Jane Austen is arguably one of the most influential women authors of all time. With six major novels still being studied today, her works will be remembered among the greats. Arguably her most popular novel, per The Reader, Pride and Prejudice was first published in 1813 and has been adapted into countless movies. The novel centers around The Bennett family, specifically one of the daughters, Elizabeth, the topic of marriage, and an infuriating man named Mr. Darcy.
From movies to TV series, Austen’s novels have made for great screen adaptations. Her most recent adaptation comes from Netflix’s upcoming Persuasion. The film is set to drop on Netflix in July with Dakota Johnson playing the lead. However, Pride and Prejudice is easily Austen’s most adapted novel. According to a fan website for Jane Austen fans, Austen Authors, there have been many films that have either directly adapted or built upon the basic premise of the plot. If we were to review all the adaptations, this article could easily be turned into a short story. So, let’s instead just look at some of the top-rated made-for-TV movies and feature-length movies. (NOTE: If we were to include miniseries, the 1995 BBC miniseries starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy would rightfully be our number one choice.)
9 Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy (2003)
The 2003 movie Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy took the beloved love story and turned it into a comedic modern-day film. Not meant to be taken seriously, this witty film places Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy in the world of businessmen and women. Instead of England’s Regency Era, this film turned the classic story and took it to modern-day Utah. A nice touch to Jane Austen was having this version of Elizabeth’s dream of becoming a writer.
8 Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
Most people may not realize that Bridget Jones’s Diary is actually meant to be a loose adaptation of Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. This comedic version is definitely not the most loyal adaptation, but it does slightly overlap the main points. The best part is that they got the most popular Mr. Darcy to play Darcy, Colin Firth! The film was so successful it went on to span additional films.
7 Christmas at Pemberley Manor (2018)
Networks like Hallmark are no strangers to adapting popular stories. Pride and Prejudice is one of those stories. In 2018, Hallmark produced a Christmas version of the film, Christmas at Pemberley Manor, where Elizabeth is an event planner who ends up planning a holiday celebration. She wants to use Pemberly Manor, owned by Darcy, but he wants to sell the property instead. Their predicament is similar to matters the original Lizzy and Mr. Darcy dealt with.
6 Austenland (2013)
Austenland is not a direct adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, but it’s pretty close. The film is an adaptation of a novel by Shannon Hale, in which the main character is obsessed with Austen’s novel. In the film, the main character visits a resort where the guests get to play out their favorite Jane Austen books. To parallel even more, the main character is named Jane and finds herself in some love-triangle predicaments that Austen herself would be proud of.
5 Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)
Austen fanatics were not exactly thrilled when an author first turned Austen’s love story into a love story complete with zombies. Moreover, they were less than thrilled when they found out that book was being turned into a movie. While Pride and Prejudice and Zombies stays true to 19th-Century England, it does include one small difference from the original Austen novel, zombies. With Lily James as Elizabeth Bennett, this film’s adaptation certainly adds some adventure and zombie ass-kicking to intertwine with a love story.
4 Bride And Prejudice (2004)
The basic plot of Pride and Prejudice is one that can spark all kinds of adaptations. For Bollywood, their interpretation in Bride and Prejudice takes Lizzy and turns her into Lalita, an Indian woman who falls for a white man, William Darcy. In this modern-day adaptation, four unmarried daughters of an Indian family are eagerly pushed into marriages by their mother when a rich gentleman and his friend come to visit, turning the family’s world around.
3 Pride, Prejudice and Mistletoe (2018)
Another Christmas version of Austen’s novel also premiered in 2018, though this time, Darcy is a career woman who has yet to find love. She returns home to help her mother plan a charity event when she unexpectedly falls for Luke, a rival from her high school days. While Pride, Prejudice and Mistletoe is definitely a loose version of Austen’s novel, it’s a nice Christmas take.
2 Pride and Prejudice (1940)
1940 gave viewers the first adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved novel. Since then, moviegoers have used Pride and Prejudice as its reference, and lucky for them, it’s a great film to be compared to. Even back in 1940, the film is still considered a great film by today’s standards. While it was not the best direct adaptation of the novel, it’s likely the later versions would not exist without this film.
1 Pride & Prejudice (2005)
With the exceptions of the 1980 and 1995 miniseries, the 2005 Pride & Prejudice film is by far the best, or at least the most popular, version. Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen star as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, respectively, and give viewers unmatched chemistry. Directed by Joe Wright, the story goes that Mr. Darcy is in town with Mr. Bingley when he meets Elizabeth. Though they appear to be fast enemies, sparks fly and soon turn into one of the most romantic stories of all time.