9 Obscure Pride And Prejudice Adaptations You Don’t Know About

I bet when you think of Mr. Darcy you think of Colin Firth, and why wouldn't you? The 1995 Pride and Prejudice adaptation is possibly the best. But what about those adaptations you haven't heard about?

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is a timeless classic and has been faithfully adapted many times for both the big and small screen.

But there are many adaptations that take Pride and Prejudice and try and do something new with it, films and tv series that tell original stories inspired by Austen’s work.

Unleashing Mr. Darcy – 2016 

Unleashing Mr Darcy

After being suspended from teaching due to the influence of one of her student’s parents, Elizabeth Scott travels to New York to be a handler for one of her friend’s show dogs.

At the competition, she meets Donavon Darcy, one of the judges. From there Elizabeth and Darcy develop a difficult relationship made more complicated by Darcy’s interfering Aunt and his childhood friend Felicity.

Unleashing Mr. Darcy is a very loose adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice; it has been brought into the modern-day and features dog shows as opposed to high society functions. The script and acting are sub-par at best and−possibly because it’s a tv movie−the film has the early 2000s feel to it, despite being made in 2016.

Elizabeth, played by Cindy Busby, takes a disliking to Mr. Darcy (Ryan Paevey) from the off thinking him arrogant and curt, but as far as I could tell she has no real reason to.

She then spends almost all of the rest of the film complaining about him and being rude to him, despite him doing nothing to warrant such treatment, and the film seems to suggest we as the audience should agree and support her.

The film has little nods to the source material quoting lines here and there but does so in a very unnatural way and doesn’t stick to the chronology of the novel at all. (Plus the title gives the impression that the film is something much more erotic if you know what I mean?)

Elizabeth and Darcy’s sisters, Jenna (Tammy Gillis) and Zara (Sarah Desjardins) provide some comic relief and pull off the knowing sister roles quite nicely.

Honestly, Jenna’s relationship with Henry Robson (Ryan Kennedy), brother of Felicity (Courtney Richter), seemed much more interesting than the main couple’s and I would have preferred to watch a film about that.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – 2016


Based on Seth Grahame-Smith’s 2009 novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is an action zombie horror film set in the world of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It takes Austen’s timeless classic and adds a zombie apocalypse to the mix.

While the characters' personas and circumstances are faithful to Austen’s novel, they have been adapted to suit the post-apocalyptic world they have been placed in. 

For example, rather than learning to play instruments, sing, and sew, the Bennet sisters have been trained in martial arts in China, and are more than capable of holding their own in the event of a zombie attack.

However, keeping up with society is just as important as ever and the sisters regularly attend balls and gatherings with the hopes that they will find a suitable man to marry before they have to give up Longbourn.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a pleasant surprise, and I wouldn’t discount it as a simple parody. Unlike some Pride and Prejudice-inspired films, P and P and Z stays very true to the original storyline, keeping many of the major plot points from the novel intact, although some elements are sped up to allow room for the new zombie plotline.

Iconic dialogue from Austen’s novel is taken and paired with spars and elaborate fight scenes and it works surprisingly well.

The film also does more than simply add zombies to the picture; it adds another level of meaning to the title Pride and Prejudice, as the zombies are more than mindless brain-eating monsters, some are shown to retain their intelligence and have a desire to communicate. This forces characters to wonder whether they are being too prejudiced against the creatures and the moral implications of killing them.

However, this element is mostly forgotten in the second half of the film and nothing comes of it, which is disappointing. There is also the introduction of the four horsemen which also goes nowhere. Overall, though, the film is a valiant attempt at doing something new with a classic and does a fairly good job.

Lily James as Elizabeth and Bella Heathcote as Jane understand their characters well and portray the Bennet sisters in a way that matches how I pictured them. Matt Smith also does a good job as the cringe Parson Collins.

Sam Riley does an admirable job as Colonel Darcy, though he has a grave tone to his voice that might take people some time to get used to (I don’t know about anyone else, but I always imagined Mr. Darcy with a smooth voice) and the writing, unfortunately, makes Mr. Bingley, played by Douglas Booth, seem like quite an incompetent fighter. Other than that it is an enjoyable film to watch.

Christmas at Pemberley Manor – 2018

christmas at pemberley manor film poster

Loosely inspired by Pride and Prejudice, Hallmark’s Christmas at Pemberley Manor follows Elizabeth Bennet, an event planner with big ambitions, as she takes on her first project: to plan the Christmas festival of a small town.

Unfortunately, there are some setbacks, and she has to find an alternative venue for the festival; luckily, she already has one in mind, Pemberley Manor.

However, the owner of the manor, Mr. Darcy, a prominent businessman, is planning to sell the manor to a company that is going to tear it down to build condos. It is up to Elizabeth to convince Mr. Darcy to allow the town to host the festival at the manor, and maybe get Mr. Darcy into the Christmas spirit as well.

Other than the names and the fact it’s a romance, Christmas at Pemberley Manor doesn’t have much in common with Austen’s novel of manners and focuses more on falling in love than any misunderstandings and prejudices that need to be overturned along the way. Still, of the Hallmark romances, I have seen this is one of the better ones.

It’s an easy-going film to watch when you want to relax or to have in the background, with a sweet story and a happily ever after to satisfy you. Other than that, though, it’s not the most interesting, and the stakes never seem to be that high, but maybe that’s what it was going for.

Bridget Jones’s Diary – 2001

bridget jones's diary movie poster

Bridget Jones’s Diary is a reinterpretation of Pride and Prejudice as a rom-com with a modern setting and Elizabeth Bennet is replaced with Bridget, a 32-year-old woman working at a publisher in London who makes a new year’s resolution to get her life together and starts keeping a diary to chronicle the events in her life.

She soon garners the attention of two men, both for positive reasons and negative, and her life starts taking turns she didn’t expect.

She meets Mr. Darcy, a human rights barrister, who as you might have guessed fulfills the role Fitzwilliam Darcy has in the novel, and she starts a relationship with Daniel Cleaver, her boss and the equivalent of Mr. Wickham. From here, all sorts of misunderstandings and hilarious situations arise.

Bridget Jones’s Diary is a classic British romantic comedy, with Bridget Jones herself, played excellently by Renée Zellweger, becoming an icon. It captures the essence of Pride and Prejudice while doing something different with the material.

Bridget maintains Elizabeth’s outspokenness and hastiness to make judgments, but while Elizabeth nearly always keeps her composure (especially while in society) Bridget invariably ends up committing a social faux pas and embarrassing herself; however, this only adds to her charm.

Colin Firth is great as the stoic and often confused Mr. Darcy, but having portrayed Mr. Darcy in the 1995 adaptation of Austen’s novel that’s no surprise. Hugh Grant plays the Wickham-Esque character Daniel Cleaver, a charming guy who’s fun to be around but who is prone to cheating and running from commitment.

The modernisation of all the characters works well and it is clear who each is based on without being too in your face about it (apart from Mr. Darcy…who is literally named Mr. Darcy).

As the film is told from Bridget’s perspective and she is its sole focus, most periphery characters from the novel are absent, although you get little hints here and there, such as her mother’s personality and her relationship with her father.

Like Pride and Prejudice itself, Bridget Jones’s Diary has a timeless quality to it that will ensure it entertains viewers for decades. 

Pride & Prejudice: Atlanta – 2018

pride and prejudice atlanta film poster

Pride & Prejudice: Atlanta follows Reverend Bennet, a pastor of a successful southern Baptist church, his wife, the author of a self-help book advising women on how to marry the perfect man, and their five daughters.

Ironically, Mrs. Bennet’s daughters all remain unmarried, a fact that distresses her severely. So, when two young bachelors come to town Mrs. Bennet wastes no time in trying to pair them up with her daughters.

However, her oldest Jane doesn’t believe a man would want to settle down with her because she is a single mother, and her second eldest Elizabeth claims to have no interest in love and is more focused on saving the town’s local businesses from a developer who plans to tear them down in order to build a mall.

Pride & Prejudice: Atlanta is a sweet story and makes logical changes to Austen’s original narrative to better fit the modern-day setting. These changes work well and keep the essence of the original story, so the film is easily identifiable as being inspired by Pride & Prejudice.

However, some small changes to characters’ personalities and the subsequent outcomes are altered to be more favourable than those in the novel. 

For example, Wickham is a pretty nice guy, and his deceptions don’t seem particularly damning, his treatment of Lydia is also much better. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does remove some of the conflicts presented in Austen’s original story and results in the film being less tense.

I also didn’t find Mrs. Bennet, played by Jackée Harry, annoying in any way compared to how she is in the book, and having her narrate the story rather than having it told solely from Elizabeth’s point of view was an interesting change that added to the film’s wholesome feel.

Overall, it’s a cute story, but I would have liked to see the characters’ flaws accentuated more, closer to how they are in the novel to add that extra tension that is missing.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries – 2012

The Lizzie bennet diaries series poster

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a web series that was released on YouTube from 2012-2013 telling the life of Lizzie Bennet in 100 episodes of short vlogs. This interpretation of Pride and Prejudice modernises the narrative and has Lizzie telling the story as she perceives it through a series of video diaries that she starts making with her best friend Charlotte.

The diaries were just supposed to be a fun project that allowed Lizzie to vent about what was going on in her life, such as talking about her mother and her relationships with her two sisters Jane and Lydia, there’s no way she would have expected so much drama to happen in one year. It all starts with the arrival of a med student called Bing Lee and his best friend William Darcy.

Although professionally made, the makers of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries do a great job of making the videos look like they were made by amateurs for fun and the dialogue is delivered in a way that seems unrehearsed and off the cuff.

The diaries change up the original story to match the modern setting incredibly well and take the opportunity to add more depth to the characters, especially to Charlotte (Julia Cho) and Lydia (Mary Kate Wiles), who you don’t get to know tons about in the novel.

The interaction with the audience and the camera is really great and captures the more personal connection YouTube content creators usually have with their audience, especially from Ashley Clements who plays Lizzie and is very at ease switching from talking to other characters in a scene and communicating (verbally or non-verbally) with her audience.

Being made up of 100 episodes you have to commit yourself to get through it, but as each episode is usually around five minutes or so, it's easy to watch in short bursts and when you want to.

Bride and Prejudice – 2004

Bride and prejudice film poster

Transporting Pride and Prejudice to India, Bride, and Prejudice is a Bollywood film inspired by Jane Austen’s novel. Mrs. Bakshi is desperate to marry off her four daughters: Jaya, Lalita, Maya, and Lakhi, so when the wealthy single Balraj and his American friend Darcy come to India things start looking up.

However, a series of circumstances and misunderstandings complicate things, and love and marriage only seem to get further and further away from them.

Bride and Prejudice is the first Bollywood film I have seen, and it didn’t disappoint. The singing and dancing were integrated well into the narrative, and the choreography of the big numbers was excellent.

Having Lalita (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), the character based on Elizabeth Bennet, be Indian while Darcy (Martin Henderson) is American added another level of misunderstanding due to the differences in cultures and created an opportunity to open a dialogue about how the cultures are perceived versus how they are in reality.

 The chemistry between the couples was good and the relationships developed believably, though the romantic montage between Darcy and Lalita was a bit too cheesy for me, don’t get me wrong it was meant to be, but even so. I also would have liked the pacing of the second half of the film to have been slower, it was slightly rushed and gave the impression they were just trying to get through all the plot points.

Having said that, I did like the attention they gave to the equivalent of Mary’s character, Maya (Meghna Kothari), a character that often gets overlooked in film adaptations as she doesn’t really add to the plot.

There is a scene in which she performs a snake dance which is both interesting and hilarious to watch, offsetting the awkwardness of the rest of the scene. Overall the film is great fun, with lots of energy and some great dialogue between characters.

Death Comes to Pemberley – 2013

Death comes to pemberley bbc series poster

Death Comes to Pemberley, based on the PD James novel, is a three-part drama that takes the characters from Pride and Prejudice and imagines what they would be like six years after the events of Austen’s iconic novel.

More than that, it places them at the centre of a murder investigation.

Elizabeth Bennet−Now Mrs. Darcy, of course−is in the middle of preparations for a ball she and Darcy will be hosting at Pemberley. Everything seems to be going well until a rogue carriage comes flying up the driveway with a distraught Lydia inside.

Having not been invited she and George Wickham had planned to crash the ball, travelling with Wickham’s friend Denny. 

However, before they reached the manor Denny orders the carriage to stop and runs off into the woods, with Wickham running after him. After Lydia informs Darcy and his guests about what has happened they form a search party and eventually find Wickham dragging Denny’s body through the woods, crying and saying he killed him.

This causes an investigation to take place with Wickham as the prime suspect, but nothing is as simple as it seems.

The concept of combining a period drama with a murder mystery is an interesting idea with the potential to be highly intriguing and entertaining. Unfortunately, Death Comes to Pemberley uses so many murder mystery cliches that it becomes boring and predictable.

 While the characterisation of most of Austen’s characters is pretty good, especially Jenna Coleman’s interpretation of Lydia, with Rebecca Front and James Fleet’s performances as Mr. and Mrs. Bennet also being notable, there is a lack of charisma from the characters which makes the investigative sequences unexciting.

I also disliked the fact that this narrative makes Colonel Fitzwilliam (Tom Ward) an antagonist, with his character straying from Austen’s original portrayal of him in her novel.

It also bothered me that the characters were nearly always wearing the same clothes or switching between two sets, despite the story taking place over multiple days; it seemed unrealistic to me and took me out of the story.

It is not a bad watch by any means and has some good actors amongst the cast but compared to the BBC’s other dramas it falls quite flat.

Lost in Austen – 2008

lost in austen itv drama poster

Lost in Austen is a four-part drama inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The series follows Amanda Price, a woman who gets pulled into the world of her favourite book, literally.

A portal to the world of Pride and Prejudice appears in Amanda’s bathroom and who should be standing in her shower but Elizabeth Bennet herself!  

Accidentally swapping places with Elizabeth, Amanda is thrust into the middle of a world she has been reading about since she was a child; however, things aren’t happening quite how they’re supposed to.

Determined to make sure all the characters get the ending they deserve, Amanda tries to get things back on track, but she only seems to make things worse!

Lost in Austen is a really fun series that makes you laugh, roll your eyes, and hold your breath as you watch events unfold. The series is fully aware of the meta element and doesn’t take itself too seriously, this is shown from the off through Amanda’s (Jemima Rooper’s) narration.

I particularly like the fact that Amanda’s personality is written in a way that makes her completely out of her depth when she finds herself in Austen’s world, just because Pride and Prejudice is her favourite book doesn’t mean she has mastered the behaviour and etiquette of the time.

She’s too excited and overwhelmed by everything to act subtle or blend in, storming through the characters’ lives and often leaving them speechless.

There are some fun surprises with the traditional characters too, particularly with Mrs. Bennet, played by the marvellous Alex Kingston, and George Wickham, played by Tom Riley, who show sides not displayed in Austen’s original text.

Lost in Austen takes advantage of and plays with the fact that Pride and Prejudice are told from Elizabeth’s point of view, revealing details that wouldn’t be known to readers or actively defying readers' expectations.

Lost in Austen is my favourite adaptation on the list, I found myself laughing a lot and by the end of episode two, I had no idea how everything was going to end up, which was a pleasant surprise.

There are so many elements of Pride and Prejudice and all of Jane Austen’s work that can inspire creativity and the generation of new stories, and I look forward to creating another list of adaptations showing how Austen’s legacy continues to live on and inspire new creators.

A graduate from UEA with a BA in English Lit. with Creative Writing. An aspiring writer and editor, loves anime/manga, films and books.

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