The Bell Jar has been referred to many times in popular media. Iris Jamahl Dunkle wrote of the novel that "often, when the novel appears in American films and television series, it stands as a symbol for teenage angst."
Larry Peerce's The Bell Jar (1979) starred Marilyn Hassett as Esther Greenwood, and featured the tagline: "Sometimes just being a woman is an act of courage." In the film, Joan attempts to get Esther to agree to a suicide pact, which does not occur in the book.
In July 2016, it was announced that Kirsten Dunst would be making her directorial debut with an adaptation of The Bell Jar starring Dakota Fanning as Esther Greenwood. In August 2019, it was announced Dunst was no longer attached and Bell Jar will become a limited TV series from Showtime.