state deteriorate over time and his grip of reality slip.

In my opinion, I think the book wins this Pop Battle. The movie is good, don’t get me wrong, but the book wins by far with its story telling and emotional writing.