Oliver Twist
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The second of director David Lean's adaptations of a Charles Dickens novel (Great Expectations (1946) was the first), Oliver Twist expertly boils down an enormous novel to a little less than two hours' screen time. The film begins with baby Oliver left on the doorstep of an orphanage/workhouse by his unwed mother. Proving a difficult charge to the wicked orphanage official, Oliver (John Howard Davies) is sold into a job as an undertaker's apprentice. He runs away and joins a gang of larcenous street urchins, led by master pickpocket Fagin (Alec Guinness). Oliver is rescued from… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Alec Guinness as the master pickpocket Fagin is the high point of David Lean's 1948 version of the Dickens classic."
‑ Don Druker, Chicago Reader
"It is safe to proclaim that it is merely a superb piece of motion picture art and, beyond doubt, one of the finest screen translations of a literary classic ever made."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"Definitely the version to see before you subject yourself, say, to Polanski's bloated 2005 version."
‑ Christopher Null, Filmcritic.com
"Many of the novel's characters have been excised or compressed to fit the time frame of the film, but only the most die-hard Dickensians will protest."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"From every angle this is a superb achievement."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"It's Lean's direction that makes the production really pop. It's relentless, but fluid and deft, keeping us on our toes rather than wallowing in misery."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Classic Dickens ... the definitive version. Please, sir, we want some more!"
‑ Carol Cling, Las Vegas Review-Journal
"Lean's black and white film plays much better on the screen than does Dickens' original text in high school literature classes."
‑ John A. Nesbit, Old School Reviews
"Perhaps marginally less beguiling than Great Expectations, but still a moving and enjoyable account of Dickens' masterpiece."
‑ , Time Out
"Despite compression of characters and charges of Alec Guinness' anti-Semitic potrayal of Fagin, David Lean's version is still the most dramatically compelling, historically atmopsheric, and flawlessly acted."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"The ultimate version of the Dickens novel."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"Charles Dickens' novel rendered on the screen by an ambitious filmmaker, David Lean, is a flawed film of visual and emotional power."
‑ Dan Jardine, Apollo Guide
More reviews for Oliver Twist on Rotten Tomatoes