Pride and Prejudice, but which movie version to choose....

Apr 11, 2006 (Updated May 12, 2006)

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If you like Jane Austen…..Pride and Prejudice

Whether you like Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility or other fine Jane Austen theatrical adaptations, there seems to be a version for everyone! Jane Austen wrote some amazing stories and the characters and feelings easily translate into today’s world. I may have missed some, but here are the versions of Pride and Prejudice I have in my collection:


Pride and Prejudice (1996 A&E miniseries version)
Starring: Colin Firth, Jennifer Ehle, David Bamber, Crispin Bonham-Carter, Anna Chancellor
Directed by: Simon Langston

These are not in any particular order except that I must start with Colin Firth out of respect. He is and always will be the only Mr. Darcy to me and because this version clocks in at around 300 minutes, there is plenty of Mr. Darcy to see! This is the undisputed King of Pride and Prejudice versions. The sets are nice and the costumes are very realistic. The acting is superb and there is some very good chemistry between the two main characters who happen to be dating at the time that this was filmed. This DVD set was released in a special edition version which is pretty snazzy and contains lots of extras.

Pride and Prejudice (1940) B&W
Starring: Greer Garson and Lawrence Olivier
Directed by: Robert Z. Leonard

This is the black and white 1940 version. The acting is good, but it somehow does not capture the spirit of Elizabeth and Darcy! It is a shorter condensed version and misses a lot of the good stuff, plus the portrayals are not what I would typically think of for the Austen characters. It is worth a look. The costumes are nice, and with black and white film, more detail is picked up.

Pride and Prejudice (1980) BBC mini series
Starring: Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul
Directed by: Cycil Coke

Although a little dull in color compared to newer versions, this version remains one of my favorite P&Ps. Elizabeth Garvie is adorable and to me the very perfect Elizabeth Bennet, and David Rintoul captures Darcy perfectly. The costuming is nice, but it is obviously set on more stages for filming. It is almost like going to a play when I watch this version, but the stars are worth it!

Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Starring Keira Knightley, Mathew MacFadyen
Directed by: Joe Wright

OH – where to start? I had the wonderful opportunity for a prescreening of this movie at one of my local theaters. I enjoyed this movie quite a bit, but Keira Knightley had nothing to do with my enjoyment. Her acting was not great and she had way too much makeup on to be Elizabeth. I think she must have been filming Domino at the same time and forgot to clean her face between shoots?? The wig they put her in was really bad and I could see her real hair under it. Not all of this was Keira’s fault of course, but you must be at your top game when portraying a Jane Austen character!

Donald Sutherland and Mathew MacFadyen were both fabulous in this movie. Each one of these actors brought in a refreshing light in comparison with some of the other blatant omissions.

This is the compact version of Pride and Prejudice! Watch the Colin Firth mini series first to get the entire story because this movie would have there be two sisters in the Bennet family rather than five! Besides that, the countryside scenery is nice and the costumes are attractive. Mathew does a fine job trying to live up to Firth while still putting his own spin on things. Overall, it wasn’t fabulous, but I do own it and have seen it several times.

Bride and Prejudice (2005)
Starring: Aishwarya Rai (Ash), Martin Henderson, Naveen Andrews, plus Alexis Bledel
Directed by: Gurinder Chadha

This is the seven million dollar Americanized Indian version of Pride and Prejudice and it is pretty fun! Aishwarya is a huge Indian Star and she is probably the prettiest girl my husband and I have ever seen. They call her Ash and she sings, dances, acts, and does it all! This is her first American Film and it is in English. Martin Henderson makes a good Darcy and Naveen Andrews (Lost) plays his friend Balraj Bingley (ha ha). There are even some scenes with Gilmore Girls’ Alexis Bledel (Rory Gilmore)! This is a campy singing dancing colorful version of this timeless story. My six year old loves to watch it and my teenager cringes when it comes out. My favorite catch phrase out of this one is : “No Life Without Wife!” (spoken by this film's ridiculous and hilarious version of Mr. Colins).

Pride and Prejudice (2003– a latter-day comedy)
Starring: Kim Heskin, Orland Seale
Directed by: Andrew Black

Yes, it is true! There is a Mormon version of this movie! I am not Mormon, but still enjoyed their take on this version of P&P. Wickham is a polygamist and Darcy drives a shiny muscular black Cobra!!! The Cobra itself was worth the entire time it took to watch the film, because to me P&P is about Darcy and this Mr. Darcy was not even likeable! I cringed trying to make him likeable in my mind. Alas, it was impossible.

Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001) and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant
Directed by: Sharon Maguire

Last but definitely not least….What can I say? It is obvious that Helen Fielding who wrote these books is an Austen fan….and a Colin Firth fan. Colin Firth comes back and plays Mr. Darcy in style in this hilarious spin off of P&P. It is hilarious and touching through and through and has tons of references to P&P( the company Daniel (this version’s Wickham) works for is Pemberley Press among other little details. My only disappointment was that in the movie version of the sequel, they did not find a way to work into the script the fact that Bridget in her high profile journalist job interviews none other than Colin Firth. I would have loved to have seen Colin playing himself as well as Mark Darcy! Oh well……

There have been other versions, but these are the ones readily available on DVD today, so go rent one if you need a P&P fix!

If you like Jane Austen, then you should check out my S&S, Etc. Jane Austen list!

If you love Pride and Prejudice, then you can not miss BBC’s North and South (NOT the civil war Patrick Swayze movie!).

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