With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you might be on the hunt for some cheesy yet romantic movies to get you in the mood for the holiday. Or maybe you prefer a romance read that is equal parts lovey-dovey and heart wrenching, but somehow always ends on an optimistic note. After all, who doesn’t love a good cry every now and then? The solution to this predicament is simple: Nicholas Sparks movies.
Choosing a romance movie or novel can be a difficult process. On one hand, reading a novel will have you feeling all the feelings, but you can’t see the characters and their love story play out in front of you. But if you choose to watch a movie, you miss out on all the vivid descriptions from the book.
Luckily, if you’re a Nicholas Sparks fan, there is no issue. Not only has there been 11 film adaptations of his best novels, but he also serves as a producer on many of them, ensuring that his picturesque way of telling these love stories bleeds through. As a result, they offer a real-life glimpse of what you imagined playing out in your head while reading.
Movies like The Notebook (2004) and A Walk to Remember (2002) are among his most popular films. However, there are 8 other adaptations that you should be diving into for your next movie night. But be sure to have a box of tissues handy, because Sparks is known for writing and producing some of the greatest tearjerkers of all time (i.e., “Our love is like the wind. I can’t see it, but I can feel it”).
In case you haven’t seen any of these Nicholas Sparks movies, here is a ranked list of his best films.
11. Nights in Rodanthe (2008): Nicholas Sparks Movies
“We all make choices,” and a wise one would be to watch Nights in Rodanthe. Adrienne (Diane Lane), stuck in a chaotic spiral, escapes to the coastal town of Rodanthe in the Outer Banks, North Carolina to tend to her friend’s inn.
Coincidentally, Dr. Paul Flanner (Richard Gere) arrives as a guest the same weekend. Stuck in a major storm, the two turn to each other for comfort and set off on a magical romance that lives on for the entirety of their lives.
While the film may not live up to the hype of some of the other Nicholas Sparks movies, this film is a sweet romance and worth the watch.
10. Message in a Bottle (1999)
As one of only two Nicholas Sparks movies that revolves around a more mature romance, Message in a Bottle was the first film adaptation of a Sparks novel. After Theresa (Robin Wright) finds a letter in a bottle that washed ashore, she tracks down the author, Garret (Kevin Costner), a shipbuilder whose wife died tragically early. Theresa and Garret slowly begin to fall for each other, but Garret is still struggling with his past.
Though one of the lesser-known Nicholas Sparks movies, this film lives up to the author’s romantic yet heartbreaking qualities. But it will require a box of tissues and maybe a glass of wine to cope with the ending.
9. The Lucky One (2012): Nicholas Sparks Movies
Starring the former High School Musical (2006) heartthrob, Zac Efron, The Lucky One is an enjoyable watch. Logan, a Marine who served in Iraq, discovers a photo of a woman that ends up saving him from an attack on his unit. When back in the states, Logan goes in search of his good luck charm, Beth (Taylor Schilling), and discovers that the photo belonged to her brother, who died in the attack.
Logan begins to work for Beth’s dog Kennel and soon makes a connection with Beth’s family and eventually her. With disruptions from Beth’s ex-husband and the truth of what happened to Beth’s brother revealed, Logan finds himself in a sticky situation. Despite the shocking twists and turns in the movie, The Lucky One ends with a Happily Ever After (thank goodness)!
8. The Choice (2016)
Ladies’ man Travis (Benjamin Walker) is not interested in a relationship and neither is serious medical student, Gabby (Teresa Palmer), but for entirely different reasons. When Gabby moves in next door to Travis, an irresistible attraction forms between the two and their former ideas on relationships start to change.
As they grow closer and Travis and Gabby are tested by the trials and tribulations of love and life, the couple must decide whether their relationship can survive. You may shed some tears, but The Choice has a particularly happy ending!
7. The Longest Ride (2015): Nicholas Sparks Movies
The Longest Ride follows the star-crossed love story between ex-bull-riding champion, Luke (Scott Eastwood), and college student, Sophia (Britt Robertson). While Luke is trying to get his former life back, Sophia is about to set off to New York for her dream job. They quickly fall in love, but are tested by their own ideals and their differing futures.
Meanwhile, Sophia and Luke become fatefully intertwined with Ira, a man whose own decades-long love story inspires them. This love story is a favorite of many and certainly has those Nicholas Sparks qualities we love to enjoy.
6. The Best of Me (2014)
In typical Nicholas Sparks fashion, Amanda (Michelle Monaghan) and Dawson (James Marsden) reunite for a funeral years after their high school romance ended. Their past love reignites, but they soon remember the forces that drove them apart in the first place. As Amanda and Dawson’s troubled past starts to resurface, they must decide whether it will pull them apart once again.
The film tells the story of their young love while also showing their reconnection years later. Although The Best of Me is a beautiful love story, the heart wrenching ending will likely ensure some ugly crying.
5. Safe Haven (2013): Nicholas Sparks Movies
This film follows Katie (Julianne Hough), a woman with a mysterious past who moves to a small town, determined to start a new life. Soon, she meets Alex (Josh Duhamel), a widower and father, who teaches her to trust and love again. But when a haunting secret rears its ugly head, Katie must learn to trust Alex with her dark past while also pursuing their new romance.
In an interview with USA TODAY, Hough says the film “feels a little bit more adult, a little bit more mature. This is not about first love. This is about second chances.” That theme pulls through to the end of the film as Katie and Alex learn to move on from their pasts.
4. Dear John (2010)
Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried deliver jaw-dropping lines like, “Two weeks together, that’s all it took; two weeks for me to fall in love with you.” But their performances as John and Savannah will have you wanting more. US soldier John meets college student Savannah while on summer leave, and quickly falls in love with her. Though he planned on not signing up again, 9/11 takes place and John feels he has no choice but to head back overseas.
As Savannah waits for John, their long-distance love proves difficult as she tries to do what is best. Their romance will have you swooning, crying, and hoping for a happily ever after. And if you’re really wanting more after the movie’s over, there is an alternate ending that you can enjoy.
3. The Notebook (2004): Nicholas Sparks Movies
You are probably seeing Ken — rather, Ryan Gosling — everywhere right now. But before he was “Just Ken,” he was the lead in one of these Nicholas Sparks movies. Gosling and Rachel McAdams flawlessly portray a young couple in love, so much so that they won an MTV Award for Best Kiss (which they accepted on stage by recreating their show-stopping smooch).
Noah, a young mill worker, and Allie, a wealthy girl, fall for each other despite her parents’ disapproval. The romance seems to be over when Noah goes off to fight in World War II, but he returns years later attempting to fulfill the promises he once made to Allie. She must decide whether to move on with her life or to go back to her first love.
The film also flashes forward to an older Noah (James Garner) telling the story of his romance with Allie to an older, unknown woman. And yes, The Notebook also ends sadly. It’s Nicholas Sparks — what did you expect?
2. The Last Song (2010)
Starring Miley Cyrus as Ronnie, a rebellious teen who goes to live with her estranged father for the summer, The Last Song is an emotional rollercoaster. After Ronnie meets Will (Liam Hemsworth), the rich, popular kid in town, she finds herself falling for him. Though Will has a dark history of his own, he and Ronnie fall in love.
Meanwhile, Ronnie reconnects with her dad through their shared love of music and discovers that he has been hiding a secret all summer long. A story of young love and the mending of a father-daughter relationship, The Last Song is one of the most beautiful Nicholas Sparks movies.
1. A Walk to Remember (2002): Nicholas Sparks Movies
It what’s becoming a recurring theme, be sure there’s nearby while watching this romance. Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore) is the epitome of a good girl — she studies, is involved with her community and is the daughter of the town reverend. When bad boy Landon (Shane West) is forced into community service after being deemed responsible for an accident, he finds himself suddenly spending all of his time with Jamie.
She teaches him to care a little bit more about people and the world, while Landon teaches Jamie to let go and live her life. Though formerly worlds apart, Jamie and Landon bond over their shared activities and start to fall for each other. But when Landon learns Jamie’s heartbreaking secret, their love is put to the test.
For more romance recommendations, keep reading!