- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Maybe there could have been more
Fine musical overall but it has not aged well. Not all musicals resonate decades after their creation. Oklahoma still charms audiences but Flower Drum Song is passe for example. In fairness this movie does have many excellent qualities. Ron Moody and Oliver Reed are outstanding. Reed is menacing, brooding, and gives the cheeriness of the rest of the film the right edge. Moody is fun and turns in a clever performance. Dickens after all was telling a pretty sad story here: poverty, violence, prostitution, and social injustice. So their scenes resonate. Sets and costuming a very good. I think one problem with the film is that the songs, which were very popular in their day, seem a bit too jolly and slight to contemporary viewers. Mark Lester is simply too angelic and Shani Wallis who briefly was a star seems to be channeling a British version of a second-rate Debbie Reynolds. Still it is a good movie musical. Just perhaps not the cup of tea for contemporary viewers.
- Michael Whitty
Academy Award winner from 1968 "Oliver" went to the screen after the storyline started with "Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens and followed some storytelling of a young English lad and his friendships. This was a great cinematic musical and had been on-screen 8 times before in dramatic form about this runaway orphan and the different people he meets up with. It finally became a musical in 1960 with many listenable songs..."Consider Yourself", "I'd Do Anything", "Food Glorious Food". Some good charm was applied and the movie took it all on Oscar night even beating out "Funny Girl".
- Hoyt Harris
Had I not seen the stage version on Broadway in 1964, I would probably give higher marks to the movie adaptation. OLIVER! does what great big screen musicals screen do--or did at the time: "open them up" to much greater vistas. The movie's Whitehall section of London ("Who Will Buy?") was realistic. It seems the workhouse scene in the opening sequence could have been grittier, more Dickensian, to convey the wretched conditions of the Industrial Age. (See SWEENEY TODD.)Davy Jones (later of "The Monkees) played "The Artful Dodger" in New York and in the number "Consider Yourself"--and really in all of his scenes--just about walked off with the entire show. He was an incredibly gifted stage performer. Perhaps he was too old four years later when the movie was made.But the most egregious error in this movie was the casting of Shani Wallis as "Nancy." WHY did they not use Georgia Brown who created the role in London and later played it in New York? Brown looked as if she stepped right out of Dickens' novel. And the woman could sing like a freaking bird. I can still hear her rendition of "As Long as He Needs Me." Wallis onscreen looked like an anachronism and, for me, she comes close to ruining the entire film. I have always wondered just HOW she got the part. And I'll leave it at that. OLIVER! is a good, somewhat sanitized version of Dickens and, of course, that makes it good FAMILY viewing and there's nothing wrong with that. We probably need more of that these days. But one final note: OLIVER! I've always felt won Best Picture as a sop to the great director Sir Carol Reed. There's simply no way it deserved the award over Franco Zefferelli's far better ROMEO AND JULIET nor over the equally great and classic THE LION IN WINTER. (Peter O'Toole was robbed on that one as well. But, then, he spent an entire brilliant career getting robbed by the Academy.)
- Dashiell B.
A charming musical adaptation of Dicken's story. Moody won the Golden Globe as Fagin, while Wild was nominated for the Artful Dodger, Lester gives a natural performance as the title character. The film won the Best Picture Oscar of '68, the film also won for Reed's direction, production design, sound, score and a honorary award for Onna White's choreography. An entertaining family musical. I give it a 4.5/5.
- Erik Wagner
It's not really a bad movie as much as the music really bugs me. I do like the "Who Will Buy" segment a lot and "Consider Yourself" and "I'd Do Anything" are okay. The acting is fine, but I always feel so removed from the characters. I'll blame Carol Reed for that as well. The original book pulls you into the pitiful world that is Oliver's and the dire straits of the gutter world. This place doesn't seem that bad. Nancy is a character I usually love, like Joni in "Deadwood"; a depressed whore always makes me cry, but when Shani Wallis starts singing, I just want to stick something in her mouth and give the scene some desperately needed action. And she suffers from 60's helmet hair in a period piece. In the end, "Oliver" should not have beat out "Romeo and Juliet" or one of the best films ever "The Lion in Winter
- Bruce Reber
Although it's very loosely based on the Dickens classic "Oliver Twist" and takes many liberties with the original story, "Oliver!" is a very charming and enteraining musical and one of my favorites. It has lively songs and dance numbers, great cinematography, and excellent performances from all of the actors. Please show it more often TCM - it seems the only time it's on is during 31 Days Of Oscar.
One of the best
The track record of movie adaptations of live theatrical musicals is a very mixed one. Some are wonderful, while others suffer from the loss of the live atmosphere and the use of movie stars who lack the talents required by musicals. But "Oliver!" is one of the best. It uses actors (many of whom are veterans of its stage productions) who can do their own singing and dancing and it is faithful to the stage show, cutting very little but using the range of the camera to expand on the scope of its largest musical numbers. A joy!
My favorite movie.
I love this film. I had a crush on Jack Wild who was the perfect Artful Dodger just as Ron Moody was the perfect Fagin. Oliver Reed, Shani Wallis and Mark Lester were good in their roles too. The kids in it are more natural than the kids in the Sound of Music. It did the book justice.
one of the greatest musicals ever!
My favorite musical, 'Oliver!' is a touching, loveable academy award-winning British film. Unlike so many American musicals, there's no dubbing, and the accents are real! Near-perfect, and perhaps ahead of its time as well.