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Great Expectations (BBC, 1981)
Great Expectations
BBC, 1981
Actors: Gerry Sundquist, Jason Smart, Derek Francis, Colin Jeavons, Joan Hickson
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
NR     2005     5hr 51min

Violence and Victorian gentility meet in this powerful adaptation of one of Dickens's greatest creations. While passing through the churchyard where his mother is buried, a young Pip encounters a desperate convict, Magwitc...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Gerry Sundquist, Jason Smart, Derek Francis, Colin Jeavons, Joan Hickson
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
Studio: BBC Warner
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 09/06/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1981
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 5hr 51min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Reasonable (If Not Special) Version of Dickens Classic
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 01/25/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"There are so many versions of this beloved story of Dickens. It is hard not to confuse one from another, so let me begin with the facts. This BBC TV series were made in 1981, and run as long as about 300 minutes. It stars Gerry Sandquist as adult Pip, Sarah-Jane Varley as grown-up Estella (now the former is no more, and the latter seems retired). The original story is a very famous one, which is about a boy Pip whose love for Estella changes his life forever, so I won't repeat it here. The series here actually cover the story very faithfully, and even the minor characters are not neglected. There are slight changes here and there, but they are minor ones compared with previous filmed versions. So, you see not only Herbert Pocket but his poor father and mother (whose only concern is the aristocratic families). This means you spend so many time to reach the conclusion, and you should see it at two sittings. And you will watch Mr. Wopstle's terrible Hamlet.About many actors that join in the production; some are good, some not, others so-so (like many standard BBC products), but most memorable is Miss Havisham played by Joan Hickson (better known as Miss Marple in the same BBC series), and Jaggers by Derek Francis. In fact, these Jaggers and Wemmick (by Colin Jeavons) are the most convincing in the whole history of the adaptaions of "Great Expectations." And you can see Patsy Kensit as young Estella. She is good, but the best Estella (as a cruel and enticing girl) still remains Jean Simmons in David Lean version.This is no classic, and sometimes it betrays its TV origin. Sometimes you notice the drastic contrast between the tone of the interior shot and that of exterior shot, (which happens often in BBC outings, as is the case with "Bean" or "Monty Python"). But all in all the result is satisfactory with its good pace. Slightly above average."
Best movie in the world!
wavy3 | Ma. USA | 05/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is very faithful to the book. The actors are great, especially Pip, ages 8 and adult, the 12 year old isnt so good. Herbert is excellent, and this is around 5 hours long, and just wonderful, touching and classic."
Finally, the best adaptation of a Dickens' classic
Cat | Southern California | 12/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I've seen many versions of Great Expectations and I think Director Julian Amyes hit the mark on this one. I wasn't too pleased with his version of 'The Old Curiosity Shop,' so I approached Great Expectations with some hesitancy. Like many of Amyes' productions, the strength of his theatre trained actors carry the show. The cast in "Expectations" was exceptional-especially Gerry Sundquist as Pip and Stratford Johns as Magwitch. Joan Hickson is also incredible as the jilted bride, Miss Havisham. Some of the negative reviews on this page point to the length of this production. I watched this entire series in two nights and didn't find it excessively long. In fact, it was edited quite well and at the end of each episode there was an appropriate amount of suspense. Despite it's length, the story is easy to follow especially if you're not familiar with this tale. In a nutshell, it concerns Pip, a young boy of low birth who suddenly finds his wish to be a gentleman fulfilled with the aid of a secret benefactor. There are many themes but none as important as social division, revenge, and the consequences of subterfuge. Dickens is a master of finding intricate and clever ways to intertwine his characters and make even the most insignificant person become vastly important to his stories. This series has immense value and it's unfortunate it has been reviewed so negatively simply because it was filmed in segments and it was "too bleak." Please. Bleakness was part of Dickens' world, but, as with 'Expectations," his characters experience redemption, transformation, and justice for the oppressed."
A Charming Adaptation of one of the World's Greatest Books
Jeremy Storly | 10/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Make yourself a haystack of buttered toast, pour yourself some tea, and try to resist the urge to steal the pork pie and brandy from the pantry. Originally produced by the BBC as a TV mini-series, this is the adaptation to see for those who enjoy Dickens for enjoyment's sake. All the characters are here, and all your favorite scenes from the novel (with the exception of Wemmick's wedding scene, one of the most delightful comic scenes from the book, which is sadly absent).

Okay, so the acting is not superb, the settings often seem stagey, and Julian Amyes is not about to win any awards for originality, but this is a production that is to be enjoyed in spite of its flaws, a movie that is to be treasured for its faithfulness, not for its artistic merit. Its length may seem daunting, but, like Dickens' novel, this was created as a serial and may be enjoyed over the course of a week or more. There are certainly much worse ways to spend 351 minutes of your life. Enjoy the film!

NOTE: For those looking for a more earnest, concise production of 'Great Expectations', the 1999 Julian Jarrold version that ran on Masterpiece Theatre is highly recommended."