5 best Netflix movies based on books with over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes

Society of the Snow on Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

When it comes to books turned into movies, the most common response is, "The book was better." While that may often be the case, sometimes the movie can be so well done that it stands on its own as a unique creative work. A well-done adaptation can accurately capture the characters, the storyline and the overall essence of the book right there on the screen for us. Even fans of the literary version can appreciate a movie's depiction of the work if it's excellent.

So, we've selected some of the best movies based on books rated over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes available on Netflix. Whether you are looking for one with a strong historical background or one for the kids, these movies are sure to capture your attention and take you away. 

'The Irishman'

Based on Charles Brandt's 2004 nonfiction book "I Heard You Paint Houses," "The Irishman" tells the true story of Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), a former hitman for the mafia. The film begins with him living in a nursing home and looking back on his time working for the Bufalino crime family. It focuses on how he came to meet and work for Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) and became involved in the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).

All of the actors, including the numerous famous faces in the movie, put their whole selves into their roles. Although many people believe that Sheeran's accounts were a bit of a stretch from the truth, it's a fascinating movie nonetheless. Director Martin Scorsese, well known for his many gangster movies, does a phenomenal job showcasing the events described in the book. It was nominated for 10 Oscars and, with a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, for good reason.

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Based on Michael Lewis's 2003 nonfiction book of the same name, "Moneyball" focuses on the Oakland A's use of statistical data to hire players who aren't seen as conventional picks for a baseball team. Instead, they are chosen using a sabermetric approach that analyzes their in-game activity. Brad Pitt stars as general manager Billy Beane, who hires economics graduate Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) as assistant general manager. Brand is based on the real-life person of Paul DePodesta, whose strategy led the Oakland A's to win 20 games in a row.

With its 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, even those who aren't fans of baseball are sure to like this film. It was nominated for six Oscars, including one for Best Picture, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Pitt and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for Hill. 

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'All Quiet on the Western Front'

Based on a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, Edward Berger's
All Quiet on the Western Front" is the third film adaptation of the book, with the two others released in 1930 and 1979. Felix Kammerer's Paul Bäumer enlists in the German army along with two of his friends upon the start of World War I. Quickly, Bäumer learns of the harsh realities of war.

The film breaks away from portions of the narrative within the book by weaving in a parallel storyline of the armistice negotiations. It's a raw and realistic account of the horrors of war, making it a moving but incredibly difficult film to watch. This film won four Oscars, including Best International Feature Film. It's rated 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, and one to watch if you appreciate historical films and can withstand significant violence in a movie.

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'Orion and the Dark'

What happens when your worst fear shows up at your door? That's what happens to Orion, who is absolutely terrified of the dark. However, Dark shows up at his door, tired of hearing about all the negative things that Orion has to say about him. So, he decides to show the 11-year-old little boy an adventure he'll never forget. Along the way, Orion meets other nighttime beings, including Sleep, Insomnia, Unexplained Noises and others.

The movie is an adaptation of Emma Yarlett's children's book of the same name. It has a depth that will have adults appreciate it as much as children. Considering that Charlie Kaufman, known for penning the script of films such as "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," is one of the writers of the film adaptation, that shouldn't be any surprise. It has a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it a top choice for anyone looking for movies based on books.

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'Society of the Snow'

"Society of the Snow" is based on Pablo Vierci's 2009 book, which tells the story of the 1972 plane crash in the Andes experienced by the Uruguayan rugby team. However, for those who know of the events, you'll know you'll want a strong stomach before you even begin to watch the film. The young men resort to cannibalism to survive, barely making it in the tough and rugged conditions.

While there was a 1993 movie of the same event, the book this film was adapted from was by an author who grew up with many of the real-life survivors of the event. That aspect gives it a unique element that was captured in the film, with a greater depiction of the reality that the young men experienced at that time. It is not surprising that it was nominated for two Oscars and has a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 

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Nicole Pyles is a writer in Portland, Oregon. She loves movies, especially Lifetime movies, obscure TV movies, and disaster flicks. Her writing has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Mental Floss, WOW! Women on Writing, Ripley's Believe it or Not, and more. When she isn't watching movies, she's spending time with family, reading, and writing short stories. Say hi on Twitter @BeingTheWriter.