25 Best Netflix Original Movies Based on Books As Rated by IMDB

“I’ll just wait for the movie” is a popular phrase by movie-goers who find it too long or daunting to read a book and instead choose to wait for the story to be adapted to screen. However, there are not many people who realize that a lot of the movies they are raving about and recommending to everyone that they know are based on books.

So many Box Office smashing movies have been inspired by books. Movie producers have found that books from bestseller lists with rich storylines and captivating characters make great movies and so are always on the lookout for the next book that will lead to an award-winning film. Streaming website Netflix is no different as the content platform and production company has quite an extensive collection of original movies that started out as a book but have been turned into a hit movie. Using IMDb ratings, here are the best Netflix original movies based on books and novels.

The Best Netflix Original Movies Based on Books and Novels

25. DJ Cinderella

  • Movie Release Date: February 28, 2019
  • IMDB ratings: 4.4/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 44%

Netflix Original Movies
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Based on Paula Pimenta’s novella titled Cinderella Pop, the Brazilian romance film directed by Bruno Garotti tells the story of a teen girl who is heartbroken as a result of her parents’ divorce. Having given up on love, the young girl chooses to move in with her aunt and her boyfriend who gives her lessons on DJing. The young girl would eventually forge a career for herself as a DJ before meeting and falling in love with a handsome boy who is famous for writing love songs.

24. Hold the Dark

  • Movie Release Date: September 28, 2018 (Netflix)
  • IMDB ratings: 5.6/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 70%
  • Metacritic ratings: 63%

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Based upon a novel of the same name by William Giraldi, Hold the Dark is an American action thriller film about a wolf expert who is called to a remote Alaskan village to search for the wolves that killed some children but soon find himself unraveling a harrowing mystery. The film is directed by Jeremy Saulnier and stars Jeffrey Wright, Alexander Skarsgård, James Badge Dale, Riley Keough, Tantoo Cardinal, and Julian Black Antelope.

23. Rebecca

  • Movie Release Date: 21 October 2020 (Netflix)
  • IMDB ratings: 6/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 39%

Netflix Original Movies
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English author and playwright Dame Daphne du Maurier wrote the Gothic novel Rebecca in 1938. It is about a young woman who marries a wealthy widower only to find out that he was being haunted by the memory of his late first wife, the titular character, whose legacy lives on in their home long after her death. The novel has sold millions of copies over the years and has been adapted to both the screen and stage numerous times. The most popular of the lot is the 1940 film of the same name directed by Alfred Hitchcock which won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

In 2020, Netflix commissioned Rebecca as an original movie. The romantic thriller was directed by Ben Wheatley and stars Lily James, Armie Hammer, Kristin Scott Thomas, Keeley Hawes, Ann Dowd, and Sam Riley.

22. The Land of Steady Habits

  • Movie Release Date: September 14, 2018 (Netflix)
  • IMDB ratings: 6.2/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 83%
  • Metacritic ratings: 71%

Netflix Original Movies
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The Land of Steady Habits is an American film directed by Nicole Holofcener. Based on a novel of the same name by Ted Thompson, the film tells the story of a man who divorced his wife and quit his job in finance for early retirement and a desire to live a lustful life. Ho is, however, having a difficult time coping with his newfound life as he finds himself on a path of reckless behavior; doing drugs with teenagers and failing to pay a mortgage on the home he had left to his wife.

21. The Ritual

  • Movie Release Date: 9 February 2018 (Netflix)
  • IMDB ratings: 6.3/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 74%
  • Metacritic ratings: 57%

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In 2011, English writer Adam Nevill who is known for his work in the supernatural horror genre wrote The Ritual – the winner of the 2012 August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel. In 2017, a film adaptation of his novel was released starring Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier, and Sam Troughton. It was directed by David Bruckner and written by Joe Barton.

The Ritual follows four friends who decide to go on a hiking trip to Sweden as a way to honor another friend that was tragically killed. While hiking through the Scandinavian wilderness, a member of the group suffers an injury, prompting them to use a shortcut through the mysterious forests of Norse legend in order to get quick medical help. In the forest, the friends come in contact with an ancient evil that begins to stalk them at every corner.

20. 1922

  • Movie Release Date: 20 October 2017 (Netflix)
  • IMDB ratings: 6.3/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 91%

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1922 is the first of a couple of films to be adapted from a Stephen King book to appear on this list of Netflix original movies adapted from books. Directed by Zak Hilditch and starring Thomas Jane, Neal McDonough, and Molly Parker, the horror drama film is based on King’s 2010 novella of the same name published in his collection, Full Dark, No Stars. It tells the story of a Nebraska farmer who conspires with his teenage son to murder his wife for financial gain. After successfully carrying out the murder, the duo soon finds themselves unable to handle the weight of the crime as their lives begin to unravel.

19. Nappily Ever After

  • Movie Release Date: September 21, 2018 (Netflix)
  • IMDB ratings: 6.4/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 71%
  • Metacritic ratings: 63%

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Nappily Ever After is a story about a soulful barber who helps a woman get her life back on track after an accident at her hair salon makes her realize she is not living life to the fullest. The romantic comedy is based on a novel of the same name by Trisha R. Thomas and stars Sanaa Lathan, Ernie Hudson, Lyriq Bent, Lynn Whitfield, Ricky Whittle, and Camille Guaty. It was directed by Haifaa al-Mansour.

18. Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle

  • Movie Release Date: 29 November 2018 (Netflix)
  • IMDB ratings: 6.5/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 52%

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Directed by Andy Serkis and starring A-list actors and actresses like Rohan Chand, Matthew Rhys, and Freida Pinto, along with voice and motion capture performances from Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Naomie Harris, and Serkis, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle is an adventure drama film based on stories collected in Rudyard Kipling’s All the Mowgli Stories about a human child raised by animals in the jungles of India.

17. All the Bright Places

  • Movie Release Date: February 28, 2020 (Netflix)
  • IMDB ratings: 6.5/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 64%
  • Metacritic ratings: 61%

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All the Bright Places is an American teen romantic drama film based on a young adult fiction novel of the same name by the New York Times and international best-selling author, Jennifer Niven. The film follows two suicidal teenagers who are brought together by fate when they both climb their school’s bell tower at the same time with a plan to jump off the ledge. While they end up becoming friends, the duo still continue to struggle with the emotional and physical scars of their past.

All the Bright Places was directed by Brett Haley and stars Elle Fanning, Justice Smith, Alexandra Shipp, Keegan-Michael Key, and Luke Wilson among others.

16. Brain on Fire

  • Movie Release Date: September 14, 2018
  • IMDB ratings: 6.6/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 13%
  • Metacritic ratings: 34%

Netflix Original Movies
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Brain on Fire is a biographical drama film based on Susannah Cahalan’s memoir Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness. The 2016 film, which was directed by Irish filmmaker Gerard Barrett and stars Chloë Grace Moretz, Jenny Slate, Thomas Mann, and Tyler Perry among others, tells the story of a New York Post writer who suffers a mysterious illness that doctors failed to identify after extensively evaluating her. She was at the end of the day diagnosed to be psychotic and would have been committed to a psychiatric facility if not for the intervention of Syrian-American neurologist Souhel Najjar.

15. The Angel

  • Movie Release Date: September 14, 2018
  • IMDB ratings: 6.6/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 75%

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Adapted from Uri Bar-Joseph’s non-fiction book titled The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel, the film is an Israeli-American spy thriller that tells the true story of Ashraf Marwan, a high-ranking Egyptian official and son-in-law of the president who becomes a special adviser while also working as a spy for Israel. He ultimately helped the two countries achieve peace. The Angel was directed by Ariel Vromen and it starred Marwan Kenzari and Toby Kebbell among others.

14. Gerald’s Game

  • Movie Release Date: September 29, 2017 (Netflix)
  • IMDB ratings: 6.6/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 91%

Netflix Original Movies
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Gerald’s Game is an American psychological horror-thriller film directed by Mike Flanagan and stars Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood. The Netflix original movie based on Stephen King‘s 1992 novel of the same is about a woman who begins hearing voices and seeing strange visions after accidentally killing her husband during a kinky game. Handcuffed to the bed and with little hope of rescue, she has no choice but to battle her inner demons.

13. Hillbilly Elegy

  • Movie Release Date: November 11, 2020 (Netflix)
  • IMDB ratings: 6.8/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 25%
  • Metacritic ratings: 38%

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The 2016 memoir of American author and venture capitalist J. D. Vance was the inspiration for the drama film, Hillbilly Elegy. The book, which made The New York Times Best Seller list in 2016 and 2017, and was a finalist for the 2017 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, explores the Appalachian values of Vance’s upbringing and its relation to the social problems of his hometown.

About four years after the book hit the shelves, a Ron Howard-directed movie was released. While the film received fairly negative reviews from critics, its cast which includes Amy Adams, Glenn Close, Gabriel Basso, Haley Bennett, Freida Pinto, Bo Hopkins, and Owen Asztalos received some praise.

12. 22 July

  • Movie Release Date: 10 October 2018 (Netflix)
  • IMDB ratings: 6.8/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 80%
  • Metacritic ratings: 69%

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22 July was inspired by the 2011 Norway attacks, the deadliest terrorist attack in the country where a right-wing extremist murdered 77 teenagers at a youth camp. The crime drama film was based on the non-fiction book by Norwegian journalist Åsne Seierstad titled One of Us: The Story of a Massacre in Norway — and Its Aftermath. The English-language version of the book was notably shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association 2015 Non-Fiction Gold Dagger Award and was a finalist for the New York Public Library’s 2016 Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism.

English filmmaker Paul Greengrass served as writer, director, and producer of the film that featured a Norwegian cast and crew. It stars Anders Danielsen Lie, Jon Øigarden, Thorbjørn Harr, Jonas Strand Gravli, Ola G. Furuseth, Ulrikke Hansen Døvigen, Isak Bakli Aglen, Maria Bock, and Seda Witt.

11. Lady J

  • Movie Release Date: 12 September 2018 (Netflix)
  • IMDB ratings: 6.9/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 85%

Netflix Original Movies
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Lady J, or Mademoiselle de Joncquières, is a French period drama inspired by a story in Denis Diderot’s 18th-century novel, Jacques the Fatalist. The film was originally adapted to screen by Robert Bresson in 1945 for the film, Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne. It tells the story of how a wealthy and attractive widow puts together a scheme to get back at her bachelor lover for not proposing to her. She does so by tricking him into marrying a former prostitute. Lady J was directed by Emmanuel Mouret and stars Cécile de France, Édouard Baer, and Alice Isaaz.

10. Our Souls at Night

  • Movie Release Date: September 29, 2017 (Netflix)
  • IMDB ratings: 6.9/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 88%
  • Metacritic ratings: 69%

Netflix Original Movies
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Our Souls at Night is an American romantic drama film based on the novel of the same name by American novelist Kent Haruf who won the Dos Passos Prize for Literature in 2009, among other awards. Set in a fictitious small Colorado city, the film explores the relationship between a widow and widower living next door to each other. The two have been neighbors for many years but barely know themselves. They later strike up a friendship and begin sleeping in bed together, platonically, in order to alleviate their loneliness. As the relationship deepens, however, they begin to have romantic feelings for each other as they also each deal with grief and loss.

Our Souls at Night was directed by Ritesh Batra, written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, and stars Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Judy Greer.

9. White Fang

  • Movie Release Date: 6 July 2018  (Netflix)
  • IMDB ratings: 7/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 80%
  • Metacritic ratings: 61%

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White Fang is based on a book of the same name by early 20th-century American novelist Jack London, a pioneer of commercial fiction and American magazines. Prior to this adaptation in 2018 as a Netflix original movie, the story, which was written from the viewpoint of the titular character, had been adapted several times into films and television series. The first time was in 1925 and it has since seen several more cinematic adaptations, including a 1991 film starring Ethan Hawke and Klaus Maria Brandauer.

The 2018 version is a French computer-animated film that tells the story of how a young boy searching for his father who mysteriously went missing during the gold rush befriends a wolfdog whose curiosity of the world around him has led him on an adventure of a lifetime. White Fang, titled Croc-Blanc in French, was directed by Alexandre Espigares and stars Nick Offerman, Rashida Jones, Paul Giamatti, Eddie Spears, and Dave Boat.

8. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

  • Movie Release Date: August 17, 2018 (United States)
  • IMDB ratings: 7.1/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 96%

Netflix Original Movies
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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the first installment from the series of American teenage romance films based on the trilogy of novels by writer Jenny Hant. The film, which was directed by Susan Johnson and stars Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Janel Parrish, Anna Cathcart, Madeleine Arthur, Emilija Baranac, Israel Broussard and John Corbett, is about a shy teenager who writes five letters she never planned to send to boys that she has had crushes on. These letters are, however, received by the young men and she is left with no option but to face the consequences.

7. A Fortunate Man

  • Movie Release Date: 19 April 2019 (Netflix)
  • IMDB ratings: 7.2/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 83%

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A Fortunate Man is a Danish drama film based upon Danish Nobel Prize-winning author Henrik Pontoppidan’s eight-volume novel translated into English as Lucky Per. Set in the late 19th century, the Bille August-directed film tells the story of a smart and ambitious engineer who opts to abandon his home and his strict roots to pursue wealth and success among Copenhagen’s elite. He is, however, not quite accepted on his rise up the social leader and is also unable to achieve his dreams as a result of his pride.

6. The Fundamentals of Caring

  • Movie Release Date: June 24, 2016 (Netflix)
  • IMDB ratings: 7.3/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 77%

Netflix Original Movies
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Based on Jonathan Evison’s 2012 novel titled The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, the American road comedy-drama film tells the story of a retired writer who becomes a disabled teen’s caregiver. The two would go on to embark on an impromptu road trip that teaches them the importance of hope and friendship. The Fundamentals of Caring was directed by Rob Burnett and stars Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts, and Selena Gomez.

5. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

  • Movie Release Date: 10 August 2018 (Netflix)
  • IMDB ratings: 7.4/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 80%
  • Metacritic ratings: 65%

Netflix Original Movies
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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a historical romantic-drama film based on the 2008 novel of the same name by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Set in 1946, the Mike Newell-directed film which stars Lily James, Michiel Huisman, Glen Powell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Katherine Parkinson, Matthew Goode, Tom Courtenay, and Penelope Wilton follows the relationship between a London-based writer and a resident on the German-occupied island of Guernsey.

4. Mudbound

  • Movie Release Date: November 17, 2017 (United States)
  • IMDB ratings: 7.4/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 97%
  • Metacritic ratings: 85%

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Based on novelist Hillary Jordan’s 2008 book of the same name, Mudbound is an American historical drama film directed by Dee Rees and stars Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell, Jonathan Banks, and Mary J. Blige. The film, which received nominations at both the 75th Golden Globe Awards and the 90th Academy Awards, tells the story of two World War II veterans of different races who each return to rural Mississippi to address racism and PTSD in their own ways.

3. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

  • Movie Release Date: 1 March 2019 (Netflix)
  • IMDB ratings: 7.6/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 86%

Netflix Original Movies
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Based on the memoir by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer titled The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, the British drama film is about a teenage boy who is kicked out of school because his family can no longer afford the fees. He, however, manages to sneak into the library where he learns how to build a windmill to save his village from famine. Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor stars and also directs the film in his directorial debut.

2. The Little Prince

  • Movie Release Date: 5 August 2016 (Netflix)
  • IMDB ratings: 7.7/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 93%

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Based on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 novella of the same name, The Little Prince is a 3D animated fantasy adventure family drama film about a young girl who is introduced to an extraordinary world where anything is possible by her neighbor, the Aviator. The film is directed by Mark Osborne and stars the voices of Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Paul Rudd, Bud Cort, Marion Cotillard, Benicio del Toro, James Franco, Ricky Gervais, Paul Giamatti, Riley Osborne, Albert Brooks, and Mackenzie Foy.

1. The Irishman

  • Movie Release Date: November 1, 2019 (United States)
  • IMDB ratings: 7.9/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes ratings: 95%
  • Metacritic ratings: 94%

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Undoubtedly one of the best Netflix original movies, The Irishman is an epic crime film based on former homicide prosecutor, investigator, and defense attorney Charles Brandt’s 2004 nonfiction book, I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran and Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa.

Directed and produced by Martin Scorsese, the film which features an all-star line up that includes Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, tells the story of a truck driver who became a hitman for mobster Russell Bufalino and his crime family before working for the powerful labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa. The Irishman won numerous awards, however, it failed to win any at the 92nd Academy Awards and the 77th Golden Globe Awards despite receiving a combined 15 nominations.

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