Pride and Prejudice Movie Comparison

Pride and Prejudice (1995)
Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth

Funny thing about these movies is that of the more recent two, I have pretty much the same comments to make as I did about the Sense and Sensibility movies last month. The beloved-by-many 1995 version with Colin Firth hits the literal nail on the head. The dialog from the miniseries is taken directly from the book, EVERY important scene is included, the characters are spot-on, and the humor comes through in-tact. Bonus, there’re those lovely scenes with Colin Firth in the bathtub and later playing wet-shirt-contest. ๐Ÿ™‚ Perfecto! But a little long for a one-sitting viewing. ๐Ÿ™‚

Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Keira Knightly and Matthew MacFadyen

The 2005 movie, on the other hand, makes the story into a romance and removes almost all of the humor. The romance gets to be a bitย melodramaticย at times, but it is a good romance. I’m not sure if the purpose was to reduce the length/complexity of the story or if the director simply wanted to remove all the humor, but the characters of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are completely changed in this version. I don’t particularly mind, but it’s enough to piss off a purist. I rather liked the new Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. ๐Ÿ˜‰ย 

Pride and Prejudice (1940)
Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier

The classic 1940 version of Pride and Prejudice is short-and-sweet. The humor and the main story line between Darcy and Elizabeth is intact, but all the other characters have changed dramatically. Especially Darcy’s aunt. Definitely not a movie for purists. But frankly, I think this one’s cute. After all, what’s more shocking than a surprise ending in your best-known novel? ๐Ÿ˜‰ย 

Lost in Austen (2008)
Jemima Cooper and Elliot Cowan

As a bonus, I’ll mention my favorite film retelling of Pride and Prejudice – Lost in Austen. In this silly little fantasy, Amanda Price is a modern young Brittish woman who can’t settle down in life because she’s in love with Mr. Darcy’s character. When her boyfriend botches a proposal, Amanda runs away and, out of sheer need, somehow opens a doorway into the story. She trades places with Elizabeth (who has to figure out how to survive in modern London). Unfortunately, Amanda isn’t able to keep her modern manners to herself, and she throws the whole story out of whack. Furthermore, many characters turn out to be very different in “real life” than they were perceived to be by the narrator of Pride and Prejudice. What this story lacked in originality, it made up for with well-aimed British humor. ๐Ÿ™‚

Does anybody else have a favorite Austen retelling (book or film)?

14 thoughts on “Pride and Prejudice Movie Comparison

  1. Thank you for stopping by my review of Sharp Objects. Ill have to read your review after this.
    I was at Dollar Tree and bought a book titled “Rude awakenings of a Jane Austin Addict” by Laurie Rigler. Its book 2 in the series so I cant read it yet, but I am tempted to try.
    I will not lie, I have NEVER read anything by Jane Austin. I call myself a book lover and have never read JA.
    What book would you recommend for a noob like me? Should I watch Lost in Austen or P&P or wait until I read the book?


  2. Well, if you want a good idea of what Pride and Prejudice is really about, you should watch the mini-series with Colin Firth. You shouldn't watch Lost in Austen until after watching the Colin Firth movie, because it makes multiple references to that film. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I'm not sure which book you should start out with, since most people's favorite is Pride and Prejudice and my favorite is Sense and Sensibility. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I think starting on one of those would be best.


  3. Like many men I have not read Austin. However I have not avoided her because I think that she is an author for women Like many notable authors I just have not gotten to her. I do want to read here and your post is reminding me that it is high time that I have gotten to reading one of her books. I have several laying around.


  4. I think the reason many men don't like Austen is because they view her as simply a writer of romance and not as a social satirist. Austen books do not have complex plots – they are very straight-forward, and if you don't realize they're satire then you're going to find the characters rather shallow and silly, and the plot will be just a simple romance. ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. Hi Rachel. I noticed your comments at Brian Joseph's blog and wanted to check out yours. I am pretty adamant about the movie being a faithful representation of the book. Consequently, I enjoy the 6 hour miniseries with Colin Firth the best. Very nice blog and review. I will be subscribing to it. Take care!


  6. Thanks Sharon! I'm glad you came to see my blog. It has taken a bit of effort, but I've convinced myself that a movie doesn't have to follow the book. That I can view each movie / book / retelling as a work of art in itself. But I DO like a good, faithful rendition, anyway!


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