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Great Expectations

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United Kingdom · 1946
1h 58m
Director David Lean
Starring John Mills, Tony Wager, Valerie Hobson, Jean Simmons
Genre Drama, Romance

Adapted from the book by Charles Dickens, a young orphan named Pip is told that a mysterious benefactor wishes to pay for him to be educated as a gentleman. He meets the mysterious Miss Havisham, a wealthy lady who stays in her house eternally wearing her wedding dress, and her ward Estelle, with whom Pip falls in love.

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What are critics saying?


Variety by

Only rabid Dickensians will find fault with the present adaptation, and paradoxically only lovers of Dickens will derive maximum pleasure from the film.


The New York Times by Bosley Crowther

Somehow, the fullness of Dickens, of his stories and characters—his humor and pathos and vitality and all his brilliant command of atmosphere—has never been so illustrated as it is in this wonderful film, which can safely be recommended as screen story-telling at its best.


LarsenOnFilm by Josh Larsen

As an adaptation of Great Expectations, this is scattershot and unsatisfying, but as a fever dream you might have after reading it, the movie mesmerizes.


The New Yorker by Pauline Kael

The film has a strong style that is very different from Lean's earlier work. He seems to have finally to have let go--to have pulled out all the stops. The film is emotional, exciting, full of action.


Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

The greatest of all the Dickens films, and which does what few movies based on great books can do: Creates pictures on the screen that do not clash with the images already existing in our minds.

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