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David Copperfield (1999)

TV Mini-Series  |  Unrated  |   |  Drama
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 3,183 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 4 critic

Charles Dickens' haunting semi-autobiographical tale of a boy who is sent away by his stepfather after his mother dies but manages to triumph over incredible adversities.

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Normington ...
James Thornton ...
Patsy Byrne ...
Laura Harling ...
Jacqueline Tong ...
 Lady in coach


David Copperfield lives a nearly idyllic existence with his beautiful mother Clara and their housekeeper Peggotty. His life changes forever when his mother re-marries. Mr. Murdstone is a no-nonsense businessman and a strict disciplinarian who believes in corporal punishment. David is soon sent to a strict boarding school but when his mother dies, his stepfather sends him to London to work in a foul smelling factory. He forms a close friendship with Mr. Micawber and moves in with the man and his loving family but as the Micawbers are forced by circumstance to relocate, he seeks out his aunt Betsey Trotwood. She sends him to fine school and he lodges with Mr. Wickfield and his daughter Agnes. As he grows older David is apprenticed to a law firm where he soon meets the senior partner's daughter, Dora. Life's challenges continue to confront him but with the help of friends and family, he overcomes adversity including his aunt's loss of her savings, the death of his wife and the ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



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Release Date:

16 April 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Copperfield Dávid  »

Box Office


£4,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The green pelisse Emilia Fox (Clara Copperfield) wears to the funeral is the same costume Lucy Scott (Charlotte Lucas) wears walking to dinner at Rosings Park in Pride and Prejudice (1995), and Sophia Myles (Susan Price) wears walking in Portsmouth in Mansfield Park (1999). See more »


The younger Davy is right-handed; the elder Davy is left-handed. See more »


Miss Murdstone: Generally speaking, I don't like boys.
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Version of David Copperfield (1958) See more »


From John Playford's 'The English Dancing Master', First Edition (1651)
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User Reviews

Brilliant British drama-- Dickens can be enjoyable
4 May 2006 | by (Dundee, Scotland) – See all my reviews

For me, 'David Copperfield' was quite the revelation as a film as it was one of the few times I could tolerate Charles Dickens' adaptation and it was a chance to see Dan Radcliffe, before his rather mediocre performances as Harry Potter, prove he does have acting potential in him.

As the grown author David Copperfield reminisces on his life, the film focuses more on his childhood years and how he survived being an orphaned boy, with an abusive step-father, growing up in the bleakness of the Victorian era.

The cast is exemplary. Maggie Smith was just perfect as David's aunt, a woman who seems cold on the outside but does welcome the child into her home. Pauline Quirke stepped away from her usual comedic roles to play the maternal Pegotty, a lovable character who you truly felt cherished this little boy. Trevor Eve delivered a very chilling performance as the hideous stepfather Mr Murdstone who loathed David on sight with Zoe Wannamake equally as cruel as Murdstone's vile sister. Every actor did an excellent job of bringing their character to life and I don't think there has ever been such a well-cast drama. However, nine-year-old Daniel Radcliffe, who two years after this film would be cast to play Harry Potter, stole the show as the vulnerable but tenacious young David. It is easy to forget his bland wooden acting in the Harry Potter films as he throws himself into the role of winsome, wide-eyed David, wonderfully depicting the pains and joys of his character.

'David Copperfield' has to be one of the best adaptations of a classic novel yet. The excellent script and wonderful actors mesh together to really bring the story to life and it reminds you that sometimes the BBC does get it right. It's a pity our TV license money couldn't go to making more like this.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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