The film "Pride & Prejudice" is based on the novel of the same name by Jane Austen that was published in 1813. Although there are other television versions, this movie, released in 2005, was the first film version since the 1940 black-and-white production starring Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson.
Although the story is based in late 18th century England, the theme of romance, as well as of pride and prejudice, are ones that everyone can relate to. The story is told from the point of view of Elizabeth Bennet, born into a family that is respectable but without much wealth. She is one of five sisters and, because of society at the time, they all realize that the only way their futures will be secured is if they marry well. When two eligible and wealthy bachelors arrive in their area, Elizabeth's sister, Jane, falls in love with Mr. Bingley and he with her. The other gentleman, Mr. Darcy, is far too conscious of his greater status in society and has concerns that Jane is only out for his friend's money. In the end, after much verbal parrying back and forth between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, they learn the true value of one another.
The main character, Elizabeth Bennet, is played by Keira Knightly. Knightly is best known for her role as Elizabeth Swann in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. She has been acting since she was 9 years old and has, at a young age, garnered many awards and nominations. Opposite her is Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy who has starred in a wide variety of works in film, television and theater. They are joined by many acclaimed actors and actresses, in particular Donald Sutherland and Dame Judi Dench. Dench has been nominated for numerous awards including six Oscar nominations, of which she has won one.
The movie was filmed entirely in the United Kingdom where the book was set. The presence of many well-preserved manors dating from before the late 18th century allowed the production to give a very realistic look to the film. The manor that was used for the exterior shots of Mr. Darcy's home in Derbyshire, Chatsworth House, is believed by some to have been the actual dwelling that Austen had in mind when describing Darcy's Pemberley. In addition to the exterior of the house, the grand staircase and the Sculpture Garden are also used in the film.
The film was nominated for 49 different awards, of which it won ten. Included in those nominations were four for Oscars from the Motion Picture Academy. These were for art direction, costume design, original score and, for Keira Knightly, leading actress. The wins included a BAFTA award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for the director, Joe Wright, recognizing his accomplishment in his first feature film.
The American version of the film has a romantic ending that was not included in the European version.
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