Comparison of the Power of One Movie and Book

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>Differences and Similarities in a Tale of Courage

For many years Hollywood has been making blockbuster movies based on bestselling novels, but often these movies differ greatly from the novel . The movie The Power of One based on a book of the same name follows this trend. The Power of One tells the story of Peekay, a boy living in South Africa who dreams of becoming the welterweight champion of the world, and who tries to correct the injustice that goes on around him.

Although the movie does keep the main themes of the novel like racism and how one person can change the world. The film adds new plot twists and characters that make the story more exciting, but also changes important characters and storylines from the book that makes the novel endearing. 

The movie eliminates and changes important characters that are included in the book. Hoppie Gronewald is one of the novels most memorable characters . Even though he only appeared in a few chapters; he is able to leave a long lasting impact on the readers minds like he did in Peekay’s life.

In the novel Hoppie is a welterweight boxer that introduces Peekay to boxing and gives him the idea of the Power of One. The character of Hoppie Gronewald in the movie is completely different from the character in the book. The character in the movie is an anti-racist Boxing coach who owns the gym Peekay trains at. In the novel this character is called Solly goldman not Hoppie Gronewald. 

Hoppies quote “First with the head and then with the heart, that way small can beat big” Courtenay 510 is told to Peekay by Geel piet in the movie. The character in the movie is unable to make the same impact on Peekays life like he does in the novel. By changing the character of Hoppie, the audience never gets to see how Peekay is comes across the idea of The Power of One.

By Including Hoppie in the novel, Bryce Courtenay teaches his readers an important lesson, someone can change your life despite how short the period of contact they had with you. An important lesson the audience never gets to learn in the movie. Peekays mom is another character that appeared in both the novel and film, but not in the same context. In both versions Peekays mother suffers a Nervous breakdown, causing Peekay to be sent in boarding school. In the movie she dies after Peekay is sent to boarding school from an unknown cause.

While in the book she recovers from her mental breakdown and becomes a Born again Christian. By eliminating the mother, the movie does not show the complicated relationship Peekay had with his mother in the book.

An obvious difference between a novel and its movie is the way characters are portrayed. In the movie of The Power of One, the protagonist is portrayed very similar to the novel. 

In both the novel and film Peekay is portrayed as a courageous hero who faces adversity, and who tries to change the world around him. One thing the movie does not truly show like the book did, is Peekay’s desire to become the welterweight champion of the world. “If I had to choose between becoming the welterweight champion of the world and taking a law degree at oxford, the boxing would win”[Courtenay 463].

In the movie Peekays boxing takes a back seat to his desire to help the black people of South Africa . While in the book, Peekay’s dream of becoming the welterweight champion of the world is the main focus in the protagonists mind. Morrie is another character that is portrayed differently from the book. In the movie Morrie role is not as prominent as it was in the book. Though Morrie is still plays Peekays best friend and manager the movie changes Morrie last name from Levy to Gilbert and he is not the business savvy, gambling Jew like he was in the book.

In both versions Morrie is also one of the few people that supported Peekays School for the blacks. The movie does not show the change that Morrie undergoes from ignoring the racial injustice inflicted on the black people to trying to change and better the lives of the African people.

“The afternoon of the fight was the first time I has ever been close the African people. 

I mean, actually experienced them as people, not just servants or faithful family retainers, but as people with problems…. the effect was shattering. I found myself liking them.

” In the movie, there are new storylines that are added to make the movie more exciting. For instance, Peekay gets a love interest Maria Elisabet Marias. She is the daughter of a National Party leader, who promotes Apartheid and disproves of Peekay and Marias relationship. In the novel Peekay has no such love interest, the only woman Peekay ever has a crush on is Miss. Bornstien.

Another new storyline added to the movie is Peekay and the Judge. Peekay’s reunion with the judge is dractically changed in the movie.

In the book he reunites with the Judge at a bar in Northern Rhodeasia, while working as a miner. In the movie the Judge is a sergent in the German police who is hired by Maria’s father to spy on Peekay. He blames Peekay for his expulsion from school and repeatedly trys to stop Peekays attempt to educate black people. 

Though the movie and book have many differences, they both teach their viewers the same message. How one person can make a difference if they stand up for what is believed to be right rather than just ignoring the injustice that happens in the world. Peekay in both the movie and book tries to change the way the black people in south africa are treated.

The movie eliminates important characters in the book and adds new ones to make the movie more exciting. New storylines like Maria and Peekays relationship make the movie more intresting than the book. But by changing important characters and storyline the movie is unable to capture the true essence of the book.


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Comparison of the Power of One Movie and Book. (2017, Sep 17). Retrieved December 4, 2023 , from

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