There have been many adaptations of Charles Dickens’ classic novel over the years, but David Lean’s 1946 version of Great Expectations remains the best, as well as one of the most loved British films of all time.
The story follows the adventures of Pip, a poor orphan who helps a convict escape on the Kent marshes. Pip falls in love with the beautiful Estella, but both young people are manipulated by the most bitter of scorned brides, Miss Havisham. When Pip is sent off to London society to become a gentleman, thanks to a mysterious benefactor, he learns harsh lessons about love and loyalty.
From its brilliant opening graveyard sequence, this perfectly pared down version of the story is rich in character and atmosphere, full of visual grandeur and stars a wonderful cast including John Mills, Jean Simmons and Alec Guinness.
Nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Director for David Lean, Great Expectations is not only one of the finest literary adaptations ever made, but an engrossing and wonderfully made film that has undoubtedly stood the test of time.