161 user 61 critic

Oliver! (1968)

After being sold to a mortician, young orphan Oliver Twist runs away and meets a group of boys trained to be pickpockets by an elderly mentor.


Carol Reed


Lionel Bart (book), Vernon Harris (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
4,904 ( 516)

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Won 5 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ron Moody ... Fagin
Shani Wallis ... Nancy
Oliver Reed ... Bill Sikes
Harry Secombe ... Bumble
Mark Lester ... Oliver
Jack Wild ... The Artful Dodger
Hugh Griffith ... Magistrate
Joseph O'Conor ... Mr. Brownlow
Peggy Mount ... Mrs. Bumble
Leonard Rossiter ... Sowerberry
Hylda Baker Hylda Baker ... Mrs. Sowerberry
Kenneth Cranham ... Noah Claypole
Megs Jenkins ... Mrs. Bedwin
Sheila White ... Bet
Wensley Pithey Wensley Pithey ... Dr. Grimwig


Musical adaptation of Charles Dickens's classic tale of an orphan who runs away from the orphanage and hooks up with a group of boys trained to be pickpockets by an elderly mentor. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The big Bright musical for absolutely everyone...in Magnificent 70mm See more »


Drama | Family | Musical


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

27 September 1968 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Oliver See more »


Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$40,000,000, 31 January 1980
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (35 mm optical prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)| 4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System) (35 mm magnetic prints)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Carol Reed had Shirley Bassey in mind for Nancy, but his choice was rejected by Hollywood studio bosses who felt that the public was not ready for a Black Nancy. See more »


In the song "I'm Reviewing The Situation," Fagin imagines himself owning "a suite at Claridge's." However "Oliver!" is based on Dickens' "Oliver Twist," which was set in the 1830s, and Claridge's Hotel was not founded until 1854. See more »


Fagin: [sings] I'm reviewing the situation / Can a fellow be a villain all his life? / All the trials and tribulations. / Better settle down and get myself a wife! / And a wife would cook and sew for me, / And come for me, and go for me, / And go for me, and nag at me, / The fingers, she would wag at me. / The money she would take from me. / A misery, she'll make from me... I think I'd better think it out again!
See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Pumaman (1998) See more »


Boy for Sale
(1960) (uncredited)
Words and Music by Lionel Bart
Sung by Harry Secombe
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Can I have more, sir?
5 May 2011 | by Momcat_of_LomitaSee all my reviews

I love this movie. Love it love it love it.

But I know that not everyone loves musicals. So: if you find the musical genre contrived or unnatural or kitschy, if it's just not your thing, then don't bother with this movie because it is unabashedly and outstandingly a MUSICAL.

The songs: "Food, Glorious Food," "Consider Yourself," "You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two," just for starters. These are wonderfully singable, indelibly memorable, and they move the plot and action along the way musical numbers in a film should. This is a lost art now, I'm convinced, although maybe with the TV series "Glee!" now riding a wave of popularity, there will be some talented musicians and lyricists who will revive this art-form. Anyway, suffice it to say: "Oliver!" is the musical at its best.

The actors: Oh my lord. Here we have Ron Moody in the role of Fagin, and he is INDELIBLE. He doesn't just act the role, he doesn't just sing it and dance it, he slips into the character's skin and he IS Fagin, in a way that makes it impossible to imagine anyone else in this role.

Jack Wild as the Artful Dodger. He's just superb, audacious and sassy and swaggering, and you can't help but like him even as you see him cheerfully taking up a life of crime. He makes us accept the character as someone basically good-hearted who is just adapting to the life he has to live. Matter-of-factly and without malice, and leaping to grab joy when the opportunity presents itself.

Shani Wallis as Nancy: tender and tough, tough and tender, she has the virtues of loyalty and honesty even as those values become hindrances to survival. She is who she is and she doesn't apologize for it, she's key to saving young Oliver.

Oliver Reed as Bill Sikes. I love Oliver Reed, always have, and he dominates every scene he has in this movie. You look at him and you see what the Artful Dodger would turn into if he had malice in his soul. Sikes is dangerous; he has no code but survival for himself, and he'll throw anyone else to the wolves without pausing to think about it if it serves him to do so. Oliver Reed really makes the movie work, because he brings genuine menance and sexuality to his role, which serves as a counterpoint for the sweetness of the musical as a whole.

And finally, Mark Lester. He is beyond winsome as the title character, a completely believable innocent who is without guile and imbued with a natural sense of goodness. I just love looking at Mark Lester, he's such a beautiful and dreamy-looking child.

This movie is about as good as a musical gets: it's visually stunning, in the sets and the cinematography and the costumes, and in the staging of the musical numbers. The characters are wonderful, they're classics. The plot is pared down to the basics and conveys the material as Dickens wrote it without being slavish or getting bogged down in detail.

When I saw this movie for the first time, I laughed and I cried and I sat at the edge of my seat, and when it was over I wanted more. Since the first time I saw it, I've seen it more than a dozen times more, and it's a movie I can watch again and again and again.

As a musical, it's tops. But not everyone likes musicals. Maybe because not every musical is as good as "Oliver!" on every level.

Maybe, just maybe, we'll see a renaissance of the genre soon, and more people who "don't like musicals" because they've only seen bad ones will understand that when a musical is good, it's really, really good.

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