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Nicholas Nickleby (2002)

PG  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  27 June 2003 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 9,102 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 103 user | 80 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

A young, compassionate man struggles to save his family and friends from the abusive exploitation of his cold-heartedly grasping uncle.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Stella Gonet ...
Mr. Nickleby
Henry McGrath ...
Poppy Rogers ...
Jessie Lou Roberts ...
Angela Curran ...


Young Nicholas and his family enjoy a comfortable life, until Nicholas' father dies and the family is left penniless. Nicholas, his sister and mother venture to London to seek help from their Uncle Ralph, but Ralph's only intentions are to separate the family and exploit them. Nicholas is sent to a school run by the cruel, abusive and horridly entertaining Wackford Squeers. Eventually, Nicholas runs away with schoolmate Smike, and the two set off to reunite the Nickleby family. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Every family needs a hero.


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic material involving some violent action and a childbirth scene | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

27 June 2003 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

La leyenda de Nicholas Nickleby  »

Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$42,864 (USA) (27 December 2002)


£826,126 (UK) (11 July 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


First cinema feature of Romola Garai. See more »


Nicholas's letter from Dotheboys to Ralph Nickleby carries a postage stamp. These did not exist in the 1830s. See more »


[first lines]
Vincent Crummles: What happens when the light first pierces the dark dampness in which we have waited? We are slapped and cut loose. If we are lucky, someone is there to catch us and persuade us that we are safe. But are we safe? What happens if, too early, we lose a parent? That party on whom we rely for only everything? Why, we are cut loose again and we wonder, even dread whose hands will catch us now? There once lived a man named Nicholas Nickleby...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks to everyone at One Aldwych. See more »


Version of Nicholas Nickleby (1985) See more »


On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at
Traditional Yorkshire folk song; sung to the Methodist hymnal tune "Cranbrook" (1805) (uncredited), written by 'Thomas Clark'
Performed by Kevin McKidd (uncredited), Helen Coker (uncredited), and Jim Broadbent (uncredited)
Sung by John Browdie and Tilda while on their honeymoon in a London public house, accompanied by Mr. Wackford Squeers
See more »

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User Reviews

England is lovingly represented in this film by a cinematography wedded to landscape.
8 January 2003 | by (Columbus, Ohio) – See all my reviews

If Dickens were with us today, he would delight in the stock shenanigans of Michael Milken and the outrageous dysfunction of the Osbourne family. Speculation and family chaos rule his `Nicholas Nickleby,' directed on film by Douglas McGrath (`Emma') and starring Christopher Plummer as cold Uncle Ralph and Jim Broadbent as cruel Wackford Squeers.

The idyllic thatched cottage in Devonshire with its white smoke pluming to heaven contrasts sharply with the dark satanic mills of London spewing black smoke into every home and hovel. The eponymous hero, played by Brit TV star Charlie Hunnam, travels both worlds to defend the honor of his sister, overcome the tyranny of his uncle (Plummer), and find love. Along the way Broadbent's boarding-school proprietor, reflecting the workhouse slavery of 19th century England, helps his uncle sabotage Nickleby's spirit and endanger his best friend. But Nicholas also meets the delightful Cheeryble brothers, one of whom is Mike Leigh regular Timothy Spall in an uncharacteristically cheery role.

England is lovingly represented in this film by a cinematography wedded to landscape like a Constable painting, gentlemen appearing as stately as in a Reynolds, and women appearing to be sitting for Gainesboro. All seems well represented without being overdone or obvious.

Like a good Dickens novel, the filmed `Nicholas Nickleby' can't help but drive home lessons about honesty and family. Reliance on both will bring happiness. My only question is how did the Golden Globes ever nominate this as a comedy?

28 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

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Nicholas + Smike Joeytrom@aol.com
Did you actually like this? crazy_girl2
Was Mrs. Crummles supposed to be played by a guy? Joan_Shooter
Bah! How come this movie received NO marketing?! Floop1977
A Question Concerning Ralph Nickleby... Celtic_Celia
I love this film, but have a few problems with it... Severus_Snape666
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