Great Expectations (1999)





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Movie Info

Charles Dickens' classic novel, which has been brought to the screen at least six times in the past (including a modernized adaptation released in 1998), is committed to film once again in this production for television by the BBC. Pip is an orphan who lives with his older sister and her husband Joe, a blacksmith. Pip is occasionally sent to visit Miss Havisham (Charlotte Rampling), an eccentric old crone who lives in a huge but filthy mansion and is always dressed in a decrepit bridal trousseau. Miss Havisham has a ward, a lovely young woman named Estella, with whom Pip is immediately smitten. However, Pip is convinced a boy of poor circumstances could never win her heart, which fills him with a desire to better himself. While economics would dictate a fate as Joe's assistant, one day Pip receives a message from a lawyer named Jaggers -- an anonymous benefactor has made it possible for Pip to leave the blacksmith's shop and pursue a gentleman's education in London. Pip (played as an adult by Ioan Gruffudd) soon moves to the city, where he hopes to gain knowledge, wealth and the affections of Estella (Justine Waddell). This version of Great Expectations made its American premier on the PBS cultural series Masterpiece Theatre, where it was shown as a three-part miniseries. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Drama , Television
Directed By:
In Theaters:


Ian McDiarmid
as Jaggers
Charlotte Rampling
as Miss Havisham
Bernard Hill
as Abel Magwitch
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Critic Reviews for Great Expectations

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Audience Reviews for Great Expectations

Well of course I had to see a classic but it's still so disappointing. My theory is that classical writers in the time of Dickens watched and experienced so much pain and misery that it's all they could write about. God forbid any of these stories have happy endings because there were hardly ever any happy endings in the real lives of that era. That said I really wanted these two to find happiness and I loved seeing Ioan and Justine together.

sloopy chicken lips  (aka Cynthia)
sloopy chicken lips (aka Cynthia)

This version of Great Expectations, from the usually reliable Masterpiece Theatre, is not a very good adaptation of the novel. The unfolding of the plot is truncated and, therefore, hard to follow. The acting from the principal characters, however, is pretty good. Ioan Gruffudd (from the Horatio Hornblower series) plays a fine Pip, and Charlotte Rampling is effective as the stilted Miss Havisham. My favorite choice, however, is Justine Waddell as the icily beautiful Estella.

Craig Burgess
Craig Burgess

Okay, nobody else was how I pictured the characters when I first read the novel, but wow! That Ioan Gruffudd captured a character who, in my opinion, is one of the most devoted and romantic figures in literature.

Shannon Nakai
Shannon Nakai

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