The 8 Best Netflix Movies and Shows Based on Books

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The best adaptations on Netflix.

The Power of the Dog (2021)

Book: The Power of the Dog

New Zealander Jane Campion's drama was considered one of the top contenders for the Best Picture Academy award but ended up winning only the Best Director Oscar and the best picture BAFTA and Golden Globe.

The film is based on a novel by American writer Thomas Savage, published in 1967, which flopped at the time of its release. Its fortune changed when it got reprinted in 2001: the story of two brothers, Phil and George Burbank, who owned a big ranch in Montana in the 1920s, sounded new and was recognised as a classic. Incidentally, the writer Annie Proulx, author of Brokeback Mountain, acknowledges the influence of The Power of the Dog on her work.

The Queen’s Gambit (2020)

Book: The Queen's Gambit

This Netflix-produced series follows young orphan Beth Harmon, who has a passion for chess and tranquilisers (in almost equal measure and for booze too) and is based on the 1983 novel of the same name by American writer Walter Tevis.

The series was a major breakthrough for the talented young actress Anya Taylor-Joy and drove public interest in chess.

Mindhunter (2017-2019)

Book: Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit

David Fincher's atmospheric series is a story of how the study of the mental pathologies of famous criminals led the FBI to develop the science of behavioural profiling in the 1970s.

Based on a true-crime book by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker, the series never dropped the ball through the two practically flawless seasons, becoming perhaps the best Netflix book adaptation, and the fans are still hoping for a renewal.

The Lost Daughter (2021)

Book: The Lost Daughter

This one is another recent Oscar contender, albeit in the less prestigious nominations for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The film is Maggie Gyllenhaal's directorial debut and follows the story of Italian writer Leda Caruso who is vacationing in Greece when she meets Nina. As the two discuss Nina’s problems, Leda remembers her past. Maggie Gyllenhaal adapted Elena Ferrante's book for the big screen herself.

Bridgerton (2020-2022)

Novel series: Bridgerton

Shonda Rhimes's vivid alternative history drama tells the story of a racially equal English society in the early 19th century and the Bridgerton family, whose members fall in love, quarrel and reconcile in the classic soap opera style.

Based on Julia Quinn's somewhat less ambitious series of novels, this adaptation became Netflix's most popular series in 2020, and the second season was just as good.

The Witcher (2019-2022)

Book Series: The Witcher

One of Netflix's most popular shows is based on a series of video games, which, in turn, are based on novels by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski.

The author was inspired by Slavic folklore to write about the adventures of Geralt of Rivia, a witcher who fights evil spirits. A gripping plot and terrific acting by Henry Cavill in the title role do not disappoint!

You (2019-2022)

Book: You

The story of Joe Goldberg, a shy bookstore manager, could have been a trivial romcom, but instead, it is an ironic thriller that turns chivalry on its head.

The series is based on Caroline Kepnes' 2014 novel of the same name.

The Dig (2021)

Book: The Dig

This one is a very British, very understated yet sentimental adaption of John Preston's novel of the same name that follows self-taught archaeologist Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes) and his friendship with Edith Pretty(Carey Mulligan), on whose land the Sutton Hoo mediaeval cemeteries are discovered. The discovery completely changes our understanding of the British history of that period.