Ah, Valentine’s Day. The day we have set aside to celebrate commercial love in its purist form… But I digress.
Most of us want nothing better than to snuggle up with someone we love tonight and watch a good movie… even if that someone has more hair than the average human. Dogs and cats count as someone to love!
With so many choices and portrayals of love available in movie form, how can you possibly choose the best film for the most romantic night of the year?
The answer: Books. A lot of our best stories began as books. And a lot of those books were adapted into movies. And some of those were even romantic films.
So, here are fourteen of our favorite romantic movie adaptations to share with the ones you love this February 14th. Or any other day of the year.
Gone with the Wind (1939)—The Cinematic Classic
Personally, I dislike Scarlett O’Hara as a heroine. But despite how stupidly awful she is to the people around her… You still want to keep watch. Add Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) to the mix and this movie had enough passionate sizzle to change the cinema forever… and your opinion on romantic movies.
Based on the book by Margaret Mitchell.
Persuasion (1995) —Love Rejected… and Renewed
I prefer the 1995 version, but there’s a 2007 adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic tale of love rejected, regretted and renewed that will make your head spin. Literally.
For those who prefer to speak their true feelings in letter form.
You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope…I have loved none but you
Ever After (1998)—The Fairytale
An entertaining and lighthearted adaptation of Cinderella. If you are a history buff, you might want to control your urges every time Leonardo da Vinci appears. Otherwise, this one will make you laugh and sigh with contentment.
Phantom of the Opera (2004)—The Musical
It’s one of the longest running musicals of all time. “All I Ask of You” is one of the most romantic songs of all time. Gerard Butler is way too handsome to by the phantom described in Gaston Leroux’s book, but no one minds.
Prepare to be singing aloud by the time the credits roll.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)–Quirky, Unexpected Love
A slightly crazy Audrey Hepburn and a big, orange cat… Need I say more?
Based on the book by Truman Capote.
The English Patient (1996)—Award-Winning Love
Michael Ondaatje only gained more acclaim when the film adaptation of his book won nine academy awards.
Betrayal… War… Scars… Love… This one is worth seeing at least once.
Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)—It’s Complicated
A librarian falls in love with a guy who unfortunately has a gene that causes him to spontaneously time travel.
The genius work of Audrey Niffenegger, what do you do when love is, well, complicated?
The Tale of Despereaux (2008)—Transcending Love
I know, I know. The Tale of Despereaux is not your typical romantic movie. However, Kate DiCamillo knew what true love was when she penned a story of a little mouse who will do anything to save his princess.
A story of love for all ages.
Rebecca (1940)—Gothic Hitchcock Romance
The adaptation of the novel by Daphne du Maurier is a Hitchcock film starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. A classic thriller Gothic romance in the best sense of all of those genres.
Like Water for Chocolate (1992)—Passion Deferred
Laura Esquivel took the world by storm with her novel and screenplay about two people who are forced to bow to tradition and continue to love each other anyway.
Notebook (2004)—Miscommunication and Love Abound
I know what you’re thinking. Ugh. Not a Nicholas Spark’s book/movie!
Yes, but you really have given me any credence if I didn’t include the film adaptation of The Notebook?
We all long for that love that survives war, miscommunication, family, and sickness. Spark’s gives audiences a reasonably happy ending in his most popular story. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams shine in these roles.
The Fault in Our Stars (2014)—Love Lost
John Green’s modern “Romeo & Juliet” story which questions the very meaning of life.
Prepare with an entire tissue box. Loving can hurt sometimes.
Anna Karenina (2012)—Love Betrayed
The gorgeous cinematography in this adaptation of one of Tolstoy’s finest breathes new life to the spellbinding powers of love… and betrayal.
Winter’s Tale(2014)—The Fantasy of Love
Who doesn’t love a fantasy love story that defines the boundaries of normal tales and includes a gorgeous white horse? Mark Helprin brings to life the story of a mythic, Edwardian Era New York City that will spur you to sigh and also question your own interpretation of history and the value of love.
Don’t see your favorite love story adaptation? Drop Adapt That a comment! We would like to hear about your favorite book-turned-movie for Valentine’s Day.