Favorite Jane Austen related films and miniseries

by macyag9 | created - 23 Jun 2016 | updated - 28 Sep 2016 | Public

My favorite (also including least favorite or hated entries) Austen adaptations and other films or miniseries ranked. Ratings are not yet set in stone and may be changed, except for the top three.

To be added, after I watch them: Northanger Abbey (1986) and (2007), Love & Friendship (2016) and probably more!

Please leave your opinions in the comment section!

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1. Pride & Prejudice (2005)

PG | 129 min | Drama, Romance

82 Metascore

Sparks fly when spirited Elizabeth Bennet meets single, rich, and proud Mr. Darcy. But Mr. Darcy reluctantly finds himself falling in love with a woman beneath his class. Can each overcome their own pride and prejudice?

Director: Joe Wright | Stars: Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland

Votes: 222,464 | Gross: $38.41M

A very hard choice, but I feel I must admit that enjoyed this film more than the 1995 miniseries. Keira Knightley is my favorite Lizzie (however a tad too pretty for the role and not as witty) and I love Matthew Macfadyen's sad puppy-dog eyes (even though Firth is my favorite Darcy)! It's hard to say anymore because I'm slightly inclined to like films more anyway.

2. Screen Two (1985–2002)
Episode: Persuasion (1995)

PG | 107 min | Drama

Eight years earlier, Anne Elliot, the daughter of a financially troubled aristocratic family, was persuaded to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a young seaman, who, though ... See full summary »

Director: Roger Michell | Stars: Amanda Root, Ciarán Hinds, Susan Fleetwood, Corin Redgrave

Votes: 9,366 | Gross: $5.46M

I loved "Persuasion" (1818) from the first page and loved this television movie from the the first minute. An impeccable film that captures all the love and soul from the novel with a great cast (especially the leads, Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds, they say so much without even talking just like in the novel). Of course, this is the de facto best version of "Persuasion".

3. Sense and Sensibility (1995)

PG | 136 min | Drama, Romance

84 Metascore

Rich Mr. Dashwood dies, leaving his second wife and her three daughters poor by the rules of inheritance. The two eldest daughters are the titular opposites.

Director: Ang Lee | Stars: Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, James Fleet, Tom Wilkinson

Votes: 88,875 | Gross: $43.18M

I had a hard time picking which "Sense and Sensibility" adaptation I enjoyed the most, this one or the 2008 series (both are very good). My biggest complaint was that we didn't see much of Willoughby, whose storyline was not worked out in this film to my satisfaction. Overall, this version has one of the best-looking cast of any Austen adaptation, Emma Thompson (Elinor), Kate Winslet (Marianne), Alan Rickman (Col Brandon), Hugh Grant (Edward), etc.

4. Pride and Prejudice (1995)

TV-PG | 327 min | Drama, Romance

While the arrival of wealthy gentlemen sends her marriage-minded mother into a frenzy, willful and opinionated Elizabeth Bennet matches wits with haughty Mr. Darcy.

Stars: Colin Firth, Jennifer Ehle, Susannah Harker, Julia Sawalha

Votes: 64,556

Oh Colin Firth, by far my favorite Darcy, hard to resist. Although one of the best "Pride and Prejudice" adaptations, I would recommend this more to those who have read the book because of the runtime, and obviously they'll appreciate how much of the book it covers. Not really anything big to complain about this adaptation.

5. Sense & Sensibility (2008)

TV-14 | 174 min | Drama, Romance

Widow Dashwood and her three unmarried daughters, Elinor, Marianne and Margaret, inherit only a tiny allowance. So they move out of their grand Sussex home to a more modest cottage in ... See full summary »

Stars: Dominic Cooper, Charity Wakefield, Hattie Morahan, Janet McTeer

Votes: 8,921

As I said before, I had a hard time picking which "Sense and Sensibility" adaptation I enjoyed the most. This two-episode miniseries covers the novel a bit better, because of the extended runtime, thus giving a more complete look at the story (and Dominic Cooper is so hot as Willoughby!). Also, I've heard complaints about this version being too racy, but there wasn't much and I thought it was all tasteful and not vulgar.

6. Emma (1996 TV Movie)

TV-G | 107 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

While matchmaking for friends and neighbors, a young 19th-century Englishwoman nearly misses her own chance at love.

Director: Diarmuid Lawrence | Stars: Kate Beckinsale, Bernard Hepton, Mark Strong, Samantha Bond

Votes: 4,700

Two adaptations of "Emma" in the same year!, so of course these two will always be compared. This television film I felt captured the soul of the novel more, also taking a darker view of some things and didn't make Emma look like a fairytale princess. Kate Beckinsale played a superb Emma, possibly my favorite (her imagination sequences were very clever!), and Mark Strong's take on Knightley's emotions were very entertaining.

7. Becoming Jane (2007)

PG | 120 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

55 Metascore

A biographical portrait of a pre-fame Jane Austen and her romance with a young Irishman.

Director: Julian Jarrold | Stars: Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy, Julie Walters, James Cromwell

Votes: 52,785 | Gross: $18.67M

A film based on a biography of Jane Austen that hints at a romantic relationship between Austen (played by Anne Hathaway) and Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy). Most of the events of the movie probably didn't happen, though still fun to watch. However, I may never understand why they would pick such a sad topic to make a movie of. "How depressing!" was my last thought at the end of the film.

8. Emma (1996)

PG | 120 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

66 Metascore

While matchmaking for friends and neighbours, a young 19th Century Englishwoman nearly misses her own chance at love.

Director: Douglas McGrath | Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, James Cosmo, Greta Scacchi, Alan Cumming

Votes: 31,621 | Gross: $22.20M

Oh Gwyneth Paltrow, though I don't like you, I must admit you played a wonderful, ethereal Emma. This film like "Sense and Sensibility (1995) features a star-studded cast, including Alan Cumming (Elton), Toni Collette (Harriet), Ewan McGregor (Frank), and Jeremy Northam (definitely the hottest Knightley). The greatest merit of the movie is just how beautiful it is to look at.

9. Mansfield Park (1999)

PG-13 | 112 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

71 Metascore

At 10, Fanny Price, a poor relation, goes to live at Mansfield Park, the estate of her aunt's husband, Sir Thomas. Clever, studious, and a writer with an ironic imagination and fine moral ... See full summary »

Director: Patricia Rozema | Stars: Frances O'Connor, Jonny Lee Miller, Alessandro Nivola, Hannah Taylor Gordon

Votes: 19,265 | Gross: $4.76M

A very well-made film based on "Mansfield Park" (and somewhat on Jane Austen's life), though I must confess I wasn't completely satisfied with it. Frances O'Connor fits my idea of Fanny, despite not making her weak or sickly like in the novel. It was also racier than the novel and made Sir Thomas look like a devil and Tom like a saint. (I also kinda felt bad for Henry! and who feels bad for Henry normally!)

10. Emma (1972– )

240 min | Comedy, Romance

While matchmaking for friends and neighbours, a young 19th Century Englishwoman nearly misses her own chance at love.

Stars: Doran Godwin, John Carson, Donald Eccles, Constance Chapman

Votes: 449

Perhaps the best of the old miniseries from BBC. The series is entertaining and covers the nearly all of the book. The only faults I found were that Doran Godwin (Emma) and John Carson (George) seemed a bit old for the part (though this is easily overlooked) and that Debbie Bowen (Harriet) and Ania Marson (Jane) were lackluster.

11. Sense and Sensibility (1981– )

174 min | Drama, Romance

Two sisters of opposing temperaments find love and some heartbreak in Jane Austen's 18th century classic.

Stars: Irene Richard, Tracey Childs, Annie Leon, Robert Swann

Votes: 774

Starring, Irene Richards (who played Charlotte Lucas in the 1980 P&P!) and Tracey Childs, who perfectly fit their roles as Elinor and Marianne. Although, neither Edward nor Colonel Brandon are as handsome as Hugh Grant or Alan Rickman, but they play their roles well anyway. This miniseries pairs well with the 1980 P&P, both have wonderful dialogue and acting, but suffer from low production values.

12. Emma (2009)

240 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Emma Woodhouse seems to be perfectly content, to have a loving father whom she cares for, friends and a home. But Emma has a terrible habit - matchmaking. She cannot resist finding suitors ... See full summary »

Stars: Romola Garai, Michael Gambon, Jonny Lee Miller, Jodhi May

Votes: 12,817

Another adaptation of Emma, how can I resist! The miniseries expands the story by showing scenes only talked about in the novel, such as Emma, Jane, and Frank as children, played by Romola Garai, Laura Pyper, and Rupert Evans as adults. Other such scenes include Knightley (Johnny Lee Miller) giving advice to Robert Martin. This was an interesting way to distinguish itself from the other versions, very entertaining.

13. Pride and Prejudice (1980– )

TV-PG | 265 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

While the arrival of wealthy gentlemen sends her marriage-minded mother into a frenzy, willful and opinionated Elizabeth Bennet matches wits with haughty Mr. Darcy.

Stars: Elizabeth Garvie, David Rintoul, Moray Watson, Priscilla Morgan

Votes: 1,912

A nearly perfect adaptation that takes very few liberties with the plot. My favorite scene was Elizabeth (played by Elizabeth Garvie) reading Darcy's (David Rintoul) letter as the camera pans to show him walk far into the distance (the two actors also had good chemistry together). The only problem I had with this version was that it seemed a bit too long at times.

14. Persuasion (1971– )

225 min | History, Romance

Eight years earlier, Anne Elliot, the daughter of a financially troubled aristocratic family, was persuaded to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a young seaman, who, though ... See full summary »

Stars: Ann Firbank, Bryan Marshall, Marian Spencer, Richard Vernon

Votes: 400

Despite feeling extremely dated at times, I really loved the version of "Persuasion". This miniseries follows the novel faithfully, taking very few liberties. Though I must admit I found Ann Fairbank's (Anne Elliot) hair distracting!

15. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (2012– )

3 min | Comedy, Drama

A modern day retelling of Pride and Prejudice, the series is told in vlog-style by Lizzie Bennet as she narrates the trials and tribulations of her family life with the help of her best ... See full summary »

Stars: Ashley Clements, Julia Cho, Laura Spencer, Mary Kate Wiles

Votes: 2,933

Something about "Pride and Prejudice" adaptations, I just never get tired of them. In this modern retelling, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Bennet starts a video blog with her best friend, Charlotte Lu. The story is told in one hundred videos (not counting the various spin-offs), and focuses more on the female friendships of the novel. My only complaint is that the "vlog" format has it's limitations, Darcy doesn't appear until episode 59 (worth it though)! This series can be viewed in it's entirety on YouTube.

16. Clueless (1995)

PG-13 | 97 min | Comedy, Romance

68 Metascore

A rich high school student tries to boost a new pupil's popularity, but reckons without affairs of the heart getting in the way.

Director: Amy Heckerling | Stars: Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd

Votes: 148,596 | Gross: $56.63M

Amy Heckerling's popular ode to 90s youth was adapted from "Emma" (1815), and starred Alicia Silverstone as Cher (Emma) and Paul Rudd as Josh (Knightley). The film manages to follow remarkably close to the plot of the novel. It stands well on its own (perhaps that's why few know about it being based on "Emma"), and has become a cult film, undoubtedly to be enjoyed for many generations.

17. From Prada to Nada (2011)

PG-13 | 107 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

39 Metascore

A Latina spin on Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility," where two spoiled sisters who have been left penniless after their father's sudden death are forced to move in with their estranged aunt in East Los Angeles.

Director: Angel Gracia | Stars: Camilla Belle, Alexa PenaVega, Kuno Becker, Tina French

Votes: 13,299 | Gross: $3.02M

A modern re-telling of "Sense and Sensibilty" (1811), which follows two rich, Latina sisters, Nora (Camilla Belle) and Mary (Alexa Vega), who lose everything when their father passes. Perhaps not approaching greatness, this film is highly enjoyable and worth a watch.

18. Miss Austen Regrets (2008 TV Movie)

TV-G | 90 min | Biography, Drama

In the later years of her life, as she's approaching the age of forty, the novelist Jane Austen helps her niece find a husband.

Director: Jeremy Lovering | Stars: Samuel Roukin, Olivia Williams, Greta Scacchi, Imogen Poots

Votes: 2,711

Every bit as depressing as "Becoming Jane", this television film features an older Austen in her last years of life. The movie is based on Austen's letters to her sister and niece, though a lot of it is probably guess work. My only problem with the film is how it fails to leave off with a silver lining or hope.

19. Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000)

151 min | Drama, Romance

An Indian adaptation of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" focusing on two sisters of opposing temperaments.

Director: Rajiv Menon | Stars: Mammootty, Ajith Kumar, Tabu, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Votes: 2,143

A Tamil (Kollywood) film starring the gorgeous Tabu as Sowmya (aka Elinor) and Aishwarya Rai as Meenakshi (Marianne). The film is superbly adapted from "Sense and Sensibility", setting the story in modern-day India.

20. Austenland (2013)

PG-13 | 97 min | Comedy, Romance

42 Metascore

Obsessed with Pride and Prejudice (1995), a woman travels to a Jane Austen theme park in search for her perfect gentleman.

Director: Jerusha Hess | Stars: Keri Russell, JJ Feild, Jennifer Coolidge, Bret McKenzie

Votes: 17,328 | Gross: $2.15M

Based on Shannon Hale's novel of the same name, which I highly recommend to Austen fans. The film follows Jane (Keri Russell), a thirtysomething woman obsessed with Colin Firth's Darcy, who goes to stay at an Austen retreat. I thought the movie enjoyable (mostly because I love rom-coms), but also disappointing as it fails to capture any of the mystery or emotion of the original novel.

21. Mansfield Park (1983– )

261 min | Drama, Romance

Impoverished Fanny Price is sent to live with her more affluent uncle and aunt. The arrival of new neighbors brings a chance for romance to Fanny and her cousins.

Stars: Anna Massey, Angela Pleasence, Sylvestra Le Touzel, Nicholas Farrell

Votes: 821

A more complete and faithful rendition of "Mansfield Park". This miniseries follows the book well enough, keeping many details that the 1999 film left out. It's only fault is that it feels a bit too long at times.

22. Persuasion (2007 TV Movie)

93 min | Drama, Romance

Royal Navy captain Wentworth was haughtily turned down eight years ago as suitor of pompous baronet Sir Walter Elliot's daughter Anne, despite true love. Now he visits their former seaside ... See full summary »

Director: Adrian Shergold | Stars: Sally Hawkins, Alice Krige, Anthony Head, Julia Davis

Votes: 12,315

This TV movie was enjoyable, but fails to achieve any of the brilliance that the 1995 film does. Sally Hawkins plays Anne well enough, but it's hard to Rupert Penry-Jones as Captain Wentworth. I feel that an online review I read describes this film perfectly, "Almost Persuaded".

23. Bride & Prejudice (2004)

PG-13 | 122 min | Comedy, Drama, Musical

55 Metascore

A modern adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel, Pride and Prejudice, that features the lives of four unmarried daughters in an Indian family.

Director: Gurinder Chadha | Stars: Martin Henderson, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Nadira Babbar, Anupam Kher

Votes: 18,722 | Gross: $6.60M

A Bollywood inspired musical of "Pride and Prejudice" (1813), which stars Aishwarya Rai as Lalita (Lizzie). This version is thoroughly enjoyable for Bollywood fans, though non-fans might not be able to appreciate it. The film also took an interesting but brief look at Wickham (especially loved his last line!).

24. Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

66 Metascore

A British woman is determined to improve herself while she looks for love in a year in which she keeps a personal diary.

Director: Sharon Maguire | Stars: Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Gemma Jones

Votes: 198,892 | Gross: $71.54M

Based on a novel that was inspired by "Pride and Prejudice", particularly the 1995 miniseries. Firth returns as a modern-day Darcy, while Renée Zellweger plays an average, overweight woman looking for happiness. The film is very unAustenlike, but still a brilliant and completely original romantic-comedy.

25. Pride and Prejudice (1940)

Approved | 118 min | Drama, Romance

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have five unmarried daughters, and Mrs. Bennet is especially eager to find suitable husbands for them. When the rich single gentlemen Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy come to ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Z. Leonard | Stars: Greer Garson, Laurence Olivier, Mary Boland, Edna May Oliver

Votes: 6,719

A very Hollywood version of the story, which takes many liberties with the plot. The chemistry between the stars, Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier, is the one thing that makes this worth a watch. The ending is wrapped up too neatly for my tastes.

26. Mansfield Park (2007 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 88 min | Drama

At age 10, Fanny Price is sent by her destitute mother to live with her aunt and uncle, Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram. As a child she was often made to feel that she was the poor relation but... See full summary »

Director: Iain B. MacDonald | Stars: Julia Joyce, Douglas Hodge, Maggie O'Neill, Tara Berwin

Votes: 5,975

Billie Piper, despite the womanly looks, plays a naive and robust Fanny, meaning complete opposite from the novel. This version doesn't achieve any of the intensity of the 1999 film, but as there are so few "Mansfield Park" adaptations I liked comparing the two.

27. Aisha (I) (2010)

126 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Chaos results after a wealthy woman decides to turn match-maker for a naive village belle.

Director: Rajshree Ojha | Stars: Sonam Kapoor, Abhay Deol, Amrita Puri, Cyrus Sahukar

Votes: 3,425

A bollywood film based on Jane Austen's "Emma" and stars Sonam Kapoor as "Aisha". The movie sets the characters and events in modern India, similar to "Clueless". I have failed so far in trying to find this so a recommend reading this review, https://accessbollywood.net/2010/08/08/movie-review-aisha-2010/.

28. Material Girls (2006)

PG | 98 min | Comedy, Family, Romance

17 Metascore

Two wealthy sisters, both heiresses to their family's cosmetics fortune, are given a wake-up call when a scandal and ensuing investigation strip them of their wealth.

Director: Martha Coolidge | Stars: Hilary Duff, Haylie Duff, Anjelica Huston, Maria Conchita Alonso

Votes: 20,523 | Gross: $11.44M

A horrible movie reportedly inspired by "Sense and Sensibility". The heroines (real life sisters, Haylie and Hilary Duff) are unlikable as are their barely developed love interests. I honestly have a hard time believing S&S inspired this.

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