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22 Shows & Movies Based on Books

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It’s no surprise that the works of famous authors like Stephen King, Jane Austen, and Margaret Atwood inspired some of our favorite shows and movies of all time.

If you consider yourself a bookworm, or are just looking for some premium content to watch, you’ve come to the right place. Check out our curated collection of shows and movies based on books streaming now on Hulu.

Best Movies Based on Books

Nomadland

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Based on the New York Times best-selling novel by Jessica Bruder, Nomadland follows one woman, Fern (Frances McDormand), who loses everything in the Great Recession and rediscovers herself as a modern-day van-dwelling nomad. 

Nomadland took home Golden Globe® Awards for both Best Motion Picture and Best Directing, making Chloé Zhao the first woman of color to win in the directing category. Lead actress Frances McDormand also made history as the first woman to ever receive Oscar® wins for producing and starring in the same film. 

Watch: Nomadland

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

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Inspired by Johann Hari’s famous novel Chasing The Scream, the Hulu Original movie The United States vs. Billie Holiday tells the true story of jazz music icon Billie Holiday, who found herself at the center of the war on drugs when her rendition of the song “Strange Fruit” began drawing national attention to the lynching of Black Americans in the South. 

Andra Day stunned audiences in the Lee Daniels film, earning a 2021 Golden Globe® Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture and an Oscar® nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.

Watch: The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Nightmare Alley

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When Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper) arrives in town with no job or place to live, he finds work at a traveling carnival. While there, he uses his charm to become close to the carnival’s mentalist (aka fake psychic) so he can learn the trade—but he doesn’t want to use his newfound powers for good, but rather, to con the wealthy out of their money. When he hooks up with Dr. Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett), they dive deep into a dangerous con that may just be their last.

Based on the popular novel by William Lindsay Gresham, the psychological thriller was nominated for four 2022 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. 

Watch: Nightmare Alley 

The Hunger Games

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In a dystopian future, the country of Panem lives in a kind of peace. After their devastating civil war, the society decided to split the country into 12 districts, each one poorer and living in worse circumstances than the one that came before. In order to keep the districts in line, the Capitol created an annual competition to the death with two children from each district called “The Hunger Games.” Twenty-four go in, and only one comes out. That is, until Katniss Everdeen plays. 

If you love this movie based on the trilogy by Suzanne Collins, be sure to check out the continuation of the series in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, and the stunning finale, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2. 

Watch: The Hunger Games 

Where’d You Go, Bernadette

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Bernadette (Academy-AwardWinner Cate Blanchett) seems to have everything—a nice house, a nice car, a wonderful loving husband, and a whip-smart daughter—but things may not be as lovely as they seem. After having her daughter, Bee (Emma Nelson), Bernadette left her career in architecture to become a stay-at-home mom while her husband, Elgie (Billy Crudup), went to work in tech. 

While Bernadette has enjoyed her life, she feels like something is missing. When an opportunity to pursue her passions arises, Bernadette embarks on an adventure of self-discovery without telling her family or friends.    

Watch: Where’d You Go, Bernadette 

Love, Simon

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Inspired by Becky Albertalli’s young adult novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, the 2018 movie Love, Simon follows a closeted  teenager (Nick Robinson) as he navigates coming out to his dad (Josh Duhamel), mom (Jennifer Garner), and friends.

The movie and novel also inspired the Hulu Original series Love, Victor.

Watch: Love, Simon

Best TV Shows Based on Books

The Handmaid’s Tale

Elisabeth Moss starring in Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale Season 4

Based on Margaret Atwood’s best-selling novel, The Handmaid’s Tale is set in a dystopian alternative America — the theocratic Republic of Gilead, where freedom is reserved only for powerful men, and women are treated as second-class citizens. 

One of Hulu’s most acclaimed Original shows, The Handmaid’s Tale has received several Golden Globe® nominations, taking home awards in 2018 for Best Television Series – Drama and Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series (Elisabeth Moss). Check out our Beginner’s Guide to The Handmaid’s Tale for must-see episodes and everything you need to jumpstart your obsession.

Watch: The Handmaid’s Tale

Killing Eve

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Based on the book Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings, Killing Eve follows Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh), an intelligence investigator tasked with capturing Villanelle (Jodie Comer), a dangerous and psychopathic assassin. As the two realize they’re more connected than they thought, they each become infatuated with the other. As Eve and Villanelle learn more about each other, they become obsessed, leading each of them away from their original missions.  

Watch: Killing Eve 

Shadowhunters

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Clary Fray (Katherine McNamara) is a normal teenager—that is, she thought she was. On her 18th birthday, Clary learns that, not only is she not a normal teenager, but she’s not even fully human. She comes from a long line of human-angel hybrids tasked with hunting demons. When her mother is kidnapped, Clary is thrust into a world of magical creatures and dangerous adventures in order to save her. The series follows Clary as she learns her new role as a Shadowhunter and everything that comes with it.  

Watch: Shadowhunters 

Justified

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U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), the beloved hero of the FX series  Justified, was born from New York Times bestselling author Elmore Leonard’s novella, Fire in the Hole. When Deputy Givens finds himself back in his home state of Kentucky, his Wild West style of seeking justice gets him into trouble. Seasons 1-6 of the Emmy®-winning series are streaming now.

Justified en Español is also available on Hulu.

Watch: Justified

Younger

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What would you do with another shot at your twenties? 

From New York Times bestselling author Pamela Redmond and the creators of Sex and The City comes the hit series Younger, following 40-year-old Liza Miller (Sutton Foster) who passes herself off as 26 to land a new job. Seasons 1-7 are streaming now.

Watch: Younger

Limited Series Based on Books

Little Fires Everywhere

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Based on the popular book by Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere centers around two intensely strong and surprisingly polarizing characters: Elena Richardson (Reese Witherspoon) and Mia Warren (Kerry Washington).

The miniseries opens with the Richardson’s house engulfed in flames (if you like a drama that cuts right to the chase). A look back at the months leading up to that night reveals that there were, quite literally, little fires everywhere.

Watch: Little Fires Everywhere

Nine Perfect Strangers

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At Tranquillum House, people are healed and transformed. Guided by unorthodox healer Masha, a group of nine guests takes part in a 10-day wellness retreat that promises to fix them. With a stacked cast led by Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy, Nine Perfect Strangers follows the group as they learn just how difficult healing can be, especially under Masha’s care.

Check out the Insider’s Guide to Nine Perfect Strangers for more on the popular series. 

Watch: Nine Perfect Strangers 

Looking For Alaska

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At a sweltering boarding school in Alabama, Miles (Charlie Plummer) is a new student trying to get a deeper understanding of himself and life in general. Immediately, Miles is drawn to the enigmatic Alaska Young (Kristine Froseth). When a prank war erupts between Miles’ friend group (including Alaska) and the wealthy students at school, things quickly begin to go awry and escalate to levels no one saw coming.    

Watch: Looking for Alaska 

Normal People

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Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal) have been in an on-again, off-again relationship since high school (where Marianne was a misfit and Connell was a popular jock), immediately complicating the relationship. Normal People explores the way relationships shift and change as two people grow up and grow into themselves. 

Watch: Normal People 

Dopesick

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With claims of a “less than 1%” addiction rate, OxyContin quickly earned a reputation as the pain medication of the futureand Purdue Pharma took all the credit. But, when users of the seemingly non-addictive drug end up with dangerous opioid addictions, things are not quite so positive. The award-winning miniseries examines the effects of OxyContin in America and the start of the opioid epidemic still running rampant today. 

Watch: Dopesick 

Movies & Shows Based on Stephen King Novels 

Castle Rock

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For Stephen King superfans, Castle Rock probably sounds familiar. The spooky locale has appeared a number of times in King’s works — including in The Dead Zone, Cujo, Needful Things, and more. While the first season centers on a mysterious suicide at King’s iconic Shawshank Prison, the second is largely focused on Annie Wilkes (Lizzy Caplan) from King’s 1987 novel Misery.

Overall, Castle Rock delivers what we’ve all come to expect from Stephen King: twisted, heart-pumping, leave-the-light-on entertainment.

Watch: Castle Rock

11.22.63

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Have you ever wondered what would have happened if JFK hadn’t been assassinated? So did Stephen King. When Al Templeton (Chris Cooper) discovers a closet that can send people back in time to 1960, he asks high school teacher Jake Epping (James Franco) to use it to prevent the shooting of President John F. Kennedy. But what if the past doesn’t want to be changed?  

Watch: 11.22.63 

Cujo

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Stephen King novels have long been the source of some of the scariest stories ever told. Cujo is no exception. When Donna Trenton and her 5-year-old son Tad take their car into the shop, they find the usually lovable and sweet Cujo, a 200 lb. Saint Bernard. To their dismay, Cujo contracted rabies after being bitten by a bat and is not feeling quite…himself. When he begins attacking the community, his reign of terror takes over the town and covers it with blood.

Watch: Cujo 

Movies & Shows Based on the Classics

Pride and Prejudice

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Based on the classic love story by Jane Austen, the ’90s series Pride and Prejudice follows Elizabeth Bennet (Jennifer Ehle) as she navigates England’s high society and falls in love with a rather surprising suitor, Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth). 

Watch: Pride and Prejudice

Sense and Sensibility

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This period drama follows sisters Marianne (Kate Winslet) and Elinor (Emma Thompson) who are about as opposite as sisters can get—Marianne, a dreamer, and Elinor, the sensible one. When their father dies and is forced to leave his entire fortune to his son from his first marriage, the sisters are left penniless, thus ruining their “marriageability.” Regardless of their financial status, Marianne and Elinor are dedicated to finding suitable husbands before it’s too late. 

Watch: Sense and Sensibility 

The Secret Garden

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When orphaned Mary (Dixie Egerickx) is sent to live with her Uncle Archibald (Colin Firth), she discovers his mansion is home to magic, secrets, and a garden Archibald locked away when his wife died. 

Mary, hungry for adventure, unlocks the garden, revealing a vibrant and magical world behind the gates.

Watch: The Secret Garden 

Love shows and movies based on some of your favorite stories? Check out our list of the best biopics for options based on the real life stories of actors, singers, authors, and more.

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