Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice: A review of the 1995 BBC Version

Reviewed By: Maria K on 19 November 2014

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is one of the favourite classics of countless readers around the world and numerous versions of Austen’s works are available today. Of the televised and film versions, the one that is most faithful to the original novels is the 1995 BBC televised series of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth as Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Ms. Elizabeth Bennet.

Colin Firth does justice to the novel’s descriptions of Mr. Darcy as a “cold, arrogant sort of man,” as well as an honest man “who never exaggerates” but is known to his close intimates for “his generous heart.” Jennifer Ehle stars as the lively and vivacious Elizabeth Bennet who first captures Mr. Darcy’s attention with her “fine eyes” and wit.

Pride and Prejudice is not only a romance at its heart but it also satirizes the upper class English society of the Regency era and makes a light-hearted commentary on the traditions and lifestyles of the period.

The custom of estates being entailed away from families belonging to the landed gentry put daughters in the position of having to marry wealthy men. As Elizabeth Bennet has no brothers and five sisters, she faces the choice of having to marry for money or facing poverty.

This background makes for an interesting beginning to the story where Elizabeth’s mother Mrs. Bennet sets upon the wealthy and charming Mr. Bingley as the perfect choice for her oldest daughter Jane. Mr. Darcy, a friend of Mr. Bingley, visits Bingley from his magnificent estate Pemberley and at first looks down upon these country folk. However, he is ultimately captivated by Elizabeth’s intelligence, beauty and audacity and learns to put aside his haughty ways and turns into a swoon-worthy hero.

Fans of the Twilight series, and Edward Cullen in particular, would find in Mr. Darcy a character to admire and idealize as the perfect man. Although Pride and Prejudice is an old English classic that was published in 1813, it is a family drama and a captivating romance that continues to thrill people around the world and make undying fans out of those who like historical romances.

The BBC 1995 televised version of Pride and Prejudice is perfect for a cold evening or would even make a wonderful gift for friends and family.