Pride and Prejudice - Movie Review and Comparison

Which movie version of Pride and Prejudice is best? This debate has raged for all Pride and Prejudice lovers for awhile now and it's time to settle the question. Is the 1995 or the 2005 Pride and Prejudice the best version of all time?

General Plot Summary

Hertfordshire is in a tizzy when the news comes that a rich young man named Mr. Bingley has settled in the neighborhood. All the young ladies have their eye on him, but Jane Bennet catches his eye and he falls for her. Many consider it an excellent match. Mr. Bingley is rich, has good connections, and is well respected. What's not to love?

But Elizabeth, the second oldest Bennet, wants to marry for love, not money, status, or a position, contrary to how many of the people around her choose their spouses. However, there aren't any men who meet her approval, particularly proud, unsocial Mr. Darcy, who's Mr. Bingley's friend. Not only is Mr. Darcy arrogant, he's been accused of ruining another man's career and future. So when he proposes to Elizabeth, she refuses him without hesitation.

But as she learns about the matter, she finds out the truth about the situation and Mr. Darcy. Before she know it, she's falling in love with him. Is there still a chance for them, or is it too late?

Differences Between 1995 and 2005 Movies

1995 Pride and Prejudice

This movie is the most accurate one out there. The costumes are historically accurate, nearly all the dialogue is word-for-word what was in the book, and the setting shows how the various classes lived and what life would've been like in Jane Austen's time.

The casting was excellent. All the characters come to life; it's as if the actors took their character's personalities and ran with them. For example:

~ Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth) looked down on most, came off stiff, and appeared unpleased with basically everything and everyone he saw.

~ Elizabeth Bennet (Jennifer Ehle) was witty, passionate, able to stand her ground, and kind of a stinker.

~ Lady Catherine de Bourgh  was talkative, convinced she was right about everything, and demanding.

~ Mrs. Bennet whined, fretted, and annoyed everyone with her complaining. She also did everything within her power to marry off her daughters.

~ Mr. Bennet was satirical, sarcastic, and snarky.

2005 Pride and Prejudice

This movie focuses on the key events of the plot and diminishes or leaves out minor characters. It condenses and dramatizes the story, as well as hypes up the tension between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth.

The costumes weren't as fancy as the ones in the 1995 version and also not as historically accurate. The settings are more rustic and down to earth.

The portrayal of the characters was not what I expected when I first watched the movie, but it was still consistent with the book.

~ Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfayden) was patronizingly bored and a bit socially awkward. But he hid a tender side that unfolds with the movie.

~ Elizabeth Bennet (Keira Knightley) was spirited, dramatic, and teasing.

~ Lady Catherine de Bourgh was bossy and expected everyone to obey her.

~ Mrs. Bennet was pushy, unacquainted with the word privacy, and a silly magpie.

~ Mr. Bennet was more like a gentle giant than the sarcastic man we see in the book.

Pros and Cons of 1995 Pride and Prejudice

It's almost 100% accurate to the book. Some of the conversations were slightly shortened and a few scenes were added for context. Examples are Bingley surveying Netherfield Park, Lydia running away, and the Bingleys and Mr. Darcy discussing the Bennets. And, of course, there's the scene with Darcy taking a swim which, while not in the book, is a fun scene.

Since the dialogue is in 19th century English, it's formal and a bit stiff. Also, the movie is almost five and a half hours long and divided up into six episodes. It's hard to sit down and finish it in a night.

Pros and Cons of 2005 Pride and Prejudice

The dialogue is more modern and not so formal. The whole movie is a little over two hours, so it's easier to finish in one day.

There were some scenes added, such as Bingley practicing his proposal and Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth talking at one of the balls (they didn't talk at that particular time in the book).

This version is not entirely accurate. Some of the characters say things they didn't say in the book and some details are missing.

Which Is the Best Pride and Prejudice Movie To Watch?

My personal opinion is the 1995 Pride and Prejudice is the best. I love it because it's so like the book, the acting is superb, and the romance is subtle but sweet. Both movies are clean though and well made.

But the best way to figure out the best movie is to watch both and then decide!

For those who've watched the movies: Which movie is the best?
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Lizzy - June 3rd, 2024 at 10:19am

I've seen both and I agree that the 1995 one was better! It's fun to see them compared like that!

- June 10th, 2024 at 11:24am

I'm glad you liked it : )

Beth - June 6th, 2024 at 9:16pm

The 1995 version is my favorite but I do enjoy some of the scenes in the other version!

- June 10th, 2024 at 11:24am

The 2005 does have some fun scenes, but I have to go with the 1995 as well