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The 10 most romantic Nicholas Sparks movies that will make your heart flutter

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Anytime you see the name Nicholas Sparks, you know you’re in for an emotional and romantic rollercoaster. Over the course of his career as an author, Sparks has published 22 novels and two nonfiction books, with over 115 million copies sold worldwide. He certainly has the Midas touch, as almost every single piece of literature he’s written has landed on the New York Times Best Seller list, and over half have also found their way to the big screen.

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As a North Carolina native, Sparks bases almost all of his books in and around his great home state, and some are even partially or loosely based on true stories. The past two decades have brought us 10 of the most incredibly romantic Nicholas Sparks films. Here they are ranked from worst to best.

10. The Last Song (2010)

The 2010 blockbuster The Last Song — based on the Nicholas Sparks book of the same name — actually sparked a real-life love story. Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth met on the set of The Last Song, fell in love, proceeded to date off-and-on for 10 years, and then got married.

The story itself centers around a rebellious teenage musician — Ronnie Miller — played by Miley Cyrus. The movie begins as Ronnie reluctantly travels from NYC to a small, Southern beach town for the summer to spend time with her estranged father – played by Greg Kinnear. However, like any good coming-of-age meets coming-home story, while she’s there, she meets a handsome young man, Will, played by Liam Hemsworth. The two forge a fragile bond as secrets are revealed, long-held ties are broken, and dreams come to fruition. The story is redemptive, and the characters are forever changed by the events of that summer.

9. The Longest Ride (2015)

The Longest Ride came out in 2015 and stole viewers’ hearts immediately. It is one of Sparks’ more recent movies and brought in $63 million at the box office.

The plot follows the complicated love story of Luke, played by the dreamy Scott Eastwood, and the soon-to-be NYC artist Sophia, played by Britt Robinson. He’s a former bull-riding champ, she’s a college student trying to create a brighter future for herself, can they make it work? That is where the story begins as these two have to figure out if what they have is built to last, or if they need to just let it go and ride off into their separate sunsets. It’s a story that really tugs at the heartstrings and at the same time is a fairly relatable theme.

While we loved the steamy interaction between the couple and the relatable obstacles of life getting in the way of love, the whole former bull rider meets city girl thing didn’t quite do it for us and was a little overdone in our humble opinion, so we had to let it ride into the number nine spot on the list.

8. The Lucky One (2012)

The Lucky One premiered in 2012 and captured fans’ hearts with the heartbreaking story of military soldier Sgt. Logan Thibault — played by Zac Efron — who falls in love with a woman in a photo (Taylor Schilling) he finds and, in the unlikeliest of unlikely events, gets to meet and fall in love with her. We know, you kind of have to hold your nose while watching this one, but director Scott Hicks manages to pull some moving performances from Efron and Schilling, and the resultant story is true to the text.

7. Dear John (2010)

Dear John introduces us to lost soul John Tyree — played by Channing Tatum — who meets and falls in love with idealistic college student Savannah Curtis, played by Amanda Seyfried.

The two have an instant connection, but just as their love story begins, John gets deployed to Afghanistan, tearing the new lovers apart. Over the next seven years, the pair’s only contact was through rare in-person meetings and mailed handwritten letters in which they expressed their hopes, dreams, desires, and devotion to each other. The couple could not have foreseen the events of Sept. 11, 2000, and a soldier with a sense of duty to his country that supersedes all other responsibilities — including the vow made to the girl left behind.

6. Safe Haven (2013)

Safe Haven introduces us to the unusual love story of Katie Feldman, played by Julianne Hough, and Alex Wheatley, played by the dreamy Josh Duhamel. The storyline follows Katie, as she escapes an abusive marriage and moves to a picturesque, small town on the North Carolina coast. She’s determined to start over and create a new life for herself, and does so as the close-knit community takes her in.

She lands a job, becomes best friends with her new neighbor, and slowly but surely falls for local widower and shop owner Alex and his two young children. Despite trying to keep a low profile, Katie can’t help connecting with the sensitive and caring Alex, and before long the two come out of their shells and land in each other’s arms. Yet everything is not as it seems and Katie and Alex’s pasts come back to haunt them. Literally. You’ll just have to see what we mean by checking out this Nicholas Sparks classic, whose plot twists and turns took us to a place we never expected.

5. Message in a Bottle (1999)

Message in a Bottle is Sparks’ first movie. It was released in 1999 and starred Kevin Costner and Robin Wright Penn. It was an instant success, bringing in $118 million at the box office, rocketing Nicholas Sparks to fame, and making him a household name.

The story revolves around journalist Theresa Osborne, played by Wright, who — during her morning jog — discovers a bottle in the sand containing an anonymous love letter. In an attempt to track down the author of the heartbreaking letter, she has it published in the newspaper she writes for. When she finds Garrett Blake (Costner), thus begins a doomed union, as Garrett is still pining for his lost love – the deceased Catherine.

4. The Choice (2016)

The Choice is among Sparks’ best, as a mismatched pair finds love but soon must reconcile their plans for the future and their respective relationship statuses.

The story introduces us to carefree Travis, played by Benjamin Walker, an easygoing bachelor who was in no hurry to settle down until he meets serious medical student Gabby, played by Teresa Palmer. As Gabby moves in next door, he knows he has met the love of his life. There is just one problem, Gabby is engaged. She already has her whole life planned out and her future is set. So the question becomes, does she stay in her stable, pre-planned life or risk it all for love?

3. Nights In Rodanthe (2008)

The chemistry between Diane Lane and Richard Gere is undeniable and is proven again and again. Nights in Rodanthe is a romantic masterpiece that proves it is never too late to find true love. Another one of Sparks’ originals, this movie is a classic for the ages.

The story follows Adrienne Willis (Diane Lane) as she attempts to sort out her crumbling life while watching the beach inn of a friend in the picturesque coastal town of Rodanthe, NC. The inn only has one guest, Paul Flanner (Richard Gere), who has some demons of his own. With Adrienne’s love and support, Paul is able to overcome his fears and the trauma of his past, and just maybe find the love he didn’t know he was looking for.

2. The Notebook (2004)

Set in the 1940s, The Notebook is told through flashbacks and follows the story of a young couple whose fate will intertwine in more ways than one. The Notebook is probably Sparks’ most recognized and well-known book-turned-movie and brought in $118 million at the box office.

Loosely based on Nicholas Sparks’ own in-laws, it tells the tale of two star-crossed teenagers, rebellious city girl Allie, played by Rachel McAdams, and love-struck country boy Noah, played by Ryan Gosling. Allie’s high-class family does not agree with her choice of boyfriend and does everything they can to keep the two apart. Time and distance separate them, but through a twist of fate, they reconnect years later, but Allie is already engaged to someone else. Eventually, the couple overcomes the obstacles and proves their love can truly perform miracles.

Sparks even inspired another real-life romance through this magical movie, as the actors who played Noah and Allie found romance, both on and off-screen. Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling dated for two years following filming and we can see why, this story is enough to make anyone swoon.

1. A Walk To Remember (2002)

Here it is, the number one most romantic, absolutely tear-jerking, makes us want to throw it all away for love, Nicholas Sparks’ movie, A Walk To Remember. In yet another star-crossed teenage lovers’ story, preacher’s daughter Jamie Sullivan, played by Mandy Moore, falls against her will, for rebellious bad boy Landon Carter, played by Shane West. As this epic love story unfolds, a terrible secret is revealed, yet instead of letting it tear them apart, it only makes their love stronger. The couple comes together to prove that love lasts a lifetime and beyond.

Yep, here come the waterworks. This movie has us starting at the opening credits and not stopping for about three days after. Even more, heart-wrenching, while the story is mostly fictional, it is not entirely so. It is loosely based on Nicholas Sparks’ own sister, Danielle Sparks Lewis, who died of cancer in 2000. Sparks’ reveals his sister and the character Jamie had many similar traits such as a quiet demeanor, and a sweet but serious outlook, in fact, both were even bullied in school. His sister, Debbie also fell in love with a man determined to marry her despite the fact she may not live due to her illness. Both the book and movie are dedicated to her. So if you weren’t crying before, we bet you are now.

The film was a huge success and it just passed its 20th anniversary. In fact, rumors of a remake are in the works, with Mandy Moore naming Olivia Rodrigo as her pick for Jamie Sullivan, and we have to admit, we could see it too.

Although Sparks has taken a bit of a break, it is rumored that three more movies are in the works and will be released within the next 3-5 years. So stay tuned because this countdown might get another facelift following their release.


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Bethany Nicole
Bethany is an LA-based freelance writer and astrologer who specializes in entertainment, relationship and true crime writing. To see more of her work, follow her on Instagram @bethanynicolelove.