The Great Gatsby 2013 Film Chapter Breakdown

How the movie aligns with the novel chapter-by-chapter

Use this post if you need a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of the 2013 film The Great Gatsby directed by Baz Luhrman. I made this list because I couldn’t locate one for my own grade 11 English classes. I am in the middle of planning an admittedly quick unit on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s great American masterpiece chronicling the Jazz Age and the rise and fall of Jay Gatsby.

My classes are listening to the audio version on Audible narrated by Anthony Heald, creating hybrid sketch notes of each chapter drawn on photocopies of the first two pages of each chapter’s text, answering a few comprehension questions for each chapter, and having some brief discussions on various themes of the book.

Jay Gatsby's hand reaches out for the green light at the end of Daisy Buchanan's dock.
Photo: Unsplash
Read here for last week’s post where I explain how this quick end-of-year unit came about and also offer three ideas for poems to pair with your unit.

Without a doubt, we will be watching Luhrman’s film version after we listen to as much of the book as possible. At this point, I foresee us being able to listen through chapter seven or eight.

A bucket of movie popcorn.
Photo: Unsplash

What’s even more challenging is the fact that due to End-of-Course testing and two year-end assemblies, my two sections of ENG III are on different schedules.

It’s basically a planning nightmare, but…

I’m just going to take the remaining time day-by-day and try to squeeze in as much of the reading as possible while still leaving two hours and 23 minutes of time for the movie, which by the way, everyone is very excited about!

As I was planning a few days ago, I wanted to know exactly how well Luhrman’s Gatsby aligns with the novel. To find out, I watched the movie (purchased and streamed on Amazon) with novel in hand so I could follow the film as it progressed through the novel.

My copy of The Great Gatsby.
This is my really old copy of The Great Gatsby. I purchased it from a book club years ago… back when mail-order book clubs were a thing.

My primary observation?

The movie follows the novel much more exactly than I previously realized. I had already had a notion that the movie synced well with the novel, but now after watching it yet again, I absolutely know it does.

Yes, there are some discrepancies (Gatsby’s loss of control in the movie’s hotel scene and Henry Gatz’s absence in the film); however, the film traces the overall dialogue and action very accurately.

So with that being said, enough already. Scroll no more.

Here are the timed locations for all nine chapters:

  • Chapter 1: Start — 14:27
  • Chapter 2: 14:27 — 22:50
  • Chapter 3: 22:50 — 35:10
  • Chapter 4: 35:10 — 48:10
  • Chapter 5: 48:10 — 1:07:52
  • Chapter 6: 1:07:52 — 1:25:50
  • Chapter 7: 1:25:50 — 1:54:36
  • Chapter 8: 1:54:36 — 2:00:44
  • Chapter 9: 2:00:44 — End

So there you have it. The next time you need to align the movie with the novel, refer back to this post. For when you want to enliven and alternate your read-alouds with the film, this breakdown should come in handy.

Great Gatsby Featured Photo Credit: | License

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