If You Like Jane Austen...Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and More, But Which One?

Apr 12, 2006 (Updated Apr 13, 2006)

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The Bottom Line There is a Jane Austen adaptation for everyone!

If you like Jane Austen…..Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and more!

Pride and Prejudice, Emma, or Sense and Sensibility plus other fine Jane Austen theatrical adaptations are all around and 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 Sense and Sensibility, Emma and others that I have in my collection (I had to put Pride and Prejudice on a different list):


Sense and Sensibility movies/adaptations:.

Sense and Sensibility (1995) .
Starring: Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant
Directed by Ang Lee plus screenplay by Emma Thompson

This is a fabulous adaptation of Sense and Sensibility and to this day is one of my top ten movies overall! Emma Thompson did a bang up job both with the screenplay as well as in her role as Elinor. Kate Winslet was equally amazing as Marianne. Alan Rickman is heart throbbing and Hugh Grant as a relative newcomer is delightful! The movie is filled with vibrant rolling hills and elaborate costuming. I am always anxious to lose myself in this movie on a rainy day!

Sense and Sensibility (1981)
Starring: Irene Richard, Tracey Childs
Directed by: Rodney Bennett

This is the made for TV BBC version and it has some qualities worth watching. The acting is good, but it is shot in the same almost stage-like manner of the BBC Garvie/Rintoul Pride and Prejudice. It looks like they actually used some of the same costumes in this move as well. I like that this version is closer to the true Jane Austen manuscript, although Emma Thompson’s screen play version is far more entertaining to watch! Like it or not, it is in my collection and I do revisit it from time to time.

I have Found It (Kandukondain Kandukondain) (2000)
Starring: Aishwarya Rai (Ash)
Directed by: Rajiv Menon

This is a non-Americanized Indian adaptation of S&S and stars Ash Rai(Bride and Prejudice). Ash does a fine job playing her version of Marianne named Meenakshi. There are song and dance numbers, but you can tell it did not get the bigger budget of Bride and Prejudice. This really is a touching version, but it is for the true fan who is not opposed to reading the subtitles very quickly or listening to crazy campy colorful song and dance numbers.

Let’s not Forget Emma!

Emma (1996)
Starring Kate Beckinsale
Directed by: Diarmuid Lawrence

This is a very well done BBC version of Emma starring Kate Beckinsale. It suffered popularity because another movie with the very same name and story happened to come out the very same year. Weren’t Kate and Gwyneth talking or exchanging notes?? Not sure what happened, but as a result this version was missed by many and it is a shame because it really is a gem.

Emma (1996)
Starring Gwyneth Paltrow
Directed by Douglas McGrath

Besides Gwyneth Paltrow, there also some other amazing stars in this one! Jeremy Northam, Toni Collette, Greta Scacchi, and Ewan McGregor to name a few! This Emma was big box office and worth every penny paid at the theatre! This is by far my favorite version of Emma and Gwyneth is perfectly charming as Emma Woodhouse. Jeremy Northam is right on perfect for this role and I have seen him in everything since.

Emma (1972)
Starring: Doran Godwin
Directed by: John Glenister

This is another of those BBC versions that were finally recently released all on DVD. Previous to that long awaited release, I had to keep all of my tapes around! Well this one is about as old as me and it hasn’t really held up for me theatrically, but like the other older BBC versions, the lines follow more closely to an actual Jane Austen manuscript. This makes them more authentic and educational to me. It is definitely worth a watch, but don’t expect the shine of Kate or Gwyneth to jump off the screen at you!

Clueless (1995)
Starring : Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd plus Brittany Murphy
Directed by Amy Heckerling

This is the PG-13 version of Emma set in the mid 90’s LA. It is directed by the same person who did Fast Times At Ridgemont High and focuses on popular Cher (Alicia Siverstone) and how she finds love where she least expected it while helping her friend Tai (Brittany Murphy). This movie was so well received that it inspired a popular spin off television series.

A note on Emma: Like these other stories they have been done in other adaptations which for one reason or another are just not available to us on tape or DVD. For instance, there was a 1932 version of Emma directed by Clarence Brown and starring Marie Dressler – it was nominated for an Oscar, but they have not been able to give us a nice DVD copy. I have been looking for any kind of copy of it for years!

Other Jane Austen Film Adaptations:

Northanger Abby (1986)
Starring: Katharine Schlesinger and Peter Firth
Directed By: Giles Foster

This is not a very accurate representation of the Gothic romance Northanger Abby, but it is the only one I have been able to find. The heroine is lacking and the only light is Peter Firth’s acting (no, there is not a relation to Colin as far as I know). I would read the book again rather than watch this, but if you have never read the book, then this is a nice stand alone movie. I have heard that a newer better version will be aired this fall (fingers crossed).

Persuasion (1995)
Starring: Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds
Directed By: Roger Michell

This is a fabulous version of this timeless story of love denied and then the regret that follows. Both leading actors are truly talented and the scenery and sets are beautiful. Amanda Root is not your typical gorgeous heroine, and it is interesting to see how she goes from a bit of an ugly duckling in the beginning to being somewhat pretty in he end. It must be something about her inner beauty and the progression of the storyline. It definitely adds to the story, and Ciarán Hinds is his usual handsome self. This is a must have for an Austen fan!

Persuasion (1971)
Starring: Anne Firbank and Bryan Marshall
Directed By: Howard Baker

Like the older BBC version of Emma, this is not a bright and vivid movie, but the story is so fabulous, and the acting is very good in this one. It is truer to the actual Jane Austen book and definitely worth a look! This is one of those that was only recently released to DVD in the last few years.

Mansfield Park (1983)
Starring: Sylvestra Le Touzel
Directed By: David Giles

This is the BBC mini series version of this very well received Jane Austen novel. It is the closest to the real story, but the acting is not great and I would only recommend this to a real fan. It is a little hard to get into and the casting seems to be a bit off with what Austen might have intended for her characters. The newer version is a better watch!

Mansfield Park (1999)
Starring: Frances O’Connor
Directed By: Patricia Rozema

This is the updated newer version of Mansfield Park which is filled with gorgeous sets and flowing scenery. The costumes are beautiful and the acting is very good. It is thoroughly entertaining to watch the adventures of the unfortunate relative, Fanny Price! This is the one to see if you are interested in Mansfield Park!


That is my collection! There have been other versions, but these are the ones readily available on DVD today, so go rent one if you need a Jane Austen fix!

If you like Jane Austen, then you should check out my Pride and Prejudice list!

Thank you for reading and happy watching!

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