Classic Film Guide

Oliver! (1968)

"Consider yourself, at home", "Food glorious food" and many other many memorable songs (none of which were recognized by AFI!) and scenes mark this musical version of Charles Dickens's classic Oliver Twist. In my opinion, you'll find no better character acting than Ron Moody as Fagin (though he lost the Best Actor Oscar to Cliff Robertson's Charly (1968)) in this film - OUTSTANDING! The film won 5 (out of 11 nominations) Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director, Carol Reed. Oliver Reed is good, Mark Lester tolerable, and Jack Wild (The Artful Dodger) received a Supporting Actor nomination.

Lester plays the title character, an orphaned boy who makes his way to London where he's befriended by Dodger, the best among Fagin's band of thieves, boy pickpockets. All their "earnings" go to the cruel Bill Sykes (Reed), a former pupil of Fagin's who still uses the old man to fence his ill-gotten gains. Sykes's girlfriend Nancy (Shani Wallis, in her career performance) recognizes the pure innocence of Oliver, and wants to help him.

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