Oliver Twist 1948

Amazon Instant Video

(52) IMDb 7.8/10
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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.

Starring:
Alec Guinness, Robert Newton
Runtime:
1 hour 50 minutes

Oliver Twist

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Children & Family
Director David Lean
Starring Alec Guinness, Robert Newton
Supporting actors Anthony Newley, Kay Walsh, Francis Sullivan, Henry Stephenson, Mary Clare, John Howard Davies
Studio Echelon
BBFC rating Universal, suitable for all
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Room for a View VINE VOICE on 16 Jun 2008
Format: DVD
Dickens' tale of workhouse dehumanisation, middle-class arrogance, urban poverty, street crime and domestic violence balanced against moments of extreme tenderness and altruistic warmth is superbly conveyed in Lean's monumental cinema adaptation. Although significant parts of the novel are missing, such as the events occurring during Oliver's walk to London and his involvement in a botched house robbery in Chertsey, the overall impression is one of an enormous sensitivity to Dickens's work, particularly the characterisation - the fragile, victimised Oliver, the monstrous but likeable Fagin, the harrowing Bill Sykes and his wonderful dog Bulls eye. I recommend a look at Cruikshank's drawings which accompanied the novel - the likenesses to the actors in the film is remarkable. Cinematic moments of genius include the opening sequence with Oliver's mother, the snuffed out street lamp after Nancy's murder and Bulls eye's betrayal of his master. The foreshortened sets depicting the squalor and claustrophobia of early nineteenth-century working-class London are incredibly realistic. And to think this was all filmed in a studio lot at Pinewood! For me this is the best Oliver Twist on celluloid - I only wish David Lean had the time and money to make a much longer film and include all the bits of the novel that are missing.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Norman Cheeseworthy on 27 Feb 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was stunned by just how powerful this film is - from the opening scene of Oliver's mother on the moor, to the final struggle on the roof, I was amazed at what an impact it had on me. Like most people, I suspect, I was already familiar with the plot and events, having read the book several times as well as watching various other adaptations, but even so, the way they were presented here was if I was seeing them for the very first time.

Nancy's death was shown in a way that really made me grimace, despite not actually seeing any of the violence - and therein lies the genius of David Lean. It's not what you see, but what you don't.

The restored version of the film is simply stunning too - so clean and sharp, and the extras are a real eye opener too.

Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kilrymont on 4 Feb 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Rather hard to award less than five stars for this wonderful adaptation. These notes are NOT for the double disc edition with Great Expectations bundled into a two film set, it's for the Special Edition of O.Twist.

As usual Amazon's delivery time was examplary. A side issue perhaps but it does contribute to the buying experience.

I read the book many years ago and have the musical version, which runs the story a little simplified compared to this one, which incorporates the Monks/Fagin sub plot. From memory this is a pretty faithful rendering of Dickens' novel, although the screenplay's slightly skinny here and there when one remembers the genius of Dickens' dialogue.

The cast was pretty good overall, with only occasional bursts of overacting from Kay Walsh and Robert Newton who it seems was rather pickled for much of the production and sometimes had to be sent home after lunchtime's imbibings. I felt a little disappointed in the depth given to Sykes by Newton and didn't feel he warranted his top billing. For me, that honour should have been Alec Guiness's. The man's a genius. His Fagin set the standard that for me was approached but not surpassed by Ron Moody's from the musical. This Fagin is far darker and more thoroughly evil that was Moody's.

Oliver was played by an unknown waif who was the son of a pair of screenwriters, and did a pretty decent job, although his posh accent is desperately hard to credit when the film tells us he's been raised in a workhouse beside the detritus of society of the period. The film doesn't say where the workhouse was, only that it's seven days on the road for Oliver when walking to London to escape his earlier life.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By evansretford@northnotts-gofree.co.uk on 2 Jun 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Most definately the best adaptation of Dickens' novel. The opening sequence builds up a great sense of horror and drama which keeps you on the edge of your seat. Frances Sullivan is wonderful at playing the cruel but comical beadle. He and Mrs Mann are a great contrast to each other and make a great double act on screen. Perhaps the best and most memorable actor from this film is the wonderful Sir Alec Guiness who is so convincing as the roguish but kind Fagin - and who would guess that Sir Alec was only 22 at the time of playing the character! Robert Newton is also convincing as the horribly cruel Bill Sykes - he livens up the screen with his cruel ways and bad manners and scares the life out of the viewer with the horrifying murder of Nancy. Right up until he dies he holds the screen in the palm of his hands and never fails to frighten or shock the viewer. Of course I must credit John Howard Davies who played the orphan Oliver brilliantly and held you, the viewer in the palm of his hands. One thing that has made the film so successful is the ammount of research the director has put into the film, the sets are magnificent and very believable for its day. Even down to the coffin snuff box of Mr Sowerberry - every prop is true to the story and makes the film all the more believable.
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