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7 chick flicks based on classic literature

7 chick flicks based on classic literature

When you settle in to watch a favourite rom-com or chick flick, you may be inadvertently familiarising yourself with one of the world’s most famous pieces of literature!

7 chick flicks based on classic literature

There are many films which are contemporary takes on classic texts – here are some of our favourites.


Clueless has become a classic in its own right, but it took inspiration from a revolutionary 19th century novel – self-appointed match-maker Cher is based on famous Jane Austen heroine Emma.

When writer and director Amy Heckerling was asked by Paramount to write a teen flick, her mind instantly went to Emma, which she had read as a teenager.

10 Things I Hate About You

Arguably the best in a slew of rom-com adaptations of Shakespeare plays, 10 Things I Hate About You is based on The Taming of the Shrew.

Head-strong Kat, played by Julia Stiles, is a modern interpretation of ‘shrew’ Katherine. Heath Ledger plays loveable rogue Patrick, based on the character of Petruchio.

To play Patrick, Ledger drew on Richard Burton’s portrayal of Petruchio in the 1967 film version of The Taming of the Shrew, as well as giving the character a Jack Nicholson edge “with his cheekiness and his smiles”.

Bridget Jones’s Diary

This beloved 2001 comedy is an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, so it’s very fitting that Colin Firth plays Mark Darcy after he starred as Mr Darcy in the BBC’s popular 1995 TV version of the Jane Austen story.

Andrew Davies, the screenwriter of said Pride and Prejudice mini-series, collaborated on the screenplays for Bridget Jones’s Diary and the sequel.

West Side Story

This iconic musical transports the story of Romeo and Juliet to 1950s New York where tensions are running high between two rival gangs.

A highly anticipated Steven Spielberg adaptation of West Side Story is set to be released this year, but the 1961 film starring Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer will forever be a classic.

She’s the Man

She’s the Man also gets its source material from Shakespeare – this 2006 rom-com is based on Twelfth Night.

The film caused Channing Tatum to shoot to stardom, and it was co-star Amanda Bynes who insisted that he be cast as the male lead.

“I totally fought for Channing [to get cast in] that movie because he wasn’t famous yet,” she told Paper. “He’d just done a Mountain Dew commercial and I was like, ‘This guy’s a star — every girl will love him!’ But [the producers] were like, ‘He’s so much older than all of you!’ And I was like, ‘It doesn’t matter! Trust me!’”

Easy A

The basis of Easy A is easy to guess given the book is studied by students in the film – the screenplay was inspired by 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

In the film, Emma Stone’s character Olive Penderghast lies to her best friend about losing her virginity, with the story quickly spreading through her school. Penderghast is an anagram for ‘pretend shag’.

Pretty Woman

George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion has a number of adaptations, including My Fair Lady, She’s All That, The Princess Diaries and Pretty Woman.

Garry Marshall directed both The Princess Diaries and Pretty Woman. In the dinner scene in the latter, when Julia Roberts’ character Vivian flings an escargot across the room, the waiter says, “It happens all the time.” Marshall cast the same actor in The Princess Diaries and gave him the same line.

Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in a scene from the film ‘Pretty Woman’, 1990. (Photo by Buena Vista/Getty Images)

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