21 Must-Watch Romantic Movies Based On Books


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Best romance movies based on books

Contrary to popular belief, book-to-film adaptations can be delightful! Especially romance books to movies.

 Reading a love story is one thing, but watching its development unfold on screen creates worlds that are nothing short of magical. Capturing the palpable chemistry between the two attractive leads can make or break a movie for fans old or new.

When Hollywood decides to bring a popular book to the big screen, it’s usually the book’s more ardent fans who are most delighted.  

I am sure when Nicholas Sparks’ bestselling novel Notebook hit theaters, most book lovers would have rushed to the cinemas to see their favourite characters on screen. 

Nowadays, we are so fortunate  to watch book  adaptations on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney plus and HBO MAX.  Also the best part of book-to-film adaptations is that it might convince cinephiles to buy books. 

Regardless, if you’re looking to watch some great  romantic movies based on books! Here is a great list. 

Some movies that were based on novels and each movie will thrill you as it smoothly combines action, romance, and suspense.  Whether it’s Leonardo DiCaprio starring “The Great Gatsby” or Timothée Chalamet starring “ Call Me by Your Name”  you are in for a real treat! 

More romance books to read

Rebecca 

The  2020 Netflix film starring Lily James, Armie Hammer, and Kristin Scott Thomas is based on Daphne du Maurier’s timeless gothic novel. This recent Netflix remake is worth watching if you’re looking for a wonderful romantic movies based on books.

When an unnamed young woman becomes friends with a wealthy widower, they both fall in love and get married. Once she moves to his mansion in England, the girl discovers that both her husband and his household are haunted by his first wife, Rebecca.

The housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, consciously sabotages the young girl’s every attempt to please her husband. She reminds the girl that Rebecca was more charming and attractive than her.

The novel was adapted into a movie in 1940 as well, which had won an Academy Award for the best picture. 

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Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians is a glorious tale of ultra rich families in Singapore.

Economics professor Rachel Chu travels to Singapore with her boyfriend (Nick) to attend his best friend’s wedding.  While she envisions meeting her boyfriend’s family to be humble and welcoming, it turns out that they are nothing like she had imagined. To start with, they are crazy rich. They live in gigantic mansion and travel in private jets.

And Nick’s mother despises Rachel’s modest background. The worst of all is that  Rachel  herself begins to wonder whether she really fits in among the opulent and wealthy families. 

Crazy Rich Asians cast includes Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, and Awkwafina. 

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The Notebook

The 2004 romantic drama film starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams is definitely one of the best romance movies based on books.

This box office hit is in fact based on Nicholas Sparks’ bestselling novel with the same name. The book was released in 1996 and was Spark’s first novel. The story begins with Noah Calhoun, who has just returned from World WarII and currently busy with rebuilding a plantation.

Yet he is constantly thinking about the girl he met fourteen years ago. Unable to forget one summer they’ve spent together.

The Notebook is a remarkable tale of everlasting love. 

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Me Before You 

Jojo Meyers’ heartbreakingly romantic novel tells the story of Louisa Clark, a young woman who takes up a job as a caretaker for Will Traynor, a wealthy young man who was recently paralyzed in an accident. Me Before You is a perfect love story movie based on books to watch, if you need a good cry.

The unconventional and quirky Lou didn’t really have a good start with sulky and bossy Will. As Lou starts to spend more time together with him, they both learn about each other’s lives.

The movie adaptation of Me before you was released on June 3, 2016. It stars Emilia Clarke as Louisa Clark and Sam Claflin as Will Traynor.

The film received mixed reviews from critics but it was a box office success, grossing over $200 million worldwide against its $20 million budget.

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Fault in Our Stars

The story follows Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16-year-old cancer patient who is forced to attend a support group.

Despite her illness,  Hazel is very intelligent and has an affinity for literature . It’s in this support group where she meets and falls in love with Augustus Waters, an ex-basketball player with bone cancer. When they learn  about each other’s hobbies, they agree to read each other’s favourite novels.

New York Times bestselling author John Green’s 2012 novel takes you on a journey that’s filled with fun, laughter and tears. The movie adaptation of the novel stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as Hazel and Augustus.

Don’t forget to add Fault in Our Stars in the list of movies made from romance novels.

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The Great Gatsby

Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire starring in this 2013 movie was actually based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American literary classic novel of the same name.

The novel narrates the tale of Jay Gatsby, a mysterious millionaire and his obsession to reunite with his lover. The story begins with the arrival of Nick Carraway, an aspiring writer who comes to New York city in search of a better life. Once he becomes the neighbour of millionaire Jay Gatsby, he is captivated by the extravagant life of the rich. He later learns more about Gatsby’s wild parties and his efforts to impress his former lover. 

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Safe Haven

When young woman Katie Feldman moves to the small North Carolina town of Southport, everyone seems to like her, especially widower & the local general store owner, Alex. Safe Haven is a romance movies based on abuse romance book.

However, she is determined to avoid personal questions and keeps a low profile. Shortly afterwards, she meets her neighbour Jo and begins to open up. As she begins to share her life with Alex and his children, Katie learns to trust people in her life again. But when a mystery man arrives at the town, her life is threatened. And it turns out that it was from him that she ran away in the first place.

The movie was released in 2013, starring Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel and Cobie Smulders.

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✅  You’ll love this- Safe Haven Book review

Little Women

Little Women is a well-known American novel written in 1868 by Louisa May Alcott.

It is the story of four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March. It follows their passage from childhood to womanhood and all of the trials and tribulations they face along the way. As the tale follows each sister’s individual journey, we learn about how outspoken and tomboyish Jo chases her dream of becoming a writer. The oldest sibling Meg is married to a school teacher and while the youngest sister, Beth is fighting a devastating illness. We also see how Amy, the sister who dreams of a rich life, falls in love with Laurie.

The seventh movie adaptation of Little Women was released in 2019 with an ensemble cast that includes Saoirse Ronan,Emma Watson, Timothée Chalamet, and Meryl Streep. 

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Gone with the Wind

Gone with the wind is a 1939 American epic film. It was produced by David O. Selznick of Selznick International Pictures and directed by Victor Fleming.

The story is set in the American state of Georgia, in the backdrop of the American Civil War and focuses on Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled daughter of a Georgia plantation owner. The novel is told through her point of view as she deals with issues such as poverty, war, reconstruction and changing social mores in the South during this time period. Along the way, she begins to have feelings for her married neighbour Ashley Wilkes.  

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P.s. I Love You

P.S. I Love You is a novel by Cecelia Ahern’s 2004 novel that tells the story of Holly and Gerry, a young couple who live in Dublin.

When Gerry suddenly dies leaving Holly to cope with her grief, she realises how much he meant to her. Shortly after, Holly starts receiving letters each month. Each written by Gerry, containing little things that can transform her life. Slowly she starts to take this little adventure on her own and learns to laugh and enjoy life to the fullest.

The movie was released in 2017, but the story was set in America. Movie stars are Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler as Holly and Gerry. 

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Call Me by Your Name

Call me by Your Name is a coming of age story of an unforeseen romance between a teenage boy named Elio and a summer guest of his parents’ cliff-side mansion Italian Riviera. 

At first Elio finds nothing in common between Oliver and him. While he spends most of his summer reading and hanging out with friends; Oliver plays sports and seems carefree. As both start to spend more time together, they eventually express their fascination and desire towards each other.

The movie adaptation was released in 2017 starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet. The movie has won an Oscar for the best adapted screenplay. 

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Sense and Sensibility

Jane Austen’s classic novel is set in 19th century English middle class, and follows the impoverished Dashwood family.

After their father’s death, the sisters Elinor and Marianne, Margaret are penniless and forced to move out of their family home. Soon the sisters’ realise that the only way to secure their future is through their marriages.

Sense and Sensibility is a 1995 period drama film directed by Ang Lee and stars Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson, who is also the screenplay writer of the film. In the list of classic romantic movies based on book, Ang Lee’s movie is a must-watch.

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Jane Eyre

Charlotte Bronte’s timeless gothic novel was published in 1847 and tells the story of an orphaned girl, Jane Eyre who tries to find her way in the world.

While growing up at her aunty’s house, Jane was always lonely and sad. She was never allowed to play with her cousins and was forced to sleep in a red-room where her uncle had died. Years later, Jane Eyre is working as a young governess to a little French girl at Thornfield. However, Jane finds her employer, Mr. Rochester, peculiar and strange. Yet slowly she starts to have feelings for the unusual and rough-looking man, without realising his terrible secrets.

This classic romance movie was released in 2011. 

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

This is the story of Lara Jean and her secret crushes.

She has never admitted any of her secret infatuations to anyone. However, instead she wrote a letter to each of her crushes about her feelings. She never sends them either, instead it’s all hidden under her bed. At least, that’s what she thought until she realised that all her letters had been mailed, including the one she wrote to her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. The story explores themes of sisterhood and family. 

The movie, based on the novel of the same name, was released by Netflix in 2018.  The sequels were released in 2020 and 2021 respectively.  To all the boys I’ve loved Before is a charming teen romantic comedy movie based on the book.

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Love, Simon  

The 2018 American comedy drama is based on Becky Albertalli’s debut novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. 

The coming-of-age novel explores the life of sixteen-year-old Simon, a closeted gay.  He lives a normal life spending most of his time between  musical dramas. Although he has a loving family and close friends, he has never discussed his sexuality with anyone. Besides, he has been keeping a secret from all of them about his online chat with one of his schoolmates, another closested gay student. Both exchange emails with respective pseudonyms. As they grew close to each other, their secrets were suddenly discovered by another student. Later, Simon is blackmailed and is forced to come out of his comfort zone.

The 20th Century Fox production,  Love, Simon was a commercial success and premiered on Hulu in 2020. 

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The Age of Innocence

American novelist Edith Wharton’s novel centres around the lives of eminent upper class families in New York.

We meet Newland Archer, a lawyer by profession and engaged to the beautiful May Welland. While Archer is fond of his bride-to-be, he begins to doubt his true feelings when Countess Ellen Olenska arrives.  Soon the young lawyer finds himself mesmerised by the exotics Countess, who happens to be May’s cousin. Ellen has come to New York after a scandalous separation from her Polish husband. As the illustrious families regard Ellen’s behaviour as rebellious, Archer finds her to be self-assured and confident.

The film adaptation of The Age of Innocence was released in 1993, featuring Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder in the main roles. 

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Atonement

Atonement focuses on the consequences of a crime and its recursion decades later.

Everything starts in the summer of 1935 when Briony Tallis notices the flirtation between her sister, Cecilia and the house keeper’s son, Robbie. When an argument takes place between both of them near a fountain, Cecilia climbs into the basin to save a piece of crockery. But Briony misinterprets the whole situation and starts to imagine the whole story, because of her taste of storytelling. The result of which is a huge disaster.

The movie based on the novel was released in 2007 and won the Academy award for the best original score. It stars James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, and Saoirse Ronan in the main roles. 

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The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride is a classic story of love, revenge, and betrayal with an inconceivable backdrop of sword fights, giants, true love and miracles. This is a must watch among fantasy romance movies based on books.

The story follows Buttercup, a farm girl who has been chosen to marry ​​Prince Humperdinck of Florian. But Buttercup doesn’t love him. In fact she still moans on the death of her lover, Westley. She fondly remembers how he always performed chores for her on the farm and responded “as you wish” to her requests. Which she realised was his way of expressing the love towards her. Unfortunately, he is killed by Dread Pirate Roberts on his way to seek the fortune.

This classic fairy tale was adapted into the big screen in 1987 starring Cary ElwesRobin Wright and Mandy Patinkin in the main roles.

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The Time Traveller’s Wife

American author Audrey Niffenegger’s debut novel is an unconventional love story that follows librarian Henry De and his troublesome disorder.

Henry suffers from a rare genetic disorder called- Chrono-Displacement Disorder which causes him to slip in and out of time. It started at the age of five and continued to happen. He has no control over his timeline. It’s in one of his time travelling he meets his wife, Claire and they get married. But his unpredictable absence causes trouble in their relationship. The story depicts  how time travel affects their passionate relationship.

The movie adaptation stars Eric Bana and  Rachel McAdams as Henry and Claire. 

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Under the Tuscan Sun

Frances Mayes’ memoir takes us to her life in Tuscany.  When she bought an abandoned villa in the Tuscan town of Cortona, she had no idea about the consequences.

Divorced Frances and her new partner had to work hard to renovate her new house, with the help of other craftsmen. They spend their summer and mid-winter breaks to restore the house. The book elucidates how they fell in love with Italian culture and life.

While the book is a memoir, the movie however is a romantic- comedy starring Diane Lane as Frances Mayes, a young woman who travels to Italy to find a new life. 

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


Mary Ann Shaffer’s historical novel was adapted to film in 2018 starring Lily James as Juliet Ashton, a young writer who embarks on an adventurous  journey to the German occupied island in search of a new subject for her book.

We learn about the story through a series of correspondence, exchanged between Juliet and the people of Guernsey. They are part of “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”.  The islanders request Juliet to provide them more books as literary society brings peace and joy amidst the horrible German occupation.

Soon Juliet decides to travel to the Island and to meet the people of the society. You’ll love this Netflix romantic movie based on book.

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There you have the list of 21 romantic movies based on books

What other movies will you add to the list?

Let me know in the comments,

Stephy

More romance books to read

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