Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist

David Lean (1948)

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Our Score
This masterly adaptation of the Dickens novel by director David Lean brims with unforgettable scenes and performances, especially Alec Guinness's Fagin and Robert Newton's genuinely frightening Bill Sikes. From the opening, with Oliver's mother struggling to the workhouse to give birth, to the climax on the roofs of Docklands, the picture brings the novel vividly to life. But here are a few things you may not know: Robert Donat was desperate to play Sikes and did a screen test; when Nancy is bludgeoned to death, Sikes's dog was tricked into scratching at the door by a stuffed cat placed on the other side; the boy who played Oliver, John Howard Davies, became a producer of TV comedies such as Fawlty Towers; and the movie caused riots in Germany and was initially banned and then heavily cut in America for its alleged anti-Semitism.


A runaway orphan becomes involved with a dangerous gang of backstreet thieves and pickpockets led by the elderly crook Fagin, and ends up in peril after a wealthy benefactor tries to save him from a life of crime. Drama, based on Charles Dickens' novel, starring Alec Guinness, Anthony Newley, John Howard Davies and Robert Newton.

Cast & Crew

Fagin Alec Guinness
Bill Sikes Robert Newton
Oliver Twist John Howard Davies
Nancy Kay Walsh
Artful Dodger Anthony Newley
Monks Ralph Truman
Mr Bumble Francis L Sullivan
Mr Brownlow Henry Stephenson
Oliver's mother Josephine Stuart
Police official Henry Edwards
Charlotte Diana Dors
Chief of police Maurice Denham
Mrs Sowerberry Kathleen Harrison
Mr Sowerberry Gibb McLaughlin
Noah Claypole Michael Dear
Barney Michael Ripper
Singer at Three Cripples Hattie Jacques
Director David Lean
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteAvailable on: video and DVD