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4.3 out of 5 stars152
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 18 July 2003
Higher than the heights of the Bonnet Rock that Elizabeth climbs in the 1995 version, this version of P&P REALLY is the pinnacle. If you had seen it first then the '95 one could hardly raise enthusiasm.
David Rintoul is textbook darcy, whilst Colin Firth just looks like a podgy bloke with a bad hairstyle. Also Elizabeth Garvey's Lizzy is convincingly prejudiced in a way that Jennifer Ehrle couldn't quite emulate, being so nice and all.
The producers and writers haven't mucked around with the script at all, either, so that if you want Jane Austen's words that's exactly what you get!
Another thing that sways the balance for me is that the atrocious characters such as Mrs Bennet and Mr Collins are marginally more bearable in this version too. The only downside is Wickham, who is smarmy, but then Wickham is always a creep!
So, if you get the chance, buy this one and you will treasure it always. It is guaranteed to cause your copy of the 1995 version to gather dust in the video cabinet from this point on!
Sadly, this version is now out of production. I feel that we, the Jane -Austen -period -drama -loving audiences are really getting the short straw now by not being able to own this one anymore.
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on 14 November 2013
I had heard that the 1980 mini-series version of Pride and Prejudice is a favourite with many people so I thought I'd give it a go. I was at first a bit alarmed by the titles as they are really dated, however, the episodes themselves are not bad at all. The style of it is almost how it could be done on stage, how characters, particularly Elizabeth, show their thoughts and so on. The acting I found to be quite wooden, but I think that is more in keeping with how period drama was acted in the 1980s, we are used to something a bit more impassioned these days.

As regards characters, I thought Mrs Bennet and Mary were portrayed very kindly and Mr Bennet unkindly (he's quite unlikeable in this version). Elizabeth was pretty true to character on the whole and Mr Darcy looked and sounded the part but I would have loved to have seen a bit more life in him! In fact, my main criticism of this version is that because Darcy shows so little emotion you don't feel that he's falling in love with Elizabeth and if you were watching it without knowing the story you might be almost as surprised as she is when he proposes!

One thing I particularly liked about this was how true it was to the story, there is much of Austen's dialogue used and most events happen as they should, which is good to see. One thing that jumps out as being changed for no good reason was Elizabeth running to Pemberley (about 5 miles!) when she receives Jane's letter, but moments like this which deviate from the story are thankfully few and far between.

In summary: true to story, set out like a stage production, acting a bit wooden, but for the Austen enthusiast it's worth watching.
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on 28 March 2004
I managed to get hold at last of this BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. I had last seen it when it was first screened, I still had a black and white tv! It had left an impression though, and on wathching it again (and this time in colour) I can see why. The screenplay, so faithful to the original, is a delight,the cast is very good, and the scenery and locations, delightful. The only reason I don't give it a 5 star rating is because it feels too much like a theatrical work compared to today's movies, and that diminishes both it's credibility and it's enjoyment. In particular, the scenes inside the Collinses house, with the cut out cardboard decor, seem straight out of a low budget theatre production. I've now ordered the 1995 BBC version to see how it compares, though I remember thinking that Colin Firth (scrumptious as he is) could not fill the shoes of David Rintoul, who was simply born to play Mr Darcy.
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on 22 May 2009
This BBC production is by far the best adaptation of Jane Austen's most popular book, with superb realistic acting by all those involved, especially the leads - Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul. I would heartily recommend this product to all true lovers of Jane Austen, who prefer to watch adaptations which run close to the book. It seems amazing that it has to be a Dutch import!
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on 5 July 2014
This is indeed Pride & prejudice in slow gear, pleasant it may be but it has not the life of it,s modern 2 rivals, the principle centrepiece Elizabeth Bennett has not the waspishness of her modern counterparts Jennifer Ehle and Keira Knightley, Mr Darcy has not the presence of Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen, but in my view this is not the worst of the four versions or indeed the best, see my other reviews of this beautiful world of Jane Austen.
It can be seen that the cast directors have selected a suitable obsequious clown for the reverent Mr Collins and the actor plays his part well with his special top hat although I always think that Tom Hollander excels in this part.
However it is possible to see from this production where the two latest versions with improvements to the presentation have come from, a useful model for the modern scriptwriters to follow, although all film makers give little attention to the novel as to the contents of the last few chapters of Jane's masterpiece.
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on 11 March 2004
This is a brilliant version, well cast and very close to the orginal text. I'm lucky enough to have a video that I bought when it was first released, but I want to replace it on dvd before it wears out. Maybe if enough people ask for it to go on to dvd it might get released.....??
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on 14 June 2015
Wanting to replace a clapped out old VHS version worn out by copying to DVD watched over and over again, and being unable to find anything produced in the UK, I bought this knowing it was a Dutch import with Dutch packaging, but I wasn't phased by it. Evidently the BBC haven't retained any of its 1980s reels of this drama to digitise to DVD (which is a shame considering I was able to get hold of Colditz and Secret Army dated even earlier).

Don't let the Dutch packaging put you off, because although the blurb on the back is written in Dutch everyone knows the story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy and you shouldn't even have to read it. Simply put your DVD into your machine, switch off the subtitles before you play the episodes (most English DVDs default to subtitles first, actually, though maybe not Dutch ones), sit back and enjoy this gentle dramatisation of Pride and Prejudice. The actors' voices are original, not dubbed over, and though this production is perhaps not as engaging as the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version (there are no wet shirt scenes at Pemberley!)and the acting is perhaps more wooden, David Rintoul makes for a very aloof and disagreeable Mr Darcy, which is how he is supposed to be portrayed. The dialogue is far more literary, the pace is slower and Fay Weldon has adhered closely to the original plot, except Netherfield Park is referred to as Netherfield Hall for some reason.

Look out for actresses Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel from Only Fools and Horses) as Mary Bennet, and Judy Parfitt (Sister Monica Joan from Call the Midwife) as Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

One final word: buy your copy from The Best on DVD (arrived when promised) not brrsales/MMRSales. My order from them was cancelled due to delivery issues. Apparently, my address was incorrect! I'm annoyed I can't leave negative feedback about this.
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on 26 March 2015
Most of the lines are delivered with a minimum of power of living the part. It feels as if they are just reading from a manuscript which makes this adaptation utterly boring. Many roles are miscast. Compared to the production with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle this version must be seen as a matter of curiosity and not worth buying unless you are a devoted fan of this drama. I am not impressed by Fay Weldon's work. Some vital parts from the novel are missing. Most dissatisfying.
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on 22 October 2010
I'm one of those people who had the VHS of this superb version, before it bit the dust due to overuse, so I confess I knew almost exactly what I was getting when buying this product. I wouldn't have been searching for this as much as I had, unless I already thought it was worthy of a 5 star review! I was, however, given a pleasant surprise when I found out a number of scenes that hadn't been in my VHS were included and there was only one of those that I didn't particularly like, so that my first viewing was littered with pleasurable moments of picking out new scenes! There is one scene in particular with Colonel Fitzwilliam at Rosings that I really enjoyed.

Some of the characterisations in this version are far closer to the book than in Pride And Prejudice - Special Edition [DVD] [1995]. David Rintoul, for example, is a far colder, more reserved Darcy than Colin Firth, and although he is possibly too reserved to his friends at times, he still does a far better job at portraying the role as written in the book. As much as I love Colin Firth as Darcy, his isn't always the most accurate portrayal. But, on the flip side, the portrayal of Mary - or at least her musical talents - is completely different to the book (rather than being accomplished but vain with a weak voice, she is rather incompetent musically) and it also takes its own liberties with some of the storytelling - for example Elizabeth's trip to Rosings Park is made without either Maria or Sir William Lucas - possibly as a result of time constraints. The slight changes really don't bother me to the amount to consider taking a star off, however. To be honest, if you could combine the two versions, you would arguably get the perfect Pride and Prejudice series, but whilst that one might be awarded 100 marks out of 100, this'll have to make do with 95 or a little more!

The only real negative I can think of is that it's an hour shorter than the 1995 version. As a result, it does at times seem rushed, at least in comparison. The denouement is certainly much shorter than the later version, and you do sometimes feel like there should have been a few more lines to a scene than there actually are, leading to a slight impression that it's all bustle. However, when you consider just how much they had to fit in, you can't see quite how they could have done things any differently in that amount of time. It's not as if it is a short watch, either - a good 270+ minutes!

I'm not going to say this is better than the 1995 version, but it is certainly as good. They each have differing strengths, the extra hour in the 1995 version really shines, perhaps some of the supporting characters are more faithful, and yet this version certainly has the more faithful main characters, and at times strikes me as being slightly more in period.
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on 22 March 2007
This may be an old production (coming up for 30) and in some ways this shows - but don't be put off by that. The script (by Fay Weldon) actually acknowledges that Jane Austen can tell the story far better than any modern meddler. The acting is universally excellent (the best ever Mr & Mrs Bennet, the only Mr. Collins worth watching, quite apart from Elizabeth and Darcy who are both perfect). Go for it.
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