Study Help Film Versions

Here is information about some of the best and most noteworthy film adaptations of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities:

A Tale of Two Cities


Director: Jack Conway


This stunning classic is considered by many movie reviewers to be the best film adaptation yet of Dickens' masterpiece. It's an epic drama filmed in dazzling Hollywood tradition, yet stays quite true to the original work. Features an excellent cast starring Ronald Colman, Elizabeth Allan, Reginald Owen, Basil Rathbone, Donald Woods, and Edna May Oliver, and was produced by David O. Selznick. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Picture and Best Film Editing.)

A Tale of Two Cities


Director: Ralph Thomas


A British-made version of Dickens' novel, adapted from a screenplay by T.E.B. Clarke. The film is a big budget thriller shot in black and white, starring Dirk Bogarde, one of the biggest British film stars of 1958. The story is somewhat condensed, yet faithful to the original novel. The only downside is that it tends toward the overly patriotic in depicting the English as all virtuous, and the French as all villainous.

A Tale of Two Cities


Director: John Goddard


This made-for-TV version is a somewhat romanticized take on Dickens' novel, yet still true to the original. It features excellent performances by Chris Sarandon as both Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay, and Peter Cushing as Dr. Alexandre Manette. This movie was nominated for both Emmy and Golden Globe Awards in 1981.

A Tale of Two Cities


Director: Philippe Monnier


A marvelous and straight forward adaptation made for public television's Masterpiece Theatre series. Nobody does these kinds of classic literature for TV better. The film stars James Wilby as the hero, Sydney Carton.

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