10 Best Charles Dickens Adaptations

3. Oliver Twist (1948) and Oliver! (1968)

Ron Moody "Please Sir, I want some more!". Yes, I'm breaking my own rule here by having more than one film, but the fact is that the two main film adaptations of Oliver Twist have very little to separate them in quality. Besides, if I didn't include Oliver! on the list I would have been lynched, and that's not a very festive thing to contemplate. Oliver Twist is the story of the eponymous orphan, raised in a workhouse under the watchful eye of Mr. Bumble. After running away from his job as an apprentice coffin maker, Oliver falls in with a young thief called the Artful Dodger, and becomes a member of Fagin's gang of young boys who steal to earn a living. Oliver is soon torn between a life of villainy in the care of Fagin and Bill Sikes, and the life he increasingly appears to deserve as more details come to light about his true parentage. Carol Reed's musical version is very much-loved, with great songs, beautiful Technicolor visuals and Oliver Reed in his prime as the deeply intimidating Bill Sikes. To this day it remains the only G-rated film to win the Best Picture Oscar. But Lean's version, which is 65 this year, is just as good, with intimidating expressionistic architecture and a very fine lead performance by John Howard Davies, who later commissioned Fawlty Towers while working at the BBC. Whichever version you choose, you're in for a treat - and with both readily available, you can always have more.

Freelance copywriter, film buff, community radio presenter. Former host of The Movie Hour podcast ( and click 'Interviews'), currently presenting on Phonic FM in Exeter ( Other loves include theatre, music and test cricket.