Parker novels have been officially adapted for the screen eight times. However, in none of the movies, until 2013′s Parker, was the character named Parker. We’ve had Porter, Walker, Macklin, Stone, a black Parker named McCain, and a female Parker named Paula Nelson, but no Parker. What’s wrong with the name Parker?
Apparently, Stark didn’t want the name used unless they were going to do a series, and none of the actors wanted to make a series out of it (see the Austin Chronicle‘s interview with Westlake).
Films are rated from one to five bullet holes. Also rated is the movie’s depiction of Parker as compared to the books. I try to keep these distinct–for example, Payback (the theatrical version) was a pretty fun movie, but Parker develops nice-guy qualities, so it gets a low rating in the depiction category.
This is not intended to be a quality judgment, just commentary. Hopefully, it will prepare you ahead of time so that you can evaluate the films on their own merits rather than on how close they stick to the source material.
The Parker Movies (in order of release):
- Made in U.S.A. (based on The Jugger)
- Point Blank (based on The Hunter)
- Mise à Sac ["Pillaged"] (based on The Score)
- The Split (based on The Seventh)
- The Outfit (based on The Outfit)
- Slayground (based on Slayground)
- Payback (based on The Hunter)
- Parker (based on Flashfire)
In addition, the Parker-related novel Jimmy the Kid has been filmed twice.
Other Parker-related novels that have been put to film include The Hot Rock (which started out as a Parker novel, but became the first Dortmunder novel when it started to get funny) and Stephen King’s The Dark Half.
There are also several films that bear striking similarities to the Parker books, some more so than the official films. Find out here about films that are not quite Parker (but close enough).
To avoid confusion, when discussing the films I always refer to the main character as Parker.
For further remarks on the Parker films (up through The Outfit), see Brian Garfield’s introduction to The Outfit.