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Oliver Twist

7.81 h 55 min195113+
This seminal Dickens adaptation follows Oliver's rags to riches adventures in Victorian England from being left at the orphanage, sold into a job, running away and joining street urchins to being rescued by Mr Brownlow, then being abducted by Sikes and taken back by Sikes' girlfriend Nancy.
David Lean
Alec GuinnessRobert NewtonAnthony Newley
English [CC]
Audio Languages
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Supporting actors
Kay WalshFrancis Sullivan
Echelon Studios
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4.5 out of 5 stars

435 global ratings

  1. 74% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 14% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 5% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 5% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

𝗧𝗿𝘂𝘁𝗵 𝗦𝗲𝗲𝗸𝗲𝗿Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 August 2022
4.0 out of 5 stars
Great But Ron Moody Rules !!
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*No Spoilers*
This is a great adaptation and probably sticks closer to the book but I don't think it stands in the same class as the 1968 musical adaptation.

This 1951 version is extremely bleak, with no real let up. The 1968 colour music extravaganza, at least gives you some relief in between the bleakness of this tragic life story. Although Oliver is the main character, you are shown the abject poverty and dire living conditions of many characters that are simply trying to survive another day here. This 1951 version is certainly worthy of 4 stars and worth watching once for sure. But the 1968 version is one that you can watch again and again. Alec Guinness may be a great actor but Ron Moody will always rule as Fagin! After them, Dodger!

Recommended snack for viewing - Sausages
Recommended drink for viewing - Gin with a sugar lump.

I do not receive any payment or free goods for writing these reviews. I am just happy to share my views on my purchases with fellow like minded Amazonians in the hope that you may find it helpful.
Mr R MeakinReviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 August 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
A classic
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Another great classic film
ATReviewed in the United Kingdom on 04 July 2022
3.0 out of 5 stars
Crazy Soundscape!!!
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Look the film is an epic and such a delight to watch, but I do wish they’d remaster it so that we could hear the dialogue! Everyone’s voice is whisper quiet on modern speakers… Honestly we had the volume on our television up to 45 which turned out to be a shocker as the music came in HOT. Evidently the film’s score has stood the test of time in terms of audiation.

So essentially, we were sat there raising the volume for dialogue and scrambling after the remote to lower it once a trumpet came in to blast our ears off. 🤣🤣🤣🤣
Alex da SilvaReviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 May 2009
4.0 out of 5 stars
Workhouse, my Dear!
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Oliver Twist (John Howard Davies) is an orphan who works in a poorhouse under the authority of Mr Bumble (Frances L Sullivan) until he is given the opportunity to learn a trade. We follow his story as he runs away from his lodgings with the undertaker Mr Sowberry (Gibb McLoughlin) to seek a new life in London. Once he arrives in the "Big Smoke", he is befriended by the Artful Dodger (Anthony Newley - who would soon start shagging Joan Collins in real life) who takes him to meet Fagin (Alec Guinness). Fagin runs an organized gang of young street criminals and Oliver now has a new life on the streets robbing people and assisting in burglaries. However, he manages to break free of this gang only to be kidnapped back again. Meanwhile, there is a search for him underway and an investigation into his past...

It's Charles Dickens so there are plenty of twists and turns throughout the story, some of which are highly improbable, eg, Oliver involved in the robbery of Mr Brownlow (Henry Stephenson) who turns out to be his grandfather. No WAY! But...... so what? The story keeps you watching and the whole film takes place in various claustrophobic settings that are almost mesmerizing.

The cast are good with my favourite performances coming from Alec Guinness, Robert Newton as the psychopath "Bill Sikes", Anthony Newley and Frances L Sullivan. Guinness delivers a stereotypical Jewish portrayal that in these times of lunatic political correctness just wouldn't be allowed. There would also be accusations of paedophilia as he lives with his gang of young boys and calls them all "dear". Who knows, eh? Newton is one scary, nasty man and the scene where he confronts Kay Walsh who plays his girlfriend "Nancy" is frightening and may indeed have you turn away from the screen as he kills her. It's a shame that Kay Walsh wasn't given a bigger role. As it stands, although her heart was good and so she is likeable, she screams way too much and just becomes irritating. Almost as irritating as Hattie Jacques singing in the pub - truly dreadful! Anthony Newley provides the iconic imagery for the "Artful Dodger" and is soon going to begin shagging Joan Collins, while Frances L Sullivan provides some golden moments of humour, eg, his rationalizing of the prerogative of a man to command and a woman to obey is very entertaining.

Overall, I enjoyed the film despite the rather lacklustre girlie John Howard Davies in the lead role. And I will be keeping onto the film for future viewing. I can't stand films about kids but this one has broken the mold for me. It's also stoked an interest in me to read the book!
One person found this helpful
P. WILLIAMSReviewed in the United Kingdom on 07 February 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
You can almost smell the poverty!
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I think there can be few readers who have not heard of Oliver Twist or his infamous request when in the workhouse in London in the 19th Century? Agatha Christie and Charles Dickens are my favourite authors and the transfer from book to film has in most cases been carried out very well and quite successfully. Personally, I believe THIS to be the best of many versions and can find nothing to really fault. Not only was the acting from the main players like the very young John Howard Davies, Robert Newton, Kay Walsh, Anthony Newley and of course Alec Guinness superb, the many 'supporting' roles were excellent also. David Lean was, when he made this film probably Britains leading Director although he could turn his hand to some of the other 'jobs' too. His direction was faultless, as were the input of Producer Ronald Neame, Camera Operator Oswald Morris, Director of Photography Guy Greene, Makeup man Stuart Freeborn - especially converting a 35 year old Guinness into Fagin (how young Guinness was and looked can be seen in his portrayal of Herbert Pocket in Lean's 'Great Expectations' made 2 or 3 years earlier).For me however, John Bryan, the Production Designer wins the laurels with his creation of many different buildings, streets etc. A wonderful film, NO CGI in those days and all the better for it!
17 people found this helpful
H. A.Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 01 April 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
wonderful film
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A David Lean masterpiece. He captures the novel brilliantly bringing the characters of the book to life. Fagin played by Alec Guinness is marvellous, although the portrayal was accused of being anti-semitic. Bill Sykes played by Robert Newton is scary, bullying and threatening everyone he comes into contact with. (Bit like his Long John Silver portrayal in Treasure Island but with venom) His end is dramatic and one of the highlights of the film. Together with Great Expectations, these two Charles Dickens adaptations are among his finest films.
The CinemaScope CatReviewed in the United Kingdom on 31 August 2011
5.0 out of 5 stars
Superb adaptation of the Dickens novel
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A young boy (John Howard Davies) given the name of Oliver Twist is born and raised in a workhouse. He is apprenticed to a coffin maker at the age of 8 but escapes to London where he is lured into working for Fagin (Alec Guinness), who employs a gang of adolescent pickpockets and thieves. Following the success of his 1946 adaptation of Dickens' GREAT EXPECTATIONS, David Lean directed this superb adaptation of the celebrated Dickens' novel. It's quite faithful to the novel with a few minor exceptions, the most notable one being the absence of any relationship between Oliver and Nancy (Kay Walsh, who's wonderful) which was remedied in the 1968 musical adaptation. And it's Walsh's shocking murder that stays with you long after the film is over. At the time, Guinness's brilliant Fagin was viewed as anti-Semitic which is why the film wasn't released in America (in a cut form) until 1951. Today, he comes across more like a sleazy pedophile. The excellent B&W cinematography is courtesy of Guy Green. Lean's dream cast includes Robert Newton, Anthony Newley, Francis L. Sullivan, Kathleen Harrison, Diana Dors, Maurice Denham and a scene stealing performance by the bull terrier who plays Bill Sikes' dog.

The DVD from ITV via Great Britain is a nicely rendered B&W transfer in the appropriate 1.33 ratio.
3 people found this helpful
Mr. G. C. JohnsonReviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 November 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
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I have to say this film has never looked better. Beautiful clear picture added to the atmosphere and drama. The only reason I gave it 4 stars was because it's a French disc and finding the English soundtrack was a bit of an ordeal but worth it in the long run. Can't wait to watch it again.
3 people found this helpful
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