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Oliver! (1968)

After being sold to a mortician, young orphan Oliver Twist runs away and meets a group of boys trained to be pickpockets by an elderly mentor.

Director:

Carol Reed

Writers:

Lionel Bart (book), Vernon Harris (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
3,448 ( 756)

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Won 5 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ron Moody ... Fagin
Shani Wallis ... Nancy
Oliver Reed ... Bill Sikes
Harry Secombe ... Bumble
Mark Lester ... Oliver
Jack Wild ... The Artful Dodger
Hugh Griffith ... Magistrate
Joseph O'Conor ... Mr. Brownlow
Peggy Mount ... Mrs. Bumble
Leonard Rossiter ... Sowerberry
Hylda Baker Hylda Baker ... Mrs. Sowerberry
Kenneth Cranham ... Noah Claypole
Megs Jenkins ... Mrs. Bedwin
Sheila White ... Bet
Wensley Pithey Wensley Pithey ... Dr. Grimwig
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Storyline

Musical adaptation of Charles Dickens's classic tale of an orphan who runs away from the orphanage and hooks up with a group of boys trained to be pickpockets by an elderly mentor. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The big Bright musical for absolutely everyone...in Magnificent 70mm See more »

Genres:

Drama | Family | Musical

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 September 1968 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Oliver See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$16,800,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$40,000,000, 31 January 1980
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (35 mm optical prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)| 4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System) (35 mm magnetic prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Reed's granddaughter, Lucy Fox, Bill Sikes' bull terrier spent a long time in make-up to make him look downtrodden and neglected. They also taped his tail underneath him to curb his enthusiastic wagging. See more »

Goofs

When Oliver gets out of bed and goes to the window during the lead-in to "Who Will Buy?", his hair is tousled and sticking up. When the camera angle changes to the outside, his hair is neatly combed. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Brownlow: In the eyes of the law, you are the more guilty of the two, for the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction.
Mr. Bumble: If that's what the law supposes, sir, then the law is a ass! If that be the eyes of the law, sir, then the law is a bachelor!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dave's Old Porn: Chelsea Handler/The Sklar Brothers (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two
(1960) (uncredited)
Words and Music by Lionel Bart
Sung by Ron Moody and Boys
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A truly wonderful musical for the whole family.
25 October 1998 | by Mr White KeysSee all my reviews

"Oliver!" brings to the screen a worthy adaption of Lionel Bart's Broadway musical of the sixties. The combination of a superb cast, wonderful music and breathtaking choreography mean that the film loses nothing in its translation from the stage. To this day it remains one of the stand-out musical adaptions in a dwindling field.

Although the conservative Dickens fanatics may thumb their noses at various liberties taken on the original plot of "Oliver Twist", they should observe that "Oliver!" has recreated most of the spirit intended by Dickens. While primarily a musical comedy, "Oliver!" certainly has a dark undercurrent, thanks to the skillful direction of Carol Reed and the sinister acting of Oliver Reed (playing Bill Sikes). Dickens was essentially a talented satirist, who constructed his characters to convey a moralistic view on Victorian society. "Oliver!" conveys much of the sadness and desperation of the original novel.

For anyone not acquainted with the famous storyline, the film treats of a young orphan, Oliver Twist, and follows his journey from a paupers' workhouse to the rough-and-tumble city life of London. He is spotted and introduced into a gang of thieves, led by the crafty and cunning Fagin. What follows for Oliver is an introduction to the art of picking pockets; the methods of justice dispened by Mr Fang the magistrate; the cruelty of Bill Sikes the notorious thief, and the compassion of Nancy, Bill's mate; the kindness of Mr and Mrs Brownlow. Such an adventure for such a small boy!

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact reason why this Oscar-winning film is such a success. On one hand there is the incredible performances of a gifted cast - Ron Moody being nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Fagin, and young Jack Wild's mature performance as the Artful Dodger. Mark Lester plays Oliver, and depicts all the elements of innocence and vulnerability as could be imagined in the young boy. Harry Secombe backs up the cast as the beadle, Mr Bumble.

Perhaps the best aspect of the film though is the music itself. Lionel Bart has done a masterful job in writing the original score, and you may expect to find yourself singing the songs for weeks after watching "Oliver!". Here are the evergreens, "Reviewing the Situation", "You've Got to Pick a Pocket Or Two", "Who Will Buy", and the beautiful and touching "Where is Love?". The list of classic tunes goes on and on, and if nothing else, young people today should watch the film purely for its educational value - to be introduced to the sweet music of yesteryear, and to see that a film's qualities extend beyond the realms of special effects.

"Oliver!" will rightfully go down as a classic film of its time, and with any luck will keep its place as a family favourite, for years to come. Its warmth and familiar music make it a must-see.


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