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Great Expectations (1998)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  30 January 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 41,581 users   Metascore: 55/100
Reviews: 196 user | 73 critic | 24 from Metacritic.com

Modernization of Charles Dickens classic story finds the hapless Finn as a painter in New York pursuing his unrequited and haughty childhood love.



(novel), (screenplay)
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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Walter Plane
Prisoner / Lustig
Jerry Ragno
Erica Thrall
Owen (as Gabriel Mick)
Finnegan at Age 10
Carter Macleish
Marla Sucharetza ...
Ruth Shepard
Isabelle Anderson ...
Lois Pope


Based on Charles Dickens' timeless tale, this is a story of the love of a man for an unreachable woman. Updated to modern day New York City, the story concerns a man of modest background who falls in love with a rich girl. But when a mysterious benefactor greenlights the man to make his dreams come true, everything done has the ultimate goal of making Estella fall in love with him... Written by Steve Richer <sricher@sympatico.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Let desire be your destiny.


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



| |

Release Date:

30 January 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Grandes esperanzas  »

Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$9,593,290 (USA) (30 January 1998)


£1,816,677 (UK) (8 May 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Alfonso Cuarón always use the green (he even auditioned green eyed girls for A Little Princess (1995)) as the main color of its movies. He uses red and orange (complimentary and opposite colors) to make some remarks. See more »


While on the subway looking at Finn's sketch book, the blood on Lustig's fingers changes in amount and placement throughout the scene. See more »


Ms. Nora Digger Dinsmoor: [Watches young Finn and young Estella dance] Smile, Smile, Smile, Smile...
[to Finn]
Ms. Nora Digger Dinsmoor: Okay, don't smile.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are accompanied by images of all the artwork drawn by Finnegan Bell (Ethan Hawke). They run the entire duration of credits. See more »


Referenced in Sex and the City: Great Sexpectations (2003) See more »


Bésame Mucho
Written by Consuelo Velázquez
Performed by Mantovani
Courtesy of LaserLight Digital
by arrangement with Source/Q
See more »

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User Reviews

9 June 2001 | by (St. Louis, MO) – See all my reviews

I have never read Dickens' "Great Expectations," but I can tell you that this is one of the best movies I have ever seen. Let me clear something up right away. This is not a b-movie, a cheesy remake, or even a remake. It is my understanding that this movie is loosely based on the Dickens' book, but that it does follow the themes, just not the exact story. This is a great movie, it is a modern classic. The acting is excellent. Ethan Hawk is amazing, he really is a top notch actor. He's not just a young sexy leading man type who gets by on looks and a touch of acting (as I had previously thought since he looks like the typical Matt Dillion or a Lowe type). Gwyneth Paltrow is absolutely stunning and plays her role perfectly. De Niro has a nice, powerful role, and duh, he's awesome in this movie. Anne Bancroft was hauntingly superb in this movie, you'll see what i mean. Hank Azaria and Chris Cooper play great supporting roles. I think this movie was probably Chris Cooper's breakthrough role, and he was great.

The movie was breathtakingly shot. The cinematography was better then even the recent crouching tiger hidden dragon. The movie gives you a feeling of awe and mystery because of it's settings. It's a work of art. The writing...based on a classic Dickens novel..come on it is superb. No cheesy lines; yes there are heartfelt beautiful lines, but none cheesy or over-emotional or over the top dialogue. The writing and actors clicked perfectly. Need I say the story was both interesting and intriguing (based on Dickens' Great Expectations). It may be loosely based or not, but it was GREAT.

The directing pulled everything together and added some nice tricks to make this movie a Modern classic. And the way music was used to intensify this movie and when and where it was used was absolutely brilliant, and i suppose this is the director's job, WELL DONE.

The music was almost as important as the acting in this movie. The musical score for this movie is one of the best I have ever encountered. It makes this movie move you. And just as good are the music (songs) the movie uses, how and when they are used. This is one of the few movies that thrives on sound (music) to help create it's mood, power and emotion and it is done masterfully.

This movie is a masterpiece. Beautiful on the eyes, ears, heart, and mind. I feel sorry for you if you don't ever get to experience this movie, it is a MUST see.

112 of 145 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Beautiful film, moving soundtrack, great symbolism... helenekremer
Ethan Hawk terrible in this rufurious
Terrible movie. the_world_is_flat
Green theme dianapurkiss
Did anyone else feel for Joe? itsxFREE
song on ending credit? nivlem88
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