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The Pickwick Papers (1952)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama | 5 May 1954 (USA)
The Pickwick Club sends Mr. Pickwick and a group of friends to travel across England and to report back on the interesting things they find. In the course of their travels, they repeatedly ... See full summary »


Noel Langley


Charles Dickens (by), Noel Langley (adapted for the screen by)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
James Hayter ... Samuel Pickwick
James Donald ... Nathaniel Winkle
Nigel Patrick ... Mr. Jingle
Joyce Grenfell ... Mrs. Leo Hunter
Hermione Gingold ... Miss Tompkins
Hermione Baddeley ... Mrs. Bardell
Donald Wolfit ... Sergeant Buzfuz
Harry Fowler ... Sam Weller
Kathleen Harrison ... Rachel Wardle
Alexander Gauge Alexander Gauge ... Tracy Tupman
Lionel Murton Lionel Murton ... Augustus Snodgrass
Diane Hart ... Emily Wardle
Joan Heal Joan Heal ... Isabella Wardle
William Hartnell ... Irate Cabman
Athene Seyler ... Miss Witherfield


The Pickwick Club sends Mr. Pickwick and a group of friends to travel across England and to report back on the interesting things they find. In the course of their travels, they repeatedly encounter the friendly but disreputable Mr. Jingle, who becomes a continual source of trouble for all who know him. Pickwick himself is the victim of a number of misunderstandings that bring him both embarrassment and problems with the law. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Triumphantly brought to the screen for the first time! Another Dickens treasure springs to life in the rich traditions of "David Copperfield", "A Tale of Two Cities", "Great Expectations", and "Oliver Twist" ! See more »


Comedy | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The Old Manor House, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, which was used for some of the exterior scenes, can still be seen in Manor Road. See more »


Mr. Jingle: Miss Wardle... forgive intrusion... no time for ceremony... all is discovered!
Rachel Wardle: Zat?
Mr. Jingle: Sshh... fat boy... scoundrel... treacherous dog... told old lady... old lady furious... raving.
Rachel Wardle: My mother?
Mr. Jingle: You and Tuppy.
Rachel Wardle: Tuppy?
Mr. Jingle: Kissing in greenhouse.
Rachel Wardle: Ah! Mr. Jingle, if you're trying to insult me.
Mr. Jingle: On the contrary... overheard fat boy... come to warn you... dreadful danger... tender my services... prevent hub-bub... other hand... think it an insult... leave room.
Rachel Wardle: What shall I do? My brother will be furious!
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Crazy Credits

Closing credits finish with The End of The Pickwick Papers See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a colorized version. See more »


Version of Pickwick (1969) See more »

User Reviews

Dickensian joy
4 February 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

'The Pickwick Papers' is not one of my favourite Charles Dickens works, speaking as someone who appreciates him highly and completely understands his importance in literature. It is though a very colourful and entertaining read, one of Dickens' most accessible with a lighter tone than most of his work even if some of the story structure is sprawling in places, with some of the great man's most memorable characters.

Dickens has been variably adapted on film and television, though will say that even the misfires/disappointments (and there are nearly as many of those as there are classics) deserve a little credit for even taking on the challenge of adapting the work of one of the (from personal perspective) most difficult to adapt authors. This 1952 film version of 'The Pickwick Papers' may not be one of the definitive adaptations of any of Dickens' work, and there is a slight preference for the 1985 mini-series with Clive Swift and Patrick Malahide. It is though very, very good, with many great qualities, and as good a film version of this particular story as one can make do with. As an adaptation it is a very solid and respectful one, with the spirit certainly intact and lots of recognisable elements. There are omissions/abridgements, but they were tasteful and didn't affect the coherence of the storytelling at all and it is completely understandable as to why there would be some condensation with literature as lengthy and complicated as that of Dickens.

It, the film that is, may be on the slightly primitive side visually, though the production and particularly costume designs are handsome enough.

Some parts are played a little too broadly, such as the romantic misadventures.

However, as said, a nice job is done with the production design and the costumes. Antony Hopkins' music score has an appealing jauntiness that matches the atmosphere and spirit of the storytelling to a tee. 'The Pickwick Papers' is from start to finish directed with precision and class by Noel Langley, who allows the story to have plenty of momentum without rushing, letting parts breathe when necessary too without grinding things to a halt.

On a writing and acting level, 'The Pickwick Papers' is pretty much a triumph. A great job is done with the adapting of the material, it is episodic (so is the book) but it doesn't read too much of a series of highlights which can be a danger with Dickens. Another danger is keeping sprawling and complicated storytelling coherent and not disjointed or choppy, 'The Pickwick Papers' to me suffered from neither of those two things and had no issues following what was going on (one could argue though that familiarity with the source material may be in order). The script is literate and thought-provoking, as well as wonderfully witty, Dickens' prose really shines here. The script and film have been criticised for being talky and wordy, don't consider them fair criticisms as Dickens is talky and wordy and am not saying that in a bad way despite how that sounds.

James Hayter is the full embodiment of Pickwick, while Nigel Patrick is similarly on superb form as a deliciously rouguish Jingle. Harry Fowler is a memorable Weller, James Donald is appealing as Winkle and Kathleen Harrison is especially excellent of the female cast.

All in all, very good film and adaptation. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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Release Date:

5 May 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Pickwick Papers See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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