Outside of the ghost of Christmas past in some animated form, my first experience with Charles Dickens was reading A Tale of Two Cities in my 9th grade English class. I remember it as epic and confusing. Confession: I haven’t read a Dickens novel since. However, I love Dickens on film! I don’t know what it is, but whereas I can’t sustain my interest in his writing, take one of his stories, make it into a mini-series, and I’ll clear my schedule for a date with Masterpiece every Sunday night for two months, no problem. Here’s a list of ten great Dickens stories, told in flashing lights projected on a screen.
Nicholas Nickleby: Christopher Plummer, Charlie Hunnam and Anne Hathaway star in this story of a young man trying to protect his loved ones from his greedy, grasping uncle.
David Copperfield: Before he was Harry, Daniel Radcliffe was young David Copperfield in this BBC production of Dicken’s most autobiographical work.
Great Expectations: Gillian Anderson turns in a masterful performance as Miss Haversham, but it’s Pip at the center of this PBS Masterpiece Theatre adaptations.
Bleak House: The icily beautiful Lady Dedlock faces the revelation of her dark past once Mr. Tulkinghorn catches wind of it. Esther’s background also comes to light after the murder of a strange man. An all-star cast comes together for this Dickens classics.
A Tale of Two Cities: Ronald Colman plays Sidney Carton in this 1935 adaptation. A man makes a bold sacrifice for love during the chaos of the French Revolution.
A Christmas Carol: There are so many adaptations of A Christmas Carol for film and TV, but we’re going to go with the late 90s version starring Patrick Stewart. Because who doesn’t love Patrick Stewart. He stars as Ebenezer Scrooge, the meanest, stingiest man in London, who gets an attitude adjustment thanks to three very well-known ghosts.
Oliver Twist: This gripping tale of Charles Dickens’ classic remains faithful to the spirit of the novel while delivering a modern, thrilling, tragic, and occasionally comic edge. And it’s produced by the BBC, which is always a good thing for classic adaptations.
Little Dorrit: Poor Amy Dorrit was raised in the Marshalsea Debtor’s prison, undernourished and under-noticed until a connection to the house of Clennam changes her circumstances.
Our Mutual Friend: A tale of two turbulent love affairs plays out amidst a tangled web of wealth, corruption, passion and betrayal in 1860s London.
The Old Curiosity Shop: Little Nell and her grandfather run afoul of the local loan shark.