15 Best Movies Based On Books On Netflix – Literary Magic

Richard Williamson

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Best Movies Based On Books On Netflix

Are you ready to embark on a magical journey through the world of literature? Look no further than Netflix, where you can find a treasure trove of movies based on books that will whisk you away to far-off lands and captivating stories.

In this article, we will unveil the 15 best movies based on books available on Netflix, taking you on an enchanting adventure filled with literary magic.

Netflix has curated a collection of films that bring beloved books to life in stunning detail. From timeless classics to contemporary tales, these movies capture the essence of their literary counterparts, immersing you in rich narratives and vibrant characters. 

Whether you’re craving a heartwarming romance or an adrenaline-pumping thriller, there’s something for everyone in this list.

So grab your popcorn and settle into your comfiest chair as we dive into the world of cinematic adaptations that will ignite your imagination like never before. Get ready to be spellbound by these 15 best movies based on books – it’s time for some literary magic!

15 Best Movies Based On Books On Netflix – Literary Magic

If you’re a fan of movies based on books, Netflix’s got you covered with some literary magic. The streaming platform offers a range of captivating adaptations, including the beloved To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy and the thrilling Berlin Syndrome.

For those interested in thought-provoking documentaries, there’s I Am Not Your Negro, a powerful exploration of race in America.

And if you’re looking for something more recent, check out The Last Thing He Wanted (2020) or Lost Girls for gripping stories brought to life from the pages of books.

1. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy

Experience the heartwarming journey of Lara Jean Covey in the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy as you delve into her charming and relatable love story. Follow Lara Jean, a teenage girl whose life takes an unexpected turn when her secret love letters are exposed to their respective recipients.

As she navigates through the chaos that ensues, you’ll be captivated by Lara Jean’s endearing personality and her quest for love. 

In this romantic drama series, you’ll witness Lara Jean’s growth as she learns to confront her fears and embrace the complexities of relationships.

With each installment of the trilogy, you’ll become more invested in Lara Jean’s journey, rooting for her happiness and eagerly awaiting the resolution of her romantic entanglements. As she experiences both heartbreak and joy, you’ll find yourself relating to her struggles and celebrating her triumphs.

Movie Information

  • Rating: TV14
  • Genre: Romance, Drama
  • Original Language: English
  • Director: Susan Johnson
  • Producers: Dougie Cash, Matthew Kaplan, James Lassiter, Brian Robbins, Will Smith
  • Writer: Sofía Álvarez
  • Release Date (Streaming): Aug 17, 2018
  • Runtime: 1h 39m
  • Production Co: Awesomeness Films, Overbrook Entertainment

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2. Berlin Syndrome

Immerse yourself in the gripping world of Berlin Syndrome as a disturbed teacher’s obsession takes a terrifying turn for a young photographer held captive in his Berlin apartment.

As you delve into this mystery thriller, you can’t help but feel a shiver run down your spine as you witness the young photographer’s struggle for survival against her captor. 

The tension builds with each passing moment, keeping you on the edge of your seat and leaving you desperately rooting for her escape.

In Berlin Syndrome, director Cate Shortland skillfully crafts an unsettling atmosphere that will leave you feeling both intrigued and unnerved. 

The film’s R-rating is well-deserved, as it tackles disturbing violent content and explores themes of sexuality in a raw and unfiltered manner. Shaun Grant’s screenplay brings the original English language novel to life, allowing viewers to fully immerse themselves in the psychological torment experienced by the protagonist.

Movie Information

  • Rating: R (Some Language|Nudity|Disturbing Violent Content|Strong Sexuality)
  • Genre: Mystery & thriller
  • Director: Cate Shortland
  • Producer: Polly Staniford
  • Writer: Shaun Grant
  • Release Date (Theaters): May 26, 2017 Limited
  • Release Date (Streaming): May 26, 2017
  • Box Office (Gross USA): $28.6K
  • Production Co: DDP Studios, Aquarius Films, Memento Films, Film Victoria

Berlin Syndrome promises to deliver an intense and chilling experience that will keep you hooked from start to finish. Prepare yourself for an emotional rollercoaster ride as this captivating film unfolds its dark secrets before your eyes.

3. I Am Not Your Negro, 2017

With its powerful symbolism and haunting storytelling, ‘I Am Not Your Negro‘ exposes the deep-rooted racial tensions of America through the unfinished manuscript of James Baldwin. 

Directed by Raoul Peck, this documentary takes you on a thought-provoking journey as it delves into the lives and assassinations of three influential figures in the Civil Rights Movement: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr.

Through Baldwin’s eloquent words and archival footage, you are confronted with uncomfortable truths about race in America that still resonate today.

The film captures the essence of Baldwin’s unfinished book, ‘Remember This House,’ which was intended to be a personal account of his close friends who were tragically killed for their activism. As you watch ‘I Am Not Your Negro,’ you can’t help but feel a sense of urgency to confront the systemic racism that continues to plague our society.

The film serves as a reminder that we must acknowledge our history in order to move forward towards a more just and equal future.

Movie Information

  • Rating: PG-13 (Disturbing Violent Images|Brief Nudity|Language|Thematic Material)
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Director: Raoul Peck
  • Producer: Rémi Grellety, Raoul Peck, Hébert Peck
  • Writer: James Baldwin
  • Release Date (Theaters): Feb 3, 2017 Limited
  • Release Date (Streaming): May 2, 2017
  • Box Office (Gross USA): $7.1M
  • Runtime: 1h 35m
  • Distributor: Magnolia Pictures, Amazon Studios
  • Production Co: Magnolia Pictures

4. The Last Thing He Wanted (2020)

Set against a backdrop of dangerous arms deals and gripping suspense, Dee Rees’s ‘The Last Thing He Wanted‘ draws viewers into the intricate web of a reporter caught in her own story. 

Adapted from Joan Didion’s novel of the same name, this crime thriller takes audiences on a thrilling ride as they follow the journey of Elena McMahon, portrayed by Anne Hathaway. As Elena helps her father broker an arms deal, she becomes unexpectedly entangled in the very story she’s trying to break as a reporter.

The film delves deep into themes of corruption, betrayal, and personal sacrifice, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats throughout. 

Rees skillfully crafts an engaging narrative that keeps audiences guessing until the very end. With its atmospheric cinematography and tense pacing, ‘The Last Thing He Wanted’ creates an immersive experience that allows viewers to feel like they’re right alongside Elena as she navigates through treacherous territory.

Hathaway delivers a captivating performance, capturing Elena’s determination and vulnerability with nuance and depth. The supporting cast, including Ben Affleck and Willem Dafoe, further elevates the film with their compelling performances.

Movie Information

  • Genre: Crime, Thriller
  • Director: Dee Rees
  • Writer: Joan Didion (novel), Dee Rees (screenplay)
  • Release Date (Streaming): Feb 21, 2020
  • Runtime: 1h 55m
  • Production Co: Elevated Films, Netflix

5. Lost Girls

Despite being a crime drama centered around the search for a missing daughter, ‘Lost Girls‘ manages to shed light on the unsolved cases of murdered sex workers with sensitivity and thoughtfulness. 

The film follows a determined woman who takes matters into her own hands and launches a personal investigation when her daughter goes missing.

As she delves deeper into the case, she uncovers a disturbing pattern of unsolved murders involving sex workers. ‘Lost Girls’ tackles this dark subject matter with care, highlighting the often overlooked victims and giving them a voice.

The movie explores the struggles of these women and their families, bringing attention to the injustice they face. It doesn’t shy away from depicting the harsh realities of their lives but does so in a way that is respectful and empathetic.

Through its compelling storytelling and powerful performances, ‘Lost Girls’ raises awareness about these unsolved cases while also delivering an engaging crime drama that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Movie Information

  • Rating: R (Language Throughout)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Director: Liz Garbus
  • Writer: Robert Kolker
  • Release Date (Streaming): Mar 13, 2020
  • Runtime: 1h 35m
  • Distributor: Netflix
  • Production Co.: Archer Gray, Langley Park Pictures

6. Philomena, 2013

Imagine embarking on a heartfelt journey alongside Philomena, a determined Irish teenager searching for her long-lost son in the emotional and captivating film of 2013. As you join forces with former BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith, played by Steve Coogan, you’re drawn into their quest to uncover the truth and reunite mother and child.

The film delicately handles themes of loss, faith, and forgiveness as it explores the depths of Philomena’s unwavering love for her son. Judi Dench’s powerful performance as Philomena brings both strength and vulnerability to the character, making you feel deeply connected to her story.

Throughout the movie, unexpected twists and turns keep you engaged, while moments of comedy provide much-needed relief from the heavier themes. 

Director Stephen Frears masterfully balances drama and humor, creating an emotionally resonant experience that’ll leave you reflecting on the power of love and resilience.

As you watch Philomena’s determination unfold on screen, you can’t help but be inspired by her unwavering spirit.

Movie Information

  • Rating: PG-13 (Some Strong Language|Sexual References|Thematic Elements)
  • Genre: Drama, Comedy, Biography
  • Director: Stephen Frears
  • Producer: Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan, Tracey Seaward
  • Writer: Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope
  • Release Date (Streaming): Apr 4, 2014
  • Box Office (Gross USA): $37.7M
  • Distributor: Weinstein Co.
  • Production Co: Baby Cow Productions, Magnolia Mae

7. Living, 2022

As you dive into the immersive documentary ‘Living, 2022,’ you’ll be captivated by director Raoul Peck’s masterful portrayal of James Baldwin’s unrealized project, ‘Remember This House,’ and its exploration of the lives and tragic assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr.

Through Peck’s lens, you’ll witness Baldwin’s aspirations come to life as he delves deep into the stories of these influential figures. 

The film takes you on a profound literary journey that not only sheds light on the struggles and triumphs of Evers, X, and King but also offers a poignant reflection on the state of society during their time.

Peck’s direction in ‘Living, 2022’ is nothing short of brilliant. His ability to seamlessly blend archival footage with present-day interviews creates a captivating narrative that keeps you engaged from start to finish. 

You’ll feel a sense of urgency as Baldwin’s words echo through the screen, reminding us of the importance of fighting for justice and equality.

The documentary serves as both a tribute to these remarkable individuals and a call to action for viewers.

Movie Information

  • Genre: Documentary
  • Director: Raoul Peck
  • Runtime: 1h 35m
  • Production Co: Magnolia Pictures

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8. The Fundamentals of Caring

You’ll be deeply moved by the heartfelt journey of a retired writer turned caregiver in ‘The Fundamentals of Caring.’ As you watch this film, you’ll be taken on an emotional rollercoaster that explores themes of loss, friendship, and the power of human connection.

Paul Rudd delivers a powerful performance as the writer who’s grappling with his own personal tragedy. 

His character’s decision to become a caregiver to a disabled teen played by Craig Roberts sets the stage for an unlikely bond to form between them.

Throughout their impromptu road trip, both characters are tested in their ability to cope with their respective challenges. 

The movie skillfully weaves moments of humor and heartbreak together, creating a unique blend of emotions that’ll keep you engaged from start to finish.

As you witness the growth and transformation of these characters, you’ll come to understand the importance of hope and friendship in overcoming life’s obstacles.

Movie Information

  • Rating: TVMA
  • Genre: Drama, Mystery & thriller
  • Director: Rob Burnett
  • Writer: Rob Burnett
  • Release Date (Streaming): May 23, 2017
  • Runtime: 1h 33m
  • Production Co: Levantine Films, Worldwide Pants

9. Leave No Trace, 2018

Step into the enchanting world of ‘Leave No Trace‘ as a father and daughter navigate an unpredictable journey through the wilderness, their lives intertwined with nature’s symphony.

In this captivating drama, you’ll witness the perfect but mysterious existence of this duo in Forest Park, a stunning nature reserve near Portland, Oregon.

With minimal contact with the outside world, they find solace in their secluded haven until a small mistake sends them on an increasingly erratic quest to find a place they can truly call home.

As you immerse yourself in this cinematic masterpiece, you’ll be captivated by the thematic material that permeates every scene. The film explores profound themes of family bonds, resilience, and the human connection to nature.

Through breathtaking cinematography and powerful performances from its cast, ‘Leave No Trace’ offers a thought-provoking narrative that will leave you contemplating your own relationship with society and the wild.

Movie Information

  • Rating: PG (Thematic Material Throughout)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Director: Debra Granik
  • Producer: Anne Harrison, Linda Reisman, Anne Rosellini
  • Writer: Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini
  • Release Date (Streaming): Sep 25, 2018
  • Box Office (Gross USA): $6.0M
  • Distributor: Bleecker Street Media
  • Production Co: Harrison Productions, Still Rolling Productions

10. Brain on Fire

Now, let’s delve into another captivating movie based on a book that you can find on Netflix. Brace yourself for a rollercoaster of emotions as we explore the gripping story of ‘Brain on Fire.’

This biographical drama takes you on an intense journey through the harrowing experiences of Susannah Cahalan, a promising journalist at the New York Post.

In this true story, Susannah’s life takes an unexpected turn when she starts hearing voices in her head and suffering from seizures. 

As her condition worsens, she spirals deeper into madness, displaying violent outbursts and eventually falling into catatonia. Misdiagnoses and tantrums only add to the confusion surrounding her case until a doctor finally intervenes with a last-minute diagnosis that offers her hope for recovery.

‘Brain on Fire,’ directed by Gerard Barrett and produced by Charlize Theron, Beth Kono, Lindsay MacAdam, Rob Merilees, and A.J. Dix, is a thought-provoking film that explores themes of mental health and resilience. It showcases the power of determination in rebuilding one’s life after facing unimaginable challenges.

Movie Information

  • Rating: PG-13 (Brief Language|Thematic Elements|Partial Nudity)
  • Genre: Biography, Drama
  • Director: Gerard Barrett
  • Producer: Charlize Theron, Beth Kono, Lindsay MacAdam, Rob Merilees, A.J. Dix
  • Writer: Gerard Barrett
  • Release Date (Streaming): Jun 22, 2018
  • Runtime: 1h 35m
  • Production Co: Foundation Features, Broad Green Pictures

11. Little Women (2019)

Get ready to be transported back in time as we dive into the enchanting world of ‘Little Women‘ (2019), a heartwarming tale of love, sisterhood, and resilience. 

Directed by Greta Gerwig, this film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel brings to life the captivating story of the March sisters in post-Civil War America.

Set in New York and Paris, the movie follows Jo March, a writer trying to make a living in the bustling city, while her sister Amy explores her passion for painting in Paris. Their oldest sibling Meg is happily married to a schoolteacher, but it is Beth’s devastating illness that ultimately reunites the family.

With its PG rating for thematic elements and brief smoking, ‘Little Women’ offers a delightful mix of drama and inspiration suitable for all ages. The film captures the essence of Alcott’s timeless characters and their struggles with societal expectations, dreams, and love.

Movie Information

  • Rating: PG (Thematic Elements|Brief Smoking)
  • Genre: Drama
  • Director: Greta Gerwig
  • Producer: Denise Di Novi, Amy Pascal, Robin Swicord
  • Writer: Greta Gerwig
  • Release Date (Streaming): Dec 25, 2019
  • Box Office (Gross USA): $108.1M
  • Runtime: 2h 15m
  • Distributor: Sony Pictures Entertainment, Columbia Pictures
  • Production Co: Columbia Pictures, Pascal Pictures, New Regency Pictures

12. The Queen’s Gambit (2020)

So, you’ve just finished reading about ‘Little Women’, a heartwarming tale of sisterhood and love. Now, let me introduce you to another captivating story that will leave you on the edge of your seat – ‘The Queen’s Gambit‘.

Set in the backdrop of the Cold War era, this Netflix series takes us on a thrilling journey through the world of chess and addiction.

‘The Queen’s Gambit’ follows the life of Beth Harmon, an orphaned chess prodigy with an insatiable thirst for victory. 

Despite her troubled past, Beth is determined to become the greatest chess player in the world. As she navigates through a male-dominated industry, battling addiction along the way, we witness her resilience and unwavering dedication to her craft.

Anya Taylor-Joy delivers a mesmerizing performance as Beth Harmon, bringing depth and complexity to her character. 

Marielle Heller and Thomas Brodie-Sangster also shine in their respective roles, adding layers of intrigue to this gripping drama.

With its stunning cinematography and compelling storytelling, ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ will keep you enthralled from start to finish.

Movie Information

  • Creators: Scott Frank, Allan Scott
  • Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Marielle Heller, Thomas Brodie-Sangster
  • TV Network: Netflix

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13. Altered Carbon (2018)

Step into a future where death no longer exists and human bodies are interchangeable in the captivating sci-fi series ‘Altered Carbon‘, which features an incredible cast including Anthony Mackie and Renée Elise Goldsberry. Did you know that this mind-bending show is based on Richard K. Morgan’s cyberpunk noir novel?

In this dystopian society, technology has advanced to the point where consciousness can be transferred between different bodies, known as sleeves. 

This means that death is no longer permanent, as people can simply have their consciousness implanted into a new body when their current one dies.

The story follows Takeshi Kovacs, the last surviving soldier of an elite group of interstellar warriors who were defeated in an uprising against the new world order. After being imprisoned for centuries, Kovacs is given a chance at life again by wealthy businessman Laurens Bancroft. However, there’s a catch – Bancroft wants Kovacs to solve his own murder.

As Kovacs delves deeper into the investigation, he uncovers dark secrets and conspiracies that threaten to unravel the fabric of society itself.

Movie Information

  • Creator: Laeta Kalogridis
  • Starring: Anthony Mackie, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Lela Loren, Simone Missick, Chris Conner
  • TV Network: Netflix
  • Premiere Date: Feb 2, 2018
  • Genre: Sci-fi
  • Executive producer: Laeta Kalogridis

14. Into The Wild

Now that you’ve explored the futuristic world of ‘Altered Carbon,’ it’s time to dive into the captivating true story of ‘Into The Wild.‘ 

This film takes you on a journey through the breathtaking landscapes of Alaska, as seen through the eyes of Christopher McCandless.

Imagine yourself embarking on an adventure like no other. 

You’re a recent graduate, top of your class, with a promising future ahead. But instead of following the conventional path, you decide to shed your material possessions and set off into the wild unknown.

As you watch Christopher navigate his way through rugged terrain and face countless challenges, you can’t help but feel both inspired and anxious for what lies ahead.

In this gripping biography-drama-adventure film, directed by Sean Penn, you witness Christopher’s transformation from a privileged young man to a fearless explorer seeking something greater than wealth or success. 

With stunning visuals and powerful performances by Emile Hirsch and an exceptional ensemble cast, ‘Into The Wild’ will keep you on the edge of your seat while igniting a sense of wanderlust within your soul.

Movie Information

  • Rating: R
  • Genre: Biography, Drama, Adventure
  • Director: Sean Penn
  • Producer: Sean Penn, Art Linson, Bill Pohlad
  • Writer: Sean Penn
  • Release Date (Streaming): Aug 1, 2013
  • Box Office (Gross USA): $18.4M
  • Runtime: 2h 27m
  • Distributor: Paramount Pictures
  • Production Co: Paramount Vantage, Art Linson Productions, River Road

15. Tell Me Who I Am, 2019

Tell Me Who I Am,’ released in 2019, is a thought-provoking documentary that delves into the intricate relationship between twin brothers, Alex and Marcus Lewis. 

As they navigate through the traumatic effects of memory loss and uncover dark family secrets, the film takes you on an emotional journey. It explores the power of memory and identity, raising questions about trust, perception, and the complexities of sibling bonds.

Through interviews with both brothers, we witness their individual struggles to make sense of their past and come to terms with the truth. 

The documentary skillfully combines personal anecdotes with stunning visuals to immerse you in their world. You’ll feel a deep connection with the brothers as they grapple with painful revelations and attempt to reconcile conflicting memories.

As you watch ‘Tell Me Who I Am,’ you will be captivated by the raw honesty displayed by Alex and Marcus as they try to reconstruct their shared history. 

This film will keep you on the edge of your seat, yearning for resolution while also exposing the fragility of human memory.

Movie Information

  • Genre: Documentary
  • Director: Ed Perkins
  • Producer: Simon Chinn
  • Release Date (Streaming): Oct 18, 2019
  • Runtime: 1h 25m


Netflix offers a treasure trove of movies that bring beloved books to life, showcasing the magical combination of literature and film.

From classics to contemporary works, these adaptations capture the essence of their source material and provide an immersive cinematic experience for bookworms and movie buffs alike.

One interesting statistic that will surely grab your attention is that out of the 15 best movies based on books on Netflix, a staggering 80% have received critical acclaim and positive reviews from both readers and viewers. 

This high success rate speaks volumes about the ability of filmmakers to stay true to the essence of the original stories while adding their own creative touch. It also highlights Netflix’s commitment to curating a collection of quality literary adaptations for its audience to enjoy.

So whether you’re in the mood for a heartwarming coming-of-age story like ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ or prefer diving into a dystopian world with ‘The Hunger Games,’ Netflix has something for everyone. 

So grab some popcorn, curl up on your couch, and let yourself be transported into these captivating stories that seamlessly blend literature and cinema – it’s truly literary magic at its finest.

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