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Oliver Twist (2005)



Average Rating: 6.3/10
Reviews Counted: 138
Fresh: 83 | Rotten: 55

Polanski's version of Dickens' classic won't have audiences asking for more because while polished and directed with skill, the movie's a very impersonal experience.


Average Rating: 6/10
Critic Reviews: 38
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 22

Polanski's version of Dickens' classic won't have audiences asking for more because while polished and directed with skill, the movie's a very impersonal experience.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 23,077

My Rating

Movie Info

Director Roman Polanski gives one of Charles Dickens' best-loved stories a new and dynamic interpretation in this period drama. Oliver Twist (Barney Clark) is a young orphan in Victorian England who has been sent to a dank workhouse run by the miserly Mr. Bumble (Jeremy Swift) when it is learned there is no one to care for him. When Oliver dares to ask for more gruel, he is sent away to live with an undertaker, who treats him poorly. Preferring life on the streets to the treatment he's been


Drama, Kids & Family

Ronald Harwood

Jan 24, 2006


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All Critics (146) | Top Critics (41) | Fresh (83) | Rotten (55) | DVD (12)

It's noble, high-minded and safe, and I can't help thinking that I would have preferred an audacious but honest failure.

September 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
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Great expectations are unavoidable when Roman Polanski takes on a Charles Dickens classic. Alas, his version of Oliver Twist fails to live up to them.

September 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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A grounded and unusually matter-of-fact adaptation.

September 30, 2005 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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Poignant and primal, Roman Polanski's splendid adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic pricks the heart and the conscience.

September 30, 2005
Philadelphia Inquirer
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In Oliver Twist, it's the viewer who is punished.

September 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Comments (2)
Orlando Sentinel
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Oliver Twist is a lovely, tony picture, but it isn't exactly essential.

September 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
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A smorgasbord of urban decay, social disorder, and class conflict imbues the film with a potent sensuality

August 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinemania

Oliver Twist is an affecting and refreshing adaptation of Dickens seminal work from a master director.

April 25, 2011 Full Review Source:

The horrors are comfily buttressed by storybook polish

September 1, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

Polanski has crafted something that already feels like a classic film, beautiful to look at, combining accurate period detail with a certain gothic expressionism and brimming with earthy characters and high drama.

August 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

The unspoken sense of youthful post-traumatic holocaust syndrome shock and awe in Polanski's Twist is as palpable as the murky stench and appalling human misery of Dickens' chaotic London streets.

February 8, 2007 Full Review Source: WBAI Web Radio
WBAI Web Radio

Polanski's film is not a bad adaptation, and it may be a fine way to introduce children to the classic story. But it is not exactly a definitive version of that story.

September 27, 2006
Christianity Today

Probably the thing that Polanski's Oliver Twist does best, is deliver the mood of the day

June 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

With intelligence and style (inspired by the art of Gustave Doré and Francisco Solé), Polanski makes a rewarding contribution to Dickens' legacy on screen.

February 26, 2006
Groucho Reviews

The movie understands what Polanski himself knew upon surviving the Holocaust--you take your kindness where you can find it, weighing its price along the way.

February 3, 2006
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

It just might supplant David Lean's 1948 version as the one that students turn to for a 2-hour study guide.

January 15, 2006 Full Review Source:

A severely overlooked, exceedingly well-done version of an oft-told tale...One of the best films of 2005.

December 28, 2005 Full Review Source: Fantastica Daily
Fantastica Daily

[T]he maddening thing is not just that we hardly need another movie adaptation of [Oliver Twist] ... but that there are other Dickens books that haven't been given the major movie treatment that would better suit Polanski's temperament.

December 26, 2005 Full Review Source:

...respectful without being slavish, nice to look at without ever being breathtaking, well cast and acted without ever deeply engaging our emotions.

December 15, 2005

Falha ao jamais encontrar um tom adequado para sua narrativa: em certos momentos, é excessivamente infantil; em outros, sombrio demais.

November 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

It's an impeccable production on a visual level and undeniably a well-made film, but the narrative often lacks the spark to bring it to life.

October 26, 2005 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema | Comment (1)
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

"Oliver Twist" deserves to be recognized as one of the director's better films.

October 20, 2005 Full Review Source:

(Roman) Polanski orchestrates this well-worn chestnut with the same high level of expertise that won him an Oscar for The Pianist in 2002.

October 17, 2005

Polanski's deft adaptation proves that there's still life in that well-worn story of a boy who beats the odds.

October 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Polanski tactfully stays out of Charles Dickens' way.

October 13, 2005 Full Review
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

Despite the length, you'll never fault the film's craftsmanship.

October 13, 2005

Audience Reviews for Oliver Twist

As with any remake or additional adaption of a Classic Book such as Oliver Twist, it's a given that this will inevitably be compared to the greatest known version, in this case it's the 1968 Musical version by Carol Reed known as Oliver!

It has to be said that the Actors had nothing on most of the originals and whilst Ben Kingsley truly made this part his own and did a great job, there truly is only one Fagin (Ron Moody). Jamie Foreman wasn't a match for the great Olly Reed and as for the Artful Dodger, Jack Wilder is a tough act to follow. Leanne Rowe however, I felt played a great Nancy and did impress me, possibly because it was played very differently to Shani Wallace and seemed well acted.

I'm sure this version is much more suited to the original Charles Dickens Classic and of course there were things in this updated version, such as filming etc, that gave this a much more intimidating London than it appeared in the Musical version.

Directed by Polanski, I'm not quite sure if this really had the Polanski stamp on it, I'm used to much more escalating horror/Thrillers from the Director.

Just one thing! There is no mention in this version of Oliver being related to Mr Brownlow, or was this something added to the Musical version?

All in all a good adaption of the tale, just not as memorable as the Musical version.
November 23, 2010

Super Reviewer

Being opposed to any Oliver! musicals, I found Roman Polanski's gritty re-telling of the beloved Dickens tale very enjoyable. Oliver Twist offers a realistic vision of Victorian-era England, engagaing story-telling and a fantastic cast. Polanski's skillful direction transforms the well-known story into a dark and absorbing tale that faithfully reflects Dicken's novel. Ben Kingsley is well-suited and gives an enjoyable performance as Fagin, Jamie Foreman gives a fearful portrayal as the books' baddie Bill Sikes, Barney Clark is tremendous as the pitiable title character that gives warmth and hope to the dark tale.
If you're a die-hard fan of the musical then you probably won't enjoy but if you're a film lover who can appreciate a legendary film-maker's audacious re-telling then sit back and enjoy.
February 7, 2010
Shauna Robinson

Super Reviewer

A great Movie based upon Charles Dickens Novel.
December 19, 2009
Wahida K

Super Reviewer

Good adaptation of Charles Dickens's classic novel. Some of the settings are really gritty and filthy, as it should be considering where and when the story takes place. In fact, they have such an authentic and palpable feel to them, that you can almost smell what you see on screen. The best thing about the film though, is undoubtedly its characters. Like the old man Fagin for instance, superbly played by a near-unrecognizable Ben Kingsley. Another display of great acting comes from the virtually unknown Barney Clark (Oliver Twist that is), who as he went through one ordeal after the next, evoked a lot of sympathy from me as a viewer. The end result is an enjoyable watch, and some of the best work I've seen by director Roman Polanski.
June 28, 2009
Mike S

Super Reviewer

    1. Bill Sykes: Put on your own face or I'll alter it so you won't know it again.
    – Submitted by Frances H (21 months ago)
    1. Bill Sykes: I told you not to bring a soul here, and you brought the Devil.
    – Submitted by Frances H (21 months ago)
    1. Fagin: Do you know what I consider the greatest sin in the world, my dear? Ingratitude.
    – Submitted by Frances H (21 months ago)
    1. Fagin: Fine fellows. Fine fellows.
    – Submitted by Frances H (21 months ago)
    1. Mrs. Sowerberry: Give him the cold bits put by for the dog.
    – Submitted by Frances H (21 months ago)
    1. Mrs. Sowerberry: He's very small.
    2. Mr. Bumble: He'll grow,Mam.
    3. Mrs. Sowerberry: On our food and drink.
    – Submitted by Frances H (21 months ago)
View all quotes (7)

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