Debate: who was the best Mr. Darcy, Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen?

Rapper T.I. Arriving At The Stevie Wonder Birthday Party At Peppermint Night Club.

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably gotten used to my inane ramblings about tennis, a–hole kittens and my love of nearly every Jane Austen book adaptation. I will seriously watch any adaptation of an Austen novel, and I could easily devote dozens of posts to how Jonny Lee Miller is actually a brilliant Mr. Knightley and how Gwyneth Paltrow is actually an underrated Emma. But of course, internet debates tend to focus on everybody’s favorite Austen dude, Mr. Darcy. There are only two Darcys worth discussing: Colin Firth’s portrayal in the 1995 miniseries and Matthew Macfadyen’s Darcy in the 2005 film. And so begins the debate, which started yesterday with this Twitter post:

I’m not sure what age has to do with it, other than a presumption – perhaps merited? – that the younger peeps might prefer Macfadyen’s Darcy. Can I just say? I love them both!! They are actually quite different portrayals but both feel authentic and canonical. With the 1995 miniseries, we got what feels like a stricter adaptation of Austen’s text, and Firth was perfect as that grumpy, misanthropic Darcy who professes his love to Lizzie like he’s annoyed with her for being cute. With Macfadyen’s Darcy, his age felt more authentic to the book, and his Darcy comes across more as a socially awkward nerd and closet romantic. And even though the movie messes with the setting of the “proposal” scene, the way Macfadyen and Keira Knightley play it… my lord. It’s amazing. Why can’t we enjoy them both?!?! Colin’s Darcy is perfect but so is Matthew’s Darcy! BRING ME ALL THE DARCYS.

(Also, for what it’s worth, I do think it’s also about the chemistry between Darcy and Elizabeth – Keira and Matthew had so much chemistry, as did Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle).

Rapper T.I. Arriving At The Stevie Wonder Birthday Party At Peppermint Night Club.

Rapper T.I. Arriving At The Stevie Wonder Birthday Party At Peppermint Night Club.

Photos courtesy of BBC and Working Title.

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283 Responses to “Debate: who was the best Mr. Darcy, Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen?”

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  1. jbyrdku says:

    They’re both fantastic, but for me it’s Matthew.

    • Eliza says:

      Colin was better at the aloof snob, but when Matthew performed his second proposal his earnestness gets me every time.

    • Char says:

      Matthew all the way. The moment when he smiles to Elizabeth while introducing his sister is amazing. And the second proposal is fantastic. I have to watch it now.

      • SusieQ says:

        Matthew all the way! The smile, the way he walks through the morning mist to tell her that she’s bewitched him body and soul…sigh. Perfection!

      • Kimmie says:

        I’ve only watched Colin Firth (I know, I know), but now I’ll have to watch the 2005 movie. I also love Keira Knightly. She’s such a good actress, she could have chemistry with a wet towel.

      • Carol says:

        I was going to say Colin too as I only saw the one with him as Darcy but that pic of Matthew is making me rethink my vote! And completely agree on Keira Knightly.

      • Kimmie says:

        Came back to say I watched this last night, and I am team Colin and Matthew! I also forgot how annoying Mrs. Bennett was.

    • Agirlandherdog says:

      Agree. I prefer Matthew’s socially awkward Darcy to Colin’s arrogant Darcy. But that’s more a preference to interpretation than any commentary on their acting abilities. Because both men are phenomenal actors.

    • TQ says:

      Agreed — love both Colin’s aloof snob and Matthew’s socially awkward romantic. The BBC mini series w/Colin was a much more traditional interpretation, whereas the 2005 film took more liberties and was more dreamy romantic — everything from the dialogue to the cinematography. I suppose the modern interpretation and Matthew’s Darcy thus edge out the win for me.

    • jj says:

      Matthew is Mr. Darcy!!! The scene where is walking over the moors to see Lizzie just takes my breath away. Yum!!!!

      • Lady2Lazy says:

        I vote for Matthew since he was so spot on with his interpretation of Mr. Darcy. Also, let’s face ladies, when he confesses that she has bewitched him body and soul is extremely romantic and convincing in his declaration to her. Plus McFayden and Knightley played their parts very well off of each other. Plus, he is extremely handsome to me.

    • horseandhound says:

      I agree. love colin, but matthew’s performance was very intense, emotional, I still remember it vividly.

  2. Snazzy says:

    I loved Macfadyen as Darcy.

    • Mgsota says:

      +1 The 2005 movie is one of my favorites. I used to watch it over and over again. But I don’t have it on DVR, it’s never on TV anymore and can’t seem to stream it anywhere! 😫

      • Mel M says:

        Same! I have the blu ray and I used to have it on repeat. Everything the above commenters said too, the proposals, introducing her to his sister, swoon. Love Mathew.

    • PortlandJan says:

      He has the most gorgeous eyes.

  3. minx says:

    Colin Firth!

    • Aoife says:

      Every time!

    • Anners says:

      I actually really enjoy both interpretations (Rosamund Pike was more my idea of Jane and the other sisters were perfect casting), but Mr Darcy is always Colin Firth in my head when I re-read the book. I agree that the chemistry between each Jane and Darcy was off the charts, though.

      Anyone have a favourite Persuasion or Mansfield Park adaptation?

      • grumpy says:

        Persuasion – the 2007 BBC film with Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root. It is perfect!

      • Carol says:

        Colin every day and twice on Sundays. Colin hands down. Colin took the time to read the book and understand that Mr. Darcy is indeed an arrogant snob who changes because Elizabeth shows him his flaws and is a woman worth pleasing. Matthew (whose voice is lovely) plays Darcy as shy, which is such a superficial understanding of the character. Actually, if I pretend the movie is its own entity that just borrowed Jane Austen’s names, I enjoy it. If I think of it as an adaptation of her beloved novel, I get a little stabby.

        Regarding Persuasion, the Amanda Root movie is by far the best. Again, it’s hands down.

      • Boudica says:

        I love both Persuasions – Ciaran Hinds/Amanda Root and Rupert Penry-Jones/Sally Hawkins. Both slightly different but equally meritorious.

      • susiecue says:

        Rosamund was a great Jane.

      • Becks1 says:

        @Carol – great point. Darcy IS a snob. He’s not misunderstood, or shy, or whatever. He’s a snob who really thinks that his money and station in life makes him superior to others. He changes and grows as a character. Colin played it to perfection.

      • horseandhound says:

        persuasion is my favorite jane austen story. and sally hawkins’ performance is oscar worthy. I was so deeply touched by it.

    • swirlmamad says:

      Colin Firth will ALWAYS be Darcy for me! Loved, loved, LOVED the BBC series when it came out. Bought the DVD set and watched it a zillion times.

      • Chi Chi says:

        100% agree! Collin Firth is Mr Darcy. Absolutely loved his portrayal. Mr and Mrs Bennet and Lydia were equally well cast in the BBC adaptation and so was the annoying Mr Collins and the dastardly wicked Mr Wickham!

    • ojulia123 says:


    • Coz' says:

      I don’t even know how this is a conversation. Colin Firth is magnetic as Darcy. He really captures essence of the character.
      Full disclosure: I don’t like the 2005 movie.
      I am a huge P&P fan and read it at least once a year. And I watch the BBC adaptation as often.

    • EditorM says:

      Colin, allday!

  4. Roserose says:

    I feel like I should say Colin, but really, it’s Matthew.

    • Maggie says:

      YES! I am in the same boat. I loved Firth’s, but Matthew brought this vulnerability and it was almost like you could feel his longing for E. He gave me the butterflies. I’m 40.

    • Arpeggi says:

      I prefer the character development in the series, the movie was too rushed, but Matthews’ is better. Firth is right though, Darcy should not be held as the ultimate romantic fantasy; we won’t turn a-holes into perfect boyfriends through love, we can’t fix them into being better, that just happens in books

    • Alyse says:


      Both do a great job… but yeah MacFayden wins this for me.

      Firth as Darcy in Bridget Jones beats both though!!! lol

  5. Kittycat says:

    Colin all the way.

  6. I'm With The Band says:

    Colin Firth

  7. Lauren says:

    Definitely Matthew. He was so hot in that.

    • Sarah B says:

      I know. I’m sitting at my desk at work with my stomach flipping about just thinking about that movie.

  8. Zapp Brannigan says:

    Matthew for me, also Rupert Penry-Jones or Ciaran Hinds as Captain Wentworth in Persuasion? What is the consensus there?

  9. Hannah says:

    I love the 2005 adaptation. I know perhaps it’s less true to the text, but it is so romantic and so well done that I’m willing to overlook that. And totally agree about the chemistry – it was such a pleasure to watch. A lot of films lack that, which makes them less successful.

  10. Rogue says:

    Colin Firth IS Darcy

  11. Scal says:

    Colin Firth all day every day.

  12. Maria says:

    Firth. Also loved him in Bridget Jones!

  13. Lara says:

    Laurence Olivier…

    • Ducky la Rue says:

      Oh yes! I loved Laurence Olivier’s version – his snooty hauteur was great. The many other changes to the film irked me, particularly the costumes, but it was 1940, and I don’t think historical accuracy was a thing for films at the time.

      But in the more recent era, Colin Firth all the way. That entire production was perfection.

    • Tiffany says:

      I shall join your tribune.

    • Becks1 says:

      I don’t like the Laurence Olivier version bc they change the ending with the Lady Catherine De Burgh – where she was sent on purpose to try to trick Elizabeth, rather than just being a pure snob.

      • Boudica says:

        Oh, but Greer Garson was a wonderul Lizzie! 😀 But I love Greer Garson so maybe I’m biased. I saw that version first, and it came as quite a surprise to see the clothing in the Firth version. I had read the book in the meantime but it hadn’t sunk in that the clothing in the 1940s version was all wrong. I had just enjoyed it for what it was.

  14. portobadisco11 says:

    Only Darcy that matters is Colin Firth

  15. Mamasan says:

    Colin Firth for the win!😜

  16. Seraphina says:

    It would be great if the two could be combined because they are both great. But I have to go with Colin.

    And yes, Paltrow is under rated as Emma because she is Emma in real life: empty and full of her self. So she isn’t really acting though, it’s her!!

    • Anners says:

      I don’t know… I thought Emma was redeemed at the end. She also had a good heart, but was hung up on appearances. She’s my least favourite of Austen heroines, though. I thought Gwyneth did a great job.

  17. SimKin says:

    Colin Firth. That scene on him walking home after the impromptu swim.

  18. Rachael Prest says:

    AGH, god, I HATED the Keira Knightly version. HATED. IT. It made me want to throw stuff at the TV. Colin Firth, every time. Agree about Jonny Lee Miller as Knightley in Emma though. Hot.

    • betsyh says:

      Yes! The Keira Knightly version was too romanticized at the expense of the comedy, which is mostly provided by the secondary characters. And Austen writes such sharply funny caricatures and dialogue. I don’t think the time constraints of a movie can do her books justice. I will always prefer miniseries of her books.

      And Jonny Lee Miller was exceptionally good in Emma. His good natured, light-hearted Knightly was delightful.

    • Granger says:

      I hated it too. Not only did they make Darcy just some poor, shy dude who didn’t know how to talk to girls (totally not what Jane Austen intended), but they also made Mrs Bennett a sweet, kind of bumbling woman who loves her girls and just wants them to find good husbands. And she and Mr Bennett were happily married. Sure, that’s a “nicer” interpretation that makes everyone feel good — but Mrs Bennett’s stupidity and self-absorption are why Elizabeth was so stubborn about finding a husband she could RESPECT!

  19. Scandi says:

    I loooove both, but if I should choose, I would go for Matthew. The 2005 version is the one I watch over and over again.

    But hey – Colin Firth’s swimming scene… oh gosh… and Matthew’s final walk…. sigh

  20. Sierra says:

    I actually prefer Mr Thornton from North & South to Mr Darcy.

    And Richard Armitage was sublime in it and the ending still makes me swoon. The way he kept looking at Margaret.. swooning…

    • Ponytail says:

      But Mr Thornton deserves his own post, not a comparison to Darcy! I only discovered North and South a couple of years back, but it is SO GOOD. The way he begs her to look back when she drives off in the carriage is heart-breaking.

      • Sierra says:

        I know… His face expression and voice was just heartbreaking when he said that…

        Kaiser, do create a new post about Mr Thornton. We deserve some happiness this Thursday…

    • BayTampaBay says:

      I really enjoyed Donald Sutherland in the 2005 movie version.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Me, too, while knowing it shaded into making him just ever so slightly more sympathetic than he deserved.

    • Jenns says:

      Mr. Thornton tops everything. If you haven’t watched North & South, then what are you doing with your life? It’s on Netflix, and if you love P&P, then it’s an absolute must.

      As for this poll, I love both movies and both Darcy’s.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        So you recommend buying the miniseries North & South? Is North & South something you watch annually?

      • Sierra says:

        Definitely recommend you to buy it but please make sure it’s the 4 part BBC one and not the one based on American Civil War.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        @Sierrra, I know exactly what you are talking about. If I buy it, I will buy it off

        Very few here at Celebitchy are old enough to remember the North & South based on American Civil War which featured Elizabeth Taylor in a great supporting role. I am older than dirt so I remember actually watching it on television when it first sired.

      • Sierra says:

        Haha – I can only remember Patrick Swayze from that one. I only saw it end of 90s when they re-telecasted it.

      • Nic919 says:

        The North and South with Patrick Swayze relates to the a Civil War. The one with Richard Armitage is based off the novel by Elizabeth Gaskell.

      • Becks1 says:

        I love the North and South (from the John Jakes civil war books) but they are total soap-operas, lol. I haven’t see the BBC one but it pops u p on my Netflix I think (and I assume the plot is completely different lol.)

  21. Sunnee says:

    I saw this on Twitter and the fact that they tried to link age of respondent with preference just struck me as irrelevant and odd.
    I read P&P years before Firth’s adaptation, so I think one’s preference has little to do with which movie you saw first because, to be honest, I saw Olivier’s performance first.
    In my opinion MacFayden’s Darcy was perfect. HIs arrogance was what I expected, but his nuanced facial expressions after Lizzy’s rejection made for the perfect Darcy.
    The overwhelming preference on Twitter for Colin Firth floored me. I just don’t understand the love for Firth, I just don’t.

  22. C-Shell says:

    Both soooo good. But Matthew is just delicious. 🥰

  23. Deedee says:

    Mathew. He was gorgeous in that movie.

  24. Ladiabla says:

    While I adore Colin Firth, Matthew is the Mr. Darcy of my dreams. Ah that proposal scene, where he looks away for a moment cause he’s just so pissed off…,gah! When you first see him smile at Elizabeth when she comes to Pemberley with her aunt and uncle (dreamy). When he walks over to see her at dawn..just his walk, omg….to borrow another expression, I think my thighs went up in flames 🔥🔥🔥
    I could go on….

    • Iknow says:

      That scene when he smiles after introducing her to Georgiana at Pemberley truly conveyed how Elizabeth went from despising Mr. Darcy to pinning after him when she thought all hope was lost. He was transformed.

  25. Lucy says:

    I love both Colin and Matthew, I think they’ve both managed to make the role their own. HOWEVER, if I may, I’d like to give a shout out to other two interpreters of Darcy: Daniel Vincent Gordh (he played Modern!Darcy in the awesome 2014 web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries) and Sam Riley, who played Zombie Slayer!Darcy in Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. I know this movie wasn’t really all that, but I thought he was great in it, and that he was able to capture the original essence of the character with an action twist. Anyone here agrees with me?

  26. Minal says:

    Matthew all the way. Amazing actor.

  27. Anya says:

    Just here to agree that Jonny Lee Miller was a brilliant Mr. Knightley!

  28. Onlyashes85 says:


    That second proposal scene is the most romantic movie scene I have ever watched. He was just so subtle in his performance. The little looks he gives Lizzy. The first time he smiles. The way his voice catches when he confess his love.

    Now I need to watch it again

  29. Originaltessa says:

    I love how in love Matthew seems at the end. He’s desperate, and it’s such a beautiful movie… Ok, now I have to watch it.

  30. CommentingBunny says:

    I was ready to die on the Firth hill until someone in that Twitter thread yesterday suggested a remake with idris Elba as Darcy. And it was like, huh. Maybe Colin *isn’t* the only Darcy I will accept. Just imagine Idris striding away from that pond, wet and glistening in the sun …



    You get it.

  31. BayTampaBay says:

    I must admit I have never seen the 1995 miniseries. Is it worth buying? Will one watch it again & again as I have done with Pretty Woman, The Devil Wears Prada and Julie & Julia?

    • Aggie says:

      Yes. Buy it.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Yes, once a year. Just as with re-reading the book, it glitters and you can find something new in it each time.

      • betsyh says:

        “Glitters” … perfect description. I have read P&P many times and watch the 1995 version annually. Would never watch the Keira Knightly version again.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      I would highly recommend The Age of Innocence a 1993 film directed by Martin Scorsese and based on the Edith Wharton book of the same name. I bought this one and watch it at least twice a year.

      I really wish Martin Scorsese would adapt Edith Wharton’s “The Buccaneers” for the silver screen. I did not like the PBS miniseries of “The Buccaneers” as it strayed too far from the book and lost too much in translation to the TV screen.

      • Granger says:

        I love The Age of Innocence. It’s a beautiful, beautiful movie. Daniel Day-Lewis’s acting is heartbreaking.

    • KatV says:

      OH you have something to look forward to then! It’s like a treat for Christmas 🙂 go get it!

    • swirlmamad says:


  32. TeamAwesome says:

    I think the answer you’re looking for is Wishbone the Dog!

  33. Mrs. Smith says:

    Dammit! This is hard! I gotta go with Kaiser on this one: both Darcys do it for me. Because honestly, if I come across either version on TV, I’ll stop to watch it. Also, James McAvoy in Becoming Jane. Hot.

    • Lady Baden-Baden says:

      Oh my God! Yes! That scene in the library where he tells her her “horizons” must be “widened” SO HOT!

  34. Harla says:

    Colin Firth…all day long!

  35. Royalwatcher says:

    If anyone is looking for an amazing modern retelling of Persuasion (as an MM romance), Perfect Day by Sally Malcolm is wonderful!!!! She also has a retelling or Shop Around the Corner that is very sweet.

    As for this debate, I’ll take Colin Firth all day everyday, as well as that whole adaptation/cast, over the other movie/cast.

    • JaneEyreApparent says:

      I bought it on Amazon and stream it at least once a week

      • Royalwatcher says:

        Nice!! I bought the special anniversary dvd years ago and watch it every year around this time. The behind the scenes features about the costumes and homes are so cool. I’m gonna have to watch it this weekend now!!

    • BayTampaBay says:

      PBS is doing or has done a version of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel Sanditon. It really looks pretty good from the trailers/clips I have seen.

      • Anners says:

        Really?!!! I love Sanditon – it absolutely retained a flavour of Austen and Sidney is the best.

  36. Mia4s says:

    I need the gif of the little girl saying “why not both?!”. 😉

    I’m not sure you get over your “first love”, so Firth has the edge there.

  37. Digital Unicorn says:

    Both were great but its Colin all the way for me.

  38. La says:

    I can’t decide! I’m 35 so I grew up watching the miniseries with my mom but the movie came out when I was in college so I have love for both.

    The 2005 movie is my all time favorite and it’s one of the few movies I will watch over and over. Kaiser is right though, Matthew’s proposal makes me cry every time.

  39. P says:

    Oh great, thanks to this I must now rewatch all my Austen fan movies.:)

  40. Beech says:

    Matthew Macfadyen.

  41. Rosie says:

    How is this even a question?! Colin Firth, always.

  42. HK9 says:

    Colin Firth.

  43. Sof says:

    I like the idea of Collin, but Macfadyen is closer to the way I imagined Darcy while reading the book, so I choose him.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      It was the other way around for me, so Colin, but Matthew was darling and more of whom I would draw for myself.

  44. rosamund12 says:

    Okay, first of all, Firth. All three women of my family nursed a serious crush on him for years because of that series.

    But also, I completely forgot that Matthew was in the newer version. I remember liking it well enough at the time, even being pleasantly surprised by it. But in the meantime, I’ve watched two seasons of Succession, and he plays such a pathetic character- variously needy, amoral, buffoonish, though ultimately sympathetic… but still, I don’t think I can ever see him as Darcy again.

    • Esmom says:

      I was wondering if anyone would comment on his Succession role. I think he’s really great as Tom, so nuanced in his portrayal. And he does a great American accent (as does the actor who plays Shiv). But yeah, I could see how that would ruin Darcy.

    • Arpeggi says:

      Yes, his character in Succession is horrible (aren’t they all?) and you just want to punch him. It definitely affects how I view his Darcy now. I still liked him as Darcy, but I feel conflicted whenever I watch Succession

    • JAM says:

      I was wondering how many comments I’d have to scroll through before someone mentioned Matthew in Succession. I LOVE AND ADORE him in P&P and I was almost disappointed after I saw a few eps of Succession because I figured his AWFUL character would ruin it for me. It did for a little, although he is phenomenal as Tom, but then I watched this interview of him for Vanity Fair on YouTube and he was speaking in his regular English accent and I was like NOPE HE’S STILL GOT IT. YUM.

      With that being said, Succession is so awesome, especially S2, and I can’t wait until the next award season where people finally catch up and realize. I feel like people know it’s awesome but not that many people watch it…

  45. J.Mo says:

    Firth. I won’t even consider watching the other.

    • Jegede says:

      Yeah, the 2005 version bored me.🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️

      I preferred the Sense & Sensibility re-adaptation.

      • betsyh says:

        Sense and Sensibility 2008 is definitely better than the Emma Thompson movie.

      • horseandhound says:

        betsyh, do you really think that? ang lee’s movie is great.emma and kate are amazing in their roles.

      • betsyh says:

        Horseandhound: Now you have me questioning myself. It has been a while since I saw the movie and will have to watch it again. 🙂

  46. Bella DuPont says:


    Keira Knightley destroyed the movie for me. I found her overly affected and the horrific hair/wig was just unforgivable. Despite trying quite hard, she just didn’t capture Elizabeth’s charm. 3/10

    Jennifer Ehle was a perfect Elizabeth for me. Apart from a few cracks her and there in her English accent, she completely captured the essence of the character. 9/10


    Matthew Macfadeyen was ok, not great. On paper, he should be excellent, especially given his good looks and tall frame, but something in his delivery was slightly lacking. And his hair was also wiggy looking and terrible. 6/10

    Colin Firth: practically perfect portrayal. The “silent, brooding a-hole with a crush” was perfectly done. I only wish he was slightly better looking. Still, I fantasize about catching him coming out of that pond, dripping wet, and ripping that shirt off him. 😳🤭 (and hopefully not get arrested!) 9/10.


    1995 version was perfect. I’ve seen it probably 100 times, (no kidding 😅😳) and will never get tired of it. 10/10

    2008 version had soooooo much potential but I think the casting sort of killed it a little for me. Having said that, the cinematography was unmatched. 6/10

    • Becks1 says:

      Definitely Colin Firth. I didn’t really like the 2005 version. I think the miniseries is utter perfection.

      Although, one thing I liked about the 2005 version is that I thought it made the class divide more obvious between Elizabeth and Darcy.

    • Heather H says:

      Agree. I remember every episode of the 1995 series, given I’ve seen it a few times. I watched the movie but only vaguely remember it, I think I remember the closing scene after they are married and thats about it. I will have to re-watch the movie it but it is for sure Colin Firth for me!

    • betsyh says:

      Colin Firth needs to be slightly better looking?? Blasphemy!

      • Bella DuPont says:

        Lol….I agree and humbly ask for forgiveness. It’s just in my nature to be greedy and grasping. Where Matthew is a 10/10 for looks, Colin is only an 8. I’m missing the extra 2. 🙃

  47. Nic919 says:

    The 2005 movie basically said that Austen wasn’t good enough and they added a whole bunch of Bronte like nonsense in there like the walk in the mists and other stuff that was entirely not the point of what Jane Austen was doing. It was the harlequin version of P and P.

    There is no debate. It is only Colin Firth as Darcy. McFayden isn’t a bad actor but the character they gave him was not actually Darcy. The over emoting at the end was not actually part of the Darcy character as written by Austen. It’s an attempt to modernize him so that people saw the more obvious transformation. Firth was able to show the transformation without all that.

    I think the preference tends to relate to who read the book Pride and Prejudice prior to watching the movie. The 1995 miniseries is still the most faithful adaptation without making it boring and Firth just is Darcy as written by Austen.

    Also yes to Richard Armitage as Thornton. He is the only one who I think reached the levels of Firth as Darcy goodness in the many costume dramas that have appeared since then.

    • Aang says:

      NIC919 yes! I had read the book several times before seeing the miniseries and I loved how faithful it was to the source material. I have absolutely no patience with adaptations that change the feel of the book. I will likely never see the movie being discussed here because of that. Austen is perfect as she is. And Firth is the perfect Darcy. **i do think contemporary retellings like Clueless and Bridget Jones have something to offer**

      • Nic919 says:

        I am fine with modern adaptations of P and P or even that one were the female lead time travelled. But don’t pretend to be accurate Jane Austen and then have people walking half dressed in the morning mists. That is not Austen. Her books were about women navigating the restricted behaviour codes and rebelling within them, not outright made up modern like behaviour. Darcy would never have shown up half dressed to see her. That was the total opposite of his character.

        Also the Brontes disagreed with Austen’s approach and went their own way, which is fine. But the philosophical approaches were meant to be different and so adding Bronte overwrought emotion into an Austen adaptation is offensive and shows that Joe Wright did not understand Jane Austen at all!! I know it is 14 years from the movie but I had this argument from day one about that film.

    • Lizzieb says:

      Have to disagree nic919. Long term janeite and have to give it to Mathew for a few hours scenes. The second proposal (sigh) was so good I’ll forgive it not being source. Also loved him coaching Bingley on the lawn before B approaches Jane and for the ballroom scene playing duck and weave with Collins. Colin Firth was excellent . Almost two much so as I really disliked him in the parlour scene making fun of Lizzie’s family. It’s so funny that everyone loves the lake scene which does not exist in the book. So love them both but Mathew by a hair for turning me to mush in the second proposal

      • Nic919 says:

        The second scene is not based off the book and Darcy wouldn’t be wandering around half dressed. You can like the scene all you want, but it’s not Jane Austen at all. Her scenes have subtlety and nuance, like the letter scene in Persuasion and are not as obvious as the second proposal scene was.

        Darcy is not supposed to be likeable in that scene where he is making fun of Lizzy’s family. That’s why he was rejected in the first place. Firth is able to take Darcy from jerk to repentant man whereas the movie never makes McFayden have to be as bad.

        The movie was a Hollywood interpretation of Austen whereas the mini series is much more faithful and Firth pulls off the character development beautifully.

    • Becks1 says:

      @Nic YES! You nailed what I don’t like about the 2005 version. It’s not P&P as Austen wrote it, its P&P adapted to be a love story in 2005. Which is fine in itself, but it definitely lost something in that process.

    • KatV says:

      Perfectly summed up!

    • Reece says:

      Agree with all of this!

      Now I know why I’ve never been able to finish Wuthering Heights. Ugh!

      Richard Armitage as Thornton nearly killed me. Honestly I think that is one of the few times when the movie is better than the book.

    • kerwood says:

      Agreed, @Nic919. I liked a lot of the performances in the movie (Rosamand Pike and especially Donald Sutherland) but I thought Matthew Macfyden was AWFUL. I don’t know who he was playing but it sure as shit WASN’T Darcy. He always seemed a bit ‘damp’ and his mouth was always hanging open.

      I’ll add my wholehearted support to the Ciarian Hinds version of ‘Persuasion’. There are very few PERFECT films, but I think ‘Persuasion’ is one of them.

      I’m also a fan of ‘North and South’. I’d never seen Armitage in anything and I was absolutely blown away by him. VERY dreamy! And the woman who plays the heroine is soooooo good. SHE drives the narrative and I think she brought the best out of Armitage.

      I’ve loved Jane Austen since I was a girl; I inherited that love from my mother. But I never forget that most of the money that all those people talk about comes from West Indies, where my ancestors lived and died as slaves to give the people in Austen’s novels nice estates and pretty clothes.

      • Lizzieb says:

        @kerwood. Thanks for saying that. It always bugged me the way it was described as just finding a fortune as though it had been left on the beach by fairies. Love Austen but she was willfully blind to how the money was made via colonialism and slavery.

  48. OriginalRose says:

    Can I threadjack with a ‘Fassbender as Mr Rochester’ survey too? ;oD

  49. QueenMeow says:

    Love both! They are both great in their different portrayals, but that proposal scene in the 2005 movie?? I do not cry at movies, I do not swoon too easily, but every single time I watch it (and I’ve watched it probably 100 times at this point) I cry from overwhelming emotion. He is just so dang romantic.

  50. Texas says:

    Colin was the perfect Darcy but I was more attracted to Matthew. My Gawd he was hot.

  51. Faithmobile says:

    43 and I love them both. The 2005 version has such wonderful cinematography and a beautiful soundtrack. I have watched both repeatedly. The 2005 is much more romantic too. I agree with above posters that North and South is just as repeatable though a little dark as P & P. I’m totally ready for another Darcy. So many batmen so little Darcy…why?

  52. TheOtherViv says:

    I do think age has something to do with it! I am taking a wild guess that Colin Firth wins 8 out of 10 in my fellow 45+ers.
    But can we please not forget about the hotness that Rupert Penry-Jones delivered in the BBC version of Austen’s Persuasion?

  53. Abby says:

    I love them both, but the 2005 version of P&P is my absolute favorite movie of all time. Matthew is my Darcy. I’m 35, grew up on the 1995 series, but the 2005 version is still my favorite. In 2010, I walked down the aisle to the dawn soundtrack and we had his “you have bewitched me, body and soul…” quote on our wedding program.

    • La says:

      I’m now really mad I didn’t think to do either of those for our wedding! That is a beautiful song to walk to!

  54. Anne says:

    Has anyone here seen Lost in Austen? I rewatched it recently and was reminded of how well cast it is! Mr. Darcy, Bingley, Wickham, Collins, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, I really think they did a great job with the casting in that one.

  55. Iknow says:

    Matthew for the win. That’s why when I see him as Tom on Succession I go through this odd cognitive dissonance.

    • Green Desert says:

      Agreed on all points! He really is great on Succession, my current favorite show. I’m so sad it won’t be back until next summer.

  56. Sean says:

    Both Firth and Macfadyen were excellent as their respective Darcys. But answer me this:

    Who was the creepier/more pathetic version of Mr. Collins, David Bamber or Tom Hollander?

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      David Bamber was perfect comically pathetic perfection and true to the satire in the book.

    • Deedee says:

      Oh, I loved Tom Hollander. When he’s standing there in the dance sequence, holding the flower, you feel sympathy. He is who he is, and as unsufferable as his proposal is to Elizabeth, he’s still a human being with feelings.

    • Harla says:

      David Bamber was perfect for the part. Although I did feel more sympathy for Tom Hollander’s Mr. Collins

    • Abby says:

      I love Tom Hollander as Mr. Collins forever. My husband likes to tell me “What excellent boiled potatoes.” Every part of his performance was perfect.

  57. susiecue says:

    Age: 34

    Colin. But I like Matthew too.

  58. Babadook says:

    It’s Matthew. The restrained sexual tension in that movie still does it for me. I find Firth’s Darcy too antiseptic. That said, I was a very young teen when 2005 came out so I think my judgement may be a little clouded.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      And older gals like me found so much tension in the dialogue in the Colin Firth version…reflecting what was in my book. Found more of the “meeting of the minds” through the banter and the eye contact in the BBC series.

      • Babadook says:

        Totally fair assessment! I do genuinely think it’s whichever one you were exposed to at the right time and how comfortable you are with a little bit of deviation from the book.

      • dj says:

        Respectfully, disagree. I’m in my 50’s and Matthew M. Takes my breath away. It is my favorite movie. I have it in my DVR and watch it so frequently that my husband groans every time I watch it. He even knows some dialogue. LOL. Also his second proposal is so romantic I still swoon every time.

  59. Monsy says:

    Matthew Macfadyen!

  60. manda says:

    Matthew Rhys as Mr. Darcy in Death Comes to Pemberly. Love that miniseries!

    • Harla says:

      I tried to watch it as I loved the book but I couldn’t get Jennifer Ehle out of my mind and keep comparing this actress to her. Maybe I’ll try again.

    • Brandy Alexander says:

      I haven’t seen that, but I love Matthew Rhys, so I am going to look for it. But I have to say – I HATED that book. I read it back to back with P&P, and it was like they took ALL of Elizabeth’s personality away from her.

      • manda says:

        Hmmm, you two may not like it but I loved it. I will say, I saw the miniseries BEFORE reading the book, and enjoyed the show better. And, yes, the actress playing Lizzy wouldn’t be my first choice either, but I have since grown to really like her.

      • Little Red says:

        We just read “Death Comes to Pemberley” for book club and one of the points made was that in the book, she’s very passive, and Darcy is the one who gets all the action. In the tv series, Lizzie is a much more active character in the story.

  61. daro says:

    As much as I loved Colin Firth, I’ve got to go with McFayden. ….However, I’d like to give a shoutout to the first Darcy I watched — David Rintoul in the 80s version that aired on Masterpiece theater, plus Elizabeth Garvie was a great Elizabeth.

    • leigh says:

      David Rintoul as Darcy and Elizabeth Garvie as Elizabeth ruined any other adaptations for me … they were so perfect. The 1980’s version doesn’t get enough love … it’s worth seeking out.

      • lisanne says:

        Me too–David Rintoul and Elizabeth Garvie were marvelous. And the other actors/characters, too.

  62. Lizzie says:

    matthew macfadyen only b/c i thought he and kiera knightly were incendiary together.

    gwyneth paltrow was extremely underrated as emma. that movie is lovely and everyone is lovely in it. the cast is really incredible and jeremy northam was a nice mr knightly. he’s so handsome.

  63. Deedee says:

    Different projects, different Darcys. I like Collin Firth in the Bridget Jones movies better than in P & P. But Matthew Macfayden was perfect for the 2005 movie.

  64. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I know I go on and on about science fiction, fantasy, horror/thriller and despise musicals and romantic comedies, but, BUT, I can’t, not ever, miss any adaptations of classic literature. I’m a walking talking dichotomy. And most of my favorites hang together within centuries lol, like pianists!

    Austen is a superb read and funny and…well it’s like traveling through time. Colin’s Darcy was phenomenal and truer, I suppose, to the novel. Matthew did lend more range, but I don’t see any other way acting opposite Knightley. She rebuked restraint and pushed the character. I’m with loving them both. And forever watching new imaginings.

    I read a couple of posts a few days backs about superhero movies being less than and a hope for certain series to end such as, Terminator (or maybe it’s just run its course). With all the remakes we’ve seen throughout the years, I’m surprised anyone’s surprised the trend continues. I don’t think it’s a trend. It’s what we do.

    When I think about Shakespeare I smile and wonder what’s next. Austen’s novels can make me laugh and cry, and I’ll always want to see what someone else saw when reading. Good or bad, I enjoy compare and contrast discussions lol. Thank goodness our choices continue to expand.

  65. Charfromdarock says:

    I love both but if I absolutely had to choose it’s Matthew.

  66. truthSF says:

    Based on the personalities of the 2 leads, the 2005 version came off more as a mix of the 1995 miniseries and 2001 Bridget Jones Diary movie. And since Collin played the heck out of Darcy in both adaptations, he wins by a landslide.

  67. grumpyterrier says:

    I don’t find Matthew attractive for whatever reason, but he was def the better Mr. Darcy. I’m 43. Is anyone watching him in Succession? He’s amazing!

  68. Lowercaselila says:

    It is hard to say because they are both great actors, but for me the production, script and photography made Mathew a much better Mr Darcy. That scene towards the end when Mathew is walking through the beautiful meadow and Kiera is walking to meet him was beautifully shot.

  69. M.A.F. says:

    Matthew. The way he walked through that mist….come on!

  70. What. . .now? says:

    Both were great. I was surprised at how much I loved the 2005 version of the movie.

    Having said that, Colin Firth, hands down.

  71. ib says:

    28 and Matthew. (PS state your age too guys Im fascinated!)
    Please don’t give me salt about how the 2005 movie takes liberties with the script to make it more overwrought romantic –the lake scene in the 1995 one is even MORE ridiculous and over the top.
    I thought that he played Darcy’s emotional life much closer to my interpretation from the book of what it must have been. Matthew’s Darcy had to be different from Firth’s Darcy to make it his own –and think he did so beautifully. The result of Matthew not going the Firth route is that you end up with a character that is much easier to love –snobby yes but that stemming just as much from being more isolated and awkward — versus rich super snob/hauteur Colin Firth.
    I’m a snob for the production value of ALL parts of a movie so I really appreciated the cinematography, soundtrack, production design…. and let’s be real the length is important! I can watch the 2005 version MUCH more often than the long 1995 version. I no longer watch either on regular rotation because streaming platforms and adulthood have changed my viewing habits, but when I do reach for PP it is more often than not the 2005 one now, simply because of time constraints. Is it the ‘pure’ version of the text? no, it is shortened (with some losses, I would argue, including col. fitzwilliam’s role) but I challenge 1995 -PP fans to admit that they DON’T watch 1995 selectively. I bet you that most 1995 fans pick and choose scenes, the majority of the time they watch it. Okay, I have gotten off topic from the Matthew vs Colin’s Darcy, but i guess what I am saying is that for me I both like the emotional and awkward Darcy interpretation AND to fully absorb and appreciate either Darcy I want/need to consume each film as a whole. And the choices of the 1995 film make that difficult.

  72. readingissexy says:

    Jane Austen, the daughter of a pastor, wrote several of her novels as satire of the sentimental novel that was all the rage in England at the time. You could argue that she was in fact suspicious of overt displays of intense emotion. Because of this, the Keira Knightley adaptation does not capture the original spirit of the novel. The scenes and cinematography are highly romantic. I also often felt like the interpretation painted Lizzy as an hysterical woman and Darcy as simply misunderstood rather than arrogant.

    +1 for Colin Firth and the BBC adaptation!!!

  73. Michelle says:

    This post made me laugh. My daughter (19) and I (50) LOVE pride and Prejudice although We have never seen Colin Firth’s version (Netflix please!) so I am gonna have to go with Matthew for now. When he does his second proposal, it gets me in my feels every time.

    • Brandy Alexander says:

      If you have Amazon Prime, I recently watched the Colin Firth mini-series on that for free. Hopefully, it’s still there, but they seem to have a partnership with BBC, so I’m betting it still is.

      • Lizzieb says:

        Actually in Canada both are on Amazon prime. Let the comparisons commence

      • Becks1 says:

        I just checked last night, in the US it is only available on Amazon prime to buy or if you have BritBox, its free through that.

        I foolishly subscribed to Acorn a month ago and not Brit Box.

  74. Nuzzybear says:

    Rather than offer my thoughts on who did the better Darcy, let me offer my thoughts on the voters:

    Matthew’s Darcy: socially awkward, yet worshipful – the Darcy for dog people.

    Colin’s Darcy: annoyed, mysterious, dominant – the Darcy for cat people.

    • Harla says:

      Hi Nuzzybear, interesting thoughts however I’m a life long dog person and a Colin Firth/Mr. Darcy voter 🙂 But I do like how you highlighted the traits of dogs/cats and the Mr. Darcy’s, I never would have thought of this.

  75. Ruyana says:

    Colin Firth for the win, all day and every day.

  76. Carmen says:

    Couldn’t stand either of them The ONLY, and I mean THE ONLY good version of P&P was the 1980 version starring Elizabeth Garvie as Elizabeth Bennett and David Rintoul as Darcy. Both of them were absolutely perfect in their roles. And it is the only version which faithfully reproduces Austen’s original.

    • The Recluse says:

      I was in the middle of watching this version when I was in high school when we moved to Cordova, Alaska and I knew I wouldn’t get to finish watching it. That was when I read it, on the journey north, on the ferry from Seattle to Haines, Alaska. I had to know how it ended.

  77. Nina says:

    Although I like the mini-series better, Matthew is the superior Darcy. Granted, I wouldn’t kick Firth out of bed.

    I will mention that I cannot stand Kiera Knightley as Elizabeth.

  78. JV says:

    Colin Firth forever! I’m 39, and first watched the 1995 P&P at the tender age of 14 or 15… He totally swept my heart away and keeps it to this day! Our car has a bumper sticker that says “I <3 Mr. Darcy" … My husband is a good man!

  79. Reece says:

    Colin Firth for me, Firever! <typo stays I’m 41.
    However I do enjoy Matthew McFayden's portrayal. In fact he is one of the very few things I can stand in that movie.

  80. Erica says:

    Colin Firth! In all roles! At all times! That said, I think you also have to consider the Elizabeth they had to play off of. Jennifer Ehle for the win!

  81. Liz version 700 says:

    Colin Firth will always be my Mr. Darcy I also loved Elizabeth in that version. However, both movies were well done and I do love that the newer version is a one night commitment not a weekend

  82. Jaded says:

    66 Colin Firth absolutely. I’m a great reader of Jane Austen and the Mr. Darcy he portrays is spot on from the book – he’s conflicted, confused and unable to process the burgeoning feelings he has for Elizabeth because of the huge societal divide between them.

    • Chicken says:

      Right? The actors in the 2005 adaptation are not at all faithful to the book, and exaggerate class differences to the point that it’s basically satire. All of Austen’s subtlety and wit are lost and you’re left with … dreck. Like, if I want my male lead to act look and act like an emo boy band lead, I’ll watch a different movie.

  83. Ann says:

    54, I watched it on A&E in 1995.
    Thank you for giving me something important to think about! For me it’s Colin Firth, but I love that there can be disagreement over this! That lower photo, I believe, is when Darcy looks goo goo eyed at Elizabeth (and she in return) after Elizabeth steps in to rescue Georgiana from the abominable Miss Bingley’s discussion about George Wickham. I have goosebumps just thinking about how he looks at her. That’s how I want to be looked at all day, every day haha

  84. Megbot2000 says:

    Matthew Macfadyen was incredibly nasty to me (actively went out of his way to say hurtful things) when I was an extra in one of his TV shows nearly a decade ago. I’d not even spoken to him, he just resented an extra being in the same makeup trailer. Normally actors just ignore extras! I also overheard him having an intimate phone conversation with someone I assumed was his wife then he told the person “I have a meeting with Keeley tomorrow to discuss the DVD launch” so it obviously wasn’t.

    So Colin Firth because I’ve worked with him too and he was lovely, and very polite to all the extras.

  85. Dizzy says:

    Matthew all the way. Sexy…
    Colin was too cold, I know that’s the point of the novel but I think you have to show both sides.
    Whenever it’s on TV I always watch this version. I’ve seen it so many times.
    We don’t see enough of Matthew theses days. Where did he go?

  86. Chicken says:

    The 2005 adaptation is an ABOMINATION. Like, I find it completely unwatchable it’s so bad. The 1995 adaption is pretty much the only version I recognize. For what it’s worth, I’m 35, and in addition to watching the miniseries debut in real time, over the years, I have owned the VHS box set of 1995 P&P, the DVD set of it, and I own it on multiple online platforms now.

  87. Liv says:

    COLIN FIRTH!!!!Loved the BBC series and still do!

  88. Vanessa says:

    I will take both, please and thank you.

  89. Amber says:

    I’m 26 and it’s Matthew for me all the way. I saw the movie in theatres when I was twelve and watched the miniseries shortly after that. Matthew brings the passion, the longing, that makes the character come alive. And the scene at the end of the movie when he’s crossing the field in the early morning and proposes to Elizabeth is so beautiful. I know it’s emotional and dramatic but really what is the point of a love story without powerful emotions and dramatic encounters?! This story is one of the grand passions of all literature.
    I also think that adaptation does a better job of delineating the class difference between the characters. You really get through the production design and the chickens and pigs wandering around in the yard, that the Bennett’s home, while comfortable, would be considered middle-class. They also set the movie in 1797, when Austen wrote the first draft of it, as opposed to later on, so the fancy women are wearing empire-line dresses, but the middle-class ones aren’t yet because it hasn’t become accessible. Lizzy wears the same four dresses over and over again like people actually did. I don’t remember thinking it was as clear in the miniseries, but I also haven’t seen it in over ten years so maybe I’m wrong.

    • Penguin says:

      But the whole point is there isn’t a class difference. “ He is a gentleman, I am a gentleman’s daughter” wouldn’t make sense otherwise. Longbourn is a respectable Manor House. Not a pig-stye. The 1995 version made the differences in scale clear.

    • Becks1 says:

      in the miniseries, Lizzie definitely wears the same dresses over and over again. She probably has 4-5 different dresses? I think its less obvious bc in a lot of scenes she’s wearing a cloak.

  90. Xiola says:

    Colin Firth. Period. End of story. 🙂

  91. Boudica says:

    I favour Colin Firth’s Darcy, but having seen both clips I am going to have to re-watch both just to make absolutely sure. 😀 And to re-watch Keira because she was excellent.

  92. LP says:

    The 2005 Pride and Prejudice was SO virulently unfaithful to the book and the time period it made me practically shoot flames out of my eyes onto the screen. Even thinking about it p*Isses me off! If you like Matthew Macfayden, he’s just as swoonworthy in Little Dorrit, an adaptation that actually knew what to tweak for the screen (and could cast the right actors, good lord. The rest of the characters in the 2005 version just couldn’t’ even been any blander.)

  93. Swan Lake says:

    I’m 71, and it’s Matthew for me. Colin’s swim and his Mr. Darcy did nothing for me. Matthew’s social awkwardness and vulnerability better fit my idea of the original; in fact I prefer all of the 2005 actors over those from 1995. It’s so odd to hear Matthew’s American accent in Succession.

  94. Lindy says:

    Colin Firth, because it feels so much more like the Darcy of the book, and I love the book so very much. Darcy wasn’t shy and nerdy, he was arrogant, secure in his privilege, and reserved around anyone who didn’t meet his criteria for “good enough.” He changes in part because of Elizabeth’s influence on him. (Which is the fantasy, right? That a woman can expect to change a man if only she’s smart and witty and sweet enough).

    The 2005 version just doesn’t bring the book alive for me the way the miniseries does.

    • LindaM says:

      Agree with everything you said. I have the mini series on DVD and watched it countless times. I don’t own the 2005 movie version.

  95. Lily says:

    Matthew wins hands down!

  96. Jenofken says:

    Check out BBC costume drama North and South to see Richard Armitage play another reluctant Victorian lover, John Thornton…so cranky and so hot! It’s on Netflix.

    • Little Red says:

      RA in this was single-handedly responsible for me joining the Armitage Army more than twelve years ago.

  97. Mego says:

    Colin Firth’ s performance for me, encapsulated the Darcy of the novel so I like it best. I loved the 2005 movie too. Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow was wonderful and Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility is one of my favourite movies of all time. Jane Austen novels inspired some wonderful television and film for sure.

    • swirlmamad says:

      Yes! I was coming to ask if anyone loved the 1995 version of Sense & Sensibility as much as I do. Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, Greg Wise…they are ALL wonderful. Definitely in my top two favorite Austen movies (P&P with Colin Firth Darcy as #1)!

    • Myopinioncounts says:

      Yes, S&S by Ang Lee and in part thanks to Emma Thompson’s script was also fantastic and true to Jane Austen. Beautiful language and like Jennifer Ehle all the actors got the speech rhythm and intonation and so on just right. Jennifer Ehle talked about this, how they spoke with a different rhythm and how she had to learn it. (I don’t like Jane Austen so much anymore but was a fan in my teens.)

    • L4frimaire says:

      My favorite of that Austen pack of films back then was Persuasion. Really good. Also Sense and Sensibility. Not a big fan of Emma, all the women seemed silly in that film , but did like Clueless.

  98. Alyse says:

    1. Firth as Darcy in Bridget Jones
    2. MacFayden as Darcy in 2005 P&P
    3. Firth as Darcy in 1995 P&P

    it is known

  99. Siul says:

    I picture myself watching Matthew sleeping on the couch and I stand and watch him for a moment. It’s cold and I reach over and put a quilt on him. He opens his eyes and smiles a little and goes back to sleep. I bend down to smell his hair and I realize that the love we have will be the only I’ll ever experience. Nothing else. Then I wake up on the couch and realize I’m alone, that the love I had for Matthew never existed.

  100. Who is Justice Beaver? says:

    Matthew McFadyen. All day. Every day. I’m obsessed with watching him on Succession, trying to compare that character with Darcy. He does things to me.

  101. Myopinioncounts says:

    Joe Wright’s adaptation was utterly STUPID as it ended with the two love birds sitting in their nightgowns in the garden at sunrise. RIGHT.

    BBC series all the way. Darcy was a huge snob and entitled and accurate, rather than socially awkward per se. Everyone would have treated his aloofness as natural because he was basically a demi-god given his wealth/status. Even his 1st confession of love was (“rightly” given his status relative to hers) arrogant rather than awkward. MacFadyen’s social awkwardness wasn’t right. If you wanna do Jane Austen, you have to go orthodox or nothing because Jane Austen IS ALL ABOUT the manners and convention and etiquette and social mores.

    As for Lizzie, Jennifer Ehle was BORN TO PLAY HER. She was even better than Colin Firth in this sense. The Joe Wright version had Keira Knightley acting girlish and weird rather than the clever, quick-wittedness of Lizzie – which is exactly what Darcy loved about her. BBC series will never be surpassed.

  102. bekindbekindbekind says:


  103. TiredMomof2 says:

    A very long time ago there was a BBC production with Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul (so?) as Darcy. He is my favorite Darcy Of.All.Time.

  104. Lila says:

    I love both as Darcy. They’ve each got the intense stare thing down.

    I’d love future articles about any the Austen heroes! Even about how confusing it is that JLM is Knightly (swoon) and cousin Edmund (ick!).

  105. MerryGirl says:

    Two words: Colin Firth

  106. Lilly (with the double-L) says:


  107. Little Red says:

    Age: 47
    Darcy: Colin Firth all the way!!!!

    I was twenty-two when I saw the BBC production on A&E and I have been in love ever since. I even bought the 6-videocassette set back in 1999 and watched it every NYE. They recently broadcasted it on PBS and it still holds up.

    I remember seeing the 2005 movie adaptation starring Knightley and it didn’t completely suck.

    Also, a hearty recommendation to Richard Armitage and “North & South” based on the Elizabeth Haskell novel of the same name. His performance as John Thornton is perfection. And it has one of the best screen kisses ever.

  108. L4frimaire says:

    I liked the Colin Firth Darcy, but not sure if I watched the entire Keira Knightly Pride and Prejudice, so can’t quite remember how good Matthew MacFadyen is or isn’t. Will have to rewatch it. I think I preferred the costumes and production design of the Colin Firth one, The other one looked a bit more grimy, which was probably more historically accurate.

  109. Katebush says:

    Oh lord I’m surprised this is actually a debate how could anyone top COLIN FIRTH as Darcy?? When he comes out of the lake in his wet shirt and those eyes of his?? I loved Jennifer Ehle too she was just gorgeous. Thabks for a great post!

  110. Mandy says:

    61 – Matthew Macfadyen! He makes me swoon!! I think I have watched him as Darcy, Oh
    25 times at least…he is magical!

  111. Anne says:

    My favourite Darcy is Colin Firth, but I much prefer Mr Knightley and Captain Wentworth to Darcy. Also North and South’s Mr Thornton, as others have mentioned.

  112. Penguin says:

    1995 over 2005 any day. Darcy is not heathcliff, propriety was at the heart of Jane Austen’s novels and that last scene kills the film.

    Overall though it’s more about Lizzie, you can see why Darcy falls for Jennifer Ehle’s Lizzie. Keira he wouldn’t give a second glance

    However Richard Armitage beats them both in swoon worthiness.

  113. Maxie says:

    Even though I thought both did a great job, I have to go with Colin Firth.

  114. holly hobby says:

    I’m a Colin Firth fan no doubt. I really liked him in Bridget Jones and Love Actually. Not so much in P&P. I do have to say the miniseries can afford drawing out the tale so you have that. The movie was great too. My favorite scene from the movie, which no one talked about here, was when Darcy confronts Lizzie during the rain. The chemistry there was palatable.

    Sense and Sensibility the movie was excellent. However, I watched the BBC miniseries because of Dan Stevens. Hahha

  115. Andrea says:

    Colin Firth all the way although the other guy is HOT.

  116. Forgotmyname says:

    Colin Firth, hands down. One of my favorite scenes was him petulantly stomping his way across the lawn at Rosings Park after his disasterous first proposal. Loved that badass walk! You could almost feel the fury roiling off of him. Makes me chuckle every time.

    As for other Austen adaptations, I have to show some love for the Kate Beckinsale/Mark Strong version of Emma It was a 96 tv miniseries directed by Andrew Davies who had just directed the 95 version of P&P. Unfortunately, as it came out around the same time as the Paltrow/Northam movie, it was eclipsed by it. I thought that Kate’s Emma was much more flawed, nuanced and generally closer to the book.

  117. Essie says:

    Love them both, and Pride and Prejudice is my favourite book. I was lucky enough to have a fantastic English Lit teacher in high school who delved deep into the novel and helped to showcase Jane Austin’s clever wit. I named my first son Darcy as a tribute to a brilliant author.