The Cast of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE – 1995 vs 2005 (The Bingleys and the Darcys)

I love the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie staring Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen so much that it took me a while to warm up to the 1995 TV series starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. Now, I’ll have to say I love both equally.

In a previous blog entry, I compared the performances of the 1995 and 2005 cast for the Bennet family and chose the ones I liked better. I kept a tally (which I will continue here) to see which adaptation wins for me in terms of individual cast performances.The final tally for the Bennets showed 3 votes for 2005 (Jane, Lizzie and Kitty Bennet) and 4 votes for 1995 (Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, Mary and Lydia Bennet). Now, I will move on to the Bingleys and the Darcys, and will keep the running tally as well to include the Bennets.


miss bingley

Anna Chancellor (1995) vs Kelly Reilly (2005)  

I got distracted watching Kelly Reilly because I kept trying to remember where I saw her before (I checked IMDB afterwards and found out that she was Mary Morstan in the latest Sherlock Holmes movie). My only problem with her is that I thought she was a little too openly mean, which makes it very obvious for anyone who’s watching that she detests the Bennets. Anna Chancellor was a bit more sly.

TALLY for Bingleys/Darcys – 2005: 0, 1995: 1

RUNNING TALLY (including Bennets) – 2005: 3, 1995: 5


mr bingley

Crispin Bonham-Carter (1995) vs Simon Woods (2005)

I liked both of them a lot, but I felt that Simon Woods’ Mr. Bingley felt rather flat to me (though he is more handsome). To be fair, there wasn’t enough time to flesh him out in the span of two hours of course, so this is not his fault. I really really liked the scene where he is practicing his proposal with Mr. Darcy, especially when he bowed to Mr. Darcy and said, “Miss Bennet” and Mr. Darcy bowed back and replied, “Mr. Bingley.” Despite this, I still thought that Crispin Bonham-Carter did a better job.

TALLY for Bingleys/Darcys – 2005: 0, 1995: 2

RUNNING TALLY (including Bennets) – 2005: 3, 1995: 6



Emilia Fox (1995) vs Tamzin Merchant (2005) 

Tamzin Merchant wins this one for me without a doubt for three reasons: first, she looked like she’s really 15 (the age of Georgina Darcy) while I thought Emilia Fox looked older; second, she showed personality and life, even though she had probably less than 5 minutes of screen time; and third, she did her own piano playing – and she’s really good. I wish I could play “Georgiana” on the piano(forte) too.

TALLY for Bingleys/Darcys – 2005: 1, 1995: 2

RUNNING TALLY (including Bennets) – 2005: 4, 1995: 6


BeFunky Collage

Colin Firth (1995) vs Matthew MacFadyen (2005) 

This is definitely the hardest one I had to judge. I know that one of the criticisms for Matthew MacFadyen’s portrayal was that his Mr. Darcy was too mopey and had very limited facial expressions, but then we must consider that the movie only spanned two hours, which is considerably less time to flesh out the character as compared to what Colin Firth was able to do in six hours. I do think that Colin Firth is a genius and he was able to really portray the agony of Mr. Darcy. However, though I liked both of their performances very much, I will have to give this to Matthew MacFadyen mainly because of his intensity in the proposal scene in the rain.

TALLY for Bingleys/Darcys – 2005: 2, 1995: 2

RUNNING TALLY (including Bennets) – 2005: 5, 1995: 6

As a summary, I liked the 1995 Bingleys and the 2005 Darcys, so we end with a tie. However, since the 1995 was one vote ahead of the 2005 for the Bennets, the 1995 is still currently in the lead in my running tally.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Lily says:

    Despite this, the costumes and hairstyles were probably more historically accurate in the 1995 version. You should do another post about this.

  2. Karl says:

    Georgina Darcy was very shy in the book; much closer to the way Emilia Fox played her

  3. Flo Fflach says:

    Tamsin & Emilia were both about 17 when they played Georgiana. both rather petite, and tamsin a little too lively. Of course some of that is not just how the actress portrays her but how she is asked to portray her.

  4. Marie. says:

    In the 2005 Movie Georgiana is too lively. She is supposed to be shy and have (for someone) a proud aperance.

    I do not think that Matthew MacFadyen had too few facial Expressions, but rather wrong Expressions. It is true that Mr. Darcy is supposed to be shy, but he is not supposed to appear shy. That is my problem with him. It became too obvius that he was a good and kind man (despite his comment about Elizabeth being just “tolerable”). This also made me dislike Keira Knightely’s Elizabeth Bennet because she apperd to me to be a bit stupid and mean. In the novel I allways think that Elizabeth is very intelligent and kind and it is written in a way that makes one believe Wickam (at first, of course). I am not quite sure whether I made my point or just confused, however, though I think Matthew MacFadyen is a good actor I do not think this one was quite so good (or “Capital” 🙂 ). I have not said anything about Colin Firth, but I take it you get my opinion in any case.

    And what with Mr. and Mrs. Hurst? (OK, they were not in the 2005 film, but it would be fun to see your opinion of those in the 1995 mini-series, Lucy Robbinson & Rupert Vansittart. Without points, of course.)

    I am sorry for any mistakes, I am not my first language (or whatever it is that you Call it).

    1. Marie. says:

      Sorry, I ment: English is not my first language.

  5. Vince Runza says:

    With regard to “dueling Georgianas”: Emilia Fox was actually seen play the fortepiano in the mini-series (in the scene where Mr Darcy is about to leave for London, in search of Wickham and Lydia). Neither of the two actresses actually was heard playing — the performances were dubbed.

    The own favorite Georgiana was Emma Jacobs, in the 1980 BBC mini-series. She’s the only one who appears to be taller than Elizabeth and has the sweet shyness that the novel describes.

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