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Oliver Twist (1997)

Richard Dreyfuss , Elijah Wood , Tony Bill  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Dreyfuss, Elijah Wood, David O'Hara, Alex Trench, Olivia Caffrey
  • Directors: Tony Bill
  • Writers: Based On The Novel By Charles Dickens, Teleplay By Monte Merrick
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 3, 2004
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001I55TC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,773 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Oliver Twist" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The popular Dickens classic comes to life as never before with an all-star cast including Richard Dreyfuss (MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS) as the notorious Fagin, and Elijah Wood (THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy) as The Artful Dodger. Set in bustling 19th-century England, the story follows the journey of young Oliver Twist, a poor orphan who dares to ask for something more. Oliver soon finds himself on the streets of London, and gets caught for a crime he didn't commit. Experience this sweeping tale of loyalty, greed, and compassion that is sure to win the hearts of your entire family!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Elijah Wood Steals This Film January 29, 2003
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
As others have said, if you want a quality retelling of Dickens' "Oliver Twist," then turn to David Lean or the glorious musical version, and not this bland re-hash with possibly the weakest Oliver (not to mention writing and direction) that I have ever seen for this story. There are only two characters that partially redeem it: an earthy, maternal Nancy and an Artful Dodger that, as portrayed by Elijah Woods, may not be what Dickens had in mind, but certainly becomes someone you care about and want to save - much more so than the annoying Oliver, who has two facial expressions (wide-eyed and not wide-eyed), a shrill voice, and an unhealthy obsession with his mother's locket, which stalls the plot at the most unlikely moments. The double irony is that this rather stupid, greedy child (who discovers a conscience quite late) is rescued from the streets to enjoy a life of ease and comfort, while the infinitely more promising Artful Dodger (whose tender response to Oliver's bout of conscience is the most moving two minutes in the film) is carted off to jail - a quip from him being enough to stop this Oliver making any move to save him! It's enough to make you want the REAL film buried here - the one about Woods' Artful Dodger, caught between confused loyalties, sensitive and intelligent in a world merciless to both, protective of both Nancy and Oliver but powerless to help either, trying desperately to seem more callous than he is and to pretend to himself that he has chosen this life.... It's his tragedy that is almost buried in this dull film, but it's hard not to be grateful it was made, if only for those scenes lit from within by Woods' amazing talent.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't watch this before a test! December 20, 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
As usual, Disney has just twisted the plot and characters to fit its own view of the world. The plot is lost in the cuteness that only Disney can create, and the characters become shallow and simple. I suggest the PBS version, or an older one. Even Oliver! is more true to Dickens than this. Shame on Disney!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oliver Twist - Opportunity Missed! August 23, 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This ultimately disappointing adaptation of the Dickens classic has very few things to recommend it to the general viewer.

Unimaginatively directed and poorly scripted, it lacks the pace or depth of previous adaptations. Disney have stripped the story to its bare bones and taken considerable artistic licence even with those. What results is a pedestrian amateurish effort entirely bereft of the humanity, complexity and grit of the original novel.

What makes the failure of this film even more remarkable is that, on paper at least, it would seem to have had an enormous potential. Boasting the names of Oscar Winner Richard Dreyfuss and the talented Elijah Wood among its cast and with the budgetary power of Disney behind it, `Oliver Twist' ought to have succeeded. The film was also shot entirely in Ireland at a location near to the spectacular Wicklow Mountains. Seemingly determined to make the worst of their resources the makers have allowed their `Oliver Twist' to be made, mainly, on a series of completely unconvincing indoor sets. Even the few outdoor scenes might just as well have been shot on a set due to the simplistic camera-work involved. The opening sequence in the hills pales into insignificance when compared to that of David Lean's brooding masterpiece and the scenes set in Industrial Revolution London are entirely lacking in realism.

As regards the cast, Alex Trench in the title role comes off poorly, being utterly unable to invoke the audience's sympathy with a performance that collapses under the burden of poor direction. Richard Dreyfuss's Fagin is probably the most disappointing. Surely, with his proven abilities, he should be able to rise above the limitations of a lacklustre script and considerably modified character.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fun And Funny Film Meant For All October 1, 2004
It's not quite Dickens' classic novel, but then again, I ask you; what is? "Oliver Twist" is a brilliant film despite the fact that the story is not quite the way old Charles Dickens wrote it. When viewing this film one must remember that it was meant to appeal to a great number of people and not just to those who love literature. It was also meant to be a family film, which is why it is not as dreary or complicated as the original novel was.

One must also remember too, that this film was originally created for television.

The cast is great, especially Elijah Wood who played the Artful Dodger and Antoine Byrne who played Nancy. The young boy who played Oliver could have been a little better prepared for the part, but still he did a wonderful job. I have also never seen anyone portray Fagin in such an amusing manner as Richard Dreyfuss.

Overall the film is fun as well as funny and is sure to be an enjoyment to the entire family. For those who want to see a film that is based more closely to the novel I would suggest trying another version.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oliver Twist February 29, 2004
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This is a dreadful sanitized interpretation of Dickens' Oliver Twist.
The whole cast is American and have the most laughably awful English accents - to the point where it is distracting. Richard Dreyfuss and Elijah Woods accent slip every other word.
Oliver is supposed to be a fragile, deeply saddened little boy (the book will make you cry for me) but the 'actor' who plays him comes across as a happy-go-lucky kid who is always seen smiling. He has no facial expression and can't project a single emotion.
Fagan, who is played by Dreyfuss,is supposed to be a heartless, shady, and crafy character but instead comes across like Santa Clauss. I keep expecting him to burst into song. The only way you can tell the character is angry is when you get the Jaws-type disonnant music - without it, you wouldn't even know.
Not only is the acting bad, but the story is changed dramatically - some characters that are pertinent to the story are cut out completely.
If you have or have not read Dickens (you really ought to read it) it is a sad, disturbing and heart renching tale of a little boys horrendous life. This grittiness is NOT at all evident in this interpretation. If you want a smaltsy movie, go rent a Disney flick like Lion King or something, coz Oliver Twist is NOT suposed to be like that.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An old classic movie. Very Good.
Richard Dreyfuss is outstanding in this movie. This is one of his best, although I really like "What About Bob" too. A great old classic story done well. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Larry Lincoln
5.0 out of 5 stars The casting was superb!
A family treat, that has caused me to share it with all sorts of folk, from five years to adult. Each time
I've viewed this movie I note a new facet that got by me or was... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Norm
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
I bought this movie because I am an Elijah Wood and Richard Dreyfuss fan. I really enjoyed it. I was worried at first that I might be disapoited, because I had never seen it and I... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Autumn
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot better than I thought.
Knowing the story, and having seen it done many times and ways I was curious to see how this version went. It was quite OK. I liked it. I thought that as the Dodger Mr. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Harry F. Drabik
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good remake of an old story
Pleased with the delivery and very pleased with the film as well. Another version of the story I had never seen before and I enjoyed it alot.
Published 22 months ago by Joel Nicholson
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Classic Novel Made Suitable For Children, And Another Job...
It's "Oliver Twist, Or The Parish Boy's Progress" for kids. Walt Disney Pictures did a fantastic job of editing the novel to make it suitable for children, as they have done with... Read more
Published on July 20, 2011 by HAMLET
5.0 out of 5 stars Good movie
I love the classic movies and this was a great find for me. I enjoy being able to find good movies on whenever I feel like getting one.
Published on May 23, 2011 by Dennis R. Biggs
2.0 out of 5 stars Possibly good for children...but not students of Dickens
Note: The following review assumes the reader has knowledge of Charles Dickens' novel "Oliver Twist." Therefore, be cautioned ~~ PLOT DETAILS are revealed. Read more
Published on February 6, 2010 by Andrew Raker
4.0 out of 5 stars Oliver Comes "Home"
I would give this review 3 1/2 stars if I could, but I've got to settle on a tentative 4. This is maybe the best family film based on Dicken's classic story of Oliver. Read more
Published on June 13, 2007 by Rebekah A. Lane
5.0 out of 5 stars Never better!
Wow! I'm speechless! What a great film! I was so happy to see this movie. Now for the characters... Richard Dreyfus made a great Fagin. He was very funny. Read more
Published on November 8, 2006
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