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U rating
  • Contains mild scary scenes and violence
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Oliver Twist (1946)

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Oliver Twist (1946) U rating

Arguably the essential Dickens adaptation, David Lean’s evocative portrayal of Victorian London in sooty black and white features Alec Guinness as a memorably sinister Fagin.

Period drama 1948 116 mins

Director: David Lean

Overview

The best-known cinematic adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel is also a key film in the career of the British great David Lean, as he moved further towards visually lavish literary adaptations. The story of orphaned Oliver’s exploits after he runs away from the workhouse is rendered with highly cinematic monochrome beauty by Lean and cinematographer Guy Green.

Alec Guinness’ highly theatrical Fagin remains the most memorable interpretation of the character while John Howard Davies delivers the most perfectly innocent onscreen Oliver. A regular feature in lists of the best British films of all time (it came 46th in the BFI’s poll of 1999), the film endures for many reasons, not least its evocative and perilous depiction of Victorian London. Restoration supported by The David Lean Foundation.