"Oliver Twist" Inspires Adaptations

SCR Staff
 | Apr 16, 2019

Oliver Twist Logo


A poster for the 1922 Jackie Coogan version of Oliver Twist.


​​A poster for the 1968 musical version.


​A poster for Roman Polanski's 2005 version.

The Teen Players’* production of Oliver Twist (May 18-26, Nicholas Studio) stays true to Charles Dickens’ exploration of social justice in Victorian England. The tale follows the life and adventures of Oliver Twist, an orphan, as he confronts poverty and crime, unlocks the mystery of his birth and learns the meaning of family. It’s the story of one child’s discovery about the power of resilience.

Since its publication as a serial in the late 1830s, Dickens’ story has inspired numerous adaptations from page to stage to screen to television and more. Here’s an overview.

  • 1909: U.S. silent film with Edith Storey as Oliver
  • 1912: British silent film with Ivy Millais as Oliver
  • 1912: U.S. silent film with Nat C. Goodwin as Oliver
  • 1916: U.S. silent film with Marie Doro as Oliver
  • 1919: Hungarian silent film adaptation with Tibor Lubinszky as Oliver
  • 1922: U.S. silent film with Jackie Coogan as Oliver. A popular song, “Oliver Twist”, written by singer Vaughan De Leath accompanied the film.
  • 1933: U.S. film with sound. Dickie Moore portrayed Oliver.
  • 1948: British film directed by David Lean with John Howard Davies as Oliver and Sir Alec Guinness as Fagin.
  • 1960: The musical play Oliver! debuts in London’s West End for a long run, followed by long runs on Broadway, on tour and in revivals. Keith Hamshere was the original Oliver in London; Bruce Prochnik was Oliver in the Broadway premiere.
  • 1968: Oliver! the film adaptation of the hit musical play; won six Academy Awards including Best Picture. Mark Lester was Oliver.
  • 1974: U.S. animated version with Josh Albee as Oliver.
  • 1982: Australian animated TV series
  • 1982: U.S. film with Richard Charles as Oliver and George C. Scott as Fagin.
  • 1985: BBC TV series with Ben Rodska as Oliver.
  • 1988: Disney adapted the story into an animated film called Oliver & Company, with Oliver as a homeless kitten who joins a gang of dogs to survive. Joey Lawrence was the voice of Oliver.
  • 1996-7: “Saban’s Adventures of Oliver Twist,” a French-American animated TV series with the characters as animals. Oliver, voiced by Mona Marshall, was an orphan dog.
  • 1997: Disney made-for-television film with Alex Trench as Oliver and Richard Dreyfus as Fagin.
  • 1999: British mini-series with Sam Smith as Oliver.
  • 2003: Twist is a film adaptation updated to modern times with Joshua Close as Oliver.
  • 2004: Boy Called Twist sets the story in Cape Town, South Africa.
  • 2005: Roman Polanski-directed film with Barney Clark as Oliver Twist.
  • 2007: BBC television adaptation with William Miller as Oliver.

Learn more about the Teen Players’ production of Oliver Twist and buy tickets.

The Teen Players are carefully chosen through auditions from students in the teen acting classes at SCR’s Theatre Conservatory, with a minimum of two years’ experience.