Jane Austen adaptations have won over the hearts of Janeites around the world for over 100 years. From the time actress and playwright, Rosina Filippi first adapted Jane Austen novels for the stage in 1895 to the several adaptations we love today. Arguably, the most popular of Jane Austen’s books (and, by extension – adaptations) is Pride and Prejudice. Hence why so many Pride and Prejudice adaptations and movies exist.
Arguably, the most popular of Jane Austen’s books (and, by extension – adaptations) is Pride and Prejudice. Hence why so many Pride and Prejudice adaptations exist.
If you’ve yet to read Pride and Prejudice (and you should), here’s what you need to know. The classic tale tells the story of the independent and high-spirited Elizabeth Bennet, who meets the proud and wealthy Mr. Darcy only to overhear him personally insult her.
However, Mr. Darcy soon falls in love with Elizabeth despite her being below him in class. But will they be able to defeat their pride and prejudice to be together?
With vibrant and amusing characters, witty dialogue, satirical representations of society, and even feminist touches, it’s no surprise the now-beloved 1813 novel stood the test of time.
RELATED: WHERE TO WATCH THE BEST JANE AUSTEN MOVIES RIGHT NOW
Today, Jane Austen is a pop culture phenomenon, remaining a continually trending topic with no signs of slowing down. So, now, in celebration of her birthday (December 16, 1775), I thought it would be fun to rank the most well-known adaptations of her famous novel. From classic favorites to looser adaptations, this list has it all.
Now, as all rankings go, this is my subjective rankings of movies based on Pride and Prejudice. So, consider this a fun experiment rather than a definitive list – if that could ever exist anyway.
I ranked based on how much I enjoyed each production, considering actor performances, scripts, production quality, how it relates to the source material, the importance of the adaptation, personal taste, and more.
I’ve given a Silver Petticoat award for each production, pointing out what’s best or unique about it.
Overall, while a few productions have room for improvement, these Pride and Prejudice adaptations all have something to offer.
Note: The ‘Where to Watch’ section is subject to change at any time. It was last updated in November 2022.
THE BEST PRIDE AND PREJUDICE MOVIES, RANKED
#15 Christmas at Pemberley Manor (2018)
If you’re a fan of Hallmark, then you’ll probably love this loose (very loose) adaptation. Elizabeth Bennet is a New York event planner sent to a cute small town to plan their Christmas festival in this contemporary version.
There, she crosses paths with William Darcy, a grumpy billionaire she needs to work with during the holiday. Of course, sparks fly.
While I loved Michael Rady as Darcy and enjoyed the holiday escapism, this version didn’t attempt to pay tribute to Jane Austen’s story and instead borrowed character names. More emotional depth would have improved this one. Still, it’s a fun watch.
Silver Petticoat Award: Most idyllic small-town
Where to Watch: You can buy it on Digital or DVD. The movie re-airs on November 30, 2022, at 8a/7c on the Hallmark Channel. Check your local listings for exact times.
#14 Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe (2018)
In a gender reversal, Darcy is a wealthy businesswoman who returns to her hometown for Christmas to help her mother plan a charity event. There, she reconnects with her old high school rival, Luke Bennet.
This Hallmark movie comes from Melissa De La Cruz’s contemporary Jane Austen retelling. While this one departs from both source materials, it’s an entertaining Christmas movie that stands independently.
While there are some similarities, I prefer this one over Christmas at Pemberley Manor and enjoyed the fun banter between the leads.
Silver Petticoat Award: Most fashionable wardrobe you want to own (Darcy).
Where to Watch: You can buy it on Digital and DVD.
#13 Unleashing Mr. Darcy (2016)
Pride and Prejudice comes to the world of fancy dog shows in this contemporary Jane Austen retelling.
It was so popular on Hallmark that they made the sequel, Marrying Mr. Darcy. I found the humor entertaining and recommend it if you’re looking for something sweet and modern.
Silver Petticoat Award: Cutest Dogs in a Jane Austen movie
Where to Watch: Stream on Hoopla and Hallmark Movies now. You can also buy this Pride and Prejudice adaptation on Digital or DVD.
#12 Pride & Prejudice: Atlanta (2019)
Perhaps the most underrated contemporary Pride and Prejudice adaptation on the list, this Lifetime movie brings welcome diversity to the classic romance genre.
Sure, it’s more romantic comedy than satire (like the novel), but it’s a pleasure to watch.
In this Pride and Prejudice remake, Lizzie Bennet (Tiffany Hines), an activist in her community, clashes with Mr. Darcy over politics when she tries to save a local theater from developers. It’s a sweet, family rom-com where Mrs. Bennet (Jackée Harry) gets to tell the story.
And that’s what I love most about it. Harry understands the character and brings out a new version to enjoy.
Overall, while mostly faithful to Jane Austen’s story, it’s more optimistic toward men – with no villains around. And that’s not a bad thing.
Silver Petticoat Award: Most empathetic Mrs. Bennet
Where to Watch: Stream on the ALLBLK Amazon channel.
#11: Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy (2003)
I admit I have a personal stake in this Pride and Prejudice adaptation. I lived where this movie was filmed and even recognize people I know. Plus, the satire in it is spot-on if you’re familiar with Utah culture.
In this indie adaptation, Elizabeth Bennet is a 25-year-old aspiring author working in a bookstore. She crosses paths with the prideful businessman (he owns a publishing company), Will Darcy.
And the two butt heads, only to start falling in love – despite their prejudices against each other.
While the modern Pride and Prejudice movie makes a few silly choices, much of this movie works. Orlando Seale is dreamy as Mr. Darcy, the Elizabeth and Jane friendship (they’re roommates in this one) is lovely, and Mr. Collins is hilarious. You’ll enjoy this one if you don’t take it too seriously.
Silver Petticoat Award: Most Underrated Mr. Collins
Where to Watch: Stream on Peacock, Hoopla, Crackle, Plex, Vudu, Amazon’s Freevee, and Tubi. Rent/buy on Digital/DVD.
#10 The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (2012)
This award-winning web series tells the story of Pride and Prejudice through a series of vlogs. It’s excellent, creative, and addictive.
It’s only lower on the list because I happen to enjoy the other adaptations more, and I’m not that into vlogs in real life. Still, this series is good stuff.
Silver Petticoat Award: Most Creative Modern Retelling
Where to Watch: YouTube
#9 Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)
If you enjoy fantasy and comedy, this is the Pride and Prejudice movie for you. Plus, it stars one of today’s most popular period drama stars, Lily James.
In this version, the Bennet sisters live in an alternate version of Georgian England. And as they search for husbands, they also fight against zombies.
While I love the satire and enjoy the cast, I needed some time to adjust to Sam Riley’s unusual interpretation of Mr. Darcy. But it’s an entertaining romantic movie I enjoyed enormously.
Even with zombies, it’s surprisingly faithful to Jane Austen. Also, Matt Smith is a standout as Mr. Collins.
Silver Petticoat Award: Best Choreography in an Adaptation.
Where to Watch: Stream on STARZ. You can also rent/buy on Digital and DVD.
#8: Lost in Austen (2008)
Lost in Austen is the adaptation for anyone who’s ever imagined marrying their own Mr. Darcy. In this twist on the story, a Jane Austen fan in modern-day London switches places with Elizabeth Bennet, only to fall in love with Mr. Darcy.
At times, I found the main character, Amanda Price (Jemima Rooper), to be a little on the annoying side. She was just too abrasive for my taste.
But overall, this is a must-see miniseries that will entertain you from start to finish.
RELATED: ‘Persuasion’ 2022 Review: Netflix’s New Jane Austen Movie is Entertaining
And with actors like Tom Mison, Alex Kingston, Gemma Arterton, Hugh Bonneville, Lindsay Duncan, Elliot Cowan, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and more in the ensemble, you won’t want to miss it.
Yes, this requires a massive leap in logic to appreciate, but embrace the wackiness, and you’ll have a good time.
Silver Petticoat Award: Best Jane Austen Pop Culture References
Where to Watch: Stream on Britbox, Freevee, Shout TV, and Pluto TV. You can also buy on Digital and DVD.
#7 Death Comes to Pemberley (2013)
In this Jane Austen continuation, the BBC put together a brilliant adaptation of PD James’s novel. If you love British period dramas and British mysteries, this adaptation is a must-watch.
Set six years after the Pride and Prejudice story, Wickham (played perfectly by Matthew Goode) becomes the main suspect in a murder.
This miniseries is good fun with an all-star British cast, including Matthew Rhys, Anna Maxwell Martin, Jenna Coleman, Eleanor Tomlinson, James Norton, and more.
Silver Petticoat Award: Most Handsome Mr. Wickham
Where to Watch: Stream on PBS Masterpiece Amazon Channel or buy it on Digital or DVD.
#6 Bride & Prejudice (2004)
As a big fan of Bend it Like Beckham, I was thrilled Gurinder Chadha’s next movie was a Jane Austen retelling, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Faithful to the novel, this modern adaptation fittingly moves the story to India with Bollywood dance numbers and an attractive American Mr. Darcy, played by Virgin River’s Martin Henderson.
As the East meets the West, cultures clash, but a romance blooms at the same time. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan plays the Elizabeth role to perfection – though Lizzie’s name’s been changed to Lalita Bakshi to fit the location change.
As a whole, Bride and Prejudice is just so much fun to watch. I love the over-the-top romantic goodies and beautiful costumes. So, if you enjoy dreamy music videos and unabashedly sweet love stories, this one is for you.
Silver Petticoat Award: Funniest Musical Sequence: “No Life Without Wife”
Where to Watch: Stream on STARZ. Rent/buy on Digital/DVD.
#5 Pride and Prejudice (1980)
If you’re looking for a close adaptation of the novel, this is the version for you. David Rintoul as Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Garvie as Elizabeth Bennet shine in the lead roles and have fantastic chemistry.
While Rintoul is less romantic than Firth or Macfadyen and harsher, he gives a solid performance and a sensible interpretation some may prefer depending on how you read the book.
While it feels a little bit “too” close to the source material, sometimes creating clunky dialogue, this is an excellent adaptation that was well-cast and true to the book.
However, be warned, this feels more like watching a play at times than a movie.
Silver Petticoat Award: Most Underrated Adaptation
Where to Watch: Stream on BritBox. Buy on DVD.
#4 Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
Based loosely on Pride and Prejudice, Bridget Jones, a single British woman in her early thirties, tries to improve her life while also keeping a diary. In the beginning, Bridget overhears Mark Darcy insulting her, prejudicing her against him.
But he falls in love with her just the way she is – faults and all. But she’s fallen for the bad boy, Daniel Cleaver, instead.
This hilarious romantic comedy brings Colin Firth back to play Mr. Darcy – further cementing him as the definitive Mr. Darcy of this generation. And with the sizzling chemistry between Firth, Zellweger, and Grant, plus the witty script from Helen Fielding, Andrew Davies, and Richard Curtis, this was a sure hit.
The movie had two sequels, ultimately giving Bridget and Mark Darcy the happy ending they deserved.
Silver Petticoat Award: Funniest Adaptation. Best LOL Sequence: Mark and Daniel fight while “It’s Raining Men” plays.
Where to Watch: Stream on Showtime and Pluto TV. You can also rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.
Content Note: The movie is rated R for language and sexuality.
#3 Pride and Prejudice (1940)
Yes, the costumes are historically inaccurate, and the script takes vast liberties. Still, Laurence Olivier gave a trailblazing performance of Mr. Darcy, bringing out the broody, romantic qualities of the character onscreen. His performance went on to influence all Mr. Darcy’s that followed.
On the other hand, Greer Garson captured Lizzie’s wit and independent spirit, further entrenching the likability of the literary heroine in pop culture.
While this Pride and Prejudice film is more light-hearted than the book, it’s an excellent classic movie. Just go in expecting a screwball comedy set during Victorian times rather than a romantic Georgian/Regency drama.
Silver Petticoat Award: Most Groundbreaking Adaptation
Where to Watch: Rent/buy on Digital and DVD.
#2 Pride and Prejudice (2005)
And thus, we come to the ongoing debate. Which Pride and Prejudice is better? The 2005 adaptation? Or the 1995 adaptation?
Some fans feel passionately one way or the other. I, on the other hand, love both versions equally. It’s hard to ever define something as “best,” anyway.
While the 2005 adaptation with Knightley and Macfadyen is the most visually artistic, the 1995 version arguably has the best screenplay. They balance each other out, and I watch both versions depending on my mood.
Still, if I had to choose at the end of the day…
Silver Petticoat Award: Most Swoon-Worthy Declarations of Love
Where to Watch: Stream on Peacock and Britbox. You can also rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.
#1 Pride and Prejudice (1995)
I only give the edge to the 1995 adaptation because it’s iconic and the epitome of perfection. The 1995 adaptation truly set the bar for what makes a fantastic period drama and a great book adaptation.
From the synergistic chemistry between Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle to iconic scenes such as Darcy taking a swim, this one has everything a Jane Austen fan could ever want, and is arguably the best Pride and Prejudice movie.
Silver Petticoat Award: Best Mr. Darcy
Where to Watch: Stream on Hulu, BYU TV, and BritBox. You can also rent/buy it on Digital and DVD.
BONUS MOVIES AND SHOWS
While not adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, the movies Austenland and Becoming Jane include enough elements of the story to interest P&P fans.
Austenland brings a Jane Austen fanatic to England for the ultimate Jane Austen experience – only to meet a Mr. Darcy (named Mr. Nobley) of her own. You can rent/buy Austenland on Digital and DVD.
On the other hand, Becoming Jane tells a fictionalized account of a young Jane Austen who falls in love with the Irish Tom Lefroy.
While more guesswork than reality, the romantic drama depicts their love story as the inspiration for Pride and Prejudice. You can stream Becoming Jane on Paramount+ or rent/buy on Digital and DVD.
Both movies, while wildly different, are excellent movies about Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice and are worth watching. They’re two of my personal favorites I watch time and time again.
OTHER PRIDE AND PREJUDICE ADAPTATIONS
While I covered the most famous film and TV Pride and Prejudice adaptations, many others exist. Unfortunately, many older ones have been lost, from the 1938 TV version to the 1952 miniseries and the 1958 version. Other copies are harder to come by.
That said, you can watch a few clips of the 1967 production on YouTube. And there’s hope yet for this version since the British Film Institute has a complete copy in their archives.
Well, that covers the best available Pride and Prejudice adaptations and movies. What is your favorite version? Drop a comment below to discuss!
21 thoughts on “15 of the Best Pride and Prejudice Adaptations And Movies, Ranked”
Thanks for putting together this fun list… I particularly enjoyed the specialised awards!
While the #1 spot on my personal list will also forever and always belong to the ’95 miniseries, 2nd & 3rd place would have to go to The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Death Comes to Pemberley (seriously, the casting was completely inspired across both of them, but especially in regards to Matthew Rhys and Matthew Goode ).
Thank you! Glad you enjoyed the list. 🙂 My list would probably change depending on my mood but yeah, the casting of Matthew Rhys and Matthew Goode was perfection. I love Death Comes to Pemberley.
On the site of RAI television there is an italian version of the novel, with an almost still adolescent Virna Lisi as Lizzie Bennet, dating back even to 1957!
I cite here the link, also if I don’t know if the show is avaliable outside Italy.
I’ve heard of that one but have never been able to find a copy with English subtitles! Thanks for sharing.
My No. 1 is the 1940 version, even with the wrong ages, I’ve never cared and have always loved both Olivier and Greer Garson. My No. 2 would be the 1995 version. After that, while I liked the 2005 version, certainly loved Matthew Macfadyen as Darcy, I had issues with the amount of extreme poverty for the Bennett family, including peeling paint and don’t think Keira Knightley was quite experienced enough for Lizzie. LIked Bride and Prejudice, loved Bridget Jones. I’d probably put Lost in Austin a little higher, and I didn’t like Death Comes to Pemberly – I thought Anna Maxwell Martin was badly miscast or the concept for Lizzie was really off, and while from what I’ve read of her roles onstage she’s played sexual and attractive women, on TV she tends to play colorless, plain women, which Lizzie is not.
I know it’s unpopular to say this, but I’ll always be a 1940s version 1st girl. No one does Darcy like Olivier. Plus I kinda like the aunt being a plant and actually enjoying the I’ll treatment. I know it’s not what happens, but it’s still great.
I absolutely LOVE this version, and yes, Olivier as Darcy is amazing! I love the one-liners in the movie and the fact that it pared down the cast of characters made it so much easier when I went back to try again to read the book. I’ve seen it in color, but I can no longer find it in a colorized version. Pity, because it was beautiful!
You have to explore the Turkish Dizi World! You will be in love!. You must watch Asi which had been on Netflix with subtitles. It is loosely based up on Pride and Prejudice. Another fantastic one is Siyah Beyaz Ask (Black White Love). You can find it on facebook with links for English Subtitles. Amazing! That one is a Turkish adaptation that resembles Beauty and the Beast!
I agree. The dancing scene with Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy was horrible. Shows the lacking screenplay. The dance was supposed to be silent and they talked and trampled over a beautiful scene.
That and a few other scenes grate on my nerves. The only reason I do like it is because of the powerhouse of actresses. The Bennet sisters has enormous star power: Keira Knightley, Rosamund Pike, Carey Mulligan, Jenna Malone all in one movie!
I mean, the Bennett Sisters.
I agree with your classification but the number 1 is by far the best . It bellongs to another championship. Great interpretation , great direction , a great team of actors in such harmmony with the history and the script .
I’m sorry but….. Keira Knightley who simply couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag beats Greer Garson????? What were you thinking???? An icy shower, three years in a Tibetan silent monastery, a further six months (inhumane to inflict more) as PA to Andrew Lloyd Webber then think again. *Bad* list-maker!
You are welcome to your opinion, of course. I don’t hold Keira Knightley in such low regard as you. Nor do I think she is the only part of one adaptation. The music, the cinematography, etc. all elevated it as an adaptation. And while I LOVE Greer Garson, the 1940 adaptation isn’t very faithful to the novel. So, I took many aspects into consideration. That all said, we only welcome respectable debate here. So, to make your point you didn’t need to personally attack me. Kind Regards, Amber
I love your list! The 1940 adaptation receives almost no attention anymore and is such a wonderful film. I must ask if you considered 1998s You’ve Got Mail when you were making your rankings? I have always seen strong parallels between the two plots even if Austen’s is loosely incorporated into the 90s film.
Thank you! I did not consider it for the list as I don’t quite see it as a Pride and Prejudice adaptation. However, I did include it in my list of where to watch all Jane Austen movies! Certainly, it references P&P. It’s a great film and one of my faves. 🙂
“You’ve Got Mail” was the third movie adaptation of the 1937 Hungarian play “Parfumerie”. Its first Hollywood adaptation was the 1940 film “The Shop Around the Corner” starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan. There was another film adaption of the play under a different name in 1949 starring Judy Garland. There were also a number of musicals made based on the play’s premise. Nora Ephron, whose parents were Hollywood screenwriters, didn’t have to look very far to get a winning movie script. She did the same with “Sleepless in Seattle” which is basically a remake of the 1957 movie “An Affair to Remember” starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. BTW, “The Shop Around the Corner” is a much better movie and with superior acting.
Yes, I love all the versions of Parfumerie! “She Loves Me” on Broadway, “You’ve Got Mail,” and “Shop Around the Corner” are my favorites. But there is no doubt that “You’ve Got Mail” does also pay homage to “Pride and Prejudice.”
I believe You’ve Got Mail was a remake of In the Good Old Summertime starring Van Johnson and Judy Garland.
All have something great in it, my favorites are 1: 2005 movie (Because Matthew MacFayden is just irresistible) 2: 1960 (So wholesome) 3: 1995 I have to admit, that I just can not stand both Mrs Bennet and also Lady Catherine in the 1995 adaptation (they are to far from what I imagined when I red the book, and therefor it’s not my favorite..
I mean the 1980 for second place!
A bit late to comment on the article but I just came across it today. I think that one should not compare big screen adaptatations with small screen adaptations of classic literature. A two-hour movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is more a parody of the book than a faithful visual representation of this classic work. It’s an exercise in picking the best lines delivered by the characters in the book (and there are more than enough of them) and creating the visuals for the key scenes (Netherfield Ball, Pemberley visit, etc.), and relagating non-lead characters to the role of background accessories. On the other hand television series can develop the psychology of characters more fully and are therefore more justly real adaptations of the work. So, on the movie front my favourite is the 1940 film with Laurence Olivier, if only for Olivier. It’s a well done classic Hollywood studio system big movie production. The 2005 movie adaptation is the least faithfull to the book and my least favourite of any adaptation of the work. Like my wife, I think the reason why some like it is because of the hyped up romantic angle it decided to exploit. Knightly really doesn’t deliver on the Lizzy Bennet character but because of the strong focus on romance and passion I understand why she was cast in the role. The film could have more aptly borne the title “Pride, Prejudice, and Passion”.
The television adaptation of Death Comes to Pemberley features the most credible Wickham and Lydia Bennet. No one would argue the fact that all the girls would be enamoured with someone who looked like Matthew Goode. Jenna Coleman is the only actress ever cast in the role of Lydia whose age actually lines up pretty well to that of the character (given that DCP takes place 6 years after the end of PP).
Goode and Coleman fit perfectly together. Anna Maxwell Martin is the worst casting ever for the role of Elizabeth Bennet. What were they thinking? She is a wonderful actress and I’ve enjoyed her performance in many other roles but she couldn’t be further from the character in every imaginable way. I know that the vast majority of PP fans agree.
There are only two film media adaptations worth considering as being largely faithful to the book. The 1980 and 1995 miniseries. For me it’s really a toss-up between the two. The Lizzy Bennet I imagine when I read the book is somewhat closer to the one in the 1980 adaptation. In addition, in the 1995 version it seems like Lizzy wakes up one morning towards the end of the story and realizes that she likes Darcy. In the book, Lizzy has developed feelings for Darcy at a much earlier stage and it’s reflected in the 1980 adaptation. The major difference between the two adaptations is, I believe, financial in nature. The 1995 version is much more lavish. It has more exterior scenes, fancy sets, a more developed thematic musical score, and better camera work (or just better cameras). But like reading Pride and Prejudice in either paperback or hard cover it’s really the story that matters. And in that vein both series pretty much hit the mark. The 1995 series in my view has a better Mrs. Bennet (Alison Steadman) and Lady Catherine, and of course Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. Both Mr. Bennets are equally good. Julia Sawalha does a good rendition of Lydia (1995 series) but she’s 27 years old and she looks it. The standout performance is David Bamber’s portrayal of Mr. Collins in the 1995 series. It may not be as faithful to the character in the book but the performance is an acting tour de force.
Jane Austen has made it so easy for anyone to adapt her work because in addition to writing a great novel she has delivered a movie script. I don’t know any other novel in classic literature that has as much character dialogue and absolutely great lines. The challenge for adaptors is deciding which lines to use or not use, conveying on screen what Austen says when her characters are not delivering lines, and casting accurately. I’m waiting for the next adaptation hoping that I will finally see the true Lizzy Bennet (at least the way I have imagined her in my mind’s eye these last 40+ years).