Mar 8

The many screen adaptations of Pride and Prejudice

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a producer in search of a good fortune, will try to adapt Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. But if you need proof, then look up the number of  adaptations that this story has inspired!

Now if you have read my last post, you know that I loved the book – a little too much maybe. But to be honest, I was obsessed! So naturally, I re-read it, and then I did the next best thing – check out the screen adaptations – and boy were there a few of those!

Today I am going to do quick reviews, of the 3 adaptations of this classic, that I have seen. I would love to hear your thoughts, if you have seen them too.

If there are any others that you have seen, do let me know. Well, outside of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Yeah, no. Let’s not go there. 

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Bride & Prejudice (Featuring Martin Henderson & Aishwarya Rai)

Bride-and-PrejudiceI have to say this before anything else – this is NOT a real adaptation. Yes, there are many parallels that can be drawn, but it is, at best – a very watered down version of the classic. It is more like a drop of Pride and Prejudice in a tub of water – that’s the amount of dilution.

Moreover, in this one, there is this whole Indian/Foreigner angle, which essentially turns it into something else altogether. Not a bad plot line at all, but not Pride and Prejudice.

And as handsome as he is, Martin Henderson is no Darcy ( to be fair, I need to mention here, that in my mind – there is just ONE Mr. Darcy, so no one else would work anyway, but we will come to that later).

As far as the rest of the cast, I believe they got the basic character sketches right, much better than the next adaptation that I am going to mention. Also, peppy Bollywood numbers are a definite improvement over stuffy balls (though there are far too many of them).

Overall – It is a decent one-time watch, but not a true adaptation. So if you don’t mind a diluted/altered version, this one is available on Netflix in English (streaming plan), and also on Amazon here – Bride and Prejudice.

Pride & Prejudice – Movie (2005) ( Featuring Matthew MacFadyen & Keira Knightley)

Pride-and-Prejudice-MovieThis is the first thing that pops up on google if you try to search Pride and Prejudice adaptations, and Matthew MacFadyen will come up as Mr. Darcy, which I feel is SO unfortunate, because I really disliked this adaptation in so many ways!

The irony here is that while this is more of a true adaptation than the earlier one I mentioned, they have done a horrible job of translating it on screen – they tried to copy the content, but butchered the essence of the story.

The character sketches are not true to the book – the most annoying alterations were to the lead pair – Lizzy was shown as this overly giggly, yet tomboyish character (though Keira Knightley acted well); and Darcy – ugh! – I am sure that Jane Austen must have turned in her grave seeing Matthew MacFadyen cast as Mr. Darcy. He doesn’t look the part, nor can he act!

There was only one thought in my mind – Make it stop. Make. It. Stop. Tell the bad man to go away, someone – please!

Overall – Don’t watch this version of Pride and Prejudice. Just don’t do this to yourself. But if you have rebellious tendencies, this one is also available on Netflix (streaming plan), or you can get it on Amazon here – Pride and Prejudice Movie(Just know that you have been warned.)

Pride and Prejudice – BBC Mini Series (1995) (Featuring Colin Firth & Jennifer Ehle)

Pride-and-Prejudice-BBCThis is as good a time as any to mention this – there is just ONE Mr. Darcy, and it is Colin Firth, in the very BEST adaptation of the classic – the BBC mini series.

This mini series by BBC consisting of 6 episodes of 50ish minutes each, is I believe, the gold standard for book to screen adaptations – not just of this book, but any book.

Admittedly it has almost 6 hours of run time, which enables it to faithfully translate the story to screen, include all the plot twists and turns, and also retain Austen’s dialogues.

But really, there is so much more to love – perfect casting, great acting, and Colin Firth! Yes, I know, I have mentioned him earlier, but he is worth mentioning again – just look at him!


If you haven’t seen this – GO WATCH IT NOW! You can thank me later!

It is available on YouTube (as of now), or you can get it on Amazon here  – Pride and Prejudice BBC Mini Series. (This one is worth buying to keep it in your collection.)

Have you guys watched any of these adaptations? Or any others, outside of these three? Do share your thoughts in the comments. I would love to hear from you!

Lots of Love

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  1. I’ve watched the one with Knightly in it..haven’t watched the one with Firth..but if you say so, I’ll make it a point to watch it..the book of course trumps everything for me 🙂

  2. Lata Sunil says:

    Shantala, so glad you watched the Colin Firth version. Isn’t he the best? It seems there is a black and white movie too of P&P. Will check it out. As for Keira Knightly version, I watched it for about half an hour and didn’t like it. I couldn’t take in her giggly self. But, long ago, before even Ramayan was shown on TV (before you were born I think), there was a Doordarshan serial called Trishna which was based on P&P. The setting was Mumbai. It was very good. In fact, I saw that serial first and got hooked to Pride and Prejudice. But, sadly, no online thing exists.

  3. I saw the one with Colin Firth and Keira Knightley back to back. Of course, Mr Darcy is Colin Firth, there’s no doubt about it. But I liked Keira in her role – maybe cos I’m a tad partial to her.
    Helen Fielding intended Bridget Jones to be a modern retelling, and I do agree there are some parallels (for one, the main guy is an arrogant, moody dude named Mark Darcy, also played by Colin Firth in the movie). I didn’t like the book(s) but the movie was fantastic (the first one – the sequel not so much). The sequel was a retelling of another Austen novel. I can’t recollect which one.
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  4. My favourite romance of all time!
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  5. Couldn’t read much of your post because I went into a Darcy haze when I read ‘Colin Firth’. Will come back when I recover.
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  6. How do you expect that you will mention Darcy and I will not keep on staring at the screen? The ultimate dream man. Sigh..! There a few in the Netflix too and I have watched them multiple times.But NOTHING beats reading the book. Right ?

  7. I have watched the mini series with mom.. Not regularly, but that made me want to read the book!
    So I started reading the book while I was prepping for Boards. I gave it up half way, but now after reading this post I might just go back to reading it. I stopped at that part when Mr. Darcy proposed to her. It’s supposed to get interesting after that, isn’t it? 😀

  8. How many times I have watched Colin Firth express his love for Lizzy!!! It’s beautiful!!! oh the words!!
    I haven’t watched the second one… and couldn’t complete the first … well becasue it was too bollywoodish
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  9. I’ve seen all 3 and enjoyed them all. And like Lata I also watched Trishna on doordarshan and enjoyed that too.
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  10. Cool post! I have to admit I really liked the version with Keira and Matthew too, though I agree that Lizza came out all wrong.

  11. Unfortunately I have seen the first two, but not the last one. Even I found Mathew MacFayden too wooden, but Keira acted well. I think I’ll watch Colin Firth’s and will read the book again! Your enthusiasm is infectious 😀
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  12. Shanaya, I just remembered there was a TV serial on Doordarshan in 80s called Trishna adapted from Pride and Prejudice, I liked it, after that I read the book . 🙂
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  13. I own that version already. And you are right. Colin Firth, is Mr. Darcy. He does the ‘over proud’ attitude down just right. The other characters are well cast in that version also. Now I want to watch it again when I should be writing. I’m blaming you.
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  14. Colin Firth ..ultimate Darcy

  15. Ahh, a never ending addiction of Mr. Darcy! I loved the second movie, the best: the one with Keira Knightley. Thanks a lot for sharing your obsession with Pride and Prejudice. Every time I hear this name, my heart goes down the fantastic journey I had while reading this creation of Jane Austen.

  16. The book wins any day.
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  17. BBC and Colin Firth did it best, but I enjoyed the other adaptations you mentioned as well. Matthew MacFadyen was a poor choice, but I found myself slowly falling in love with him. At least when I wasn’t falling asleep. I literally fell asleep in the theater.
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  18. COMPLETELY agree with the review of all three. I LOVED Firth as Darcy and even dream about him (Okay too much information!) The Ash Rai one, the less said the better. The second one I didn’t watch because I dislike Keira Knightley and by the sound of it, it was nothing great that I missed. I recommend the BBC version to every single person. Every single person.
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  19. So, I should probably see the original first … right?

  20. Am I the only one who has not seen any of these adaptations? OMG!!
    Oh, I have seen the Tele serial Trishna which used to come on Doordarshan when we were in school.
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  21. Am bookmarking this to watch it at some point!

  22. Meghana says:

    Pride & Prejuidice…one of my all time favs….Even I remember Trishna but not very clearly..used to like it that time…I remember few of those characters…though can’t recollect who played Darcy…I only remember that I used to like hi,m more than Lizzy…Would still like to watch it again…other versions I’ve not seen yet…hope to watch them soon.

  23. I spluttered my tea and started giggling at your first sentence. Best use of “It is a truth universally acknowledged,” that I’ve seen. Well done!
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