All Nicholas Sparks Movies, Ranked From Worst to Best

Nicholas Sparks, a novelist with a very specific style and structure, who’s stories you either hate or love.  He’s the father of the modern romantic love stories, which you can basically predict from the moment you press start, however that doesn’t mean they’re not satisfying to watch and comforting to follow while you keep yourself warm and cozy, on a cold rainy day. From his eighteen novels which include many international bestsellers, eleven have been adapted to the big screen, some better and some worse.

With the typical poster of the profile of a man holding a woman’s face close to his, reaching for a kiss, be prepared for the traditional romantic Romeo and Juliet formula. From the ones that will waste your time to the ones who’ll truly get through to you, here is the list of top Nicholas Sparks movies, ranked from worst to best. You can watch some of these best Nicholas Sparks movies on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime.

11. The Best of Me (2014)

In this romantic drama, the ninth film based on a novel written by Nicholas Sparks, we encounter Dawson Cole and Amanda Collier, two former high school lovers that reunite in their small hometown after twenty years apart through the death and funeral of a close friend. We are presented with flashbacks of their love story as teenagers and how this one got abruptly interrupted. Of course, as you might imagine, every move or dialogue is followed by obvious actions you could have seen happening from miles away which definitely makes it quite a boring story to watch. Not to mention the strange casting for the “younger version” of Dawson. Luke Bracey looks nothing like James Marsden, if something, he actually looks older which clearly shouldn’t be the case. Make sure to leave this pick for last if you want to go through with a Nicholas Spark story.

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10. The Choice (2016)

As many of his stories, “The Choice” sets once again two character in a warm neighbourhood of the sunny South where tragedy and love will cross their paths and bring them together through typical and repeated romanticism. Not that it can’t be entertaining to the ones who enjoy this style of cinematic experiences, but its lack of originality really shows that it is simply one more story adapted from a pre-written formula with little changes here and there in order to give it a new name. The title pretty much reveals the topic of this love story where Travis Shaw and new neighbour Gabby Holland meet, fall in love and due to their situation, have to make a choice in order to decide on their relationship’s future.

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9 . Lucky One (2012)

For all the Zack Efron fans, here’s the movie to watch as he portrays a US Marine serving in Iraq who finds a photograph of a beautiful blonde woman smiling and keeps it as his good luck charm. When he returns home he makes it his mission to find the face who has unknowingly protected him and after finding her, Logan and Beth (Taylor Schilling) grow closer to each other and start a relationship that brings complications into their lives and their entourages. It had great success at the box office and even received a few nominations and awards for Efron’s performance. Once more, it lacks originality and abounds melodrama, however it remains a perfect form of light-hearted escapism in the style of Nicholas Sparks.

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8. The Last Song (2010)

The plot consists of a young teenager (Miley Cyrus) who is forced to spend the summer with her little brother at her estranged dad’s house near the beach. She is rebellious and stiff and starts off the holidays on the wrong foot, however things turn brighter later on when she meets and falls in love with Will (Liam Hemsworth), a popular handsome local. Although its exciting to see Miley Cyrus playing in a movie, the elements of the storyline seem unnatural and staged and the characters do not transmit emotional connection due to their insufficient construction and development . Although nice settings and visuals, the performances seen in this production are also rather unsatisfactory. It’s a shame, but in spite of that, “The Last Song” still delivers a nice piano performance by Cyrus and for those who like her and those who don’t, it can still be enjoyed by many, because if taken with a light approach it is nevertheless a fun and engaging Nicholas Spark for a relaxing Sunday evening.

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7. Safe Haven (2013)

With a little more thrill and story depth (although the neighbour romance aspect remains), we have “Safe Haven”, directed by Lasse Hallström who had previously done “Dear John”. Here, we follow the story of a woman who nervously flees from her city and introduces herself as Katie in a new small town. There she meets Alex, a widowed father of two, with whom she sympathises and  starts a relationship. In this scenario our main character has a secret which will be revealed and influence the ending, giving the movie a little excitement and tension, although for a long beginning the pacing might make some viewers fall asleep. The elements in a whole seem unrealistic and cliché making it hard to get attached to the characters and their situations but apart from that, it is still a nice and easy watch with good performances by all.

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6. Nights in Rodanthe (2008)

In this romantic drama we stumble upon Richard Gere and Diane Lane, back together for their third collaboration. Their performances are great and help the flaws of the story construction seem less evident and imposing. The emotional connection the viewer is able to create with the characters, and their sorrows and joys is stronger and more significant in this Spark screen adaptation than in other of his films. Not to mention the beautiful setting this love story takes place. Adrienne, a single mother promises a friend to manage her romantic bed-and-breakfast located in Rodanthe, right on the beach, for the duration of a week-end. Her only customer is a middle-aged surgeon with a dramatic backstory who enters her life in an unexpected way. As a massive storm enwraps their refuge, they grow closer and wind up falling for each other passionately under the rainy clouds that hang over them. However, the expectable might not be what this story offers, for once.

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5. The Longest Ride (2015)

In “The Longest Ride” we are presented with parallel dramatic love stories, one from the present and one from the past, set 70 years ago. Luke and Sophia, two young people have a “first-sight” experience and go on a date. On their way home, they rescue an old man stuck in his car after an accident and while in the hospital, he is visited by Sophia on numerous accounts to whom he relates his love story from the past. These two romances, separated by time, are similar in different ways and will influence the present time and its characters along the way.  For the style and genre its set in, this movie perfectly fits its purpose and pleases the audience that its looking for and to whom this movie is an absolute delight. With controlled performances and forward-moving plot, it’s a full and eventful ride to get on.

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4. Message In a Bottle (1999)

“Message In a Bottle” is able to take us on a more serious and believable romance than most of Nicholas Sparks’ other novels and films. It is also a more beautiful and emotional plot that grabs the audience tighter and for longer. It’s about a woman who finds a love letter inside a bottle, half buried in the sand and is so struck in marvel that she decides to research and track the person behind the writings. She subsequently travels to his hometown and starts a conversation with the man she comes face to face with. Quickly they both show their interest for each other, but the person to whom the letter was destined remains a big part of the man’s life and therefore of their relationship. Once more it is a story set in the romantic world of Spark and its reception is, as a result, ambiguous depending on its viewer. One thing’s for sure, it highly overcomes the vast majority of his other sentimental tales.

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3. A Walk to Remember (2002)

Welcome another coming-of-age romantic drama, highly predictable yet entertaining and heart-warming to watch. Starring Shane West and Mandy Moore as the two teenage love-birds, this story reveals a romantic encountering between a rebellious trouble-maker seeking for help from a geeky outcast girl who despite being laughed at, stands confidently tall on her own two feet. It balances out everything this type of story should contain and convey through a great direction and performance by the cast. Convincing, its solid combination of events leaves us with an optimistic full-length feature, that definitely shines in the mids of Sparks’ numerous attempts in the romantic genre.

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2. Dear John (2010)

Nicholas Sparks often uses written letters as an important element in his stories, which we can again find in this movie, clearly occupying a central part of the romance and its pulse to move forward. The performances are great, the plot is interesting and grabbing and the likable characters transmit emotion and feeling. We certainly root for them and in the end, that’s what keeps us watching from beginning to start. There’s John (Channing Tatum), a soldier who falls in love with a college student during her spring break over the course of two weeks. As he is called for duty, his relationship with Savannah (Amanda Seyfried) remains alive by the exchange of letters but slowly begins to fade as things change in the girl’s life. A beautiful story that might cause a few tears for the sentimental ones watching.

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1. The Notebook (2004)

From all of Nicholas Sparks’ romantic repetitions and predictable clichés, “The Notebook” is an exception and a masterpiece of its genre. Filled with beauty and emotion, it has somehow found the balance not to fall into the typical love stories without sense and rise up to a legendary tale of true love that most would have to admit, is hard not to fall for. Perhaps its the outstanding performances of Ryan Gosling and Rachel MacAdams, or the striking visuals of its cinematography, or simply the heart-breaking story of an elderly man who recounts his youthful romance to his Alzheimer-sick lover. Perhaps it’s all of them at once that resulted in this stunning movie, that has remained memorable ever since it came out.

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