The following is a list of changes made to the story of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo when it was adapted from the book into the movie.
Erika Berger and Mikael BlomkvistEdit
- Book: These two are long time lovers and best friends. Even though Berger is married (as was Blomkvist) they continue to see each other.
- Film: They are lovers in the film but the audience doesn't learn the full back story (though Lisbeth's report implies the relationship continues with Erika's husband's knowledge).
Lisbeth Salander's Broken LaptopEdit
- Book: The laptop is run over in a parking garage, but she has two other computers and a full hard-drive back up.
- Film: She is attacked in the subway and her laptop is destroyed. She borrows a laptop from her friend Plague and has him try to rebuild her broken computer.
- Why Changed
- To add more urgency..She has to go to her guardian for money immediately. (where he molests her, speeding up the plot)
Lisbeth Salander's Dragon TattooEdit
- Book: It covers her shoulder down to her butt on down to the thigh. In the English translation the size of the tattoo is extremely downsized (which makes the title quite miss telling), in the original tho it's often explained how big it really is.
- Film: It covers most of her back, although it is not as big as it is described in the book.
How Blomkvist and Lisbeth MeetEdit
- Book: Blomkvist tells Frode he needs a research assistant. Knowing Salander's work was of high quality, Frode accidentally tells Blomkvist about the background investigation Salander performed on him. Mikael demands to see the report. While looking through it he finds a document that was only on his computer, thus exposing Lisbeth as a hacker. He then shows up at her house to offer her a job.
- Film: Lisbeth sends an email to Mikael explaining the meaning behind the mysterious journal entry of numbers. He then traces the email and shows up at her house.
- Book: There is no reference to a necklace. Blomkvist doesn't remember being babysat by Harriet as a child.
- Film: In the film, Blomkvist remembers images of his summer at Hedebey. He remembers a blonde girl with a gold necklace which he assumes is Harriet. He later discovers that the necklace belonged to Anita Vanger and not Harriet.
Harriet's hair colorEdit
- Book: Harriet is a natural brunette but dyes her hair blonde after running away.
- Film: Harriet is blonde in the film.
- Book: Henrik has two photos of Harriet's room, one showing the blinds closed and another showing them open, thus establishing Harriet's last known whereabouts. Blomkvist later finds a third, blurry photo taken that day showing a blond girl in a light colored dress who he thinks is Cecilia. When he is finally able to ask her about it she denies she was there. Mikael keeps digging and discovers a photo from the day of the disappearance showing two, almost identical blond girls wearing light colored dresses. He realizes that he had been mistaking Cecilia and her sister Anita, making the girl in the window, Anita Vanger.
- Film: In the film, the third photo shows a blonde girl with a necklace, who Blomkvist assumes is Harriet but later learns is Anita.
Blomkvist discovers the real killerEdit
- Book: Blomkvist finds a photo of Martin Vanger wearing the jacket in the blurry photograph from the children's parade. He sees Martin come home and goes to talk to him.
- Film: Blomkvist and Salander discover that all of the murdered women were Jewish and assume that Harald Vanger, a recluse and known Nazi, is the killer. Blomkvist breaks into his home and Martin comes to his aid when Harald tries to kill him for breaking and entering. Mikael makes a quick escape with Martin but is later kidnapped by his so-called savior.
Henrik joins MilleniumEdit
- Book: Henrik comes to Millenium's aid when they are having money problems. He becomes a partner of the magazine. At the end of the book, Henrik is too weak to continue as a partner so he appoints Harriet in his place.
- Film: Henrik financially helps keep Millenium afloat however it is not further referenced and there is no reference to Harriet joining Millenium's board.
- Book: There is no family meeting and none of the family has been told officially that Blomkvist is working on solving the mystery of Harriet's disappearance. Isabella and Mikael only meet once, in the street. A news story is published about Mikael living in the town, but no mention of Salander.
- Film: There is a family meeting because the newspaper has published a story about Blomkvist's 'girlfriend.' Isabella says some harsh words to Blomkvist and they all suggest he should leave. Frode interjects that Mikael has a contract to uphold.
- Book: Except for occasional chats Mikael has with Morell, the police is never involved or notified of any strange ocurrences. Salander will not allow it. This includes the shots fired at Mikael and the murder attempt in Martin's cellar. Salander makes a point to steal any materials linking Martin to the women's disappearances. She does not want to be linked in any way to the case.
- Film: Even though Salander says she will leave if Mikael contacts police, he contacts them anyway. He does so twice, when shots are fired upon him and when Martin attempts to murder him in the cellar.
- Book: Blomkvist's daughter goes for an unexpected visit to the cottage. She and Mikael chat mostly about the fact that she is into religious studies. Mikael silently opposes this but recognizes that similarity between his daughter and Harriet. Before she leaves, she mentions something about bible verses and tells her father not to be so pessimistic. Whereas Mikael had been assuming that the Harriet's diary contained a list of phone numbers, his daughter's comment helped him come to the realization that they were indeed Bible verses.
- Film: Salander interprets the meaning of the numbers by finding various cases that fall into the category of religous ritualistic murders.
- Book: The real Anita Vanger lives in London and is traced by Plague and Salander. Blomkvist goes to talk to her and they tap her house. They overhear a conversation between Anita and another woman immediately after Mikael leaves. Shortly thereafter, Mikael goes to visit Harriet who has taken Anita's name and now lives in Australia.
- Film: The real Anita Vanger died of breast cancer. Harriet takes over Anita's name when she moves to Australia.