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Ranked: Our Top Five Austen Screen Adaptations!

In terms of adaptations, Austen’s posthumous novel, Persuasion, is often overlooked. However, not one but two film adaptations of Austen’s quietest and most serious novel are being produced this year. One will be a modern retelling starring Dakota Johnson of 50 Shades fame, made by Netflix for a new generation of Austen fans. The other is a more serious period piece with Succession’s Sarah Snook as the lead. 

We’re very excited for both adaptations, seeing as modern retellings of Austen stories have married humour and social commentaries of her work so well: think Clueless or Bridget Jones’s Diary as key examples. However, there are already dozens of Austen adaptations already around. Will these two new adaptations, particularly of a lesser loved novel, fare well amongst the competition? We ranked our top five existing Austen adaptations so that you could make the comparisons yourself!

1. Pride and Prejudice (1995)

Let’s be honest, could any other adaptation really take the top spot? Famous for Colin Firth’s iconic wet white shirt scene, this adaptation catapulted Austen’s classic into modern times and gained her a whole new host of fans.

2. Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson bring out the best in Austen’s passionate Dashwood sisters. Beautifully shot and full of warm humour, this adaptation is comfort food in cinematic form.

3. Clueless (1995)

This modern adaptation of Emma has become a teen favourite since it’s release nearly thirty years ago. Alicia Silverstone is perfect as Cher, vain, spoiled, and of course: absolutely clueless. 

4. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

Bumbling Bridget shot into the nation’s hearts as a modern heroine tackling 21st Century love. Colin Firth reappears as the modern Hugh Darcy, adding plenty of humour to this Pride and Prejudice reboot. 

5. Emma (2020)

Shot with eye-popping colours and lavish sets, Austen’s world was brought to life in this adaptation with Anna Taylor-Joy. A welcome departure from other darker and more striaght-laced period pieces. 

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