10 Best-Sellers With TV & Movie Adaptations You Can Stream On Netflix

Time to finally find out if the adaptation is actually better.

Moses Ingram and Anya Taylor-Joy star in 'The Queen's Gambit.' Photo via Netflix

How many times have you streamed a movie or TV show before buying the book it's based on, or vice versa? You're not alone — and it's only going to keep on happening as Netflix announced a hefty slate of movies and TV shows based on books in the near future. From Jojo Moyes' The Last Letter from Your Lover, starring Felicity Jones, to Jennifer Mathieu's Moxie, directed by comedy queen Amy Poehler, there will be no shortage of best-seller adaptations.

According to a Feb. 25 press release from Netflix, the streamer's adaptations often cause the books they pull from to become best-sellers — regardless of when the source material first came out. The book that inspired Lupin, for example, was published more than 110 years ago. The Queen's Gambit book was released in the 1980s but attained best-seller status for the first time (and for an impressive 11 weeks, at that) after the series was released in October. And after Bridgerton dropped, Julia Quinn's new fanbase was so eager to consume more Lady Whistledown content that The Duke and I shot to the top of the best-seller list 21 years after it came out.

If you're in the mood to watch more TV shows and movies based on books, Netflix has you covered. Here are some of the titles worth checking out so you can finally have the answer to the impossible "is the book or movie better?" question.

The Queen's Gambit

Though fans of this '60s-set underdog story pine for more of its cozy chess world, one of the beautiful things about The Queen's Gambit is how thorough yet self-contained its story was. Viewers got to watch chess prodigy Beth Harmon go from shy orphan to confident champion and style icon over the span of seven episodes, serving as a powerful argument for the book adaptation. By the end of the show, viewers have a good understanding of who Beth is and what she wants... and a trip through Walter Tevis' 1983 novel can only complement what you know and love about her so far.

The Midnight Sky


Based on the novel Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton, The Midnight Sky follows a scientist (George Clooney) living a lonesome life in the Arctic — just about the last inhabitable place on Earth due to global radiation. While largely staying true to the novel, director Clooney and team made a few changes to the story, including writing the real-life pregnancy of star Felicity Jones into the script.


Have you heard of Bridgerton, Netflix's little-known, hidden gem Regency romance? All jokes aside, the show is Netflix's biggest series ever — at one point after its release, Netflix shared that five books from the series made it to the New York Times Best Sellers list. While in many ways the show stays true to the novel, it also breathes new life into Julia Quinn's series by taking a diverse casting approach. The novels are certainly worth a read as you wait for Season 2. After all, they were compelling enough to cause Shonda Rhimes to turn them into a series after reading them on vacation!

Nappily Ever After


Teacher-turned-author Trisha R. Thomas' first novel, Nappily Ever After, grew into a long-running series and, in 2018, a Netflix film starring Sanaa Lathan. In the film, Lathan plays Violet, a woman who seems to have it all together before a salon mistake requires her to shave her long, straightened hair. In the process, Violet seems to lose some of her self-image and sense of control — but ultimately, steadily, gains it back in joyous fashion.

Molly's Game

Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba star in the film version of Molly Bloom's memoir of the same name, which documents her troubles running a massive underground poker game and catching the wrong people's attention along the way. What's interesting about this adaptation is its somewhat meta approach: In addition to being based on the Molly's Game book, the film, which premiered in 2017, also uses the book itself as a plot device in Molly's life. (Kind of like Greta Gerwig's Little Women.) Molly's game leaves Netflix at the end of March 2021, so time is ticking.

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

Chiwetel Ejiofor made his feature writing and directing debut with this 2019 film, based on the true story by William Kamkwamba, aka the titular Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. As a child growing up in Malawai, Kamkwamba (played by Maxwell Simba) taught himself how to build a wind turbine to harness natural energy amid a devastating famine.

Virgin River


Best-selling author Robyn Carr's Virgin River series serves as the foundation for Netflix's cozy yet tragic series of the same name. Grieving widow Mel (Alexandra Breckenridge) comes to the small, tucked-away town of Virgin River in California. There, she meets Jack (Greys' Martin Henderson), a bartender and ex-Marine with his own wounds. They are so sad together but so sweet, too, and you have plenty of time to catch up on the series and books before Season 3 arrives, likely later this year.

Julie & Julia

Amy Adams, Meryl Streep, plus Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina, and a whole lot of delicious food in a story that hops across decades and continents — these simple ingredients add up to a seriously feel-good foodie film. Nora Ephron's screenplay synthesizes two best-sellers: Julia Child's My Life in France and Julie Powell's Julie & Julia.


The new Netflix series starring The Intouchables' Omar Sy brought Maurice Leblanc's 20th-century series to best-seller status in the modern age. But instead of strictly adapting the novels, the story inspires Sy's character, Assane Diop, as he works as a "gentleman thief" to avenge his father.

To All The Boys I've Loved Before

Katie Yu/Netflix © 2021

If you've been on Netflix in the last few years, you likely already know and love the charming To All the Boys I've Loved Before movies, which recently concluded this February. While the films stay true to Jenny Han's original, best-selling series in heart, the books are worth a read in their own right. They take place in a different setting (Virginia, as opposed to the Pacific Northwest) and feature even more fun, romantic scenes that you'd miss in the movies, like the seniors' Beach Week — one of Han's favorite scenes to write.