Now I haven’t seen them all, but
Here is a list of my favorite traditional and modern Jane Austen adaptions. (And for completeness sake I will include my favorite adaption of each story)
1. Emma - 2009
This adaption combines the thoughtfulness of the 1995 version with the playfulness of the Gwen Paltrow version. It’s visually beautiful and cheerful and gives the story time to breath. It’s the only adaption where I’ve ever believe in the Knightley/Emma love story. Hands down my favorite Jane Austen adaption.
2. Sense and Sensibility - 2008
Also a more recent adaption it benefits from relatively unknown actors that easily disappear into their roles, and expanded running time that again gives the story time to breath. It’s beautifully filmed with gorgeous locations.
3. Pride and Prejudice - 2005
Besides being visually stunning, I am in love with Mathew’s misunderstood Darcy and the sense of urgency brought to the story. When I want a quick fix of Austen this is where I head. (However, would be doing yourself a disservice if this was the only version of Pride and Prejudice you saw. Watching the 1995 adaption or reading the book is recommended, there is much more going on in the story then this adaption can get into).
4. Northanger Abby - 2008
While not the most memorable Jane Austen story, this is an adorably sweet adaption. While I haven’t seen the 1986 version, I imagine this easy holds up.
5. Persuasion 1995 and 2007
As a note Persuasion isn’t my favorite Jane Austen novel (though I DO like it), so I could be off on a limb here, but as I remember I enjoyed both of these adaptions equally.
6. Mansfield Park - 2007
Hands down my least favorite Jane Austen, this is the only adaption that I found mildly enjoyable (it is miles better then the 1999 version).
My favorite modern adaptions…
1. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries - Easily one of the most involved adaptions of anything I have ever seen. Definitely worth checking out. It’s at the top of my list of best Jane Austen adaptions. It’s still being made, so it might move to the top when all is said and done!
2. Bride and Prejudice - Pride and Prejudice plus Bollywood is a thing of beauty. Oh is it cheesy? Yes, yes it is. But it is also a FUN time, if you can handle the cheese.