Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice Adaptations of Pride and Prejudice

Although the historical context of Pride and Prejudice has changed a lot in the 100+ years since Jane Austen wrote the novel, the story and characters have proven to be timeless. The novel has been adapted successfully for film, literature, and the stage more than any other literary property in history save perhaps Shakespeare.

Pride and Prejudice has inspired several film versions, starting in the 1930's. The most popular thus far has been the 1995 mini-series written by Andrew Davies and directed by Simon Langton, starring Colin Firth in a definitive portrayal of Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth. The most recent big-budget adaptation, directed by Joe Wright and starring Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet, came out in 2005 and garnered a great deal of critical acclaim.

Other films and television shows have adapted the source material much more loosely. Gurinder Chadha directed an Indian version in 2004, called Bride and Prejudice. She explores novel's themes of class through a different cultural lens. The bestselling novel Bridget Jones's Diary is a contemporary adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. It became a highly successful film in 2001, starring Renee Zellweger as Bridget (the "Elizabeth" role) and Colin Firth in the Darcy role for the second time. The story has also inspired an Israeli mini-series and a young adult Youtube series called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

Finally, Pride and Prejudice has inspired a slew of original sequels and literary adaptations. In addition to the aforementioned Bridget Jones's Diary novels, literary adaptations have ranged from Pamela Aidan's relatively faithful novel exploring Darcy's life to the more amusing Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. This particular adaptation opens with the line, "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains."