A film adaptation produced by Flashpoint Entertainment and Fox 2000 Pictures was released in theaters on April 22, 2011. It was directed by Francis Lawrence, and starred Robert Pattinson as Jacob Jankowski, Reese Witherspoon as Marlena, and Christoph Waltz as August. Hal Holbrook played the older Jacob Jankowski. Other cast members include Mark Povinelli as Kinko/Walter and Jim Norton as Camel, James Frain as Rosie's caretaker, Ken Foree as Earl, and Paul Schneider as Charlie O'Brien.
The character of "Uncle Al" has been eliminated: August is both owner and animal trainer.
The film featured Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum #610 and former McCloud River Railroad No. 18. McCloud No. 18 was built in 1914, and it was the true star of the film.
It was filmed in Ventura County, California; Georgia; and Chattanooga, Tennessee.