5 Best Movies Based On Books
There’s nothing better than curling up with a great romance novel and letting your imagination run wild. Whether it’s today’s best seller or a cherished volume of classic literature, books have the ability to take us away to a different place. There is nothing like the power of your imagination. Which is why often, the movie adaptation of your favorite novel might fall short.
But when Hollywood gets it right, they really get it right. Here’s a selection of our favorite romance movies adapted from books:
From Page to Screen: Top 5 Romance Adaptations
William Goldman’s 1973 classic about pirates, a kidnapping, and of course, true love, is one of the first movies people name when talking about adaptations. The incredible part is that Goldman wrote both the novel and the screenplay. Often, it’s difficult for the original writer to separate the strands necessary for condensing a full-length book into a 90-minute movie, but Goldman did it—not just once, but twice (the second being Marathon Man).
Believe it or not, this cult classic wasn’t even a hit when it landed in theatres in the late 1980s. Today it has become so entrenched in popular culture and we quote it so often I’m willing to bet there are many who don’t even know the true origin of the sayings they’re spouting.
It’s a wonderful, and wonderfully funny, love story between a reluctant princess and a stable hand-turned-pirate, rounded out by a giant and a Spaniard seeking revenge. If you haven’t seen it, watch it today!
If you liked the rollicking adventure and strong heroine angle of The Princess Bride, try Emma Lombard’s series, The White Sails.
This one is a bit of a cheat as it’s a television series rather than a movie, but you can’t say romance and adaption without thinking of Diana Gabaldon’s sprawling time-travel epic.
When Claire Randall, a World War II combat nurse, travels back in time to the late 1700s, she falls into the arms of Jamie Fraser, a handsome highlander who steals her heart…along with her desire to return to her actual husband in the 1940s. This is the series that has woken the libido of housewives everywhere. It’s the cable version of what 50 Shades did to the book world. And it is seriously hot.
While the seasons have thus far followed the books, the storylines have strayed and details have been altered. Some for the good (I’m thinking Murtaugh) and some for the not so good (where on earth is the hot springs scene?!?). Rumour has it they plan to wrap things up after the seventh season, and given that Gabaldon hasn’t even completed the books series, I fear we’re headed for another Game of Thrones situation.
If you like your period romance fully kilted, check out Laura A. Barnes’ steamy romance novel, Rescued by the Scot.
We’re going way back here to one of the originators of the genre. This volume of classic literature is really just an enemies-to-lovers trope in disguise. The love story of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy is one for the ages and has been replicated over and over again on the screen—sometimes as a “faithful” adaptation, and sometimes very loosely (see Bridget Jones’ Diary).
It took me forever to read this book. I also looked at it as a slog. But then I was at a wedding and the bride and groom had set up a book table where people could grab any books they wanted, so I choose Pride and Prejudice. Imagine my surprise when I discovered Jane Austen’s level of snark!
I’m a traditionalist, and my favorite version remains the BBC mini-series with Colin Firth in the role of Mr. Darcy. He played the role so well he was cast as Darcy again in the Bridget Jones version. If you haven’t seen it and you’re ready to get swept up into a swoon-worthy period romance, what on earth are you waiting for?
And if you haven’t read the book, you can pick up your copy of Pride and Prejudice here.
When Nick Hornby’s book hit the shelves, my life was forever changed. I can still remember picking up my copy and devouring it in a day. This is the story of record-store Rob, who’s just survived his latest break-up with his girlfriend, Laura. Rob’s the kind of guy who’s got a Top 5 Breakup list, the same way most of us have our Top 5 books. But the humour, the heart, and the love really shone through in Hornby’s debut novel.
Stephen Frears took this material and turned it into an iconic film. At the hands of a British director, the American film still managed to somehow retain its English charm. Casting John Cusack in the role of Rob was pure genius, and if I’m not wrong, this was the film that introduced us all to Jack Black. Admittedly, this choice might also be a cheat, given it’s kind of a love story wrapped in an anti-love story, but the end result is still the same.
If romantic comedy is your thing, try Tory Richards’ Kiss Me!
During the early days of the pandemic, Bridgerton reared its gorgeous Regency-era head into our living rooms at full force. It was a phenomenon that swept the nation, making it the highest viewed show in Netflix’s history…and this from company that doesn’t share numbers.
The story of the powerful Bridgerton family, its eight siblings, and their quests to find true love captured all our hearts. We burned for Daphne. And the Duke. Ahem. Of course, the series is based on the popular series of romance novels by Julia Quinn, which have seen a huge resurgence in popularity thanks to the show!
Watching Daphne make her debut into the English social scene was a true delight and watching her find her inner woman was even better. You can catch the first season on Netflix.
If you like Regency-era romance, check out some of Meredith Bond’s books, like A Hand for the Duke.