I thought I would start this series off with one of literature's most adaptable novels, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (you can read my review of the novel here.) This story and its characters translate to the screen so well, and many great adaptations have been made. I'm going spotlight three different versions, one movie and two mini-series, that I have watched and enjoyed.
Because P&P is so often adapted, the different adaptations are usually referred to by their release date.
BBC Pride and Prejudice (1980)
mini- series, 265 total minutes, five episodes
Elizabeth Bennet- Elizabeth Garvie
Mr. Darcy- David Rintoul
This is the oldest adaptation I have seen of P&P and my least favorite (though it is still enjoyable). This adaptation is pretty much word-for-word from the book, so it is a very faithful adaptation. The costumes are quite enjoyable, and the casting is perfectly fine, but because I did not previously know any of the actors and I am not attached to them in any way, I don't find myself too attached to this adaptation. I still recommend checking it out if you love the story, but if you have not read the book, or are looking to watch your first adaptation, I wouldn't start with this one.
The brooding Mr. Darcy
Lizzie and Darcy
BBC Pride and Prejudice (1995)
mini- series, 327 total minutes, six episodes
Elizabeth Bennet- Jenifer Ehle
Mr. Darcy- Colin Firth (!!!!!)
So, for obvious reasons, I really like this adaption (that obvious reason is Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy). I saw this adaptation for the first time last year and really enjoyed it. After I finished the novel, I was doing my research on adaptations, and I saw the 1995 version being praised over and over again, so I finally picked it up and can now see why this is often times referred to as the best P&P adaptation.
The costumes and setting are great, the casting is great, and it's exploding with British-ness! This adaptation is quite lengthy (about six hours!) so it won't be one to watch in one sitting (but who am I kidding, I watched it all in one sitting the first time I saw it) but it captures the characters and the story perfectly. Lizzie and Darcy's chemistry is really great, and Firth makes such a great broody and moody Darcy. If you have been hanging around the internet and classics novels for a while, you might be aware of the infamous wet, white shirt scene, which is in this adaptation; trust me, it is worth the hype.
The Bennet sisters
The love birds
and what we have all been waiting for...
THE COLIN FIRTH AS MR. DARCY GIFS
Pride and Prejudice (2005)
movie, 129 total minutes,
Elizabeth Bennet- Keira Knightly
Mr. Darcy- Matthew Macfayden
Mr. Bennet- Donald Sutherland
Kitty Bennet- Carey Mulligan
Jane Bennet- Rosamund Pike
Lydia Bennet- Jena Malone
This is the only movie adaptation of P&P that I have seen, and it was also the first adaptation I watched after finishing the book (and I have probably watched it at least six times since then.) Everything about this movie is perfect, and this is one of my all-time favorite movies. The setting, music, costumes, and cinematography are all beautiful. I love the casting, and how well Mr. Bennet and Lizzie's relationship comes across in this film, as that is one of my favorite parts about the novel. Kiera Knightly is gorgeous in this film, Lydia and Kitty and Mrs. Bennet ridiculous, and Mr. Darcy grumpy and then helplessly romantic. The script is so well done, and the characters are true to the novel. I highly recommend starting with this movie as your first P&P adaptation. I love that this movie allows me to get the entire story in one sitting unlike the mini-series, and I often listen to the score while I am doing homework! Oh! and P.S. Mr. Bingley is a red-head!
The Bennet Sisters
Lizzie and Darcy
Darcy and Bingley
First Time Watchers: Pride and Prejudice 2005
Veteran Watchers: Pride and Prejudice 1980
Everyone in the Universe: Pride and Prejudice 1995
Bonus: check out my thoughts on Death Comes to Pemberly
Let me know what your favorite P&P adaptation is, or your favorite adaptation of any classic book! Now I'm off to rewatch all of these!