Oliver Twist


Oliver Twist

Critics Consensus

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.



Reviews Counted: 140

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User Ratings: 23,278


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Average Rating: 3.3/5

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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 receiving, Oliver runs away to London, where he falls in with the Artful Dodger (Harry Eden), a youthful pickpocket. The Artful Dodger is one of a gang of young thieves overseen by Fagin (Ben Kingsley), a paternal but sinister criminal mastermind. While Oliver finds a home of sorts with Fagin and his young cohorts, he also falls into a dangerous life made all the more threatening by the presence of Fagin's menacing overlord, Bill Sykes (Jamie Foreman). Oliver Twist was Polanski's first feature film after enjoying a major career resurgence following the international success of his Oscar-winning World War II drama The Pianist. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Barney Clark
as Oliver Twist
Mark Strong (II)
as Toby Crackit
Jamie Foreman
as Bill Sykes
Harry Eden
as Artful Dodger
Edward Hardwicke
as Mr. Brownlow
Ian McNeice
as Mr. Limbkins
Jeremy Swift
as Mr. Bumble
Frances Cuka
as Mrs. Bedwin
Michael Heath
as Mr. Sowerberry
Gillian Hanna
as Mrs. Sowerberry
Alun Armstrong
as Magistrate Fang
Andy de la Tour
as Workhouse Master
Andrew de la Tour
as Workhouse Master
Peter Copley
as Dining Hall Master
Andreas Papadopoulos
as Workhouse Boy
Laurie Athey
as Workhouse Boy
Filip Hess
as Workhouse Boy
Lewis Chase
as Charley Bates
Chris Overton
as Noah Claypole
Richard Durden
as Unkind Board Member
Joseph Tremain
as Hungry Boy
Andy Linden
as Mr. Garmfield
John Nettleton
as First Magistrate
Tony Noble
as Second Magistrate
Teresa Churcher
as Charlotte
Morgane Polanski
as Farmer's Daughter
Liz Smith
as Old Woman
Elvis Polanski
as Boy with Hoop
Patrick Godfrey
as Bookseller
Anezka Novak
as Woman in Street
Andy Camm
as Policeman
Frank Mills
as Elderly Officer
as Bullseye
David Meeking
as Policeman in Court
Paul Brooke
as Mr. Grimwig
Kaeren Revell
as Other Woman in Street
Andrea Miltner
as Other Woman in Street
Kay Raven
as Woman at Window
Robert Orr
as Man in Pub
Paul Eden
as Barman
Nick Stringer
as Insp. Blather
James Babson
as Policeman
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Critic Reviews for Oliver Twist

All Critics (140) | Top Critics (39)

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.

Lady D'arbanville
Lady D'arbanville

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.

Shauna Robinson
Shauna Robinson

Super Reviewer

A great Movie based upon Charles Dickens Novel.

Wahida K
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.

Mike S
Mike S

Super Reviewer

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