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Pride and Prejudice (BBC, 1980)
Pride and Prejudice
BBC, 1980
Actors: Elizabeth Garvie, David Rintoul, Emma Jacobs, Moir Leslie, Sabina Franklyn
Director: Cyril Coke
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
NR     2004     4hr 25min

Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 02/22/2005 Starring: Desmond Adams Edward Arthur Rating: Nr Director: Cyril Coke


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Movie Details

Actors: Elizabeth Garvie, David Rintoul, Emma Jacobs, Moir Leslie, Sabina Franklyn
Director: Cyril Coke
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Television
Studio: BBC Warner
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 08/24/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1980
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 4hr 25min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Amanda D. (sophiesperspective)
Reviewed on 2/13/2013...
This P&P was different for me than the other two versions I have watched. The most recent version is only decent in my opinion for an exceptionally abbreviated version of the lesser important parts of the book. Every time I see that version I like Keira Knightley less and less in playing Elizabeth Bennett also. It just doesn't come across as genuine to me. Mrs. Bennett definitely steals the show. I think she is the best Mrs. Bennett to date, and Mr. Bennett is also probably the best to be found. Okay, and Lady Catherine de Bourgh was excellent also.

The BBC/A&E version is essentially wonderful, and probably still my favorite of these three that I have seen. I think the Lizzy in that version is a good balance and wit and respect, and Colin Firth does a wonderful job of transitioning from cold, hard Mr. Darcy to seeing his true nature. That version is also mostly accurate to the book.

This version is also fairly accurate, and I definitely enjoyed watching it. The feel of the movie was entirely different though. I still haven't been able to put my finger on it. David Rintoul was a sensational Mr. Darcy. I think he pulled off the high-and-mighty Mr. Darcy far better than either of the others. While the transition was there in his character I felt that Lizzy did more of the transforming than Darcy in this version. I felt just a touch more warmth would have completely sold me on David being "the" Mr. Darcy... and he might be my favorite Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth Garvie did a very good job of portraying Elizabeth Bennett. I found it interesting to watch this portrayal because Lizzy was not as saucy and, while still being quite firm in her opinion, was respectful and considerate while speaking her mind. I think this version showed a more accurate version of what Lizzy probably would have actually been like in personality and disposition. Though, since I was used to thinking of her with a tad more spice I think I slightly prefer Jennifer Ehle.

I must say all of the Mr. Collins in these movies were excellent choices. The one in this 1980 version was over the top. I could not stand the man (which, of course, is good in this case). My biggest complaint about all three movies is that no one has translated Georgiana to the screen properly. That does irk me some.

I would definitely recommend this version of P&P even with its 4 hour running time. Break it up into segments if you need to, but I suggest watching it in one sitting for its full effect. I give it two thumbs up! :-)

EDIT: This is actually my favorite version of Pride and Prejudice now. It grows on your leaps and bounds each time I see it (which has only been like 2 or 3). I think that Rintoul is the absolute best Darcy, and I think his portrayal does that best at showing how, yes, Mr. Darcy grew in character, but also was misunderstood. Also, I think Lizzie is the most accurately portrayed. While the filmography certainly doesn't win any awards, I think the rest of the movie steals the show.

(originally published on:
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Renee P. from ST AUGUSTINE, FL
Reviewed on 2/13/2012...
not as good as the newer BBC version
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Which adaptation is better? It depends on what you want
Newinocean | USA | 10/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I've lost count of how many times I've read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - it's one of my very favorite books. Comparing the two miniseries adaptations of it -- the more recent one by A&E/BBC (Pride and Prejudice - The Special Edition (A&E, 1996)) and this one done in the 80s by BBC -- there are definite advantages to each. The one you choose depends on what you want. If you want a really good and fun modern romantic comedy, watch the A&E version. But if you want what is closest to Austen's novel (which I prefer), watch the older BBC version.


1) It is a visual feast: The costumes, sets and scenery are exquisite and make this version worth watching for that reason alone. They obviously had a larger budget than the 80s version, which is done in the old BBC 'stage play' style.

2) Since this version is 75 minutes longer than the BBC version, you get to enjoy that much more of Austen's incomparable dialogue - the best ever written in the English language besides Shakespeare, in my opinion!

3) In the interplays between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, their emotions are much more pronounced and open than in the BBC version... which makes their relationship more openly romantic even than in the novel. This is developed further by some scenes of them individually that weren't in the novel. In the 80s version and the novel, many of the subtleties of their relationship and feelings are left to the imagination. The A&E version is more in the unsubtle style of a typical modern romantic movie, which gives a wonderful new dimension to the story. The "unexpected proposal" scene is absolutely perfect; I think Austen would have loved it!

4) Casting Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. Although not as strikingly handsome as David Rintoul's Darcy in the 80s version (in the book, Darcy is far handsomer than Bingley), Firth adds the right amount of visible emotion to the character which David R. did not, while also maintaining a very aristocratic, refined air about him.


1) It is much more faithful to the historical setting of the novel. It captures much more accurately the slow-moving, thoughtful, refined, restrained, purist, obsessed-with-manners (but still quite amusing) aristocratic society of 18th century England. This to me gives not only a needed believability to, but also a much deeper understanding of, the characters and story. Austen's novels were very realistic and true to their time and place, so if you want the genuine Austen feel rather than the 'in-your-face' Hollywood style, see the 80s version (or just stick to the book). The A&E version comes across as being 20th century American, just cloaked in 18th century England costumes and sets. Some people have praised this aspect of it, saying that the 80s version is boring by comparison. But I believe that Austen's intent was that the interest in her novels would lie with her detailed character studies and intricate relational plots. That's what made her books so interesting, without all the action-packed gallivanting around and crassness which Hollywood seems to think is a necessity to entertainment. The 80s version recognizes this and retains a historical elegance and dignity; the A&E version does not. (In the A&E version, Bingley's two supposedly high class sisters slouch around, make faces and giggle audibly behind people's backs. Everyone seems to be constantly running, skipping or galloping somewhere. The less-than-savory characters, like Mary, Lydia, Kitty, and Mr. Wickham, look and act like they are from a much lower social class, in ways that go below what would have been acceptable in their class. A visitor to the Bennett home accidentally sees one of the sisters in her undergarments. When E. visits Pemberley, she sees Mr. D. coming from a dip in a pond with a wet undershirt on, rather than just having arrived in a carriage as in the book.)

2) The casting is better in the BBC version and each actor is completely natural and believable in his or her role. In the A&E version, much of the casting does not seem to fit the characters: Elizabeth comes across as being about twenty years older than she is (with a constantly knowing look as if she's already married with children), Mrs. Bennett seems too intelligent to be so silly, Charlotte seems snobby rather than humble, Miss Bingley seems cold and sharp rather than sweetly slimy, Mr. Collins is like a cartoon and not a believable person, and the five Bennett sisters don't look at all like they could be related to each other. The actors seemed quite competent, just not cast in the right roles, and maybe directed to overplay them.

3) The 80s BBC version gives the same attention to each character that Austen's novel does. In the A&E version, only the principal characters are focused on, with the result that many of the characters who we should have gotten to know better seemed to just be cardboard props, and their relationships with each other don't come across as being as intimate and familiar as they really are in the novel. For example, Elizabeth had a much deeper relationship with both her father and with her Aunt Gardiner than the A&E version portrayed, because it left out some key scenes between those characters. The only ones I could perceive as being really close in the A&E version were Elizabeth and Jane - and in the last half, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. This is a great loss, because Austen's novels are all about the relationships between people, and each of their interesting personality quirks. They are character studies -- not just of the main characters, but of ALL the characters.

Sorry for the length, but P&P is a special book and I wanted to share my full views on these adaptations for anyone trying to decide between them!

BUT AS ALWAYS, it's a good idea to 1) read the negative reviews as well as the positive, since they are wildly different from each other, and 2) RENT before you buy!"
Better than A&E's! Trust Me!!
anna-joelle | Malaysia | 07/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have watched the newer A&E adaptation of "Pride & Prejudice" (starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth) a couple of years ago, and enjoyed it very much. Last week, I borrowed from the local British Council Library, the video of this much earlier (1980) adaptation of Austen's novel. And my verdict? I find this earlier production to be MUCH, MUCH superior to A&E's!!

The casting is perfect, principally Elizabeth Garvie (an Elizabeth playing "Elizabeth Bennett", how very nice!), David Rintoul (as Mr Darcy) and the actors playing Mr & Mrs Bennett (brilliant performance from both), Mr Collins, Charlotte Lucas and oh, just about EACH and EVERY character! I must give my opinion that I find the Mr Darcy here far handsomer than that portrayed by Colin Firth. David Rintoul's Darcy is classically handsome - tall, dark, brooding, with nicely chiselled features and a very noble bearing. I loved to hear him speak. Elizabeth here is reasonably pretty too, has a ready wit and also displays great sensibility and generosity (I thought Jennifer Ehle was a little chubby for her character). The Mr Collins in this earlier production is also truer to the book; he is still odious, self-centred and annoying to the last degree, but is less of a caricature than that portrayed in A&E's version.

But I enjoyed this production best of all for the following 3 reasons:

1) I like it that some of Elizabeth's most important thoughts are made known to the viewer through a voice-over. For instance, after rejecting Darcy's proposal, we find Elizabeth, not in tears like in the A&E's version, but thoughtful and a little dazed, and as she sits down to "digest" what has just happened, the voice-over lets us know what she is thinking. At the end of her thoughts, when she smiles and concludes that she finds Darcy's proposal, "gratifying", I find it plausible. Who in Elizabeth's position wouldn't find Darcy's proposal flattering?

2) Although made in 1980, this production does not look at all "jaded" or 1980s (unlike many earlier BBC dramas). The costumes are beautiful (with many costume changes for the main characters) and the make-up does not give the impression that this is an outdated production. The characters too do not look like they are wearing wigs. I only wish it will be made available on DVD soon with perhaps the colour and picture quality improved.

3) The ending here is more pleasing and romantic than A&E's. The words uttered by our hero and heroine in the end are sweet and romantic and will stay in the viewer's mind for a long time.

If you have enjoyed A&E's adaptation, then I urge you to pick up this earlier video and see for yourself why the latter is the better and more enjoyable production. I also notice that the newer adaptation actually took a lot of "ideas" from this earlier production.

To me, this video was 259 minutes of pure viewing pleasure!"
This version vs. later Colin Firth version
Katharine Carrillo | San Francisco, CA USA | 05/24/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I think all of the previous reviews have interesting points of view, particularly in comparing this version to the later one starring Colin Firth. I think they both have their good points--I like this version mainly for Elizabeth Garvie's portrayal of Elizabeth, which seems much more true to the book. She's witty and also excitable; Jennifer Ehle portrays an Elizabeth who is so mellow she isn't very much like the original character. I also in this version much preferred Mr. Bennett (in the later version he seems more like a kindly old man than the sarcastic and eccentric wit of the book), Lady Catherine, Jane, and Miss Bingley. Although I think I preferred the Jane in this early version simply because she's actually pretty--the later version's actress, though perfectly competent, was not very attractive, and Jane's purported beauty is kind of important in the book itself. I also liked the Mr. Darcy in this version--I think one reason Firth comes off better is because you just get to see more of him so you start to warm up to him--David Rintoul doesn't get the same opportunity.What I did like about the second version was its dramatization of Mr. Darcy's going to London and seeking Wickham and Lydia, as well as what he went through with Wickham attempting to run off with his sister. It fleshed it out.Of the more minor characters: Lydia was MUCH better in the later version than in this one. I think Miss Bingley was better in the first version. She seemed more comfortable with her lines, and wasn't as obviously bitchy--it made more sense that she would seek a friendship with Jane, at least initially.Lady Catherine is much better in this version, mainly because she's much better fleshed out. She's hilarious.Both of the series have elements where they are more true to the book than the other--I can't say I thought one was more true than the other. For example, in the book Elizabeth was outraged at Charlotte's marrying Mr. Collins; in the later version she's likewise upset (although gets over it quickly); in this version she a little surprised but overall quite sympathetic about it with Charlotte. On the other hand, in this version while Elizabeth is staying with Charlotte she's constantly running into Mr. Darcy while she's out walking, clearly by design on his part-he's courting her even if she doesn't quite get it because of previous experiences. So when he finally proposes it makes more sense that he might think that she would be "expecting his addresses" even if she doesn't--and all that is in the book. In the later Colin Firth version he simply runs into her by accident once while on horseback, stares at her, and moves on. So his proposal comes out of left field, why should she be "expecting his addresses"? (I'm getting that from towards the end of the book, when they've finally gotten together, and he tells her that he thought she would be expecting his proposal--a scene that is also in both versions.)"