We all have our favorite romance movies. Some of us like Elizabethan romance, some of us like fantasy romance, and some of us like modern romance. However there is one thing we can all agree on. The best romantic movies all come from books. From books written long ago to those written today, there is just something complex and wonderful about a well-written story with a romantic twist. Here are some of my favorite romantic movies that were originally books:
1. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen is a romantic film staple and her works are well worth watching. The 1995 adaptation of her book of the same name is one that is filled with great actors, including Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman, and oozes with charm and grace. It also has lots of timely humor and great performances by the actors and actresses that do the famous novel justice. Thankfully it is succinct as well as sensible and never seems to drag. Definitely a romantic film I would recommend for Austen lovers.
2. Pride and Prejudice – Another Austen based film, I know, but her work is just so relatable even to the present day. There are actually many movies based on her most famous work, but the one I am talking about is the 2005 adaptation. Starring Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen, this film is bright and quick while still sticking with the novels key points. Though it lacks some of the pomp and circumstance that usually follows an Elizabethan film, it more than makes up for it with the acting and quick story line. Romantic and fun to watch, I would recommend this film for anyone who loves a good conflicted and complex love story.
3. North and South –This hidden gem was produced as a miniseries by the BBC in 2004 based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s 1855 Victorian novel of the same name. Similar to Pride and Prejudice, the romance come only after many misunderstandings between harsh but fair mill master Mr. Thornton and newly arrived and headstrong Margaret Hale. While technically not a film, watching this miniseries will leave you transported back in time and on the edge of your seat. With beautiful settings, rich supporting characters, and more emotional depth from the men in the story, this one rivals even Pride for a place in the annals of historical romance.
4. A Walk to Remember –Nicholas Sparks is now well known for his romantic novels, but back in 2002 when this film was produced he was a bit under everyone’s radar. While I can’t say that this is the best film adaptation of any of his stories, I can say this one has stuck with me for a long time. The story of a terminally ill teenage girl (based on Spark’s real life sister) and her love story with the ‘bad boy’ in school is one that would tug on anyone’s heart strings. Definitely a movie that will leave you crying both happy and sad tears. The music in this film is also notable.
5. It Happened One Night –This is an oldie but a goodie. Produced in 1934 and based on the 1933 short story Night Bus by Samuel Hopkins Adams, the story of a bratty and entitle heiress on the run who is helped (and eventually falls for) a hard bitten, cranky newspaper man is one that almost sounds like it could happen today. The first film to win all five Academy Awards, this romantic classic is one that everyone should watch. Full of humor and great acting by Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, not even the black and white can throw this story off.
6. The Shop Around the Corner/You’ve Got Mail –This is such a great story that I have to recommend both versions. Based on the play Parfumerie by MiklósLászló, The Shop Around the Corner was created in 1940 and starred Jimmy Stewart. While the plot is a little convoluted and the female love interest annoying, the sub plot more than makes up for it and the film ends up being a great glimpse into shop life of that time. The newer version, produced in 1998, You’ve Got Mail stars the ever charming romantic duo of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. With an updated plot and some really great additional characters this romantic comedy is well worth watching. The plot is essentially a play on the old ‘enemies who don’t know they are secretly in love’, with notes (or emails) being passed with fake names while in real life they are at each other’s throats. I love the music in the 1998 film too.
7. The Adventures of Robin Hood – Who doesn’t know and love Robin Hood? The folk tales come in many stories, but the love of Robin Hood and the King’s ward, Maid Marion, is one that is present throughout them all. The 1938 film adaptation, in full color no less, stars Errol Flynn as the rough and tumble hero and Olivia de Havilland as the fair maiden. With a surprisingly strong female lead and a handsome and roguish Robin, this film is the best of the Robin Hood adaptions. A little long, it is packed with adventure, action and romance. The end of the film pays off too, as everyone lives happily ever after.
8. My Man Godfrey – Produced in 1936 and based on "1101 Park Avenue", a short story by Eric Hatch, this romantic comedy is set in the Great Depression but eerily mimics most of what is going on in society now. From the snobby and foolish rich to the downtrodden and hungry poor, the movie shows a side of life we often overlook. When Godfrey, played perfectly by talented actor William Powell, is taken off the streets and hired as a butler by flighty socialite Irene (Carole Lombard) the Bullock family gets more than they bargained for. Though the ending might seem a little preachy to audiences today, the film is well worth watching and will definitely make you laugh.
9. The Princess Bride – Based on a 1973 fantasy novel written by William Goldman, this classic cult romantic comedy adventure film is one that everyone needs to see at least once. Directed by Rob Reiner in 1987, this film is on the 100 funniest lists of many websites, for good reason. Full of quotable lines and unforgettable scenes, this is a must see film. It starts out as a grandfather reading the book to his grandson and thus has a strong narrative vibe throughout the film, but the characters take on a life of their own which explains how it is so popular even today.
10. The King and I - This classic love story has been made into many film and play adaptions. They are all based on the 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon. She in turn wrote the novel on the experiences of Anna Leonowens, who was a real life governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s. The 1956 musical romance film was based on based on the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical version of the story. Deborah Kerr plays the headstrong British schoolteacher brought to Siam to teach the King’s many children. Yul Brynner plays the King, who eventually falls for the unusual woman. The ending is sad, but the romantic tension between the two is well worth watching. Not really a great film for those who don’t enjoy musicals, but it is quick paced and fun to watch.
These are just a few of my favorites. I am sure I could go on for many more pages. As you can see, romance is not something that is a modern idea. From the very beginning people have loved to watch love. If you haven’t seen one of these fine movies, maybe you should check them out. You might be surprised to find a new favorite.
Jack Meyer is a regular contributor for http://www.nannybackgroundcheck.com/. As a detective he wants to spread the knowledge of terrible things that can happen when people don’t fully verify the credentials of a caregiver or any employee. He also writes for various law enforcement blogs and sites.