Do you like movies about books, reading and libraries? National Library Week (April 4-10th) is a perfect time to watch one. Here is a list of films that can be watched on Kanopy, ordered from the Library, or streamed online.
American Animals ~ 1hr 56 mins (2018) Four young men attempt an audacious heist from their local library in this black comedy. The actual heist which took place at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky in 2004. Based on a true story. Director: Bart Layton; Cast: Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson, and Ann Dowd.
The Wife ~ 1hr 41 mins (2018) For 40 years of marriage, Joan works alongside her writer husband Joe. When he receives the Nobel Prize for Literature, she starts to see her life in a new way. Adaptation of a Meg Wolitzer novel. Director: Björn Runge; Cast: Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, Max Irons.
Capote ~ 1 hr 54 mins (2005) Truman Capote is a popular writer who had been bullied since he was a child for not fitting in. When he decides to write about a series of Kansas murders, things take a strange–and dark–turn. Based on the true story behind Capote’s 1994 novel In Cold Blood. Director: Bennett Miller; Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bob Balaban, C. Ernst Harth, Catherine Keener, Chris Cooper, Clifton Collins.
The Jane Austen Book Club ~ 1 hr 46 mins (2007) As they delve into Austen’s literature, six book club members find themselves dealing with life experiences that parallel the themes of the 19th-century books they are reading. Adapted from the 2004 novel by Karen Joy Fowler. Director; Robin Swicord; Cast: Emily Blunt, Jimmy Smits, Lynn Redgrave, Kathy Baker, Hugh Dancy, Maria Bello, Amy Brenneman, Maggie Grace.
Finding Forrester ~ 2 hrs 13 mins (2000) A unique relationship develops between an eccentric, reclusive novelist and a young, amazingly gifted scholar-athlete. After the novelist discovers that the young athlete is also an excellent writer and secretly takes him on as his protégé, they develop an unlikely friendship. Director: Gus Van Sant; Cast: Sean Connery, Rob Brown, Anna Paquin, F. Murray Abraham.
Notting Hill ~ 2 hrs 4 mins (1999) A chance encounter brings together a reserved bookstore owner William Thacker and Hollywood actress Anna Scott, who forge an improbable romance that begins with a lot of ups and downs. Director: Roger Michell; Cast: Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant.
You’ve Got Mail ~ 1 hr 59 mins (1998) Book superstore magnate, Joe Fox and independent book shop owner, Kathleen Kelly fall in love in the anonymity of the Internet both blissfully unaware that he’s trying to put her out of business. Director: Nora Ephron; Cast: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Greg Kinnear.
Silver Linings Playbook ~ 2 hrs 2 mins (2012) Pat tries to prove to his estranged wife that he’s doing well by 1) exercising, 2) reading through the book list she assigns her students, and 3) competing in a dance competition with his new acquaintance Tiffany Maxwell. Literary references abound. Director: David O. Russell; Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro.
The Bookshop ~ 1 hr 52 mins (2017) A free-spirited widow, Florence Green risks everything to open a bookshop in a conservative East Anglian coastal town. She earns the polite but ruthless opposition of a local grand dame and the support and affection of a reclusive book loving widower. Director: Isabel Coixet; Cast: Emily Mortimer, Bill Nighy, Patricia Clarkson.
84 Charing Cross Road ~ 1 hr 40 mins (1987) For nineteen years (1949 to 1968) Helene, a voracious reader in NYC, and Frank, manager of a 2nd hand bookshop in London, had an unconventional, long-distance correspondence that developed into a deep friendship. Based on a true story. Director: David Jones; Cast: Anne Bancroft, Anthony Hopkins, Judi Dench, Mercedes Ruehl.
Fahrenheit 451 ~ 1 hr 42 mins (1966 and 2018) Science fiction. In a care-free future, a young man, Guy Montag, whose job as a fireman is to burn all books, questions his actions after meeting a young woman – and begins to rebel against society. Based on the 1953 eponymous book by Ray Bradbury. Director: François Truffaut; Cast: Oskar Werner, Julie Christie, Cyril Cusack.
Funny Face ~ 1 hr 43 mins (1957) A fashion photographer Dick Avery, meets a shy bookstore owner Jo Stockton, who he believes has the potential to become a successful model. He gets Jo to go with him to France, where they fall for one another, only to find hurdles in their way. Director: Stanley Donen; Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Kay Thompson.
Dead Poets Society ~ 2 hrs 8 mins (1989) One of the best–and most devastating–literary movies of all time, Dead Poets Society follows the lives of a A classroom of young men struggle to overcome the intellectual, social, and emotional constraints of 1950s society. But with the help of their quirky but inspirational English teacher they manage to do it. Director: Peter Weir; Cast: Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard.
Black Books ~ 18 episodes (2000-2004)
Bernard Black runs a book shop, though his customer service skills leave something to be desired. He hires Manny as an employee. Fran runs the shop next door. Between the three of them many adventures ensue. Creator: Dylan Moran; Cast: Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey, Tamsin Greig.
The Booksellers ~ 1 hr 38 mins (2019) Love old books? Antiquarian booksellers are part detective, part scholar and part businessperson, and their personalities and knowledge are as broad as the material they handle. Director: D.W. Young.
How To Make A Book With Steidl ~ 92 mins (2010) Ever wonder how a book is made? Learn from Gerhard Steidl who, for 40 years, has been committed to the quality and craftsmanship of the printed book, particularly significant fashion, art and photography books. Directors: Jörg Adolph, Gereon Wetzel; Cast: Robert Adams, Robert Frank, Günter Grass.
Ex Libris: The New York City Library ~ 3 hrs 25 mins (2017) What happens behinds the scenes at the NYPL, one of the greatest institutions in the world. Frederick Wiseman reveals it as a place of welcoming cultural exchange and learning, exemplifying the deeply rooted American belief in the individual’s right to know and be informed. Director: Frederick Wiseman.
William and the Windmill ~ 1 hr 35 mins (2019) A small African village is transformed after 13-year-old William Kamkwamba learns from a library book how to build a power-generating windmill from spare parts. It saves the grain fields of his village from flooding. Multi-grade teacher guides are available online.
(See below, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind in Children/Young Adult) Director: Ben Nabors.
CHILDREN / YOUNG ADULT
Princess Bride ~ 1 hr 38 mins (1987) “When I was your age, television was called books.” So says the grandfather in The Princess Bride, just before he begins to read one of the most epic stories ever to his grandson. This movie has a bit of everything: fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles. Director: Rob Reiner: Cast: Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon.
Beauty and the Beast ~ 2 hr 19 mins (1991) A prince and his castle’s servants fall under a spell and is turned into the hideous Beast until he learns to love and be loved in return. A book-loving, spirited village girl Belle enters the castle and begins to draw the Beast out of his isolation. Animated Disney musical fantasy. Directors: Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise; Cast voices: Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White, Jerry Orbach, Angela Lansbury.
Moonrise Kingdom ~ 1 hr 35 mins (2012) Two alienated tweens Suzy and Sam become pen pals and make a secret pact to run away together, along with Suzy’s suitcase full of stolen library books. Their adventure and eventual rescue takes place on an isolated island. Director: Wes Anderson; Cast: Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban, Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward,
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind ~ 1 hr 54 mins (2019) A 13-year-old boy living in a small village in Malawi, Africa, builds a device that will restore the land and save his people after flooding ruins their grain fields. Based on a true story. (See above in Documentaries, William and the Windmill.) Director: Chiwetel Ejiofor; Cast: Maxwell Simba, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Aïssa Maïga.