If you want a serious adaptation of Dickens’s novel, check out Oliver Twist. But if you’re looking for something more entertaining, this musical version is a real treat.
The story remains the same – young orphan Oliver (Lester) leaves the workhouse and runs away to London where he falls in with a gang of pickpockets who work for the devious Fagin (Moody) – but it is the performances here that are so superb, from Moody’s perfect Fagin to Wild’s cheeky Artful Dodger and Oliver Reed’s sinister Bill Sikes.
And, of course, there are the fantastic Lionel Bart songs – the rollicking ‘Food, Glorious Food’, ‘Consider Yourself’, ‘You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two’, ‘I’d Do Anything’ and Nancy’s mournful ‘As Long As He Needs Me’ – that make this such a toe-tapping, sing-a-long classic. It was the winner of five Oscars, including Best Picture (beating Funny Girl and The Lion in Winter).
Is Oliver! suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Ron Moody’s Fagin is pretty creepy, as is Oliver Reed’s Bill Sykes. His murder of a main character will upset younger viewers.
Little Oliver is often threatened and in peril, which will also disturb younger children.