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Oliver Twist [DVD]

Ben Kingsley , Barney Clark , Roman Polanski    Parental Guidance   DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
Price: £4.24 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Oliver Twist [DVD] + Oliver Twist (BBC) [2007] [DVD] + Oliver! [DVD] [1968]
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Product details

  • Actors: Ben Kingsley, Barney Clark, Jamie Foreman, Harry Eden, Jeremy Swift
  • Directors: Roman Polanski
  • Producers: Roman Polanski, Robert Benmussa, Alain Sarde
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 13 Feb 2006
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,432 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Roman Polanski's adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic novel. When Oliver Twist (Barney Clark) escapes from a miserable apprenticeship to London, the Artful Dodger (Harry Eden) initiates him into an infamous gang of pickpockets led by the notorious Fagin (Sir Ben Kingsley). After a robbery goes wrong an innocent Oliver soon finds himself on the run from the evil Bill Sykes (Jamie Foreman).


If Charles Dickens were alive to see Roman Polanski's faithful adaptation of Oliver Twist, he'd probably give it his stamp of approval. David Lean's celebrated 1948 version of the Dickens classic and Carol Reed's Oscar-winning 1968 musical are more entertaining in some ways, but Polanski's rendition is both painstakingly authentic (with superb cinematography and production design) and deeply rooted in the emotional context of the story. Both Polanski and Dickens had personal experiences similar to those of young Oliver (played here by Barney Clark)--Polanski in the Nazi-occupied ghettos of Poland during World War II, and Dickens during his hard-scrabble youth in Victorian London--and this spiritual kinship lends a certain gravitas to the tale of a tenacious orphan who escaped from indentured servitude in London society and is taken in by Fagin (Ben Kingsley) and his streetwise gang of pickpockets.

As the evil Bill Sykes, who exploits Oliver for his own nefarious needs, Jamie Foreman is no match for Oliver Reed (in the '68 musical) in terms of frightening menace, but even here, Polanski's direction hews closer to Dickens, while the screenplay by Ronald Harwood (who also wrote Polanski's The Pianist) necessarily trims away subplots and characters for the sake of narrative economy. All in all, this Oliver Twist rises above most previous versions, and with the benefit of Kingsley's nuanced performance, Polanski arrives at a compassionate conclusion that captures the essence of Dickens' novel in a way that viewers of all ages will appreciate for many years to come.-- Jeff Shannon

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More beautiful and human than heartbreaking 24 Oct 2007
This recent adaptation of Dickens' Oliver Twist is just one more in a long, long series, would you say. And you would be wrong. But what can it bring that could be new on a subject we all know since this book and this story are classics that everyone knows and that are even at times kind of over-repeated. Roman Polanski decides to renew the treatment of the theme by using the fact that we know all major events and episodes by going as fast as possible on the core of the episodes and insisting on what is around, before or after. If the episode is hard, like Nancy's death, he uses an ellipse that shortens it. If the episode is over-known, like the begging for more porridge, he centers the scene on the drawing of who is going to volunteer, and then on what comes before and follows. That enables Polanski to avoid melodrama and a sentimentalese treatment and to concentrate on the human side of things. He is helped in his attempt by the admirable acting of Ben Kingsley as Fagan. Of course Polanski cannot bring anything new on the subject and he concentrates on the pictorial and plastic beauty of this color adaptation and on the extreme sincerity of the actors, good or evil. But is it able to erase the unforgettable post-war black and white adaptation in our memory? Probably not, but they are so different that they don't compete.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Polanski on his best behaviour - unfortunately 27 Aug 2006
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist is one of the least Polanski films ever made. It looks like a Polanski film for the most part, but the edge has been dulled: like the too spick and span streets in the Prague sets, there's no feeling that this film has been lived in. It's also curious how little impact almost any of the cast make aside from Leanne Rowe's Nancy or Edward Hardwicke's Mr Brownlow, but then with the exception of the chimney sweep none of them are given much of an introduction. Too many, like Ben Kingsley's underwhelming Fagin, are just discovered as part of a scene without any weight or emphasis. Even Bill Sykes is a figure of near disinterest, but then despite having the breeding (his father is a notorious London villain), Jamie Foreman has always lacked menace on screen. In fact, virtually none of them even get a single close-up, as Polanski contrives to avoid them almost entirely throughout the film. It's perfectly acceptable storytelling and Rachel Portman's score is pleasing, but it's a film that you watch, sometimes literally with its preponderance of mastershots, at a distance.

The film is very slightly cut (the UK censor's snipped a few seconds from Nancy's exit), but otherwise boasts a decent 2.35:1 widescreen transfer.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Can I have some more please sir?" 27 Jan 2006
By A Customer
There's nothing particularly wrong with Roman Polanski's new Oliver Twist, it looks great and has a lovely musical score, but there's something wrong when at the movie's end all you can talk about are the sets, lighting, costumes, and music. One gets the feeling that the award-winning director, who so moved us with the Pianist a few years ago, just didn't have his heart in it or was unable to connect emotionally to the story. Technically sound and surprisingly faithful to its source material, this Oliver Twist comes across as rather uninspired and flat.
Most frustrating is that we hardly need another movie adaptation of Oliver Twist when there are other Dickens books that haven't been given the major movie treatment that would better suit Polanski's talented vision. Which begs the question of why it was even made. I'm not quite sure why this version of Oliver Twist doesn't work, all the attributes are there, it has high production values and inspired character actors. It's all totally acceptable, yet the movie seems to lack passion.
Polanski does, however, breath some life into the essential themes of the novel. The juxtaposing forces of human misery and kindness are all there, along with the scathing social comment. Oliver's life is indeed tragic. His story begins at an orphanage, but he is soon kicked out for bad behavior. His next stop is working for a coffin-maker, but mistreatment causes him to run away. After a cruel, seven-day trek to London, he meets Artful Dodger (Harry Eden) and becomes one of the merry band of thieves ruled by the rapacious Fagin (Ben Kingsley).
A chance encounter with a wealthy businessman, Mr.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New Twist on Old 13 April 2010
I have seen this film several times before but never tire of watching it. The story is authentic with a couple of twists, such as drawing the short straw for 'asking for more' - no prizes for who that turns out to be. Ben Kingsley gives a faultless performance as Fagin and Polanski's prowess in the Director's chair shines throughout. You may well think that an old story cannot still be magical, but this production proves otherwise.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oliver Twist Film Review by Charlie Parsons 17 Dec 2012
This is one of Roman Polanski's best pieces of work! From Oliver Twist (Barney Clark) to Bill Sykes (Jamie Forman) they all act as if they've spent their lifetime on this stunning film. Oliver Twist moves from the workhouse to a millionaire's mansion in an action packed adventure.

For anyone who doesn't know the story of Oliver Twist very well, it's basically about a young boy who tries to escape a city of criminals but gets himself into a lot of trouble and mischief on the way.

I recommend this film to anybody with a parent with them! I would definitely give this film 5 out of 5 stars! What a brilliant film!

by Charlie
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
quick service, dvds good
Published 20 days ago by l j colbeck
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 3 months ago by Miss L F Clargo
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent literary adaptation – but Mr. Polanski, where are you?
Roman Polanski’s 2005 Dickens adaptation Oliver Twist is very typical of his latter-day work. It is beautifully made, extremely well written, perfectly cast and acted with... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Film Buff
4.0 out of 5 stars Oliver Twist Dvd
I love the film Oliver.I got the same film from the library and liked it so much,that I decided to buy it on here.
Published 7 months ago by angela
2.0 out of 5 stars No, No, No !!!
Having seen far better productions of this story, this one didn't come across at all, couldn't wait for the end to arrive
Published 8 months ago by LOTTO WIZARD
5.0 out of 5 stars Good adaptation of a Classic
This is a very good adaptation of the classic, in my opinion I think that this is just as good as the classic musical version but gives you a better insight into the characters and... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Joe
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book for children
I bought this book for my six year old son he has read it cover to cover a number times I love too see the smile on his face when Oliver is safe.
Published 13 months ago by Mark Harrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Another kind of Oliver
This film is a veritable masterpiece. In the capable hands of director Roman Polanski, the film is more than just another version of Charles Dickens' drama etched in celluloid. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Sandy_Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable retelling of classic tale.
This story from Charles Dickens is one of my favourites, I thoroughly enjoyed this classic retelling of such a famous tale.
Published 19 months ago by Kelloggs
5.0 out of 5 stars please may i have another good rating
very good service , came quite quickly, not sure if it's english tho lol
i would recommnd any 1 that has'nt seen this materpeice to watch it
Published 19 months ago by Ben Jenkins
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