The 17 Best Movie & TV Adaptations

Summary

  • Jane Austen’s novels, particularly Pride and Prejudice, have been adapted into movies and TV shows for decades, proving the enduring popularity of her works.
  • There are numerous adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, ranging from traditional period dramas to modern retellings, showcasing the versatility of the story and characters.
  • Some adaptations take creative liberties with the source material, introducing elements like zombies or a gender-flipped storyline, but still maintain the spirit and themes of Austen’s original work.

Jane Austen’s novels are a staple for anyone who loves 18th and 19th-century romance, and the best Pride & Prejudice movies showcase why her works are so popular. Her witty heroines and dashing yet complex romantic interests have been adapted into movies and television shows for decades, delighting audiences and giving Austen all the credit her writing deserves. Few novels are more popular than Pride And Prejudice, which follows the turbulent relationship between the intelligent and stubborn Elizabeth Bennet and the elusive Mr. Darcy.

Many directors have translated the book onto the screen, and while some adaptations were more popular than others, they still deserve some credit. There will likely never be a shortage of Jane Austen adaptations for audiences to enjoy. The Hallmark Channel and YouTubers have turned the stories of Austen’s heroines into modern romantic comedies in the last decade, giving fresh takes on a familiar story centered in offices or during the holiday season instead of on an English estate. Even many classic versions of Pride And Prejudice movies are now available to stream, giving Austen fans their pick of a variety of stories.

17 Pride And Prejudice (1967)

Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcey in Price and Prejudice 1967.

Released in 1967 on BBC, Pride & Prejudice came out as a miniseries on the 150th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. Celia Bannerman and Lewis Fiander starred as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy in this version. This is also an interesting release because it remains available to see online, but was never made available on home video. It is also reportedly the earliest BBC television adaptation in existence (via Screen Online). The one main difference here is that the middle sister Mary was omitted in this version.

16 Pride And Prejudice (1980)

Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet in Price and Prejudice 1980

In 1980, the BBC brought back Pride & Prejudice again, this time as another miniseries. It starred Elizabeth Garvie as Elizabeth Bennet and David Rintoul as Mr. Darcy. This version also aired in the United States thanks to the BBC’s partnership with PBS television and Masterpiece Theatre. This was also the fourth of five adaptations of the story for BBC, although the first two (1938, 1952) are considered “lost.” The cast in this version was all great, especially the actors playing the Bennet sisters, and this version stands up well alongside the other BBC releases of the story.

15 Pride And Prejudice (2003)

Elizabeth and Darcy appear above the 2003 Pride and Prejudice cast in a cropped version of the movie poster

  • Available to stream on Peacock

When it comes to the best Pride & Prejudice movies, the 2003 Pride And Prejudice was one of the many that attempted to transport Jane Austen’s story to modern times. In this case, the action takes place in Utah, with Elizabeth Bennet portrayed as a career-driven woman who dreams of becoming a writer and Mr. Darcy as a successful businessperson. The movie isn’t made to be taken seriously and is more a comedy than a faithful retelling of an epic love story.

14 Austenland (2013)

Dacy and Elizabeth talking in Austenland

  • Available to stream on Starz

Technically, Austenland isn’t a straight adaptation of Jane Austen’s work. Instead, it’s based on the novel of the same name by Shannon Hale, which features a character who is obsessed with Austen’s Pride And Prejudice and finds her own version of the story playing out when she visits a resort that recreates the Austen era for guests. It’s a clever idea that much of the audience for the movie will appreciate, and it allows for the audience to draw parallels to some of Austen’s other works within the story as well. The main character Jane even sees several unexpected twists in her romantic entanglements that Austen herself would approve of.

13 Pride And Prejudice And Zombies (2016)

Lily James Pride Prejudice Zombies

  • Available to stream on Fubo

Unlike many other Pride & Prejudice movies, it’s interesting to note that Pride And Prejudice And Zombies is an adaptation of an adaptation. The book that inspired this 2016 movie took Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship and turned it upside down by including zombies. Yes, zombies in the 19th century. Austen purists weren’t exactly happy with the book, but it makes for an entertaining watch, and Lily James’ take on the famous heroine is commendable. It might not be the best Pride And Prejudice movie, but it makes the romantic comedy more adrenaline-fueled.

12 Pride, Prejudice, And Mistletoe (2018)

Lacey Chabert and Brendan Penny in Hallmark Channel's "Pride, Prejudice and Mistletoe."

  • Available to stream on Hoopla

This particular holiday version of Austen’s classic is a modern update and features Hallmark mainstay, Lacey Chabert. It’s unique in that it’s a gender-flipped version of the story. Chabert stars in the Darcy role, but this time, Darcy is a woman who returns home to help her mother with a community fundraiser — where she falls in love with a rival from high school. It takes a lot of liberties with the source material, but the unique story makes it stand out from other adaptations. Pride, Prejudice, And Mistletoe might not be the most beloved adaptation, but it’s nice to see Austen’s story still finding new life.

11 Unleashing Mr. Darcy (2016)

Elizabeth and Darcy stand with dog leashes wrapped around them in Unleashing Mr. Darcy

  • Available to stream on Hoopla

Hallmark has done several adaptations (and sequels) for Jane Austen’s works, and this takes Elizabeth and Darcy into the competitive world of dog shows. Elizabeth Scott enters her dog into a show, while Donovan Darcy is one of the judges. The movie might be vastly different from the source material, but it stays true to the spirit of the original novel with both characters attracted to one another, but stubbornly believing their first impressions of one another, and allowing misunderstandings to cloud their judgment. The audience knows how the story will end, but that doesn’t make the adaptation any less fun than other of the best Pride & Prejudice movies.

10 Bride And Prejudice (2004)

The Bride and Prejudice versions of Darcy and Lizzie dance in a musical number

  • Available to stream on Hoopla

The Bollywood take on Pride & Prejudice is yet another instance where the beloved characters are transported to the modern-day, including plenty of colorful dance numbers and stunning visuals. Bride And Prejudice stays as faithful to the novel as an adaptation like this can and includes pretty good performances by the two main actors. Plus, it’s wonderful to witness a clash of cultures within the realm of Austen. It adds another layer to the conflict between the characters.

9 Christmas At Pemberley Manor (2018)

Elizabeth and Darcy embrace on a snow covered porch in Christmas At Pemberley Manor

  • Available to rent on Apple TV

In 2018, more than one movie inspired by Pride And Prejudice hit the Hallmark channel. Christmas at Pemberley Manor took the idea of Elizabeth and the infamous Mr. Darcy and turned them into adversaries during the holiday season. In this case, Elizabeth is an event planner who ends up planning the holiday celebration in a small town. She wants to use Pemberley Manor as the venue, but the wealthy Darcy wants to sell the property, putting them at odds. It’s pretty standard holiday fare for Hallmark, but the Austen link keeps the audience looking for nods to the source material.

8 Death Comes To Pemberley (2013)

Darcy and Elizabeth stand with their arms around each other and face the audience on the stairs in Death Comes To Pemberley

  • Available to stream on PBS Masterpiece

Jane Austen’s novels exist only as standalone stories, without sequels. But the good news is, the world of television doesn’t quite care. And the product of that sentiment is the miniseries Death Comes To Pemberley. Even though it’s not an adaptation per se, it still features the characters fans know and love, this time married for six years already, as they are wrapped up in a murder mystery. A bit darker of a take than most adaptations, it’s for those Austen fans who love a good sleuth. Yet another incredible series brought to the audience by BBC.

7 Pride And Prejudice (1980)

Elizabeth and Darcy walk the grounds in the 1980 Pride and Prejudice adaptation

  • Available to stream on BritBox

Jane Austen meets the ’80s in this very interesting miniseries. When it comes to faithfulness, no one can clock this adaptation, since it’s probably the one that remains closer to home concerning the best Pride & Prejudice movies. The two leads have incredible chemistry, and it makes for a very different watching experience with the outfits and the hair trying to stay true to the 19th century, but still giving away the ’80s. There were five episodes in the series, and it remains a must-watch for Austen fans.

6 Pride And Prejudice (1940)

The stars of the 1940 Pride and Prejudice adaptation appear serious and lost in thought while holding hands

  • Available to rent on Amazon Prime & Apple TV

Most fans already knew Jane Austen adaptations had been around for a while. Pride And Prejudice saw its first movie incarnation back in 1940. There have been so many Pride And Prejudice films since, but this was the first time it appeared for mainstream movie audiences. Far from being accurate where history is concerned, this movie is a fun and light-hearted adaptation of the beloved novel that paved the way for all the others that followed. If this movie hadn’t been made, the best Pride & Prejudice movies of 1995 and 2005 likely wouldn’t exist.

5 Lost In Austen (2008)

Amanda stands in front of Austen's characters while holding a copy of Pride and Prejudice with herself on the cover in Lost In Austen

  • Available to stream on Peacock

Much like Death Comes To Pemberley, Lost In Austen isn’t a faithful adaptation among the best Pride & Prejudice movies, but it’s still one of the most interesting takes on Austen’s story and a very amusing one at that. The heroine of this story trades places with Elizabeth Bennet, and she gets to be the one falling in love with Mr. Darcy. After so many retellings of the story, this version is a very welcomed breath of fresh air. The show was considered one of the best British series of the 2000s, and earned high critical praise.

4 The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (2012–13)

Darcy and Lizzie stare at one another while talking for a vlog in Lizzie Bennet Diaries

  • Available to stream on YouTube

Though there are plenty of Austen fans who love movies that get as close to the book as possible, there’s no denying the more unique and modern adaptation can introduce new audiences to Pride and Prejudice, opening the door to the classics. That’s just what this web series did for fans in 2012. Presented on YouTube, the vlog format of the series sees communications student Lizzie Bennet talking to the audience about her day in segments that only last minutes. The audience gets to see her slowly fall for Darcy as she recounts (and sometimes reenacts) the events of her day. With 100 episodes, it was the first web series to win an Emmy.

3 Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

Bridget and Mark stand together at a party in Bridget Jones' Diary

  • Available to stream on Paramount+

It’s funny how many people missed that Bridget Jones’ Diary is meant to be a very loose adaptation of Jane Austen’s original work. The best part is that the team behind the movie got the ultimate Mr. Darcy, Colin Firth, to play Darcy. Mark and Bridget make for the most amusing retelling of Darcy and Lizzy, and even though it’s clearly not meant to be a straight-up adaptation, the movie has managed to become a classic of sorts. Zellweger picked up an Oscar nomination for her role, and it spawned the sequel Bridget Jones’ Baby.

2 Pride And Prejudice (2005)

Darcy and Elizabeth are paired for a dance in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice adaptation

  • Available to stream on Netflix

For many younger generations, this was the Pride And Prejudice movie that got them into Austen. And for good reason — the cinematography and soundtrack of the movie are stunning. And even though the movie takes quite a few liberties with story and dialogue, it’s still a beautiful piece of art, portraying the tension and chemistry between Darcy and Elizabeth in a unique and captivating way. It’s one of the most quotable versions of Pride And Prejudice to date, although there are some differences between this movie and the Pride & Prejudice novel.

1 Pride And Prejudice (1995)

Elizabeth and Darcy smile for the audience in a 1995 Pride and Prejudice promotional image

  • Available to stream on Hulu

BBC’s Pride And Prejudice does in a miniseries what the 2005 version couldn’t do in a movie – it remains completely faithful to the source material. This was the project in which Colin Firth cemented himself as the ultimate Mr. Darcy. Plus, Jennifer Ehle’s performance as Lizzie was no less iconic than Firth’s, and the two share wonderful chemistry together. It’s perfect for Jane Austen purists and casual fans alike, and to this day the Pride And Prejudice 1995 adaptation remains at the top of the best Pride & Prejudice movies for most fans.

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