Oliver Twist (DVD)

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Oliver Twist (DVD)
Oliver Twist

This is the first film version of the Dickenss 1839 classic. It is 19th-century England and an unknown girl tragically dies during childbirth. Her orphaned boy, Oliver, spends his childhood in the workhouse, treated harshly at the hands of the parish authorities. He eventually runs away to London where he meets Fagin, an old criminal who controls a gang of young thieves and introduces Oliver to a life of crime and corruption. The heartwarming conclusion is filled with unexpected twists.

Oliver Twist is a 2005 drama film directed by Roman Polanski. The screenplay by Ronald Harwood adapts Charles Dickens s 1838 novel of the same name. It is an international co-production of the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, France and Italy.

The film premiered at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival on 11 September 2005 before going into limited release in the United States on 23 September. It received mixed to positive reviews from critics, but was a commercial failure.


Nine-year-old orphaned Oliver Twist is taken to the workhouse by the beadle Mr. Bumble. After daring to ask for more food, Oliver is sold as an apprentice to Mr. Sowerberry, a local undertaker, but runs away following harsh treatment.

Oliver travels a seven-day journey to London where he befriends a young boy named Jack Dawkins, better known as the Artful Dodger, who takes him to join a gang of pickpockets led by the villainous Fagin. He also becomes acquainted with Nancy, a former pupil of Fagin s who is in love with Fagin s associate, Bill Sikes. Dodger and his friend Charley Bates take Oliver out to teach him to pick pockets - it ends in disaster when Oliver is falsely arrested for stealing from Mr. Brownlow. However, Mr. Brownlow decides to take Oliver in and care for him when he learns of the boy s innocence.

Fagin and Sikes become worried that Oliver will bring down the authorities onto them, so force Nancy to help bring Oliver back. Sikes forces Oliver to help him rob Mr. Brownlow s house at gunpoint - Oliver is wounded in a shootout between Sikes and Mr. Brownlow. Sikes and Fagin later decided that Oliver knows too much and will likely peach on them. Sikes suggests that they kill the boy, to which Fagin agrees, despite caring for the boy. Nancy overhears this and manages to inform Mr. Brownlow of Fagin s plan, managing to keep Sikes out of it. However, unbeknownst to her, Dodger has been sent by Fagin to spy on her and tells Fagin and Sikes, the latter of whom murders her.

Nancy s murder becomes public and the police across the city intend to arrest both Sikes and Fagin, for murder and abduction, respectively. Sikes dog, Bullseye, leads the authorities to the gang s hideout. Sikes uses Oliver as a hostage whilst attempting to escape, but accidentally hangs himself. Oliver is brought back to live with Mr. Brownlow and goes to visit Fagin in jail. He is sad to see Fagin, who was kind to him, hallucinating and even more devastated to hear that Fagin will be executed for his crimes. The film ends with Oliver and Mr. Brownlow returning home to continue their lives, whilst a crowd gather to witness Fagin s hanging.


  • Ben Kingsley as Fagin
  • Jamie Foreman as William Bill Sikes
  • Barney Clark as Oliver Twist
  • Leanne Rowe as Nancy
  • Edward Hardwicke as Mr. Brownlow
  • Harry Eden as The Artful Dodger (Jack Dawkins)
  • Mark Strong as Toby Crackit
  • Frances Cuka as Mrs. Bedwin
  • Lewis Chase as Charley Bates
  • Michael Heath as Mr. Sowerberry
  • Gillian Hanna as Mrs. Sowerberry
  • Chris Overton as Noah Claypole
  • Jeremy Swift as Mr. Bumble
  • Paul Brooke as Mr. Grimwig
  • Ian McNeice as Mr. Limbkins
  • Alun Armstrong as Magistrate Fang
  • Liz Smith as Old Woman
  • Patrick Godfrey as Bookseller


This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

In Twist by Polanski, a bonus feature on the DVD release of the film, Roman Polanski discusses his decision to make yet another screen adaptation of the Dickens novel. He realized nearly forty years had passed since Oliver Twist had been adapted for a feature film, and felt it was time for a new version. Screenwriter Ronald Harwood, with whom he had collaborated on The Pianist, welcomed the opportunity to work on the first Dickens project in his career.

For authenticity, all scenes featuring pickpocket skills were choreographed by stage pickpocket James Freedman and magician Martyn Rowland.

The film was shot in Prague, Beroun, and Žatec in the Czech Republic.

Differences from the Novel

Due to the complex plot, several characters and events were omitted or changed.

The film does not explain where Oliver was raised prior to arriving at the workhouse. Mr. Bumble s role is reduced - there is no mention of him losing his job at the workhouse. Additionally, the characters of Monks (Oliver s half brother) and the Widow Corney are absent, therefore omitting any plot to destroy the locket proving Oliver s identity as well as Fagin and Monks plan to prevent Oliver from inheriting his father s fortune by having him commit a crime. To make up for the absence of Monks, there is a plot in which Fagin and Sikes conspire to murder Oliver - an event which does not occur in the novel.

In the novel, it is left ambiguous as to how Oliver and Mr. Brownlow are related. As in many versions (such as the 1997 Disney version and the 1948 adaptation by David Lean), Brownlow is made Oliver s grandfather, however, unlike in previous versions, this relationship is more implied than explicitly stated.

Due to the absence of the Maylie family, Oliver is not left by Sikes to die during the burglary, rather he is taken back to Fagin s. The Artful Dodger is not deported to Australia and, therefore, plays a larger role in some of the later events in the story. Firstly, he is sent by Fagin (instead of Noah Claypole who appears only in the earlier scenes) to spy on Nancy, indirectly causing her death by informing Fagin and Sikes that she has informed on them. Secondly, it is Dodger (instead of Charley Bates, whose role is also smaller in the film than the novel) who attempts to give up Sikes to the police for murdering Nancy. However, his ultimate fate his left unknown after Sikes death.


The film received mixed to positive reviews, holding a 61% score on Rotten Tomatoes based on 143 reviews, averaging 6.3/10. The consensus reads, Polanski s version of Dickens classic won t have audiences asking for more because while polished and directed with skill, the movie s a very impersonal experience. Metacritic assigned a score of 65, indicating generally favorable reviews.

A. O. Scott of The New York Times called it a bracingly old-fashioned film that does not embalm its source with fussy reverence but rediscovers its true and enduring vitality. He added, the look of the movie... is consistent with its interpretation of Dickens s worldview, which could be plenty grim but which never succumbed to despair. There is just enough light, enough grace, enough beauty, to penetrate the gloom and suggest the possibility of redemption. The script... is at once efficient and ornate, capturing Dickens s narrative dexterity and his ear for the idioms of English speech.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times was similarly positive; he lauded the film as visually exact and detailed without being too picturesque. Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle praised it as a grounded and unusually matter-of-fact adaptation, continuing, Polanski does justice to Dickens moral universe, in which the motives and worldview of even the worst people are made comprehensible.

Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly graded the film B+ and commented, On the face of it, Roman Polanski s Oliver Twist is in the tradition of every faithful Oliver Twist ever filmed – a photogenic, straightforward, CliffsNotes staging of Charles Dickens harrowing story... Yet precisely because this is by Roman Polanski, it s irresistible to read his sorrowful and seemingly classical take, from a filmmaker known as much for the schisms in his personal history as for the lurches in his work, as something much more personal and poignant.

However, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone rated two out of four stars, calling it drab and unfeeling while lacking the Polanski stamp. He further felt Barney Clark s performance as Oliver was bereft of personality. Todd McCarthy of Variety echoed Travers sentiments about Clark, labelling him disappointingly wan and unengaging, while writing that the film was conventional, straightforward and a respectable literary adaptation, but dramatic urgency and intriguing undercurrents.

In the UK press, Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian opined that while Oliver Twist does not flag or lose its way and is always watchable, the book s original power and force have not been rediscovered. Philip French of The Observer wrote that the film was generally disappointing, though by no means badly acted, and alleged that it lacked any serious point of view about individuality, society, community.

DVD release

Sony Pictures released the film on DVD on 24 January 2006. It is in anamorphic widescreen format, with audio tracks and subtitles in English and French. Bonus features include Twist by Polanski, in which the director reflects on the making of the film; The Best of Twist, which includes interviews with production designer Allan Starski, costume designer Anna B. Sheppard, cinematographer Paweł Edelman, editor Hervé de Luze, and composer Rachel Portman; and Kidding with Oliver Twist, which focuses on the young actors in the cast.




Digiview Productions

Recording Label

Digiview Productions

Recording Length


Recording Studio

Digiview Productions





Amazon ASIN











2h 10min


Awards, 2 wins & 4 nominations


Roman Polanski


Charles Dickens, Ronald Harwood


Barney Clark, Ben Kingsley, Jeremy Swift

Produced by

Robert Benmussa, Timothy Burrill, Petr Moravec, Roman Polanski, Alain Sarde, Michael Schwarz

Music by

Rachel Portman

Cinematography by

Pawel Edelman

Film Editing by

Hervé de Luze

Casting By

Celestia Fox

Production Design by

Allan Starski

Art Direction by

Jindrich Kocí, Jirí Matolín

Set Decoration by

Jille Azis

Costume Design by

Anna B. Sheppard

Makeup Department

Michele Baylis, Linda Eisenhamerova, Jean-Max Guérin, Lucie Kuprova, Didier Lavergne, Waldemar Pokromski, Wendy Rawson, Ivo Strangmüller

Production Management

Veronika Finkova, Jiri Husak, Ondrej Nerud, Françoise Piraud, Pavel Voracek, Nathalie Chery

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Jean-Denis Borel, Martina Götthansova, Vojta Hlavicka, Karolina Koutna, Oldrich Mach, Petr Nemecek, Ralph Remstedt, Caroline Veyssière, Vaclav Hanka

Art Department

Anna Adamaszek, Bara Barova, Jan Blazicek, Marketa Bockova, Dennis Bosher, Miloslav Bulvas, Vaclav Cerny, Roy Chapman, Zuzana Cizmarova, Lesley Cross, Libor Datel, Zdenek Datel, Jaroslav David, Laura Dishington, Gustave Doré, Judy Ducker, Monika Enicka, Colin Fox, Barry Gibbs, René Gráf, Pavel Hartmann, Alex Harwood, Tereza Honsova, Jan Hrusa, Roman Illovsky, Martin Jelinek, Josef Kalina, Jan Kodera, Martin Kotek, Jan Kotik, Milena Koubkova, Stefan Kovacik, Martin Kubricht, Marek Kukawski, Daniel Kvarda, Lukas Lehoucka, Radek Lehoucka, Alice Linhartová, Jiri Macke, Anna Malehova, Samila Malehova, Tamara Marini, Petr Marousek, Sara Mathers, Pierre Mavrov, James McGowan, David Mears, David Meeking, Ales Novotny, Keith Pain, Darryl Paterson, Nenad Pecur, Maxime Rebière, Karel Sestak, Francisco Sole, Vladimir Stastny, Jan Svoboda, Katerina Van Gemund, Zbynek Vit, Miroslav Zdenek, Libor Zvolanek, Michal Abraham, Jana Bulakova, Jakub Eliasek, Laurent Ferrie, Michaela Formanova, David Gospodarczyk, Jan Hoffman, Jiri Hrubes, Lukas Katakalidis, Lada Koranda, Libor Michálek, Tony Noble, Stanislav Suva, David Trojan

Sound Department

Philippe Amouroux, Nicolas Becker, Jean-Marie Blondel, Katia Boutin, Tomas Cervenka, Paul Conway, Gurwal Coïc-Gallas, Assia Dnednia, Philippe Dongé, Geraldine Falieu, Jean Goudier, Dean Humphreys, Anne Le Campion, Stephane Lioret, Gréggory Poncelet, Guadalupe Cassius, Philippe Dongé

Special Effects by

Milos Brosinger, Petr Lukavec, Martin Oberlander, Jirí Vater

Visual Effects by

Loic Bouineau, David Bush, Manfred Büttner, Clare Cheetham, Jonathan Cheetham, Arnaud Chelet, Stéphanie Dargent, Olivier Debert, Dimitri Delacovias, Jacques Delzescaux, Jérémie Droulers, Florian Gellinger, Marc Latil, Malika Mazauric, Frederic Moreau, Sarah Moreau, Robert Pinnow, Fred Roz, Melodie Stevens, Jean-Denis Borel, Alex Broeckel, Clare Cheetham, Benjamin Clément, Sergio Cremasco, Markus Degen, Thibault Deloof, Mirko Echghi-Ghamsari, Erich Eder, Nora Elsner, Johannes Gross, Yves Göbel, Sascha Alexander Haber, Thomas Hansen, Mareike Hilgenfeldt, Thilo Hoffmann, Jérémy Justice, Tobias Daniel Kammann, Andrew Keys, Benjamin Kniebe, Andreas Kreimaier, Eva Kunze, Justin Lanchbury, Daniel Lo Iacono, Nir Loewenberg, Jan Maroske, Dirk Matzkuhn, Sandra Moll, Frederic Moreau, Aude Nguyen-Ngoc, Enrico Perei, Robert Pinnow, Christian Pundschus, Heribert Raab, Michael Ralla, Norbert Ruf, Phillipp Sauermann, Verena Scheunemann, Caterina Schiffers, Markus Schneider, Florian Schroeder, Heiko Schweizer, Benjamin Seide, Oliver Seiter, Christian Stanzel, Jan Stoltz, Max Stummer, Eva von Overheidt, Sebastian von Overheidt, Michael Wagner, Adina Wernstedt, Eric Westphal, Marco Wilz, Carsten Woithe, Michael Wolf


Adam Kulhavy, Robert Lahoda, Paul Lowe, Tomás Tobola, Pavel Bousek, Jan Holicek, Jiri Horky, Jindrich Klaus, Milos Kulhavy, Ladislav Lahoda, Vaclav Pacal

Camera and Electrical Department

Armin Bach, Karel Bastar, Jan Belohradsky, Tomas Beseda, Antonin Bocek, Ondrej Bocek, Jiri Ctvrtecka, Guy Ferrandis, Jiri Filipovsky, Ingo Gardner, Zbigniew Gustowski, Daniel Havelka, Roman Hodek, Michal Houzvicka, Lada Hruby, Tomás Hruska, Stanislav Kabat, Milos Kabela, Robert Lukowski, Milan Novak, Miroslav Pavlik, Marcus Pohlus, Marek Rajca, Roland Safr, Ronald Schwarz, Jiri Sip, Vaclav Strozik, Stepan Svoboda, Carsten Thoms, Vladimir Urbanek, Petr Valenta, Ivo Cervenka, Jiri Cvancara, Tomás Drdácký, Ladislav Hruby, Lukas Jaromersky, Mirek Jaromersky, Petr Jiracek, Jiri Krenek, Igor Murco, Angel Quiroga, Martin Rain, Jan Simecek, Petr Urbanek, Roman Vales, Petr Vladyka, Martin Vortel, Jan Zak, Miro Zila

Casting Department

Nancy Bishop, Jirí Hrstka, Alex Johnson, Sarah Parfitt, Olga Záhorbenská, Abigail Barbier, Louis Elman, Noelle Trkulja

Costume and Wardrobe Department

Iva Bártová, Jane Clive, Miroslav Fantys, Barbara Higgins, Karolina Jirova, Alena Koucka, Michal Krejca, Wei Liang, Liba Malerova, Vera Mirová, Sarah Moore, Peter Paul, Richard Pointing, Katerina Polanska, Ladislav Procházka, Jitka Svecova, Tomás Sýkora, David Whiteing, Michelle Wickland, Kevin Wiremu, Milena Adamová, Marie Charvatova, Gabriela Kolackova, Ivana Kotkova, Liba Malerova, Jirina Svancarova, Helena Vitoulová, Barbora Wildova

Editorial Department

Catherine Athon, Lionel Cassan, Yvan Lucas, Margot Meynier, Andrea Pugner, Philippe Reinaudo, Clara Salducci, Sárka Sklenárová, Philippe Tourret, Nicolas Criqui, Mickael Dumontier, Frederic Jupin, Carlos Pinto, Clement Zveguintzoff

Location Management

Jiri Krejcir

Music Department

The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, Chris Cozens, Chris Dibble, James Fitzpatrick, Jan Holzner, Rachel Portman, David Snell, Polly Taylor, Amélie de Chassey, Lewis Jones, Richard King, Delphine Mathieu, Patrick Russ

Script and Continuity Department

Sylvette Baudrot

Transportation Department

Dan Kuska, Dave Bruyea, Tomas Bursik, Tony Vizina, Richard Watkins

Additional Crew

Malgosia Abramowska, Sylvie Balloy, Ota Bares, Borek Benes, Milan Blazko, Ales Bosticka, Ian Burlingham, Daniel Champagnon, Olivier Chiavassa, Sarka Cimbalova, Nicholas Dalton, Isabelle Dassonville, Steve Dent, Charlotte Dirickx, Libor Doudera, Jon Duncan, Jacqueline Edwards, Mat Ford, James Freedman, Geoff Freeman, Veronika Gavlakova, Gabriela Glass, Romana Hajkova, Martin Hanus, Fréderic Hardy, Katherine Hook, Marcela Jahodova Zachova, Pavel Jelen, Lenka Kadlecova, Radim Macha, Chirag Malde, Sirish Malde, Martin Mares, Michal Olah, Laura Park, Vaclav Petr, Chantal Peyrieras, Marketa Poruba, Eda Raban, Nathalie Radovic, Kay Raven, Martyn Rowland, Bob Shah, Vaclav Sramek, John Styles, Jan Sula, Taylor Wessing, James Weston, Anna Zenowicz, Julie Adams, Veronika Finkova, Petr Hynek, Lubomir Janci, Mirek Pechar, Kay Raven, Veronika Skarlandtova, Radek Tomasek, Richard Woolford


Julie Adams, Jeff Berg, Didier Duverger, Jean-Patrick Flande, Tim Levy, Suzana Peric, Jérôme Seydoux, Isabelle Terrel


Crime, Drama


R.P. Productions, Runteam II Ltd., ETIC Films


France, UK, Czech Republic







ImDb Rating Votes


Metacritic Rating


Short Description

Oliver Twist is a 2005 drama film directed by Roman Polanski. The screenplay by Ronald Harwood adapts Charles Dickens s 1838 novel of the same name. It is an international co-production of the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, France and Italy.

The film premiered at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival on 11 September 2005 before going into limited release in the United States on 23 September. It received mixed to positive reviews from critics, but was a commercial failure.

Box Office Budget

$60,000,000 (estimated)

Box Office Opening Weekend USA


Box Office Gross USA


Box Office Cumulative Worldwide Gross



Character name as title,oliver twist character,artful dodger character,fagin character,bill sykes character