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Great Expectations (1998)

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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)
3,030 ( 201)
1 win & 3 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)


$26,333,044 (USA) (27 March 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In his book, "What Just Happened?", producer Art Linson reveals that the narration in the movie was written by David Mamet. It was done for free, on the condition that nobody ever find out he did it. See more »


When Arthur Lustig visits Finn, Finn gives him his address as 111 Greenwhich St., which is south of the World Trade Center. The nearest subway stop is the Rector St. 1/9 train. Yet when Finn takes Arthur to the subway, they end up at the J/M/Z Chambers St. stop. When a subway train does come, miraculously it is the G train, which is the only train in the system that does not enter Manhattan at all. In addition, none of the above mentioned trains would take Arthur to JFK, his stated destination, without at least one transfer. See more »


Finn: That's a big cat! That's the biggest cat I've ever seen! What do you feed it?
Ms. Nora Digger Dinsmoor: Other cats.
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 »


Version of Great Expectations (1971) See more »


Bésame Mucho
Written by Consuelo Velázquez
Performed by Ray Conniff
Courtesy of Columbia Records
by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

A Creative "Attempt" at a Literary Masterpiece
16 November 1999 | by (Maple Ridge, BC, Canada) – See all my reviews

Hollywood and the movie industry have made many bold moves over the past decade in bringing to life old classics. None however have been done more boldly than the remoulding of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and Charles Dicken's Great Expectations. Both are daring attempts to rebirth a storyline from the distant past, as a tale told in our modern times. I say attempt because in both cases, as good a job the cast and crew did, there was something lacking in these new renditions. Great Expectations, the movie, lacks many qualities that make the novel a success. It cannot be said to be a total loss, the basic elements are intact, it is only the embellishments Charles Dickens developed in the novel to make the story more realistic that are missing.

One success, I must admit that I observed while watching the film was the rich visual setting. Although not taking presented in the same place, or era Great Expectations, the movie, is a feast for the eyes. It captivates the mind with beautiful shots of the rural Florida coast life, and yet still retains the jumbled, rundown atmosphere that is described of Pip's small birthplace in a small English town. These qualities of squalor are evident in the impoverished coastal fishing village of the movie. The best achievement in cinematography, is the in-depth views of Pardiso Perduto, a sister mansion to the decaying Satis house of the novel. Even the scenes of New York, the city of "expectations" for our youthful protagonist, Finn, has contrasting aspects of rich beauty and unsightly slums that the London of the nineteen century demonstrated. This is the most major achievement for the film; to capture on film a most ingenious modern equivalent of Charles Dicken's astute descriptions.

Unlike some attempts to revamp literary successes the movie at least retains some of the dignity of Dicken's work. The core of his novel is intact within the screenplay. Also many ingenious ideas were used in some plot changes, and cinematography. Overall it is not a bad representation of the novel.

28 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Beautiful film, moving soundtrack, great symbolism... helenekremer
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song on ending credit? nivlem88
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