Oliver! (1968)



Critic Consensus: It has aged somewhat awkwardly, but the performances are inspired, the songs are memorable, and the film is undeniably influential.

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Inspired by Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist, this film version of the musical hit does a masterful job of telling its story almost exclusively through song and dance. Once 9-year-old orphan Oliver Twist falls in with such underworld types as pickpocket Fagin, it becomes necessary to inject more "straight" dialogue.
Classics , Comedy , Drama , Kids & Family , Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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Ron Moody
as Fagin
Mark Lester
as Oliver
Oliver Reed
as Sikes
Kenneth Cranham
as Noah Claypole
Leonard Rossiter
as Sowerberry
Hugh Griffith
as Magistrate
Brian Lloyd
as Fagin's Boy
Joseph O'Conor
as Brownlow
Peter Locke
as Fagin's Boy
Jack Wild
as Dodger
Peggy Mount
as Widow Corney
Megs Jenkins
as Mrs. Bedwin
Harry Secombe
as Bumble
Hylda Baker
as Mrs. Sowerberry
James Hayter
as Mr. Jessop
Kim Smith
as Fagin's Boy
Fred Emney
as Chairman of Workhouse Governors
Wensley Pithey
as Dr. Grimwig
Norman Mitchell
as Arresting Policeman
Bill Smith
as Fagin's Boy
Keith Roberts
as Policeman in Magistrate's Court
Edwin Finn
as Workhouse Pauper
Arnold Locke
as Workhouse Governor
Elizabeth Knight
as Charlotte
John Baskcomb
as Workhouse Governor
Norman Pitt
as Workhouse Governor
Jeffrey Chandler
as Fagin's Boy
Frank Crawshaw
as Workhouse Governor
Robert Bartlett
as Fagin's Boy
Clive Moss
as Charlie Bates
Veronica Page
as Oliver's Mother
Henry Kay
as Doctor
Ian Ramsey
as Fagin's Boy
John Watters
as Fagin's Boy
Peter Hoar
as Court Clerk
Foy Evans
as Workhouse Pauper
Graham Buttrose
as Fagin's Boy
Kirk Clugeston
as Fagin's Boy
Dempsey Cook
as Fagin's Boy
Christopher Duff
as Fagin's Boy
Nigel Grice
as Fagin's Boy
Ronnie Johnson
as Fagin's Boy
Nigel Kingsley
as Fagin's Boy
Robert Langley
as Fagin's Boy
Peter Lock
as Fagin's Boy
Peter Renn
as Fagin's Boy
Freddie Stead
as Fagin's Boy
Raymond Ward
as Fagin's Boy
Jane Peach
as Rose the Maid
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Critic Reviews for Oliver!

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (7)

Oliver! is a timeless classic that will be as lovable in 10 or 20 years as it is today.

Full Review… | February 27, 2015
New York Daily News
Top Critic

The focus of the movie is so wide, and the logistics of the production so heavy, that Oliver himself, dutifully played by 9-year-old Mark Lester, gets flattened out and almost lost, as if he had been run over by a studio bulldozer.

Full Review… | February 24, 2014
New York Times
Top Critic

There's plenty of mileage left in the famous story.

Full Review… | February 19, 2008
Top Critic

After a season of watching inane twitching in the name of dance, the viewer is most happily greeted by Onna White's choreography, an exuberant step-by-step exploration of Victorian zeal.

Full Review… | February 19, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

In retrospect, it seems emblematic of the triviality Reed descended to in the last years of his career. The Third Man it's not.

Full Review… | December 13, 2006
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Reed is craftsman enough to make an efficient family entertainment out of Lionel Bart's musical, but not artist enough to put back any of Dickens' teeth which Bart had so assiduously drawn.

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Oliver!

They made this in Britain?!? Yes, it's hard to believe, but somehow the Brits got their ducks in a row and turned out this big, rich, snazzy product of such high quality (and without a lot of talking, their national strongpoint) that you'll be left wondering. The music is highly contagious, the performances (except for young Olivier himself) very strong, and everything else is simply very well done. Standouts include Ron Moody, Oliver Reed, and the undeniable Jack Wild.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

This multi-Oscar winner is the film version of the satge musical adaptation of the classic novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. As you might expect, it's a sumptuous well-done British affair filled with excellent sets and costumes, good music, and some decent performances. As for how it fares as an adaptation? Well, pretty decently. It's certainly entertaining, though I can't say I've ever really been all that into Oliver Twist (in any form). That makes my praise seem odd no doubt, but I'm the sort of person who can give praise to something when it is well done, even if it's really not my thing. The casting is good, as are the performances, but special credit must be given to Oliver Reed as Bill Sykes, a chilling performance that the Nostalgia Critic (Doug Walker) rightfully included on his list of the Top 11 Scariest Performances. He's a real creep, and Reed's take is wonderfully done. Shani Wallis's Nancy and Ron Moody's Fagin are pretty good too. Mark Lester is capable as the title character, but his voice (mostly singing) is a bit much for me. I know I can't fault him for not hitting puberty by the time this film was made, but damn. It's not distracting enough to take the movie down though. Carol Reed, the director behind the masterpiece that is The Third Man, does a really good job of bringing this musical to life on the big screen. There's nothign really cinematically showy going on, but it's solid and well played nonetheless. If you happen to like musicals or the source material, then yeah, give this one a go. Unlike almost all 1960s movie musicals, this one is at least under 3 hours.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

not my type of film

erika bruhns
erika bruhns

Super Reviewer

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