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Oliver Twist

4.0 out of 5 stars 144 customer reviews

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(Jan 31, 2012)
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Product Details

  • Format: AC-3, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: January 31, 2012
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006C27U9O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #957,547 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Oliver Twist" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alyssa A. Lappen VINE VOICE on April 25, 2006
Format: DVD
I have not seen any of the many film or TV versions of Charles Dickens' 1837 classic, and have no basis of comparison for Polanski's take on Oliver Twist. That may be a good thing, as I have no preconceived notions of what this film ought to be. Barney Clark's portrayal of the foundling born in a countryside workhouse, enslaved at age 10 by a feeble funeral director and his imposing wife, and escaped to the bowels of London, is nothing short of magnificent.

Polanksi's account of Oliver's tragic childhood, survival and ultimate adoption by the kindly rich gentleman, Mr. Brownlow (Edward Hardwicke), fits precisely into the image painted in Dickens' lengthy page turner. As one would expect, he embellishes the film with extraordinarily realistic scenes of the 19th century British countryside, hardscrabble streets and alleyways of London's "Spittlefield" slum and Brownlow's suburban mansion.

But Polanski also engaged impressive performances from Ben Kingsley as Fagin, the bent (and evil) old fence and the leader of London thieves and pickpockets, Jamie Foreman as the house-breaker and murderer Bill Sykes, and Leanne Rowe as the motherly Nancy who in the end saves Oliver's life at the cost of her own. Kingsley's Fagin is every bit as conniving and devious as readers recall. But he also occasionally shines with glints of kindness towards Oliver, the Artful Dodger (Harry Eden) and the rest of his youthful gang, not to mention remorse over Nancy's fate, thus inspiring viewers' sympathies for the poor and downtrodden in 19th Century England and consideration of the very real moral dilemmas of that age.

Of course, no two-hour movie could possibly include all the intricacies or characters of a Dickens novel, and this one is no exception.
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Format: DVD
Little Oliver Twist (Barney Clark) stands up after finishing his bowl of gruel, meekly approaches the grumpy dining supervisor, and asks timidly, "Please, sir, I want some more." Only the opening line of "A Tale of Two Cities" is more recognizable in the world of Charles Dickens, but it is this line that reminds us of a character's inherent innocence, and how he is doomed to live a childhood of cruel inferiority.

Dickens' Oliver Twist has endured several film adaptations. One was a musical, another was an animated Disney feature, but none of them can hold a candle to Roman Polanski's masterstroke version. Either this is the purest and most timeless Dickens tale or Polanski is one of the greatest directors of our time, and, in case you want to know my opinion, I believe both to be true. With Oliver Twist, Dickens discovered his true writing style, creating a boy hero stuck in a world of detailed and colorful characters. In the film, Polanski paints a beautiful portrait of the world that Oliver inhabits, and it is undoubtedly the world that Dickens had in mind.

Its no secret that Dickens is one of the most talked about authors of literature. He himself grew up on the brink of poverty. One can logically conclude that he was mistreated by grown-ups, and one can also logically conclude that he developed a hatred for the upper-class. In most of his stories, the heroes, usually children, are abused and mistreated by snobbish, ignorant adults, and most of these adults are very wealthy; even Tiny Tim was inevitably at the mercy of Scrooge's stinginess. I think that Oliver Twist is the character that Dickens most identified with.
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Ever since Charles Dickens first penned OLIVER TWIST in 1837, no one ever thought that this sentimental tale of an orphan boy bounced between a gang of thieves and all-too-often uncaring London society would be the classic that it is today. Soon, however, its wealth of rich and eccentric characters would capture the imagination of both readers and filmmakers alike. By now, most everyone is familiar with the story of Oliver Twist, an orphan who is brutalized in the Poorhouse system of Victorian London. Eventually, while escaping his tragic circumstances, he inadvertently falls in with the roguish Fagin and his band of young pickpockets. Feeling sorry for him, one of the gang, Nancy, will help the boy find his loving family, at the cost of her own life. There have probably been at least 19 film and television adaptations of this story, with the stand outs being the 1948 David Lean version and the 1968 musical OLIVER! Noted and controversial director Roman Polanski now tries his hand at the oft-told tale, with his efforts resulting in a good, but far from definitive, adaptation.

For starters, the film is basically a bare bones version of the story, with many of its wonderful characters and dramatic plotlines either shortened or cut completely. For example, gone are such fantastic characters as Oliver's evil half-brother Monks, as well as the harridan-like Widow Corney. Also gone is the entire plotline linking Oliver to his past. As a result of such tinkering, the film tends to drag in parts during its basically two hour running time.

On the other hand, there are also many things to enjoy as well. While he might lack the sparkle and grandness that Alec Guinness and Ron Moody brought to the role, Ben Kingsley makes for a credible and sympathetic Fagin.
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