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P&P 200: Pride and Prejudice (1980) Review

Continuing the 200th anniversary celebration of Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice novel, with my thoughts and review of the Pride and Prejudice (1980) BBC TV production starring Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul.

Here's my film review of the 1980 BBC TV Mini-Series...

(source: Ksliron7991)

Watch all 5 PRIDE & PREJUDICE 1980 Episodes!

Pride and Prejudice 1980 Synopsis
Preoccupied with status, Mrs. Bennet (Priscilla Morgan) will do just about anything to make sure that her five daughters marry into well-to-do families in this BBC series based on Jane Austen's classic novel. The second eldest daughter, Elizabeth (Elizabeth Garvie), has complete distaste for her wealth-obsessed circle, especially the conceited and affluent Fitzwilliam Darcy (David Rintoul). But what she doesn't realize is that Darcy feels the same way she does.
The opening credits with the title "Pride and Prejudice" or "First Impressions" by Jane Austen with a nice graphic drawing, illustrating the characters from the novel was interesting and quite artistic as does its closing end credits. The production of this version though is outdated and didn't aged quite well, but seeing as it was a period costume drama and from the 1980s era...well, that was expected.

This 1980 BBC TV mini-series was a very good adaptation (underrated too, in my opinion) from Austen's original classic Pride and Prejudice. I thought the dialogue for this version was more true and faithful to the novel (as it follows the book almost to a tee), much more so than the 1995 version (I'm comparing these two adaptations here as they were both made for television mini-series and had more time than the 1940 and 2005 film adaptations, which only had two hours of time each to tell their version of P&P) as well as the pacing of the story was nicely done as shown in 5 episodes. Great acting too by Elizabeth Garvie as Elizabeth Bennet and David Rintoul as Mr. Darcy. I quite liked these two pairing as Elizabeth & Darcy (which I liked them better than the 1995 one) as well as the actors who played Jane & Bingley.

I thought Elizabeth Garvie (interesting she's the only P&P actress with similar name as her character she was playing) did very good as Elizabeth Bennet. She had the "sparkling eyes" and showed a liveliness and wit as Miss Elizabeth "Eliza/Lizzy" Bennet in this version, which made her EB more convincing than Jennifer Ehle's EB (even though I liked hers as well), in my opinion. David Rintoul as Mr. Darcy was pretty good too. I thought he was more Darcy-like handsome looking and acted more like a socially awkward and proud Darcy in the novel (as you are not supposed to like Darcy when you first meet him in the book) than Colin Firth's Darcy was (but that's just me and my opinion, of course). Rintoul, though a lil' cold and stiff at the beginning (well, he wasn't supposed to start off as a likable character), was more convincing, in my viewing and opinion, and portrayed an aristocratic air of Darcy with a seemingly arrogant manner and it was nice to see him gradually mellowed and smiled towards the end. I could picture him more as the Darcy here than CF's Darcy.

The actors who played Bingley and Jane were very good as well. I thought the actress who played Jane Bennet was very pretty (much like Rosamund Pike's Jane Bennet) and really look the part far more so and convincingly than the 1995's Jane Bennet. She acted lovely and sweet and a very likable Jane too. Also, the Bennet sisters in this version were more sister-like than the 1995 version. Mr. Bennet here has a witty and dry, sarcastic humor and Mrs. Bennet was not too over-the-top and annoying as the 1995 version (that really was one of the things that turned me off with the 1995 version).
Also, all the secondary characters in the 80's version were actually fun to watch and were likeable, while most of the secondary characters in 95's version were painful to watch and looked much older than the true characters from the book.

Overall, I thought this 1980 BBC production was quite good. In my opinion, all of the actors gave wonderful performances and were well cast. The costumes were outdated, but that's the early 80s and that era had terrible costumes, lol. They could've done more to the ending too as I wanted to see more of Elizabeth & Darcy after the second proposal. The 1995 version was much better in that scene and following it with a double wedding to give viewers a satisfying ending. Other than those few minor flaws, there is more in this version of the accidental meetings and dialogues which showed Darcy falling in love with Elizabeth Bennet, which also makes it more faithful to the book in this sense. Each P&P adaptation though, has its pros and cons. I suppose no one can ever capture the book to the readers satisfaction, but the TV and film adaptations does show and provide us visuals that the books couldn't. So, both have their advantages and disadvantages. And finally, this 1980 version may not be as widely popular as the 1995 version, but I thought this was a wonderful adaptation on its own and I enjoyed watching it, enough to own it on DVD and to add to my collection of Pride & Prejudice DVDs.


  1. For the longest time, P&P 1980 was all fans had, and I just loved Elizabeth Garvie. She's still my favorite Lizzy. Although Rintoul was wooden, it was in keeping with JA's socially awkward Mr. Darcy. Even though most of the scenes were shot in a studio, I thought it was quite good, and I loved Mrs. Bennet.


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