Classic literature has always been cinema’s unwitting goldmine. This great treasure chest of writings from the 18th and 19th centuries – or even earlier – contains superb examples of innovative storylines, formidable characters, and unforgettable situations. One such example is Pride and Prejudice.
This classic Jane Austen novel is mainly about a group of unmarried sisters, the protagonist of which is Elizabeth Bennett. In the 2005 film version, Keira Knightley plays this role. Their mother is in a hurry to marry them off since in those old English times, women can’t own any property or possessions. Without a son, the sisters won’t inherit anything.
The solution to this problem is to marry the women off. This is where one of the most popular opening lines set the tone for the film. It says: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
Austen’s is not the only English novel that got turned into a really great movie. We can give you lots of entries here in our list of movies like Pride and Prejudice. But we’ll limit our selection for now. Take a peek at these cinematic-literary classics!
1. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Bram Stoker’s classic tale of the vampire legend gets cinematically reimagined by no less than Francis Ford Coppola. The 1992 film stars Gary Oldman in the lead role as Count Dracula. Winona Ryder is the love interest in this film, playing Mina Harker. The other lead is Jonathan Harker, played by Keanu Reeves.
While the novel focused mainly on the discovery of Count Dracula’s world and existence by Jonathan, the film took a huge artistic license from this plot. Coppola focused instead on the attraction of the Count with Mina. Many of the novel’s plot lines were sacrificed due to this directorial direction.
Still, this film merits to be in this list of movies like Pride and Prejudice. It takes a lot to bring British novels to life. This certainly made the undead very, very lively, in a way. Go see it!
2. Mary Shelley’ Frankenstein
It’s great that established directors like Kenneth Branagh put the novel author’s name in the movie title version’s billing. This 1994 adaptation proves to be one of the closest – if not the closest – cinematic version of this very intriguing novel.
One should know that the film is about the so-called monster brought alive by Dr. Victor Frankenstein. And yes, the monster has no name. That’s how it was in the novel. It’s great how Branagh keeps the material as close to the original as possible. His directorial work here is superb, as well as his acting, of course.
The film is definitely one of those movies like Pride and Prejudice because it was able to capture the essence of the literary work and elevated it to exciting heights with the film version. This is the only adaptation worth seeing. Go watch it!
3. Sense and Sensibility
Another one of those movies like Pride and Prejudice was also penned by Jane Austen: Sense and Sensibility. This time, actress Emma Thompson tries her hand at turning the classic novel into a screenplay. And lo and behold, she even won an Oscar award for writing it!
The film is, again, about how women get disenfranchised by society’s standards of exclusion. The story featured two single sisters with very opposite personalities. Thompson plays the older one while Kate Winslet plays the younger one. The famed director Ang Lee is behind this adaptation.
While some readers might find the reading material a bit slow and dated, trust that the movie version is very well-paced and dynamic. That’s thanks to the magic of cinema, plus the combined work of the director and scriptwriter. So go watch this one!
4. Jane Eyre
The 2011 film version of Jane Eyre is another one of those movies like Pride and Prejudice. The novelist of this material is Charlotte Brontë. Mia Wasikowska played the titular role of the orphaned girl who grows up in a rather abusive household ran by her aunt. Part of her story also involves her life inside an oppressively-ran boarding school.
But Jane eventually progresses to become a working woman later in life. The story later focuses on Jane’s work as a governess for a very moody and mysterious man named Mr. Rochester. In the film version, Michael Fassbender plays this role.
You would think that an “old” novel might be outdated in its content. But this one certainly has touches of what still happens today, given the same circumstances of Jane’s life. Watch the intriguing film to see more of it.
5. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
The English novel Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has such a very mysterious and deliciously scary plot that the novel was remade several times into a movie. The novel was penned by Robert Louis Stevenson. Because it’s such a great classic turned film, it earns its rightful spot here in our list of movies like Pride and Prejudice.
The latest incarnation of the novel as a movie was done in 2017. The story takes place in today’s era, but the plot basically remains the same. It’s about a good doctor who developed a formula, tried and tested it, but resulted in the formation of another manifestation of himself. It’s the classic good-and-bad character structure that both exists in one person.
Legendary actor John Barrymore also starred in the titular role for the 1920 film version. Spencer Tracy also essayed the role in his 1941 movie. If you want a comedic version, watch the 1995 version where the male Jekyll transforms into a female Hyde! Have fun with this movie marathon!
6. Gulliver’s Travels
Yet another one of those movies like Pride and Prejudice is the novel penned by Jonathan Swift: Gulliver’s Travels. There have been earlier versions as well, but let’s focus on the 2010 comedy.
This version stars Jack Black in the titular role. And if it’s Black, then prepare to laugh! The film is not set in the past, so it’s quite the deviation from the original novel. However, the basic elements remained the same. There’s this regular-sized man who finds himself existing in a world full of miniature people!
Go watch this to see how they have reimagined the material for laughs!
7. A Christmas Carol
Ebenezer Scrooge is one of the most memorably unique characters to ever come out of English literature. Thanks to Charles Dickens’ novel entitled A Christmas Carol, the character’s name eventually became an adjective of its own.
And this is why the story belongs here in our list of movies like Pride and Prejudice. Like Austen’s work, Dickens practically creates unforgettable characters in scenarios that are intriguing yet engaging at the same time. Who could ever forget being visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future?
The 2009 animated film version directed by Robert Zemeckis accurately depicts the novel’s story. But there have been a host of other movies that remade this into a film, or got inspired to do it with their own reinterpretation. Go watch the 2009 version first, then see the others for comparison.
8. Far From The Madding Crowd
Literary classics tend to have very intricate romantic stories woven within them. The novel Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy is an example of this.
The story is about a woman named Bathsheba Everdene. Unlike many women of earlier eras, she is a very strong-willed woman, spirited as well as independent. And this is why three suitors got attracted to her at the same time. Can you say double-double love triangle?
Indeed, the 2015 movie adaptation starring Carrie Mulligan was able to bring Hardy’s novel to good life. Watch how such a woman could show her passions and strength amidst the situations in her life.
9. The Picture of Dorian Gray
Another intriguing novel-turned-movie is The Picture of Dorian Gray. The novel was penned by Oscar Wilde. There is a 2009 film version called Dorian Gray, starring Ben Barnes in the titular role.
This is one of those movies like Pride and Prejudice because the curious characters have very interesting journeys that will later captivate you and hook you. For this story, in particular, the plot just really thickens as the story progresses. Imagine a very young, aristocratic and handsome man, holding a huge secret that prevents him from getting old.
If you want to know what that secret is, better watch this film version! Or you can also watch the 1945 film version starring Hurd Hatfield, and compare that with a 1973 version starring Shane Briant.
10. The Hound of the Baskervilles
One of the most popular movies like Pride and Prejudice, in terms of being a classic novel-turned-film, is one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels called The Hound of the Baskervilles. The classic novel features his famous character of all time, the detective Sherlock Holmes.
The story here is mysteriously intriguing, a reason why our beloved Sherlock is also hooked. It seems that in the affluent family of the Baskervilles, there is a curse that kills its family members. And the curse is in the form of a hound killing them viciously. Is it an urban legend or is it a true story of this family?
Since the story is very popular, it was made several times as a TV movie, as a comedy spoof, or as an honest-to-goodness film adaptation. The 1959 film version is the most accurate, with Peter Cushing essaying the role of the detective. You can also take a peek at the other depictions, particularly the 1972 TV movie where William Shatner appears.