which ‘pride and prejudice’ movie fan are you?

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pride-and-prejudice-dvdcover-2005

Today I’m taking a step back from my usual inspiration/exfoliation/intention filled posts and talking about something really important.

Today I’m talking about the Pride and Prejudice movies.

pride_and_prejudice

As I ‘get older’ (it’s a relative term) I realize more and more that girls even just a few years younger than me (like my intern extraordinaire, Stephanie) have only been exposed to the Keira Knightley Pride and Prejudice film from 2005. Unlike my friends and I who grew up with the BBC version from 1995 with Colin Firth. Admittedly, I am incredibly biased towards the older version. And I think it is a shame that so many young women aren’t aware of the classic 90’s version.

So, how about you? Let’s all weigh in on this important debate. Are you a fan of the older or newer Austen inspired film?

[Photo credits: BBC Pride and Prejudice cover, 2005 Pride and Prejudice]

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  1. Carlene

    Oh the old school BBC version is my favorite! Yeah I know its like 10 hours long but that’s 10 hours watching Colin Firth!!! Hahaha

    Love this entry! 🙂

  2. Kwana

    This is easy for me. I’m old school BBC with Colin Firth. I own a copy and pop it in the dvd when I’m having a down day. I’ve turned my daughter into a fan too. It’s my go to blog topic when I need a blog pick me up too. LOL. But not just for Colin all the characters there are perfect. How much do I love Mr. Collins every gesture?

  3. Jess

    @ Carlene: It IS so long, isn’t it? I think that’s why I like it too, the more Firth the better.

    @ Kwana: Nice, I wish I still had my VHS copy of the video. My brother taped over it when I was younger. Needless to say I was outraged. Collins is totally over the top, you are so right. The mother is a piece of work as well.

  4. Lacy

    Pretty cool post. I just stumbled upon your site and wanted to say
    that I have really liked browsing your blog posts. In any case
    I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon!

  5. Kaitlyn

    Is it bad that I’ve never watched either version?

  6. Nancy

    I have the Colin Firth version on DVD. I have watched it over and over and over. Wonderful. I can’t make myself watch the Keira Knightly version. I have seen some parts of it and it’s just really badly done. My daughter agrees. She loves the old BBC version. 🙂

  7. Meghan

    Colin Firth is such a perfect Mr. Darcy. The newer one isn’t HORRIBLE, it’s just not that good! Plus, I find it hard to see Keira Knightly likeable.

  8. Michele

    BBC ALL THE WAY! I’ve watched my dvd set so many times, I’m surprised I haven’t had to replace it. I am totally devoted to it. The Keira Knightley version is just so… bad. Jennifer Ehle is amazing as Eliza Bennett, and Colin Firth… I don’t think I even need to add anything about Colin Firth.

  9. brenda

    Having read the book and studied it in high school, I’ve very partial to the BBC version. I love how close it stuck to the book. The newer version just didn’t have the depth in my opinion!

  10. K.Rae

    I saw the Keira Knightley version first and, predictably, prefer it. It’s a work of art in its own right–the cinematography, the MUSIC, the sets. It’s just beautiful. The BBC version can only be described as visually flat, like the filming of a theater piece.

    I am a fan of Colin Firth’s Darcy (duh, who isn’t?), but in general, I prefer the casting in the KK version. The BBC Jane is insipid and Mrs. Bennet is irritating (I haven’t checked IMDB, but my feeling is they cast a theater actress).

    For a more complete rendering of the story, the BBC version is obviously superior. But if I wanted a full appreciation of the story, I’d read the book. It would probably take less time.

  11. Amy

    Since Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book of all time, I’m very particular about the movies. I adored the BBC version but was wildly disappointed with the new one. While I like Keira, she just doesn’t fit in my mind with my beloved literary character of Elizabeth Bennet. (What does Keira do with her jaw when she speaks?? It’s quite distracting…) Anyway, thanks for the fun post!

  12. Ann

    I saw the BBC version first and loved it. It has more of the dialogue that is so superbly written from the book. From an interior design aspect (what I teach), it is done very well, like all BBC productions. From what would have been on the Bennett’s mantelpiece to the grand house of Pemeberly, all very much correct and in the right period.

    That said, I did enjoy Joe Wright’s film. It was beautifully shot and had wonderful locations. But some of the scenes were changed to heighten the drama (Judy Dench’s Lady Catherine visiting at night, for example). Austen’s work doesn’t need heightened.

  13. Jess

    @ All: Okay, so far the vote is 9 BBC vs. 1 Knightley. A pretty solid team of supporters for Firth. What about all the other Knightley version fans? Speak up!!

    @ Kaitlyn: Definitely should watch it sometime 🙂

    @ K. Rae: I definitely agree that the mother was irritating (in a sort of good way) and probably a theater actress.

  14. Susie

    I’ll admit it. I don’t like Jane Austen’s writing. And I haven’t seen the entirety of either piece(I’d rather watch other Masterpiece Theater adaptations, like “Jane Eyre” and “Tess of the D’Urbervilles”). But my vote is for the Colin Firth version because… well it’s Colin Firth.

    Also, I am incredibly biased against Keira Knightly. Oops.

  15. Jess

    @ All: Okay, now the count is 10 BBC to 1 Knightley. Seems like we have a winner… so far.

  16. Alix

    Apples and oranges, my dear! One is a mini-series, the other a two-hour movie; they are accomplishing different aims.

    The BBC production is the end-all, be-all dramatization, bar none (and Colin Firth! I mean, what more is there to say?). It is the alpha and omega, the OED, the definitive masterpiece. I will brook no discussion!

    Having said that, however, the movie is a perfect Cliff Notes version of the novel. Keira Knightley is spot-on, and even the somewhat shlumpy Darcy came to grow on me (in all honesty, the movie actors are much closer to the ages of the actual characters). Judi Dench is superb and Donald Sutherland makes me cry at the end, every time!

    My 11-year-old niece adores the movie and sometime I’ll sit her down to watch the miniseries; she may, as yet, be a bit young to appreciate the absolute perfection that is Mr. Firth. Funny story: she tried to read the novel last year but it was a bit much for her (I didn’t get through it til I was 16). Last week I introduced her to Pride & Prejudice & Zombies (hilarious) and she read the whole thing! Though I did have to explain that, in the “real” book, Darcy does NOT run Wickham over in a carriage and no, Charlotte is not a zombie!

  17. Elizabeth

    I vote for the BBC version! I thought it was much more accurate to the story and my mom introduced it to me, so gotta go with Mom on this one.

  18. Lora

    And here comes an opinion from the *real* older generation. Have you ever seen the Lawrence Olivier and Greer Garson? Wonderful! Syruppy, drippy, but so charming.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVW12naWoNA

    That said, the BBC version is the best of the re makes!

  19. RachelQ

    I most definitely vote for the BBC version!

    I HATED the one with Keira Knightley. I agree, she just wasn’t Elizabeth Bennett. And did anyone else notice the bad wig fitting? You could totally see her short hair poking out beneath it.

  20. LauraS.

    I LOVE the KK version. It was also the first one I saw. I found out quickly about the huge debate between the two versions so I watched the BBC version as well.

    I agree with K. Rae and what she said earlier… “For a more complete rendering of the story, the BBC version is obviously superior. But if I wanted a full appreciation of the story, I’d read the book.”

    I LOVED the music and scenery of the KK version, it made me get more involved in the movie.

  21. Genevieve

    So I am very young (23) and I can say hands down that the old BBC version is the greatest rendition of Pride and Prejudice of all time. I own it on VHS and watch it at least once a year if not more. I adore Jane Austin (and Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy is perfection wrapped in the handsomest coat tails). The new Pride and Prejudice was fine, but it lost the essence of the novel and left out way to many parts for an Austin addict to be satisfied in the end.

  22. Jess

    @ All: This is such a great debate!

    I love all the nuances and praise. Regardless of everyone’s alliances, Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy sure comes out on top!

  23. Lisa

    Definitely the BBC version!!!

  24. Elis

    I LOVE the movie! I like the new version better maybe because it’s the first I’ve seen. And I think Matthew is great as Mr. Darcy!

  25. Alejandra

    Please watch Pride and Prejudice (1940),for me it´s the best.

  26. Anne

    I’m rereading P&P for the umpteenth time, and I’ve just seen the KK film for the third time, I’ve compared it to a DIFFERENT BBC film 1979 -no Firth 🙁 – The KK version really brought home the reality of the early 19C, couldn’t you almost smell the pigs! Yet it was perhaps overdone, the people were downright slovenly, and the house is simply falling apart. Would the dining room have had peeling black walls! Knightly disturbed me at first, but in the end we must admit that Austen immediately and continuously underlined the playfull nature of her heroine, which is a major part of KK’s interpretation, and it blends her depth with the silliness of the family as a whole. Moreover the shocking behavior of the family was well done.
    Yet the ’79 film for all it’s defects of stilted behavior and flat presentation seems truer in it’s regard of social and personal formality. Darcy would not walk into the parsonage and she in her nightgown etc.and would NEVER go running around the fields in his nightshirt.

  27. Addy

    I’m only 15 and i definately vote the bbc version
    keira knightly played elizabeth bennet completely wrong in my opinion
    she was pouty snobbish stupid and in a constant state of pms/teen angst.
    i could not get over her annoying acting and was thus unable to enjoy the beautiful scenery sets and costumes as much as i should.
    of the hundreds of actresses who could have made great elizabeth bennets i was furious to see them cast an actress as unlikeable as Kiera Knightly

  28. Sevil

    When i studied at the University I had read this story & got invaluable information about Jane Austen. I like & I loveeeeeeeeeeeeee both versions. I have the Pride and Prejudice 2005 – Matthew McFadyen and Keira Knightley version on DVD.I have watched it over and over and over.WONDERFUL!!!
    I also like Pride and Prejudice 1995 – Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle because of Colin Firth. 🙂

  29. Sarah

    I’m 27 and it’s always been the A&E/BBC version hands down! Such a shame the DVD conversion is so dreadful. Wish I could make my own DVD version- one that wouldn’t have flat colors, cut scenes(top and bottom are cut), and flat sound. What am I going to do when my VHS gets worn out? 🙁

    Biggest beef- Kiera Knightly’s portrayal seemed wrong and her chin is obnoxious. She consistently has this fake expression on her face in all her movies that gets on my nerves. And yes, MRS. Bennet in the A&E/BBC version is obnoxious- because she is supposed to be! The 2005 version characters all seem very flat or downright wrong! Austen’s dialogue isn’t funny when it ought to be, the actors and actresses seem terribly miscast.

    The newer version is visually interesting but seems overdone as another poster said. Wish such a short time to devote to such a wonderful story, this P&P spends its short duration marveling over the scenery instead. Very disappointing.

  30. maria

    Definetly the older version it goes by the book so much better. I have watch the movie 10 times and read the book 5 times.

  31. Mikaella

    Im only 14 and never read the book.(is that bad!)
    I like comparing my life with the 5 hour movie of P&P and so far all the characters fit perfectly!!!!!!(so funny)
    I have the 2005 version on my ipod and to be honest that verson is really good but the characters don’t fit as good as the older verson.
    (Mr.Darcy is HOT!)

  32. Inda

    I love the KK version. In my opinion every aspect is perfect. However, I am also a huge fan of KK herself. I am going to watch the firth version now. so will report back soon.

  33. Inda

    Alright now I have watched both and this is what I have to say: LOVE the KK version more.

    Oh it is clear that those who are so harsh of the newer version are true Jane Austen adorers and not people who are truly looking at how the story was conveyed. I have read the book and seen both movies. It is true that the old version is far more true to the original book, yet, the newer version is MAGNIFICENT. I believe Austen wrote a good plot, but was remarkably gossip-y and heavy worded. The new version, beyond being beautiful to watch and listen to (an artistic masterpiece), portrayed the heart of Pride and Prejudice. I find the film suburb, a treat to be savored. I do not think that two should be compared. What you are looking for will dictate which you will prefer. The older version is a mini-series, true to the original words and a theatrical piece. It is straight acting, no drama or theatrics. Colin Firth is perfect. I found the Eliza a bit two even tempered and Jane to be slightly insipid. However, in every other way it is good. The new piece is a film, packed with majestic shots and costumes. A possible critique is whether or not you like Knightly. I happen to adore her in this. She plays Eliza headstrong, intelligent, and just a little wild. There is real chemistry between her and Darcy, something which I feel the older version lacks. I love the newer version’s beautiful Jane, as well. She seems appropriately half angel, and half silly Bennett , with a dash of eldest sister thrown in. Lydia, Kitty, the Mother, Georgianna and the cousin, Colins are all played rather similarly in both versions. Judi Dench is lovely as Lady Catherine. I can understand choosing one over the other, in accordance to personal preference, however I can not see truly disliking either if you like the original story. While I the new version is not only my favorite of the two, but one of my favorite movies, I believe that both are truly excellent pieces!

  34. Inda

    Alright now I have watched both and this is what I have to say: LOVE the KK version more.

    Oh it is clear that those who are so harsh of the newer version are true Jane Austen adorers and not people who are truly looking at how the story was conveyed. I have read the book and seen both movies. It is true that the old version is far more true to the original book, yet, the newer version is MAGNIFICENT. I believe Austen wrote a good plot, but was remarkably gossip-y and heavy worded. The new version, beyond being beautiful to watch and listen to (an artistic masterpiece), portrayed the heart of Pride and Prejudice. I find the film suburb, a treat to be savored. I do not think that two should be compared. What you are looking for will dictate which you will prefer. The older version is a mini-series, true to the original words and a theatrical piece. It is straight acting, no drama or theatrics. Colin Firth is perfect. I found the Eliza a bit two even tempered and Jane to be slightly insipid. However, in every other way it is good. The new piece is a film, packed with majestic shots and costumes. A possible critique is whether or not you like Knightly. I happen to adore her in this. She plays Eliza headstrong, intelligent, and just a little wild. There is real chemistry between her and Darcy, something which I feel the older version lacks. I love the newer version’s beautiful Jane, as well. She seems appropriately half angel, and half silly Bennett , with a dash of eldest sister thrown in. Lydia, Kitty, the Mother, Georgianna and the cousin, Colins are all played rather similarly in both versions. Judi Dench is lovely as Lady Catherine. I can understand choosing one over the other, in accordance to personal preference, however I can not see truly disliking either if you like the original story. While I the new version is not only my favorite of the two, but one of my favorite movies, I believe that both are truly excellent pieces!

  35. India

    I have just read the novel (finished yesterday) and saw the KK movie (finished tonight) but have not seen the older version. I could not ask for a more lively portrayal of Lizzy, and her acting is great! I don’t understand how her chin distracts you or something along those lines. And while apparently Colin Firth is amazing, Matthew did a great job as Mr. Darcy. He seemed at some times more into his character than others, but the acting on the whole was great. Mr. Collins perpetually amuses. While some of the scenes are tweaked, on the whole it portrays it well. It really caught me up and charmed me, and I replayed my favorite bits. I only have to say that the timing and shortening of the end (no that should NOT have been the last line!!) were lacking in my eyes.

    I am 14.

  36. Marvy

    The Keira Knightly version is SO INFERIOR. THe fixation on KK’s appearance is annoying, and she is overrated. She was great in “Bend it Like Beckham” and “Love Actually,” but she could not rise to the P&P occassion. She is unengaging and unbelievable as Lizzie. And the film tries too hard to be artsty–Austen already provided the art; if you want to do something artsy and original, write your own story. Ugh, the cameraman’s love of KK’s face does nothing for the story or the film. I have watched the KK version twice to try to like it, but I jsut can’t.

  37. Steph

    Anyone who does not like the KK version is simply being prejudiced with an ounce of pride thrown in! It is a masterpiece

  38. Ilona

    I have watched four pride and prejudice movies and I would like to pick them apart and put different people in different roles. I love Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennett and the actress that played Jane in that movie too. I hate KK as Elizabeth, but, I do not think that Jennifer Ehle is the best choice either. My all time favorite Elizabeth is Elizabeth Garvey from the 1980 masterpiece theater version. Colin Firth is Mr. Darcy, I even see him when I am reading the book. I do not think it would be easy to find anyone even close to as good for Mr. Darcy. I like the 2005 Mr. Bingley better than the BBC one. Oh, I could go on like this all day. If I hate to vote between the 1995 and 2005 version it would definitely be the 1995 version hands down.

  39. Kristine

    I’ve read the book and it’s my absolute favorite. I tend to lean towards versions that stay truer to the book so definitely the BBC one. Besides, the book describes Mr. Darcy to be very handsome, even more so than Mr. Bingley, and Matthew Macfadyen does not fit that description! I love Colin Firth, he does an excellent job as Mr. Darcy. I know someone mentioned Mrs. Bennett to be obnoxious in the BBC version, that’s because she is in the book. I really dislike the 2005 version.

  40. Kristine

    And I hate that the recent one changed so much of the script.

  41. Courtney Retka

    Anyone know what’s the best type of dvd to use for my video conversion which will be great at keeping the same quality as the original?

  42. kash

    well i liked KK version better. i read all the comments and the thing is mind likes and is prejudiced to the version we first wtch..mayb its same with me or mayb i like keira…
    its true 95 version is true to book but i loved the script,actors, serenity and artistic scenery of ’05 version.
    PS: I think i am among the few men wu saw it and the only 1 commenting on it…regardless wht anybdy say, i really liked the movie..it gives a sooting and calmness effect..lovd the old culture although hatd the prejudice (esp. perception of “beauty”) in that era..

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