Oliver! (1968)
October 16, 2022 9:04 AM - Subscribe

Musical adaptation of the Broadway musical based on Charles Dickens' novel. 9-year-old orphan Oliver Twist (Mark Lester) falls in with a group of street-urchin pickpockets led by the Artful Dodger (Jack Wild) and masterminded by the criminal Fagin (Ron Moody). When Oliver's intended mark, Mr. Brownlow (Joseph O'Conor), takes pity on the lad and offers him a home, Fagin's henchman Bill Sikes (Oliver Reed) plots to kidnap the boy to keep him from talking.

Also starring Shani Wallis, Harry Secombe, Peggy Mount, Hylda Baker, Megs Jenkins, Leonard Rossiter, James Hayter, Sheila White, Kenneth Cranham, Hugh Griffith.

Directed by Carol Reed.

89% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on HBO Max. Also available for digital rental on multiple outlets. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (7 comments total)
Ron Moody and Oliver Reed are the heart of this film. Amazing performances, both.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:11 AM on October 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

Still mad at this picture for taking 2001's best picture Oscar.
posted by octothorpe at 11:52 AM on October 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

I realise Oliver Reed was a bit of a dick, but he could be an amazing actor. I mentioned on Twitter recently that one of my fantasy Ken Russell films would be a film about the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn with Reed as Aleister Crowley. I also sometimes wonder what On Her Majesty's Secret Service would have been like if he'd been cast instead of Lazenby. I suppose it would have been like The Assassination Bureau, but still.

You should add a tag for Lionel Bart, who wrote the songs, and was quite an interesting character himself.

By the way, 2001 wasn't nominated. If not Oliver! then the Oscar would probably have gone to Funny Girl or The Lion in Winter. I don't know if that's any consolation.

You could argue that The Producers stole the award for Best Original Screenplay from 2001, but I'd contend it won it fair and square.
posted by Grangousier at 12:21 PM on October 16, 2022 [3 favorites]

I'm the same age as Mark Lester and I remember when I saw the film at the cinema having a reaction to Oliver Reed that my 10-year-old self wasn't properly able to understand. Before drink got the better of him, he was so incredibly handsome, with an edge of danger.

Oliver! is a wonderful film, the sets are great, the huge staged ensemble pieces are fantastic and Mark Lester and Jack Wild are perfectly cast, the innocent angelic boy and the cheeky ragamuffin. It's usually on TV at Christmas and I always watch it.
posted by essexjan at 12:31 PM on October 16, 2022 [4 favorites]

I had nightmares as a child about the scene where Oliver Reed's Sikes threatens Oliver with a red-hot poker. It may have been my first exposure to a compelling portrait of pure evil.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:29 PM on October 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

I have a soft place in my heart for this movie, particularly Who Will Buy? (even though a lot of the hair of the female actors is a bit too 1960s).
posted by gudrun at 8:24 AM on October 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

Yeah, Reed terrified me as a child. Actually, now that I think about it, as an adult, too.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:44 AM on October 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

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