The Literary Film & TV You Need to Stream in July

Every month, all the major streaming services add a host of newly acquired (or just plain new) shows, movies, and documentaries into their ever-rotating libraries. So what’s a dedicated reader to watch? Well, whatever you want, of course, but the name of this website is Literary Hub, so we sort of have an angle. To that end, here’s a selection of the best (and most enjoyably bad) literary film and TV coming to streaming services this month. Have fun.


Happiness for Beginners

Netflix, July 27

Literary bona fides: based on Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center (2015)

Ellie Kemper and Luke Grimes star in Vicky Wight’s adaptation of Katherine Center’s novel, in which a recently divorced woman meets a handsome stranger on the Appalachian trail. “I thought it was such a well-told story of one woman’s experience in getting to know herself better,” Kemper told Tudum. “I was immediately excited about the prospect of playing a woman whose outlook on life, when we first meet her, isn’t so sunny. I’ve played a lot of optimistic rubes, and Helen was neither.” Fair enough.

The Witcher (Season 3, Volume 2)
Netflix, July 27

Literary bona fides: based on The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski (1995)

It’s Witcher superfan Henry Cavill’s last outing as stoic blonde bombshell Geralt of Rivia (RIP the most perfect casting of any literary adaptation ever); might as well soak it in.

Good Omens (Season 2)
Prime Video, July 28

Literary bona fides: based on Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens (1990)

Good Omens was meant to be a limited series—and marketed as such when it first came out in 2019. But it was renewed for a second season anyway, with most of the cast returning, so I’ll reserve judgement until we see what Michael Sheen, David Tennant, and co. have for us. (And for those who love the binge, you’re in luck: Amazon will be releasing the whole second season on July 28.)


True Grit (1969)
Prime Video, July 1

Literary bona fides: based on True Grit by Charles Portis (1968)

John Wayne won his only Oscar for his portrayal of Marshal Rooster Cogburn in the first adaptation of one of the best Westerns (and best novels) ever written. It’s old fashioned for sure, but it still sings.

Die Hard (1988)

Die Hard (1988)
Hulu, July 1

Literary bona fides: based on Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp (1979)

Obviously, The Best Christmas Movie of All Time—but also good in July—has literary roots. Sure, the movie is better than the book, but then in this case, it would have to be.

Joy Luck Club

The Joy Luck Club (1993)
Hulu, July 31

Literary bona fides: based on The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (1989)

Amy Tan co-wrote the adaptation of her beloved novel with Academy Award-winner Ronald Bass, and the result is . . . pretty much just as beloved. In 2020, the boundary-breaking film was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and entered into the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

Morgan Freeman

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Prime Video, July 1

Literary bona fides: based on Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King (1982)

Actually a film about the power of libraries.

Jumanji (1995)
Netflix, July 1

Literary bona fides: based on Chris Van Allsburg’s Jumanji (1981)

As someone who grew up obsessed with Chris Van Allsburg, including his comparatively quiet (it’s in black and white!) picture book Jumanji, in which an enchanted board game brings strange consequences to a pair of children, you’d expect that I would be crotchety about the bombastic, Robin Williams-y adaptation. But it’s simply too much fun for that.

i know what you did last summer

I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
Hulu, July 1

Literary bona fides: Lois Duncan’s I Know What You Did Last Summer (1973)

Duncan herself may have hated the film—which bears only a passing resemblance to her novel—but that doesn’t mean we all can’t enjoy it, especially now that it is firmly in schlocky throwback territory.

Pride & Prejudice (2005)
Netflix, July 1

Literary bona fides: based on Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)

A pretty good adaptation featuring a very fine Disgusting Brother Mr. Darcy.

No Country for Old Men (2007)
Prime Video, July 1

Literary bona fides: based on No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy (2005)

Celebrate the life of Cormac McCarthy by watching this excellent (and faithful) Coen Brothers adaptation of his novel—which, fun fact, was originally written as a screenplay. But McCarthy couldn’t sell it, so he turned it into a novel, and then it became a film after all. Never say McCarthy didn’t do happy endings!

The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (2007)
Prime Video, July 1

Literary bona fides: based on The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford by Ron Hansen (1983)

I don’t know why it’s western month in the world of streamers, but clearly it is. This one—unavoidably overbaked, but with superb performances all around—has become something of a sneaky cult classic.