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Great Expectations

Great Expectations (1946)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 8.5/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

87

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 8,814

My Rating

Movie Info

Immediately grabbing the audience's attention with a heart-stopping opening scene in a dark graveyard, acclaimed British director David Lean realizes the cinematic potential of Charles Dickens' classic 1861 novel, and the result is considered by many to be one of the finest literary adaptations ever made as well as one of the greatest British films of all time. Crystallized into a tight 118-minute running time by Lean, Ronald Neame, and a corps of uncredited contributors, this is the story of

Jan 12, 1999

Universal Pictures

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All Critics (25) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (0) | DVD (2)

Only rabid Dickensians will find fault with the present adaptation, and paradoxically only lovers of Dickens will derive maximum pleasure from the film.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The graveyard scene is still a shocker, the details are still astonishingly well assembled, and the performances are wonderful.

November 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

David Lean's black-and-white masterpiece may be a whirlwind tour of Dickens' novel, but what a well-performed, economic and atmospheric tour it is.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[A] glowing illumination of the warm and deliciously surprising tale.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[It] has been called the greatest of all the Dickens films, and [it] does what few movies based on great books can do: Creates pictures on the screen that do not clash with the images already existing in our minds.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With characters so vividly drawn, their ambitions and disappointments are keenly felt

August 26, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinemania

Dickens' suspenseful tale a great classic for 10+.

December 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comment (1)
Common Sense Media

When David Lean adapted one of the all-time great novels to the screen, he never forgot he was making a movie.

January 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Lean fills Great Expectations with a wealth of visual detail and vivid characters and personalities... and he directs with a warmth and humor...

November 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Turner Classic Movies Online
Turner Classic Movies Online

One of Lean's gems, this superb adapation of Dickens is still the vest version (for film or TV), boasting great acting from John Mills and Alec Guinness (who were regulars in helmer's work) and accomplished production values acknowledged with Oscars.

February 23, 2008 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

If you want to see how Dickens anticipated the cinema, consider how little had to be done to bring the graveyard meeting between Pip and Magwitch to the screen.

November 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

An unmissable rerelease.

November 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

This is still the definitive version of Charles Dickens' amospheric and occasionally creepy classic.

January 29, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

The definitive adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic is this one from David Lean.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

A masterful adaptation of a masterful novel.

January 3, 2005
eCinemaCenter.com

An expertly executed adaptation of the classic novel. Great indeed.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Solid adaptation of the novel.

November 7, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

A masterful realization of Charles Dickens's novel, this may be the best cinematic translation of the author's work, as well as director David Lean's greatest achievement.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for Great Expectations

As someone who was never a big fan of the source book this version is a decent and relatively faithful rendition of it. John Mills is far too old to play Pip and it shows additionally they should of had Jean Simmons play Estella all the way through, she is much truer to the book version than Valerie Hobson. Martita Hunt makes a fine Miss Havisham. It's all a bit stodgy though
March 30, 2010
jjnxn
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

The one and only Great Expectations movie all the rest do not live up to the book.
March 2, 2010
smith44

Super Reviewer

The absolute BEST adaptation of Charles Dickens ever put on film.
November 14, 2009
flixsterman
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

The term 'classic' is often banded about with regard to films but I feel this one does warrant the term. A masterpiece of film-making by one of the best director's to take the chair. From the opening on the flat marshland framed by the hangman's gantry, this is wonderfully atmospheric storytelling of the highest quality which manages to capture the feel of the novel. The inspired touches with the cows muttering to Pip when he takes the stolen food to the convict and the howling wind over London as Pip's past is about to knock on his door, stay in the mind. This film is rich in character and detail. A sumptuous film that is a real treat. I can still, even today, taste the pork pie that Pip steals from the larder and feel his fear as Joe's wife goes to look for it and the sadness as the older Pip is embarrassed by Joe in his upmarket London surroundings and watches his old friend leave London from his living room window. An absolute masterpiece of cinema.
November 7, 2009
matertenebraum

Super Reviewer

    1. Joe Gargery: What larks.
    – Submitted by David Z (21 months ago)
    1. Estella as a girl: He calls the knaves 'jacks'!
    – Submitted by David Z (21 months ago)
View all quotes (2)

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Foreign Titles

  • The Great Expectations (DE)
  • Great Expectations (1946) (UK)
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