In the Nineteenth Century, orphan Oliver Twist is sent from the orphanage to a workhouse, where the children are mistreated and barely fed. He moves to the house of an undertaker, but after an unfair severe spank, he starts a seven day runaway to London. He arrives exhausted and starving, and is soon welcomed in a gang of pickpockets lead by the old crook Fagin. When he is mistakenly taken as a thief, the wealthy victim Mr. Brownlow brings Oliver to his home and shelters him. But Fagin and the dangerous Bill Sykes decide to kidnap Oliver to burglarize Mr. Brownlow's fancy house.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Charles Dickens novel "Oliver Twist" has many more characters and subplots than can be fit into a just-over-two-hour movie. This version narrows down and streamlines the story to focus on Oliver Twist, Mr. Brownlow, Fagin, Bill Sikes, Nancy, and the Artful Dodger. The novel's other characters Mr. Bumble, Mrs. Mann, Mrs. Corney, Noah Claypole, Charlotte, Mr. Monks, Charley Bates, the Maylie family, the Fleming family, and the Leeford family, are all either relegated to brief cameo roles or omitted entirely from the story. See more »
When Oliver first meets Nancy, two women and the Artful Dodger play a card game. Dodger asks Nancy to cut the deck in half, and she splits the card into two piles. When Dodger returns them into two piles, he puts the half that was originally on top, on top again. He might have been cheating, but this could also be an error in the film. See more »
[gazing upon Oliver as he sleeps]
Look at him. What a shame it is. With his face he could pick old ladies' pockets in church. His face could be a fortune to us.
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SPOILER: Footage of the beating of Nancy from Bill was cut in the UK to obtain a "PG" rating. See more »
Roman Polanski's film is an authoritative take on Dickens' classic. It is expertly paced, slowly immersing the viewer into the plight of the young orphan and its predicament in Victorian England. Through a meticulous period reconstruction, superb acting, and effective characterization (all the secondary characters are memorable), the typically Dickensian theme of the survival of Innocence against all odds is dramatized with utter conviction. The omission of the excessively melodramatic elements from the original story (Oliver's family back-story for instance) contributes greatly to the story's strength by minimizing any trace of implausibility or mawkishness, thus providing a wide-ranging portrait of the Victorian society with its intrinsic inequalities and its rather warped sense of justice. The visuals are splendid and the prevalent detached and non-judgmental approach to an easily emotive story is simply the signature of master director Roman Polanski, who is functioning here on top form.
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