Based on the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist is about an orphan boy who runs away from a workhouse and meets a pickpocket on the streets of London. Oliver is taken in by the pickpocket ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Howard Davies ...
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Kay Walsh ...
Francis L. Sullivan ...
Henry Stephenson ...
Mary Clare ...
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Josephine Stuart ...
Ralph Truman ...
Kathleen Harrison ...
Gibb McLaughlin ...
Amy Veness ...
Frederick Lloyd ...
Henry Edwards ...
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Storyline

Based on the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist is about an orphan boy who runs away from a workhouse and meets a pickpocket on the streets of London. Oliver is taken in by the pickpocket and he joins a household of young boys who are trained to steal for their master. This version of Oliver Twist is topped by Alec Guinness's masterly performance of arch-thug Fagin. Written by Jenny Evans <J.Evans@uts.edu.au>

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A Screen Event To Be Remembered For All Time !

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Adventure | Crime | Drama

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Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

30 July 1951 (USA)  »

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As Aventuras de Oliver Twist  »

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1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alfie Bass was considered for the the Artful Dodger, until Kay Walsh, David Lean's wife at the time, recommended Anthony Newley who was with her in Vice Versa (1948). See more »

Goofs

At the beginning as the storm rages there are two successive shots of shaking bare tree branches silhouetted against the storm clouds. On the second shot a crew member's hand and forearm can be seen shaking this branch. See more »

Quotes

Nancy: I will not turn on the others because, bad as they are, they never turned on me.
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Connections

Referenced in Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love for Sail! (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

He Don't Know When To Stop
(uncredited)
Music by Frederick Lewis
Lyrics by Ronald Hill
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User Reviews

Robert Newton as Bill Sykes and Sir Alec Guinness as Fagan-two of the best actors ever in their greatest roles!
24 August 2001 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

David Lean knew how to capture the essence of Dickension London pitch-perfectly.

Robert Newton gives the finest performance of his life as Bill Sykes, the murderous thief who uses Alec Guinness' Fagan as his fence. The two men have an uneasy relationship that comes apart toward the end of the film. As actors, Newton and Guinness have a chemistry and an acting partnership that is superb. I have rarely seen two actors so perfectly matched in any film. I only wish they had done other films together.

Sykes has a girlfriend, Nancy, who is loyal to the point of death. The murder scene and the scene that follows are brilliant. There is Sykes, drunk and paranoid accusing his only love of betraying him. She pleads for her life in vain. The next scene is oddly quiet. Sykes in a chair contemplating the body with early morning light streaming through a filthy window onto the body. Newton's portrait of Sykes, the man who killed the thing he loved most in the world- the guilt and remorse that flutter across his face are wrenching. That silent scene will stay with me forever.

There was a great deal of controversy over Guinness's portrait of Fagan. His explanation of himself to Oliver, "They say I am a miser..." is chilling and pathetic at the same time. In this early film of Sir Alec's you see his genius for characterization. Guinness played Fagan as a Jew with a distrust and a hatred of humanity that is hard to top.

Director Lean assembled the finest actors in England at the time for his Oliver Twist. He created a seamless story that was a classic the moment it was released. David Lean's Oliver Twist is still the BEST adaptation of ANY Dickens story on film.

Special praise goes to the film score, which has been recorded many times and has entered the classical music rep. as incidental music. The Oliver Theme and the Fagan theme are instantly recognizable.

A MUST SEE!


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