"Pride and Prejudice" Book Vs. Movie

by Michele Cooper

Published in 1813, "Pride and Prejudice" is one of Jane Austen’s most famous and beloved novels. The book has been adapted into several films, with the latest version exploding onto the big screen in 2005. Although it roughly follows the main story line within the mere two hours of the movie, Austen purists will notice several differences between the classic book and the blockbuster hit.


The film modernizes the romance between the two main characters, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth is giddy and bolder than the time period would call for, and there is underlying sexual tension in the movie, which is not present in the book. There is also more direct conversation between the two in the movie. A good example is the marriage proposal, where Mr. Darcy is portrayed as passionate and vocal. Most of the dialogue spoken in the movie during the marriage proposal is actually in the form of a letter in the book.

Bennet Family

In the book, the Bennet family is portrayed as middle class and Mr. Bennet as a gentleman. Although not wealthy, they are assuredly not "very poor," as is pointed out in the novel. In the movie, the Bennets appear to live as a poor family on a dirty farm. Their sloppy ways and manners are not in tune with the respectability they have in the novel. There is more of a striking contrast in class between the Bennet family and Mr. Darcy in the movie.

Time Period Inaccuracies

Throughout the film, there are several innacuracies relating to the time period. Clothing, manners and relationships in the movie do not always follow the strict rules of society implied in the book. There are scenes in the movie where characters meet one another in the middle of the night, which was improper and inconceivable in the novel. When Lydia takes off with Mr. Wickman it was a huge disgrace to the family in the novel. In the movie, it seems to be a mere inconvenience.

Scenes and Characters

There are a few characters missing from the movie, including Mr. and Mrs. Hurst. Scenes are often shorter or left out in the movie, which is to be expected in a condensed version of the story. There are also a few additional scenes in the movie, including one where Mr. Darcy helps Bingley prepare to propose to Jane -- this never happens in the book. The last romantic scene of the movie (as well as the dialogue) also differs from the book, which ends with an epilogue that covers the years following.

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