Dickens' London waif is pressed into Fagin's street gang led by bully Bill Sikes and the Artful Dodger. Directed by David Lean.
David Lean's 1948 version of Charles Dickens' classic novel begins with a bang: the young hero's pregnant mother fighting her way through a storm, a perfect metaphor for Oliver's difficult road ahead. Set in a world of slums in the shadow of Victorian England, the story traces the boy's life in a workhouse and then with a gang of little pickpockets. A stark but good-looking film shot around some impressive sets, Lean's immortal adaptation is perhaps best known for Alec Guinness's remarkable (and slightly controversial) performance as Fagin, the old mentor to the gang of boy thieves. --Tom Keogh