Every Jane Austen movie adaptation, ranked

Published 4:07 pm Thursday, August 25, 2022

Focus Features

Every Jane Austen movie adaptation, ranked

Although she was not particularly well known during her lifetime, British novelist Jane Austen has become one of English literature’s most acclaimed writers. Working during the Regency era from the end of the 18th century to the beginning of the 19th century, her novels slyly critiqued and satirized British society at the time while also presenting readers with satisfying romantic tales that delight fans to this day.

Inevitably, these iconic stories have been translated into a number of film adaptations, from direct and period-accurate adaptations like 2020’s “Emma” to modern-day or cross-cultural reimaginings like the 2000 Bollywood film “Kandukondain Kandukondain.” Thanks to “Pride and Prejudice,” there’s even a 2003 Mormon-inspired adaptation. But which Austen-inspired movies are the best of the best?

To answer this question, Stacker compiled a list of all Austen film adaptations by highlighting the 18 movies she’s credited for as the story’s original source on the film database IMDb. Three other movies—1995’s “Clueless,” 2001’s “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” and 2022’s “Fire Island”—were included despite no Austen credit on the IMDb, seeing as all of these films are heavily based on Austen’s work. Films were ranked by the IMDb user rating, and only features with more than 1,000 votes were considered.

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From 1940’s “Pride and Prejudice” to 2022’s “Persuasion” and every film in between, read on to see where your beloved Jane Austen movie adaptation ranks below.

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Kelly Stables in ‘Pride and Prejudice’

Bestboy Productions

#21. Pride and Prejudice (2003)

– Director: Andrew Black
– IMDb user rating: 5
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 104 minutes

The 2003 version of “Pride and Prejudice” transports the events of Austen’s famous novel from the Regency era to a Mormon school, which could be Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Elizabeth Bennet (Kam Heskin) is a student at a college and more interested in her studies than earning a so-called “ring by spring.” However, her life becomes more complicated when she finds herself torn between the charming Jack Wickham (Henry Maguire) and the serious businessman Will Darcy (Orlando Seale).

According to producer Jason Faller, the film was inspired by similarities between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ modern-day dating culture and the Regency politics of “Pride and Prejudice.”

Sonam Kapoor in ‘Aisha'

Anil Kapoor Film Company

#20. Aisha (2010)

– Director: Rajshree Ojha
– IMDb user rating: 5
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 126 minutes

“Aisha” reimagines Austen’s “Emma” as a modern-day Indian rom-com. Set in Delhi, in India’s upper-class society, the film stars Sonam Kapoor as its titular protagonist, who enjoys playing matchmaker for those around her. Although she brushes up against her neighbor Arjun’s (Abhay Deol) complaints about her behavior, they eventually form a romantic connection—even as her meddling threatens other relationships in her life.

Marla Sokoloff and Ashley Williams in a scene from ‘Scents and Sensibility’

Silver Peak Productions

#19. Scents and Sensibility (2011)

– Director: Brian Brough
– IMDb user rating: 5.3
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 90 minutes

“Scents and Sensibility” brings Austen’s novel “Sense and Sensibility” into the present by way of lotions. Just like in the original story, the film follows sisters Elinor (Ashley Williams) and Marianne Dashwood (Marla Sokoloff) as they balance their newfound financial precarity with a series of budding romances. However, in this version, the girls find a way to survive, not just by marrying, but by making a profit off Marianne’s homemade lotion.

Alexa PenaVega in a scene from ‘From Prada to Nada’


#18. From Prada to Nada (2011)

– Director: Angel Gracia
– IMDb user rating: 5.5
– Metascore: 39
– Runtime: 107 minutes

“From Prada to Nada” translates the events of “Sense and Sensibility” into present-day Los Angeles, where spoiled sisters Nora (Camilla Belle) and Mary’s (Alexa Vega) lavish lives suddenly disappear following their father’s death. Forced to leave Beverly Hills, California, and move in with their estranged Aunt Aurelia (Adriana Barraza). However, to their surprise, they soon find second chances at love amid a newfound appreciation for their Latin heritage.

Dakota Johnson, Nia Towle, Mia McKenna-Bruce, Izuka Hoyle in ‘Persuasion’


#17. Persuasion (2022)

– Director: Carrie Cracknell
– IMDb user rating: 5.6
– Metascore: 42
– Runtime: 107 minutes

The 2022 Netflix version of “Persuasion” takes place in Regency-era England, but adds some modern dialogue and uncharacteristic fourth-wall breaks. However, the story still follows Anne Elliot (Dakota Johnson), a young woman who’s given a second chance at love when her former love, Frederick Wentworth (Cosmo Jarvis), returns several years after she rejected his proposal. The film received backlash for its modernized elements, which Variety’s Peter Debruge argued “strips the novel of its core tension.”

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Lily James in a scene from ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’

Cross Creek Pictures

#16. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

– Director: Burr Steers
– IMDb user rating: 5.8
– Metascore: 45
– Runtime: 108 minutes

As its title suggests, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” gives Jane Austen’s classic romance an undead twist. In this story, Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James) is a martial arts expert who unexpectedly falls in love with brusque pro zombie hunter Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley). Apart from being inspired by “Pride and Prejudice,” the film is also an adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s 2009 novel of the same name.

Chase Conner in a scene from ‘Before the Fall’

Washington House

#15. Before the Fall (2016)

– Director: Byrum Geisler
– IMDb user rating: 6
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 92 minutes

“Before the Fall” transforms “Pride and Prejudice” into a contemporary gay romance set in rural Virginia. Elizabeth is now Ben Bennett (Ethan Sharrett), and the class differences between the two leads are switched—Ben is a high-powered attorney, while Lee Darcy (Chase Conner) is a factory worker. Although the two initially dislike each other after Ben unknowingly insults Lee in front of him, the two inevitably fall for one another.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in ‘Bride & Prejudice’

Pathe Distribute

#14. Bride and Prejudice (2004)

– Director: Gurinder Chadha
– IMDb user rating: 6.2
– Metascore: 55
– Runtime: 122 minutes

“Bride and Prejudice” adapts “Pride and Prejudice” into a Bollywood musical. This version is helmed by “Bend It Like Beckham” director and stars Aishwarya Rai as its Elizabeth Bennet, now named Lalita. Although the protagonist resists her parents’ attempts to arrange a marriage for her, she finds herself unexpectedly drawn to American newcomer William Darcy (Martin Henderson).

Kate Beckinsale, Chloe Sevigny, and Olivia Fahy in ‘Love & Friendship’

Westerly Films

#13. Love & Friendship (2016)

– Director: Whit Stillman
– IMDb user rating: 6.4
– Metascore: 87
– Runtime: 90 minutes

Although “Love & Friendship” is based on Austen’s epistolary novel “Lady Susan,” the film version takes its title from her juvenile story of the same name. Kate Beckinsale stars in the movie as Lady Susan Vernon, who conducts a series of schemes in hopes of securing wealthy new husbands for herself and her daughters.

Jeremy Northam and Gwyneth Paltrow in ‘Emma’


#12. Emma (1996)

– Director: Douglas McGrath
– IMDb user rating: 6.6
– Metascore: 66
– Runtime: 120 minutes

Gwyneth Paltrow plays the titular schemer at the heart of the 1996 film “Emma,” based on Austen’s novel of the same name. A bored socialite, Emma Woodhouse occupies her time by making naive debutante Harriet (Toni Collette) into her latest project, while sparks fly between herself and local gentleman Frank Churchill (Ewan McGregor). Notably, Paltrow is one of the few American actresses on this list to portray an Austenian protagonist in an England-set period piece.

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Members of the cast of ‘Fire Island’ in a promotional still

Jax Media

#11. Fire Island (2022)

– Director: Andrew Ahn
– IMDb user rating: 6.7
– Metascore: 72
– Runtime: 105 minutes

“Fire Island” reimagines the courtship politics of Regency-era “Pride and Prejudice” within the dating scene of the film’s titular gay vacation hotspot. Joel Kim Booster leads the ensemble cast of gay friends, who arrive for a weeklong vacation filled with friendship and sex. However, things become more complicated when Booster’s Noah becomes fixated on haughty islander Will (Conrad Ricamora). The film has received praise for updating “Pride and Prejudice” with more progressive explorations of queerness and racism.

Mia Goth and Anya Taylor-Joy in ‘Emma’

Focus Features

#10. Emma (2020)

– Director: Autumn de Wilde
– IMDb user rating: 6.7
– Metascore: 71
– Runtime: 124 minutes

Veteran music video director Autumn de Wilde made her leap to filmmaking with her 2020 adaptation of “Emma.” This version stars Anya Taylor-Joy as the film’s protagonist, with supporting turns from Johnny Flynn, Josh O’Connor, and Mia Goth. “Emma” received two Academy Award nominations for Best Costume Design and Best Makeup.

Renee Zellweger in ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’


#9. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

– Director: Sharon Maguire
– IMDb user rating: 6.7
– Metascore: 66
– Runtime: 97 minutes

Loosely based on “Pride and Prejudice,” the iconic aughts rom-com “Bridget Jones’s Diary” reimagines Elizabeth Bennet as Bridget, a 32-year-old London woman who decides to take charge of her life by keeping a diary. Colin Firth plays her version of Mr. Darcy, a role he previously played in the 1995 BBC adaptation. Star Renée Zellweger became the rare actress to have a comedy performance recognized by the Academy Awards when she received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her role.

Ashley Judd and Allison Dean in ‘Ruby in Paradise’

Full Crew/Say Yea

#8. Ruby in Paradise (1993)

– Director: Victor Nuñez
– IMDb user rating: 6.9
– Metascore: 77
– Runtime: 114 minutes

Written as a loose, modern homage to Austen’s “Northanger Abbey,” “Ruby in Paradise” stars Ashley Judd as Ruby, a young woman who moves from Tennessee to Florida after her mother’s death and begins working in a souvenir shop. As she adjusts to her new life and works through her grief, she finds herself in a love triangle between bad boy Ricky (Bentley Mitchum) and nice guy Mike (Todd Field). In his Chicago Sun-Times review, Roger Ebert praised the film as a “celebration of heart, courage, and persistence.”

Alicia Silverstone and Justin Walker in ‘Clueless’

Paramount Pictures

#7. Clueless (1995)

– Director: Amy Heckerling
– IMDb user rating: 6.9
– Metascore: 68
– Runtime: 97 minutes

“Clueless” recreates the events of “Emma” in ’90s Beverly Hills, California. Alicia Silverstone stars as spoiled high schooler Cher Horowitz, whose schemes to launch new student Tai (Brittany Murphy) into popularity backfire when her new friend surpasses her in social status. Paul Rudd co-stars as Cher’s ex-stepbrother and eventual love interest. A beloved teen rom-com in its own right, “Clueless” later inspired a spinoff TV sitcom of the same name in 1996.

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Jonny Lee Miller and Frances O’Connor in ‘Mansfield Park’

Miramax Films

#6. Mansfield Park (1999)

– Director: Patricia Rozema
– IMDb user rating: 7
– Metascore: 71
– Runtime: 112 minutes

“Mansfield Park” follows Fanny (Frances O’Connor), a poor girl whose life is turned upside down when she’s sent to live with her wealthy uncle Sir Thomas Bertram (Harold Pinter) and his family, where she will be introduced to proper society. Although the film is based on Austen’s novel of the same name, it updates the original story by more explicitly addressing British slavery of the time and including more outright sexuality.

Anne Hathaway in ‘Becoming Jane’

HanWay Films

#5. Becoming Jane (2007)

– Director: Julian Jarrold
– IMDb user rating: 7.0
– Metascore: 55
– Runtime: 120 minutes

Anne Hathaway plays Jane Austen herself in “Becoming Jane,” which follows the young writer as she falls for a penniless lawyer (James McAvoy) and embarks on a love affair that will inform her future novels. According to screenwriter Kevin Hood, the creative team attempted to bring “what we know about Austen’s world from her books and letters” to the screen. The film received mixed reviews, with The New York Times’ Stephen Holden writing that “it lapses into modern romance-novel fantasy,” which “threatens to derail the film.”

Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson in ‘Pride and Prejudice’

Warner Bros.

#4. Pride and Prejudice (1940)

– Director: Robert Z. Leonard
– IMDb user rating: 7.4
– Metascore: 84
– Runtime: 118 minutes

This adaptation marked the first film adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice,” and one of the earliest onscreen adaptations of Austen’s work as a whole. This version stars Greer Garson as Elizabeth and Laurence Olivier as Mr. Darcy. The film received an Oscar for Best Art Direction, Black-and-White.

Tabu and Ajith Kumar in ‘Kandukondain Kandukondain’

Sri Surya Films

#3. Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000)

– Director: Rajiv Menon
– IMDb user rating: 7.6
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 151 minutes

“Kandukondain Kandukondain” reimagines “Sense and Sensibility” as a Bollywood musical. The film follows sisters Sowmya (Tabu) and Meenakshi (Aishwarya Rai), who are pressured to keep their family afloat after they suddenly lose their country estate and become penniless.

Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson in ‘Sense and Sensibility’

Columbia Pictures

#2. Sense and Sensibility (1995)

– Director: Ang Lee
– IMDb user rating: 7.7
– Metascore: 84
– Runtime: 136 minutes

Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet star as Elinor and Marianne Dashwood in Ang Lee’s celebrated adaptation of “Sense and Sensibility,” with Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, and Greg Wise rounding out the supporting cast. First-time screenwriter Thompson won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, making her the only person to date to have won Oscars for both acting and screenwriting. This “Sense and Sensibility” adaptation also debuted the same year as the popular 1995 TV adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice,” marking an important year for popular Austen adaptations.

Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen in ‘Pride & Prejudice’

Focus Features

#1. Pride & Prejudice (2005)

– Director: Joe Wright
– IMDb user rating: 7.8
– Metascore: 82
– Runtime: 129 minutes

Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen play rivals to lovers Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy in first-time director Joe Wright’s beloved “Pride and Prejudice” adaptation. Knightley received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her role at just 20, making her the third-youngest Best Actress nominee ever at the time. This adaptation also stood out for marketing itself to primarily younger and mainstream audiences.

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