Classic Women Authors’ Filmography
It’s truly remarkable how many adaptations have been made from the works of classic women authors. This is just a sampling.
First, movies about or inspired by the lives of real-life women authors:
The Hours (2003) – A trio of interwoven stories based on the book of the same name by Michael Cunningham, one of which is about Virginia Woolf, portrayed by Nicole Kidman.
Miss Potter (2007) – A charming film biography of Beatrix Potter, starring Renee Zellweger as the author who created Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck, and many other memorable characters.
Becoming Jane (2007) – A fanciful film about Jane Austen, with the too-showy-for-the-role Anne Hathaway as the author.
Out of Africa (2000) – A fine film about Isak Dinesen’s African sojourn, with Meryl Streep as the author and Robert Redford as her love interest.
Pentimento (Julia)– (1971) – Based on an apocryphal story by Lillian Hellman, in which she herself is one of the two main characters.
Devotion (1946) – The lives and writing of Emily and Charlotte Brontë and their family.
Daphne (2008) – A drama about the life and controversial affairs of Daphne Du Maurier.
Cross Creek (2009) – The life of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings on her Florida orange grove, charmingly portrayed by Mary Steenburgen.
Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Cycle (1994) – Set in the 1920’s this film follows Dorothy Parker and the members of the Algonquin Round Table; the young writers of the New York literary world at the time.
Sylvia (2004) – Gwyneth Paltrow plays Plath with Daniel Craig as her husband, Ted Hughes. The film follows Plath through her life, showing the process of her publications and the increasing depression that plagued her her entire life.
The Passion of Ayn Rand (2007) – Based on the book written by Barbara Branden, a close friend of Rand, the film tells of two fans that get to meet Rand and how all of their lives intertwine.
Portrait of a Marriage (1992) – This film explores the unconventional marriage of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson.
Beyond Prairie (2010) – The true life story of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Saving Mr. Banks (2013) – How Walt Disney lobbied Pamela (P.L.) Travers for film rights to Mary Poppins, and the challenges that ensued with the prickly author. Starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.
A selected list of films based upon the books of classic women authors:
Louisa May Alcott
- Little Women (1933)
- Little Women (1949)
- Little Women (1994)
- Little Men (1935)
- Little Men (1941)
- Little Men (1998)
- The Inheritance (1997)
- The Inheritance (2003)
- An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving (2008)
- Emma (1996)
- Emma (1997)
- Emma (2009, BBC)
- Mansfield Park (1999)
- Mansfield Park (2007, Masterpiece Theatre)
- Northanger Abbey (1986, BBC)
- Northanger Abbey (2007, Masterpiece Theatre)
- Persuasion (1995)
- Pride and Prejudice (1940)
- Pride and Prejudice (1996, BBC miniseries)
- Pride and Prejudice (2006)
- Sense and Sensibility (1995)
- Sense and Sensibility (1981, BBC Video)
- Sense and Sensibility (1971, BBC Video)
- The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (2008)
- Jane Eyre (1944)
- Jane Eyre (1997)
- Jane Eyre (2007, Masterpiece Theater)
- Jane Eyre (2011)
- Villette (2010)
Frances Hodgson Burnett
- The Secret Garden (1949)
- The Secret Garden (1975)
- The Secret Garden (1993)
- A Little Princess (1939)
- A Little Princess (1997)
- Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936)
- Little Lord Fauntleroy (1995)
- Marple: The Classic Mysteries Collection (1930-1989)
- And Then There Were None (1945)
- Endless Night (1972)
- Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
- Death on the Nile (1978)
- Seven Dials Mystery (1982)
- The Mirror Crack’d (1980)
- Evil Under the Sun (1982)
- Miss Marple (1984-85)
- Poirot: The Definitive Collection (1989)
Daphne Du Maurier
- Jamaica Inn (1939)
- The Birds (1963)
- Rebecca (1940)
- Rebecca (2003)
- Frenchman’s Creek (2006, Masterpiece Theater)
- Cimarron (1931)
- So Big (1932)
- Saratoga Trunk (1945)
- Show Boat (1936)
- Show Boat (1951)
- Giant (1956)
- Cimarron (1960)
- My Brilliant Career (1979)
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
- The Yellow Wallpaper (2012)
- In This House of Brede (1975)
Laura Z. Hobson
Zora Neale Hurston
- Their Eyes Were Watching God (2008)
- The Haunting (1963) (Adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House)
- The Haunting (1999) (Adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House)
- The Lottery (1996)
- A Wrinkle in Time (2011)
- The Group (1966/2009)
- Gone With the Wind (1939)
- Delta of Venus (1995)
- The Displaced Person (1977)
- Tell Me a Riddle (1980)
- The Bell Jar (1979)
Katherine Anne Porter
- Ship of Fools (1965)
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
- The Yearling (1947)
- All Passion Spent (2006)
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
- Frankenstein (1931)
- Frankenstein: The True Story (1973)
- Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein (1994)
- Frankenstein (2004)
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)
Harriet Beecher Stowe
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1927)
- Mary Poppins (1964)
- Age of Innocence (1943)
- Age of Innocence (1993)
- Ethan Frome (1993)
- The House of Mirth (2000)
- Passion’s Way (1999 adaptation of The Reef)
Kate Douglas Wiggin
- Mother Carey’s Chickens (1938)
- Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917 silent film)
- Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938 film starring Shirley Temple,
much altered from the book, this is available to view in 5 parts)
Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Little House on the Prairie Complete Series (1974-82)
- Little House on the Prairie (2005)
- Little House on the Prairie – Movie Boxed Set (1983)
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