My Top 5 Austen Adaptations

I’ve been in a really romance-y mood lately… which has led me down an Austen adaptation rabbithole. Watching and rewatching a crazy amount of these has got me thinking about which ones are my favourites and I thought it would be fun to share them with you lovely people. Quick note: it’ll be glaringly obvious to fans that Mansfield Park is missing- that’s not cos there aren’t any good versions, it’s cos (as is no secret) I’ve never liked the story. Now that’s out of the way, onto the list!


BBC Pride and Prejudice- to my mind, this is THE BEST adaptation of anything, ever! Yes, this is my completely biased view 😉 I tend to rewatch this every. year. (thank you Beebs for including this in your boxsets!) This is, in every sense of the word, PERFECTION. The acting, the first class writing lifted from the book, the wonderful choice of locations… this is always going to be my favourite.

BBC Sense and Sensibility- so, confession time: I’m not hugely fond of the movie version- though it has some sensational performances from the likes of Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant, I feel like the story could’ve done with a bit more space to breathe. Which is why I was so excited to check out the new(ish) BBC adaptation- and I wasn’t in the least bit disappointed! I watched this for the first time recently and almost felt the need to rewind and watch it all again. The acting and writing was brilliantly done- but most importantly this hit me right in the *feels*!

Emma 1996- this might be an unpopular opinion, because I think most people prefer the TV version (which is understandable, because that’s a great version too). In truth, I don’t know why I love this version so much- especially since I often prefer the TV serials for Austen, given they allow the stories to develop over a greater time span. That said, I simply LOVE the performances in this- particularly Jeremy Northam who is my definitive Mr Knightley (who, yes, just happens to be my favourite Austen love interest).

Northanger Abbey– even if this wasn’t the only Northanger Abbey version that I’ve seen, it’d make the list, because it’s a lot of fun! It’s completely different to a lot of other Austen adaptations, playing on some of the themes in quite a hilariously modern way, upping the imaginative gothic levels and heroines’ fantasies… and for some reason this rather tickled my fancy.

Persuasion 1995- I watched this most recently and I was delighted with it. I’d seen a more recent version and wasn’t quite blown away (especially disappointing because at the time I watched it I probably would’ve classed this as my favourite Austen). I was so happy with this version however and would definitely recommend it for those looking for an Austen fix! 

Have you seen any of these? Which are your favourite Austen adaptations? Let me know in the comments!


67 thoughts on “My Top 5 Austen Adaptations

  1. alilovesbooks says:

    I love my Austen adaptations. I think when it comes to P&P I prefer the Keira Knightly film and for Persuasion the Rupert Penry Jones TV series but otherwise agree with your picks. One I’ve never really been a fan of is Sense and Sensibility. No real reason, it’s just never engaged me in any format. I also have to admit I kind of like Mansfield Park.

    Liked by 2 people

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Me too 🙂 Ah fair enough- a lot of people do- though I’m just so in love with the BBC version. And I realised while I was doing this post that the serialised version of persuasion is the only one I haven’t seen! (yet!) And now I’m looking forward to it. I can understand- we all have our favourites. I can see why people like Mansfield Park- and it is Austen after all, so I’m not judging 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. bookbeachbunny says:

    I love the BBC Pride and Prejudice adaptation but preferred Keira Knightley as Elizabeth. Emma was great as well. I’ll have to check out the others.

    I loved Alan Rickman so much in Sense and Sensibility that it made me hate Marianne. I still can’t watch it without yelling at him, “You deserve better!”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. judieeasley says:

    Thank you sooooo much! Like I’m not already swamped with books to read, now I have to reread all my Austen and watch all the movies. I mean, how can I not after you reminded me how wonderful they are and how much I love them. Now, I just have to watch them. But they really are the most wonderful summer entertainment with sweet iced tea and sugar cookies.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. alittlehazebookblog says:

    I love and have watched all of these picks. I do love my Austen but I would pick the film version of S&S over the tv adaptation because I adore Alan Rickman and I’d choose the tv version of Emma over the film lol! But I agree with you that Jeremy Northam is the best Mr Knightley! And he’s the first Austen hero I ever fell head over heels for too ☺️

    Liked by 2 people

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Glad to hear it! I do understand that- Rickman was incredible in that role (and in every role to be fair 😉 ) And I completely understand that- I was tempted to put both those versions of Emma down, because I tend to like every adaptation of the story (probably cos I like the story so much!!) I’m really glad you agree!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Fran Laniado- Author says:

    Great list. I’m totally with you on the BBC version of P&P. I wasn’t a huge fan of the the 2006 film. In the case of S&S I actually prefer the film. I like the miniseries but in terms of tone and craft I give the film a slight edge. I also like the 1996 Emma. I think in some ways Gwyneth Paltrow is very “Emma-ish” and works well in the role. Would you consider “Clueless” an Austen adaptation? Because I like that one too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. EW says:

    I looove the BBC adaptation, it’s the first tv show my siblings and I binged all the way through one Sunday afternoon (perfect TV viewing time) – Colin Firth will always be the true Mr Darcy. It made me go back to the book which I’d struggled with at first and I was so delighted to see that most of the dialogue had been taken from the book- Austen is funny! Which is also why Mr Tilney will forever be my favourite Austen hero- the first one who made me laugh out loud and I realised classics could be just as funny as modern writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. khansajan says:

    I love the BBC Pride and Prejudice, I actually have it on CD so I rewatch it now and then. I can’t say much about Sense and Sensibility because I read the book when I was really young so I do not know what to make of it. I hate Emma’s story and I have watched only one adaptation which made me hate Emma”s character a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. marydrover says:

    I haven’t seen any of these yet! Admittedly, I only became an Austen fan this year, and so I’ve been slowly working my way through her books, but now I’m definitely adding these to my list of movies/TV series to watch for adaptations.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Margaret @ Weird Zeal says:

    Ahhh I love Austen and all of these adaptations! 😍 The Northanger Abbey movie is so much fun and so ridiculous 😂 My favorite P&P adaptation is the 2005 movie with Kiera Knightley, though I do also love the BBC series! And I haven’t watched the 1996 Emma since reading the book – I definitely prefer the TV series – but maybe I’ll have to go back to that! I haven’t watched the Sense and Sensibility show yet either, but clearly I need to 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Nicole says:

    I haven’t seen many Austen adaptations yet (though I have seen the movie Sense & Sensibility many times, gotta love Alan Rickman), but I 100% agree that Mr. Knightley is my favorite of the Austen love interests. 🙂


  11. dragonsandzombies says:

    Yess!! 1996 ‘Emma’ would be my all-time Number 1! There’s just something about it, that ticks all the boxes. All the actors fit, it’s so awwwwwww, I could watch it over and over!

    I love BBC’s Pride & Prejudice as well as Sense & Sensibility! All the movies too.

    I haven’t seen ‘Northanger Abbey’, but it’s on the list!

    ..the only thing I didn’t like was BBC’s ‘Emma’. I didn’t even finish it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. waytoofantasy says:

    I’ve seen all of these and loved them except, I think, for the newish Sense and Sensibility–must remedy that. I actually REALLY love that version of Emma! I think it takes any of the unlikeable-ness out of the characters and makes them sort of endearing instead. The soundtrack from Rachel Portman helps a lot (she’s one of my favorite film composers).

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Meeghan reads says:

    OMG I am so glad the BBC P&P is your fave – it’s mine too!! I rewatched it earlier this year when I was going through a BBC phase. I do love the movie version of Emma, but I also really love the BBC version as it has Jonny Lee Miller and I love him so much. He’s perfectly standoffish, but also very sweet as Knightley.
    I haven’t seen the BBC S&S, but agree on the great performances by Rickman and Grant. I want to go and watch the new one now!!
    Annnnd, I still need to watch the new Northanger Abbey, but I really like Felicity Jones, so hoping it will be amazing!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Ah so glad you agree!!! Ah totally understand that and that’s really fair- I definitely like both versions- the movie version just edges it out for me.
      Ah definitely do- I totally recommend it!!
      oh it is amazing- Felicity jones did a fantastic job!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Jennifer Mugrage says:

    Wow! You have a lot of comments here and I haven’t even seen most of your favorite adaptations, so I’ll hold back from commenting on the movies.

    I just dropped by to say, I love your art! Is it done with pen and watercolor? And I love that Regency dress on the orangutan! The blue sash complements her orange fur so nicely, and lifting up that bonnet is I’m sure just what I would do! Also love the way the arm hair bushes out below the sleeves!

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Aww thank you so much!! Yeah I do them with a pen and watercolour- well spotted 🙂 hehehe thank you!! 😀 So glad to hear it (and she’s flattered I’m sure 😉 ) hehehehehhe!! Well she can’t help having very hairy arms 😉


  15. WendyMegget says:

    Great post! I’ve got the BBC P&P, and I much prefer it to the Kiera Knightly one, which I felt left a lot out. I’ve got the Gwyneth version of Emma, and yes, Mr Knightly… 💕 Interesting to see the later S&S movie – I have the old Alan Rickman one, and it’s a bit contrite in places. Can’t believe you left out the Austenland movie!!! LOL 😁

    Liked by 1 person

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