Discover the best Netflix movies based on books, as well as a few shows, to watch while you’re home.
If you’re stuck at home, you know the struggle of deciding what to watch on TV. I’m hoping this list of Netflix movies based on books will make your choice just a little bit easier!
As readers, we approach book adaptations with a healthy dose of caution. Surely a two hour movie or even a TV series won’t capture the same emotion and detail encompassed within a book!?
While there surely are some duds out there, thankfully many adaptations do an admirable job. My list of the book adaptions on Netflix will help you weed through the sheer volume of choices and find one perfect for you!
I started off with the general fiction adaptations and then you’ll find more specific categories of classics and young adult novels!
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Book Adaptations on Netflix: General Fiction
Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
Both the movie and the book are excellent! Silver Linings Playbook is a debut novel that is moving and heartwarming. Pat and Tiffany are the two main characters who struggle with mental health issues. This is a slightly strange story that absolutely works.
Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
Did you know this deliciously dark TV series is based on a book series?? Darkly Dreaming Dexter is the first in an eight book series about Dexter, the beloved murderer with a conscious. He has no choice but to satisfy his dark passenger, so Dexter uses his position on the police force to pick only criminals who deserve to die.
Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
These next two books also made it on my list of Fiction for Foodies!! Like Water for Chocolate is one of the original magical realism novels and weaves food into a unique story line set in Mexico.
The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C Morais
A beautiful tale of acceptance and personal growth in a small village in the French Alps. When an Indian restaurant opens up across from a classic French restaurant, the two owners clash. Their styles are completely different, but the stuck up owner ultimately takes one of the sons of the new family under her wing.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
This is a book I recommend to absolutely everyone. It’s an all-time favorite – WWII historical fiction featuring a main character who writes letters to get to know a quirky book club living on Guernsey. Her life ends up being completely changed by the connections she makes. I’ve heard a few mixed reviews on the Netflix adaptation but I simply adore it.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
This TV series is produced by Starz, but the first 3 seasons are available on Netflix. It is INTENSE and long, but the story is phenomenal. I can truly only speak for the first book/first season but I’m a huge fan of both. This is a historical fiction behemoth set in Scotland in the 1600’s. Clare accidentally travels back in time and must learn to adapt or die. Thankfully she has the help of handsome hunk, Jamie Fraser! Major swoon status.
Room by Emma Donoghue
Another intense book, but for heartbreaking reasons. A mother and her young son are forced to created a life for themselves inside a tiny shed where they’re being held prisoner. Readers experience both their life inside this room and their re-entry into the outside world after they escape.
Brie Larson does a phenomenal job as the mom in this selection of Netflix movies based on books.
One Day by David Nicholls
A love story told in snippets from one day each year. July 15 was the day that Emma and Dexter first met and they couldn’t get each other out of their heads. Over the years, we get a peek into their lives on that same day as they face ups and downs, love and heartbreak.
When Calls The Heart by Janette Oke
This show is about as sweet and wholesome as it gets and I absolutely love it for that reason. It’s based on a book series by Janette Oke, a beloved Canadian writer. Elizabeth Thatcher gets a culture shock when she’s sent out to the Canadian frontier for a remote teaching position. She falls in love with the tiny town and maybe even the handsome Mountie?
Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
I’ve read almost every single book by Nicholas Sparks and Dear John is one of Top 5. John and Savannah fall in love but are forced apart when John is called in by the Army to help with the aftermath of 9/11. During their lengthy separation, Savannah falls in love with someone else. When John eventually returns home, he must face the fact that the love of his life is no longer his.
The Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King
The list of Stephen King adaptations goes on and on, but I don’t think any will ever top The Shawshank Redemption. This is actually one of King’s short stories that has become a movie classic. It’s featured in the book, Different Seasons, along with another hit movie, Stand By Me.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Admittedly, this was a Did Not Finish book for me, but I know most folks who read it LOVE it. So, I’m curious about the book adaptation on Netflix because I think I’ll like it more on screen. This is often described as Harry Potter for grownups. Magic is thought to be lost in England until aging Mr. Norrell reveals his abilities. He takes on a pupil, Jonathan Strange, and the two forever alter the presence of magic in their country.
Julie & Julia by Julie Powell
Ok, this is technically a memoir but it reads like fiction! Julie takes on the task of cooking every recipe in Julia Child’s famous, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, in one year. Her experience is intermingled with Julia’s fascinating story of learning to cook in France. Meryl Streep is at her finest as the beloved chef.
The Rainmaker by John Grisham
The king of the legal thriller has had quite a few of his books turned into movies. In The Rainmaker, Matt Damon stars as a young attorney who takes on a case that turns into a life or death deal. Sign me up for any movie with Matt Damon 🙂
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy by John Le Carre
This is one I haven’t read or watched, but the author is a bestselling writer and the movie was Oscar nominated. So, if you’re into spy novels this is for you! Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is the 5th book in the George Smiley series. A Soviet spy has infiltrated British intelligence and Smiley uses his skills to identify the rat and set up a trap.
Mystic River by Dennis Lehane
Mystic River and Shutter Island are two of my favorite Lehane novels. They’ve both been adapted into excellent movies! Mystic River is a psychological thriller that brings three former friends back together when one of their daughters is murdered.
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Netflix Movies Based on Books: Classics
Mary Poppins Returns by P.L. Travers
The new movie starring Emily Blunt is a delightful tribute to the original. Plus, the books by P.L. Travers are well worth a read if you’ve never given them a shot before! These is one of the Netflix movies based on books that can be treasured by all generations.
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
It wouldn’t be a list of classic book adaptations if I didn’t include Jane Austen. This is a major book blogger fail that is hard to admit, but I don’t think I’ve ever read Mansfield Park??? If I did, it was ages ago so I don’t exactly remember much. The perfect opportunity to watch the movie, instead!
Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
There are multiple Sherlock Holmes book adaptations on Netflix! Your first option is the movie starring Robert Downey Jr as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson. There’s also (my personal favorite) the TV series, Sherlock, with Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Watson.
Anne With an E by L.M. Montgomery
There are an endless number of Anne of Green Gables book adaptations, but one of the most recent TV series is available on Netflix! You can’t help but fall in love with sweet, whimsical Anne as she adapts to her new life at Green Gables.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina is a Russian noblewoman who begins a passionate affair with a younger man, leaving both her husband and son behind. This iconic story gets the Hollywood treatment with a glitzy movie starring Keira Knightley.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
A paranormal investigator takes three companions to stay in a supposedly haunted house. This is one of the classic horror novels of the 20th century, so the story is not for the faint of heart. Netflix just recently turned this story into a miniseries.
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
A historical fiction novel based on the true story of Grace Marks. She was accused of murdering her employer, housekeeper, and mistress but has no recollection of the events. A psychologist takes her on, trying to help her remember the events of that infamous day.
Netflix Movies Based on Books: Young Adult
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Willowdean is fat and she’s not afraid to say it. Although she’s comfortable with her size, her beauty pageant mother is constantly trying to change it. When Willowdean enters the local beauty pageant, she unexpectedly inspires a few other girls to do the same.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
One of the ultimate coming of age stories, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is known for it’s honest take on high school. Charlie is a “wallflower” who’s particularly observant of the lives of his fellow teens. Read and watch along as he discovers first loves, friendships, and all the other awkward experiences that come from being a high schooler.
To All The Boys I Loved Before / P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
This is one of my all-time favorite YA series. Laura Jean is the sweetest protagonist and her relationship with her family is perfect. When her secret love letters get sent out, it sets off a chain reaction that opens her up to an unexpected love of her life. This is a rare instance where the move adaptation is every bit as good as the novel!!
All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
A NY Times bestseller from 2015, just recently adapted for Netflix! Theodore is obsessed with death and constantly looks for ways to take his own life, but some little thing always stops him. Violet cannot wait for her future, but she’s struggling with a recent devastating loss. When they literally meet on a ledge, they start to live for each other instead.
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
On the younger (middle grade) end of young adult is this series we all probably read as kids. The Baudelaire siblings are sweet, smart, charming, and absurdly unlucky. I remember laughing and cringing along with them as they encountered one bad thing after another!
Have you watched any other Netflix movies based on books?