The “Pride and Prejudice” showdown of the century


The iconic Pemberley house in “Pride and Prejudice.” (Photo taken from Google Images via the Creative Commons license)

Mary Nassar, News Editor, Creative Writing Editor

The two opponents enter the ring. The crowd thrums with pulsating, magnetic energy, their chatter and laughter dying down to a hush until it’s so quiet in the ring you can hear a pin drop. Everyone is on the edge of their seats in anticipation of what’s supposed to be the showdown of the century.

Two spotlights flash to the opponents on opposite ends of the ring, and the crowd gasps in awed wonder at the sight of them. Never in a million years would they expect to see these two fiery opponents facing off.

Never in their wildest dreams would they expect to see the BBC series of “Pride and Prejudice” (1995) and the movie version of “Pride and Prejudice” (2005) going head to head.

Now, I know what you might be thinking. Seriously? “Pride and Prejudice” (1995) and “Pride and Prejudice” (2005)? The biggest showdown of the century? It’s no big deal. It’s all telling the same story, right?


While yes, technically both the 1995 and 2005 versions are telling the same story, the modes of storytelling, artistic choices, and creative liberties are vastly different.

And to fans of this time honored story, those differences matter.

I want to preface this article by stating my own opinion on the matter. As someone who’s read “Pride and Prejudice” and watched both the 1995 and 2005 versions countless times, I have come to the fateful conclusion that…

The 1995 version knocks the 2005 version out of the ballpark.

Is that a little harsh? Maybe. But let me explain.

I’m not saying the 2005 version is bad. It’s not bad at all. There are definitely parts I enjoy about it, even more than the 1995 version–if that’s even possible.

But comparing the two versions as a whole, the 1995 version takes home the gold any day of the week.

However, let’s delve a little deeper into why the 1995 version of “Pride and Prejudice” is the gold medal of all “Pride and Prejudice” adaptations.

Let the games begin.

First off, while the 2005 version has a running time of 2 hours and 7 minutes, the 1995 version has a running time close to 6 hours (the series is made up of 6 episodes, each episode running around an hour long). That alone makes a world of difference. And while some may protest at any movie lasting longer than a few hours, if it hurts the integrity and overall quality of the movie, wouldn’t it just be better to keep it longer? At least then, you’re not sacrificing quality over quantity. And isn’t that why people want to watch movies? For the quality of the storytelling, for the aesthetic flourishes and artistic touches?

And that’s what the heart of the issue is with the 2005 version: it’s simply too short to fit everything in. With a short running time, the story and its characters’ relationships aren’t able to develop and blossom like in the 1995 version, and almost whole plot points are practically overlooked or rushed. For example, take Mr. Wickham. In the 1995 version, we see the devious character of Mr. Wickham unfold before our eyes as he deceives everyone around him with his feigned amiability. In the 2005 version, we see Mr. Wickham for maybe a few minutes total, and then out of nowhere, he’s eloping with Lydia. What?!

Like I said, rushed.

Now, let’s move onto the acting. I’m going to be completely honest…the acting in the 1995 version is just much better than the 2005 version. I will say Keira Knightley and Rosamund Pike did an excellent job and were mesmerizing to watch on screen. However, everyone else fell flat. It simply felt mediocre, way too scripted, and a lot of the times, the acting just didn’t match how the characters were in the book. In the 1995 version, nothing felt forced. The acting felt natural and actually lined up with how the characters were portrayed in the book. Also, the 1995 version had Colin Firth play Mr. Darcy.

Enough said.

Those are my biggest issues with the 2005 version, but what I will say is I again loved Keira Knightley in it. She truly was the shining star and saving grace of the movie, and she made an incredible Elizabeth Bennet. I also loved the aesthetic of the movie, and I thought the scenery and costumes were absolutely gorgeous. And the last scene between Lizzie and Darcy?

Let’s just say, the hopeless romantic in me was swooning at this heartfelt moment and wishing it was in the 1995 version.

Now, let’s get an opinion of someone who prefers the 2005 to the 1995 version.

Kathleen Piper ’25 expressed her thoughts on this heated debate: “I like the 2005 version because I grew up with it since it is one of my mom’s favorite movies. I was very young the first time I saw it, but since then, I have also seen the 1995 version and decided that I like the 2005 version better. I always liked the casting and wardrobe of it better than the 1995 version. Specifically, I like the ending of the 2005 version a lot more than the 1995 version, even if it is not completely accurate to the book. Even though the 2005 version does not have as many similarities to the book, I like how easy it is to follow and how many times I can watch it without getting sick of it. This being said, I still love the 1995 version and Colin Firth.”

I have to agree with her on the ending scene and Colin Firth. Seriously, who can go wrong with Colin Firth? The man was made for the role of Mr. Darcy, and you can’t change my mind.

So there you have it folks. Which of our opponents won today? Depends on the person you ask, but I love the lively debate and discourse different versions of the same story can generate.

Let me know which version you prefer in the comments!