The Literary Roles of Helena Bonham Carter

Books Galleries
Share Tweet Submit Pin
The Literary Roles of Helena Bonham Carter

From Ophelia to Bellatrix Lestrange, actress Helena Bonham Carter’s film roles are often rooted in literature. She’s famous for portraying characters created by English heavyweights (William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens), beloved children’s authors (Lewis Carroll, Roald Dahl) and contemporary icons (J.K. Rowling, Chuck Palahniuk). And with dozens of book-related roles to her credit, Bonham Carter has proven that she’s just as comfortable playing a chimp advocating for human rights as she is a fairy godmother.

To celebrate Bonham Carter’s reprisal of her role as the Red Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass, we assembled a gallery highlighting every film she’s acted in based on a book.*

*Or a Shakespearean play.

A Pattern of Roses

Based on: A Pattern of Roses by K.M. Peyton

Role: Netty

Year Released: 1983 (TV Movie)

A Room with a View

Based on: A Room with a View by E.M. Forster

Role: Lucy Honeychurch, a young English woman on holiday in Italy

Year Released: 1985


Based on: Maurice by E.M. Forster

Role: Lady at Cricket Match

Year Released: 1987

A Hazard of Hearts

Based on: Hazard of Hearts by Barbara Cartland

Role: Serena Staverley, a woman whose hand in marriage is gambled away by her father

Year Released: 1987 (TV Movie)


Based on: Francesco d'Assisi by Hermann Hesse

Role: Chiara, a noblewoman who leaves her life of privilege after hearing Francesco (later St. Francis of Assisi) preach

Year Released: 1989


Based on: The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare

Role: Ophelia, a young noblewoman and Hamlet's potential wife

Year Released: 1990

Where Angels Fear to Tread

Based on: Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster

Role: Caroline Abbott, a woman who tries to help her recently widowed friend

Year Released: 1991

Howard's End

Based on: Howard's End by E.M. Forster

Role: Helen Schlegel, a woman in Edwardian England embroiled in family and class drama

Year Released: 1992

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Based on: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Role: Elizabeth, Victor Frankenstein's adopted sister

Year Released: 1994

A Dark-Adapted Eye

Based on: A Dark-Adapted Eye by Ruth Rendell

Role: Faith Severn, a woman who recounts chilling memories of her aunt

Year Released: 1994 (TV Movie)