Best Jane Austen Movie Adaptations

There have been many adaptations of Jane Austen's books over the years. In her lifetime she wrote six novels, plus a novella (though this isn't very popular). Some of the movies aren't worth watching, but others knock it out of the park. These are my favorite films based on Jane Austen's novels, rated based on accuracy, entertainment, and/or acting.

Note: As yet I haven't found a good Northanger Abbey, though many love the 2007 version.

Pride and Prejudice

Starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, BBC 1995

After Elizabeth Bennet meets the proud, rich Mr. Darcy, she's convinced she could never marry him, no matter how much money he has. Mr. Wickham, on the other hand, is charming and agreeable, just the sort of man she could envision loving. But after a marriage proposal implodes she's not so sure if Mr. Wickham is a good man or if Mr. Darcy is as horrible as she thought. It takes a familial disgrace for her to decide, but then it may be too late for her to make her choice.

This miniseries is divided up into roughly six, one hour long episodes, but while it's lengthy it unpacks all the plot lines, making it worthwhile. Colin Firth makes a wonderful Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle plays the perfect opinionated but playful Elizabeth Bennet.


Starring Romola Garai, Jonny Lee Miller, and Michael Gambon, BBC 2009

Emma Woodhouse is Highbury's most wonderful resident matchmaker – or so she thinks. When naive Harriet Smith crosses her path, she seizes the opportunity to make the match of the century. Despite her best efforts, Highbury's most eligible bachelors seem more interested in Emma than Harriet. Her good friend Mr. Knightley tries to convince her that her matchmaking will eventually get her into trouble, but she ignores him until the consequences for her actions hit her – and ruin her chance at love.

Romola Garai manages to portray Emma's true character without making her look like a snobby rich girl. The entire miniseries is almost one hundred percent like the book, with only a handful of scenes added. But these scenes serve to either clarify or foreshadow what's coming.


Starring Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root, BBC 1995

Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth were lovers before Anne's friend managed to persuade her to turn him down. Now, eight years later, he returns from the Napoleonic War a rich sea captain, while her family is struggling financially. Anne falls for him again as they spend more time with each other but she doesn't know if he cares for her.

This is a little known Jane Austen movie, which is a shame, because the acting is amazing. Persuasion just might be Jane Austen's most romantic story and it's one of my favorite JA books. The movie helps bring it to life and makes me love it more. ( :

Sense and Sensibility

Starring David Morrissey, Janet McTeer, and Hattie Morahan, BBC 2008

Elinor Dashwood is practical, quiet, and careful to respect societal rules and expectations. Her sister, Marianne, is impulsive, emotional, and more likely to ignore what others think. When both girls get a chance at love, they handle their situations differently. Which method will achieve a happily ever after?

I personally like this version because it stays true to the story line but keeps it entertaining. Marianne is appropriately dramatic and emotional without being over the top, while Elinor is quiet without being boring.

Note: The first five-ish minutes of the movie is a bit sensual, but the rest of the movie is clean.

Plot Spoiler Warning: One of the young men illegitimately fathers a child and abandons the mother.

Mansfield Park

Starring Julia Joyce, Douglas Hodge, and Maggie O'Neill, PBS 2007

 Fanny Price is beholden to her rich aunt and uncle because they took her from poverty and raised her as one of their own children – almost. While she has many privileges, she's treated as second class by everyone but her cousin Edward Bertram, whom she secretly loves. He, however, is bewitched by Mary Crawford, while her brother Henry begins to flirt with Fanny. Soon the Bertram home becomes a web of jealous lovers and secret feelings and everyone comes to rely on Fanny, little knowing her own secret.

While this isn't the most accurate Mansfield Park, it is the most entertaining. The ending is a little forced and a few scenes were added that were not in the book. For a more accurate version, the 1983 BBC miniseries works.

What is your favorite Jane Austen movie?
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Lizzy - May 20th, 2024 at 9:58am

I love Jane Austin, although I've never read any of her books I do love the movies. So far I've seen the very long Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Sense and Sensibility. I can't name my favorite as of yet!

- May 22nd, 2024 at 9:32am

I love Jane Austen too. Her books and movies are amazing.

Beth - May 21st, 2024 at 10:22am

I love JA books and movies! I think Persuasion is actually a little better than Pride and Prejudice but it’s so hard to pick! They’re both fantastic!

- May 22nd, 2024 at 9:32am

I have a hard time picking between Persuasion and Pride & Prejudice too!