Already have an account?
Get back to the

All 8 ‘Little Women’ Adaptations, Ranked — And Where to Watch Them

Find out where your favorite version ranked!

I’ve had a lot of troubles, so I write jolly tales.” It’s the line that opens the most recent of the Little Women movies, which earned countless award nominations in 2019. But did you know there are eight adaptations — the first being a silent movie filmed in the early 1900s?

All of the Little Women movies, as well as the beloved 1868 book they are based on, follow Josephine “Jo,” Meg, Amy and Elizabeth “Beth” March as they deal with being women during and after the Civil War.

It is loosely based on author Louisa May Alcott’s real life and was published for the first time in 1868. Over the years, however, the book has been reprinted and reworked to appeal to different generations, much like the film adaptations. 

So keep reading to learn more about each Little Women movie and where to watch them. 

MUST READ: The 12 Best Romance Movies Based on Books, Ranked — Sure To Make Your Heart Flutter

8. Little Women (2018) 

This take stars Lea Thompson, Sarah Davenport, Allie Jennings, Bart Johnson, Lucas Grabeel, and Melanie Stone. It took a more modern approach, with the father serving in Iraq instead of The Civil War. Beth gets Leukemia instead of Scarlett Fever, and all of the heartfelt tear-jerking letters from the war front are turned into video chats. It maintains the basic plot, and the character arcs primarily remain the same, but the historical aspect is taken out, making this Little Women movie last on the list.

You can watch this adaptation on Amazon Prime Video

7. Little Women (1918): Little Women movies

Little Women (1919): Little Women movies

The 1919 version was the first movie following the March sisters, and filmed during the movies’ silent era — no voices, just cards with the dialogue on them. It stars Isabel Lamon, Dorothy Bernard, Lillian Hall, and Florence Flinn, had a one-hour running time, and came to the silver screen after a successful run on Broadway. In fact, Lynn Hammond, who portrays Professor Friedrich Bhaer in the film, had previously played Mr. March in the Brodaway show from 1912 to 1913 as well as the 1916 revival.  

This adaptation is currently not available for streaming. 

MUST READ: The 12 Best Marvel Movies Ranked — And Where to Watch Them!

6. Little Women (1978 miniseries): Little Women Movies

This version represents the first time Little Women had been turned into a television event. It aired in two parts with a total running time of just over three hours. Additionally, it won an Emmy award for Outstanding Art Direction for a Series and a Golden Globe nomination in the Best Motion Picture Made for Television category. 

It also stars well-known actresses such as Susan Dey, who portrayed Josephine “Jo” March, Eve Plumb as Elizabeth “Beth” March, Ann Dusenberry as Amy March, and Meredith Baxter as Meg March. 

You can watch both parts of this adaptation on YouTube

MUST READ: Susan Dey: Find Out What ‘The Partridge Family’ And ‘L.A. Law’ Star Is Doing Today

5. Little Women (1933)

Katherine Hepburn played Jo March in the 1933 Little Women alongside Joan Bennett (later to star in the original Dark Shadows) Jean Parker, and Frances Dee. The film was nominated for Best Picture at the 1934 Oscars and won the Academy Award for Best Writing, Adaptation. The 1933 version was also the first adaptation to have any dialogue. 

Fun fact: Katherine Hepburn was actually quite fond of this film, writing in her 1996 autobiography Me: Stories of My Life, “This picture was heaven to do — George Cukor [the director] perfect. He really caught the atmosphere. It was to me my youth!” 

Hepburn also had the costume department copy a dress her grandmother wore onto one of the tintype photographs that was placed onto the film set. 

You can watch this adaptation on Amazon Prime Video

MUST-READ: Dark Shadows Cast 1966 — What Happened to the Stars Playing the Collins Family?

4. Little Women (2017 miniseries): Little Women Movies

In the second Little Women television miniseries, fans of the novel watched stars like Maya Hawke, Kathryn Newton, Willa Fitzgerald, Annes Elwy, Angela Lansbury and more become the strong women of the March family. It consisted of three episodes, each with a run time of exactly one hour. 

When it comes to historical accuracy, this miniseries was a step above the rest. It had the women without makeup, grown-out underarm hair and natural hairstyles to correctly portray what women would have looked like in the 1800s. However, when it comes to acting and over-delivery, this one doesn’t really stick out. 

You can watch all three episodes of this adaptation for free on Tubi

MUST READ: Angela Lansbury Young: 10 Rare Photos of the Beloved Star Before ‘Murder She Wrote’

3. Little Women (1949)

One of the things that viewers love about Little Women is the magical story between the four sisters, and the 1949 version captures that in a way all the other adaptions could not. The dynamics between Jo (June Allyson), Beth (Margaret O’Brien), Amy (Elizabeth Taylor) and Meg (Janet Leigh) are unbeatable. 

Shockingly, though, none of the actresses were nominated for their work in this film. However, it did win an Oscar in 1950 for Best Cinematography, Color. 

You can watch this adaptation on Amazon Prime Video

MUST READ: ‘Little Women’ 1949: What Happened to the Stars of the Beloved Classic?

2. Little Women (1994): Little Women movies

With a budget of $95 million, it’s no surprise to anyone that the 1994 Little Women is nothing short of incredible. It brought the March sisters to life perfectly and really rang true to what the overall theme of the classic book. 

A big part of that is due to the star-studded cast: Susan Sarandon, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes, Trini Alvarado, Samantha Mathis and Winona Ryder all appeared, and Ryder even earned an Oscar nomination for her work as Jo March. 

This movie was also the only one to have two different people play Amy March. Dunst played the younger version of the character, and, as the movie went on, Mathis took over the part. They were the only actresses to share a role. 

You can watch this adaptation on Amazon Prime Video

MUST READ: Winona Ryder 80s: Fabulous Photos of the Star Who Defined Gen-X Cool

1. Little Women (2019)

Coming in at number one is none other than the most recent remake of Little Women. Oscar nominee Greta Gerwig directed the film and it stars Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Emma Watson, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet, Eliza Scanlen and Meryl Streep. Ronan and Pugh were both nominated for an Oscar for their portrayals of Jo and Amy, respectively. This remake also had more nominations than the others. 

But even with the powerhouse cast, the directing of this movie is what made it the best. Greta enhanced Alcott’s story by using shifts in lighting during the dual timelines, Jo and Laurie wearing each other’s clothes, and the more modern approach to Jo’s romantic ending. 

You can watch this adaptation on Amazon Prime Video. 

MUST READ: The 10 Best Laura Dern Movies, Ranked

For all things entertainment, click here!

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.