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Great Expectations (1946)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama, Mystery | 26 December 1946 (UK)
3:01 | Trailer

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A humble orphan suddenly becomes a gentleman with the help of an unknown benefactor.



(by), (adapted for the screen by) | 4 more credits »
Won 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Wager ...
Young Pip (as Anthony Wager)
Francis L. Sullivan ...
Ivor Barnard ...
Freda Jackson ...
Eileen Erskine ...
Hay Petrie ...
John Forrest ...


Pip, a good-natured, gullible young orphan, lives with kind blacksmith Joe Gargery and his bossy, abusive wife 'Mrs. Joe'. When the boy finds two hidden escaped galley convicts, he obeys under -probably unnecessary- threat of a horrible death to bring the criminals food he must steal at peril of more caning from the battle-ax. Just when Pip fears to get it really good while they have guests, a soldier comes for Joe who takes Pip along as assistant to work on the chains of escaped galley-convicts, who are soon caught. The better-natured one takes the blame for the stolen food. Later Pip is invited to became the playmate of Estelle, the equally arrogant adoptive daughter of gloomy, filthy rich Miss Havisham at her estate, who actually has 'permission' to break the kind kid's heart; being the only pretty girl he ever saw, she wins his heart forever, even after a mysterious benefactor pays through a lawyer for his education and a rich allowance, so he can become a snob in London, by now '... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


NOW The Screen Fulfills Your Greatest Expectations...In ACTION! In ADVENTURE! In ROMANCE! See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

26 December 1946 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Grandes esperanzas  »

Box Office


£350,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The Cineguild team of David Lean, Ronald Neame and Anthony Havelock-Allen collaborated on the screenplay after Dickens scholar Clemence Dame could not come up with a worthy script. Like Dickens, the Cineguild team was stuck for an ending. In the novel, which actually had two different endings, Dickens had Pip and Estella briefly meet when they are elderly. It was Lean's wife, Kay Walsh, who came up with the idea of Pip rescuing Estella from the fate that mirrored Miss Havisham's. And for that, she received a screenplay credit. See more »


When Pip goes home to his rooms before Magwitch returns, two clocks are heard striking the hour outside. The second one plays Westminster chimes. Big Ben in Westminster was the first to have these (hence the name) and this wasn't built until 1859, some years after the action. See more »


Mr. Jaggers: I have a pretty large experience of boys and you're a bad lot of fellows.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Martita Hunt plays Miss Havisham, and receives screen credit for it, but she can also be heard as the voice of the cow who, in Pip's mind, disapproves of him stealing food to give to Magwitch ("Somebody else's pork pie!"). She receives no screen credit for playing the voice of the cow. See more »


Featured in The 52nd Annual Academy Awards (1980) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A great film
21 June 2002 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

When David Lean directed Great Expectations, he used black and white, even though color was available. From the very first scene, you see that the black and white brings out a quality in the film, that wouldn't have been achieved with color. The black and white makes the film seem simpler than it really is. Great Expectations is a film, which ends very nicely for the characters, but their journeys throughout the film are not.

Pip sees himself for the rude snob he became, and Estella prides herself for being a heartless, ruthless bitch (for lack of a better word), and Miss Havisham is cold, and simply out to destroy men. The only person in this film who is not arrogant, or evil is the simple Joe.

I am far from a film expert. Infact, I only watched this movie because I am studying Great Expectations at school. However, after hours of in-depth discussion, there is so much more to this film than meets the eye. My favorite scenes are those in the first quarter of an hour. Lean's use of Silhouettes gives the search for the two escaped convicts a feel of war, and creates an atmosphere of tension very well. It also introduces the key characters in the story excellently.

As far as the story goes, I found it much easier on the head to watch than the book was to read. While it wasn't close in length to books i've read before (I think it's shorter than my little brother's "Harry Potter" books), it took me close to 30 hours to read. The movie compacts the majority of the book into 2 hours of film. The exclusion of characters like Orlick I have no problem with, as they are nearly completely irrelevant to the story. Lean explains the death of Pip's sister in less than 10 seconds, while the book takes somewhere in the region of 10 pages.

The acting is excellent. Alec Guinness was the only actor I had heard of, and that was only thanks to George Lucas. John Mills was interesting to watch, and after seeing the movie, I didn't know weather to like Pip for how he ended up, or to see him for the nasty person he had changed into (and come back from).

Only when watching it for the second time, did i realise the thought behind the direction. When Magwitch reappears, the atmosphere from their first meeting is created exactly; even the wind sounds the same. The sets were also incredible, and remade 19th century England perfectly. Ms. Havisham's `Statis House' was particularly memorable for me, as it is exactly how I pictured it from reading.

David Lean's Great Expectations set a benchmark in 1946 for great movies. It was nominated and won several Oscars, and is still enjoyed today. Every aspect of this film was enjoyable, it tells a great story, and if you look closer, you will appreciate the art of film making a little more, as I have.

58 of 75 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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