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The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 28 August 2020 (USA)
2:04 | Trailer
A modern take on Charles Dickens's classic tale of a young orphan who is able to triumph over many obstacles.


Armando Iannucci


Simon Blackwell (screenplay by), Charles Dickens (novel) | 1 more credit »
1,019 ( 169)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 9 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Fisayo Akinade ... Markham
Nikki Amuka-Bird ... Mrs Steerforth
Albie Atkinson Albie Atkinson ... Mealy Potatoes
Aneurin Barnard ... Steerforth
Tuwaine Barrett Tuwaine Barrett ... Referee Boy
Nigel Betts ... Creditor
Ruby Bentall ... Janet
Darren Boyd ... Murdstone
Peter Capaldi ... Mr Micawber
Gwendoline Christie ... Jane Murdstone
Morfydd Clark ... Clara Copperfield / Dora Spenlow
Daisy May Cooper ... Peggotty
Matthew Cottle ... Mr Spenlow
Faisal Dacosta ... Mick Walker
Glen Davies Glen Davies ... Coalman


A fresh and distinctive take on Charles Dickens' semi-autobiographical masterpiece, The Personal History of David Copperfield, set in the 1840s, chronicles the life of its iconic title character as he navigates a chaotic world to find his elusive place within it. From his unhappy childhood to the discovery of his gift as a storyteller and writer, David's journey is by turns hilarious and tragic, but always full of life, color and humanity. Written by yusufpiskin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1800s | fate | kite | orphan | child labour | See All (18) »


From rags to riches... and back again


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic material and brief violence. | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Filmed during the hot dry summer of 2018, the film was finally premiered in Canada in September 2019 and theatrically released in the UK in January 2020. The reason for the long gap was to avoid the congestion of big box office releases in the Summer and Christmas periods and the fact it was realized the final edit was not going to be ready in time for a mass release in Autumn 2019. January/February is often considered a good time to release smaller independent, art-house or 'serious' films due to the lack of competition from the major studios in that period and the dominance they will have in terms of publicity and theatrical screen availability. So it was decided early on to aim to have the film in UK cinemas in that period and to release it in other countries during similar 'quiet periods during the year or when there was some expected screen availability in that territory. See more »


At around the 1h 30m mark, car headlights are seen moving from left to right behind the character. See more »


Betsey Trotwood: Mr Dick. My brother, David Copperfield, this is his son, who's run away. What shall we do with him?
Mr Dick: If I were you, I'd wash him.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits are supposed to be listed in alphabetical order, however, Paul Whitehouse is billed above Ben Whishaw whereas they should be the other way around. See more »


Version of David Copperfield (2000) See more »


Westminster Is Full of Wigs/Old 1812
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User Reviews

Disappointingly underwhelming...
16 November 2019 | by CinemaSerfSee all my reviews

I'm not Armando Iannucci's biggest fan so saw this at the Opening Gala of the London Film Festival with some trepidation. Unfortunately, I wasn't pleasantly surprised. Dev Patel does bring some charm to the proceedings, but the attempts at comedy in this retelling of Dickens' classic just don't work for me at all. Ben Whishaw and Tilda Swinton appear to be fish out of water and whilst it is good to see Hugh Laurie back on the big screen it all comes across as a bit of a hotch-potch of ideas and aspirations. The book's original questioning of Victorian values around child exploitation and of more general social attitudes seem to have been largely sidelined, robbing the story of much of it's heart and soul. It is also quite unnecessarily lengthy at just shy of two hours. As you'd expect, it is a good film to look at, featuring some very picturesque East Anglian villages that probably haven't changed anything like as much as this story from the days of Charles Dickens himself.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

28 August 2020 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Personal History of David Copperfield See more »


Box Office


$15,600,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$475,800, 30 August 2020

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.39: 1
See full technical specs »

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