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. 🙂 Perfecto! But a little long for a one-sitting viewing. 🙂

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 bit melodramatic 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. 😉 

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? 😉 

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. 🙂

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