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'Pride & Prejudice 1995 vs 2005'

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'Pride & Prejudice 1995 vs 2005'

Imagine unknowingly being deprived of the best adaptation of one of the most popular Victorian Classics, Pride & Prejudice.

Pride & Prejudice (2005):

Joe Wrights direction in the 2005’s film adaptation of Austen’s most recognised novel Pride and Prejudice is astonishingly beautiful, with bewitching scenic images of powerful hillsides and grand properties that shine in the summer weather and an incredible stacked cast of some of the most well-known actors and actresses that bring Austen’s romance to the screen exceptionally well.

Matthew MacFadyen’s Mr Darcy has become an iconic symbol of romance in films since his period drama debut in 2005, to not only the old lovers of the 1995 series but to Gen Z as well. His iconic rain-soaked love confession and marriage proposal to Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth Bennett is so breathtaking and packed full of tension it has become the main reason as why so many viewers revisit the film each month.

It is not exactly faithful to Austen’s novel however it is still entertaining to watch both Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy’s character developments and their iconic second marriage proposal in the fog. What Joe Wrights adaptation lacks is the same satisfaction Simon Langton brought viewers with his 1995 BBC1 series.

Pride & Prejudice (1995):

Although, Pride and Prejudice (2005) can be watched in one sitting, Simon Langton’s 1995 series adaptation is not only more faithful and accurate to Jane Austen’s novel, but there is more to enjoy as it spans six episodes, which are all about an hour long. I believe 1995 was the year the best adaptations of Austen’s novels were put on the screen as both Pride & Prejudice (series) and Sense and Sensibility (film) were adapted. The 1995 cast may not have as many well-known actors and actresses like in Wright’s 2005 adaptation, but it does have some incredible British actors that dominate the media today like Oscar winner Colin Firth who plays Mr Darcy.

The series is an excellent representation of how a book being turned into a film or series should ultimately be - perfect. What makes the BBC1 series more successful than the film adaptation is not only does it have everything the film has, with the gorgeous scenery and the ability to make you escape to the Victorian, English countryside, but the added scenes which are unfaithful to the novel elevate the story and make it a more enjoyable watch. Unlike in the series the film’s added scenes feel rushed and unfinished at times as the whole story is squeezed into just two hours.

The lake scene in the 1995 depiction is the most memorable scene in a period drama even twenty-nine years later, as Colin Firth’s Mr Darcy dives into a lake surrounding his Pemberley home, and famously bumps into Jennifer Ehle’s Elizabeth Bennett in an ungentlemanly circumstance for the time. This scene alone has become so popular that the shirt worn by Colin Firth in the scene has been auctioned to a super fan/collector for £25,000; this can show how memorable and special the show is to its fans.

The series was also briefly mentioned in the 2023 hit film of the summer “Barbie” which made $1.4 billion, further proving how relevant it still is in today’s media. There is no doubt in my mind that if you haven’t watched BBC1 Pride and Prejudice (1995) then you are missing out completely.

I personally am obsessed with both adaptations and Jane Austen’s novel. Both have their own pros and cons but ultimately my favourite is Pride and Prejudice 1995; both are undoubtedly addictive and a beautiful illustration of what I believe Jane Austen was trying to portray to her readers in 1813.

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