Mr. Darcys, ranked

darcys.pngMany Darcys have come to life on screens big and small over the years, but who’s the Darcy to rule them all? Here’s our ranking — taking into account only major adaptations of “Pride and Prejudice.” Disagree? Think we’re missing someone? Sound off in the comments.

9. William Darcy in 2004’s “Bride and Prejudice”: This Darcy (Martin Henderson) is a wealthy American traveling to India with his British Indian friends, brother and sister Balraj (Naveen Andrews) and Kiran (Indira Varma). However, Darcy is, well, boring, which is sad, especially when this is an otherwise colorful and fun adaptation. 

8. Will Darcy in 2003’s “Pride and Prejudice”: Darcy (Orlando Seale) here is a snobby businessman who clashes with aspiring writer Elizabeth in this adaptation. He’s a little stilted but has a teeny bit more personality than Darcy in “B&P.”

7. Darcy in 2016’s “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”: As a masterful zombie killer this Darcy (Sam Riley) has formidable fighting skills and goes head to head about Lizzy, who’s no slouch at fighting either. But he’s just a little too wooden for our tastes, his voice a little too raspy and his leather coat a little too squeaky.

6. Darcy in 2005’s  “Pride and Prejudice”: Matthew MacFadyen’s iteration is more shy and misunderstood than he is haughty and taciturn. While the added dimension is appreciated, it makes this Darcy more emo than anything else. We need more fire. 

5. William Darcy in 2012-2013’s “Lizzie Bennet Diaries”: If you watched the series live, you might remember “Darcy Day,” when Darcy (Daniel Vincent Gordh) finally showed up on screen after a very long wait. Up until that point, he had been referenced only by name and Lizzie’s (very biased) role-playing. This Darcy is a hipster one-percenter with a newsboy cap, a bow tie and a multimedia company to run. Reserved and utterly uncomfortable on camera, he can be an endearing but divisive Darcy; some people think he was worth waiting for, while others beg to differ.

4. Mark Darcy in 2001’s “Bridget Jones’s Diary”: Human-rights barrister Mark Darcy (Colin Firth, more on him later) is the epitome of stiff-upper-lip British elite with a heart of gold in this adaptation of the book of the same name. Mark may not be able to fully express his feelings, and he may lack fighting skills, but he’s earnest and droll and ultimately lovable.

3. Mr. Darcy in 1940’s “Pride and Prejudice”: Did you expect Laurence Olivier to be ranked lower? His Darcy is lively, witty and just delightful.

2. Mr. Darcy in 1980’s “Pride and Prejudice”: David Rintoul’s Darcy has it all: pride, prejudice — and a heart that shines through the screen. 

1. Mr. Darcy in 1995’s “Pride and Prejudice”: We all know Colin Firth is the definitive Darcy — the one all other Darcys are compared to. He’s conceited and snobby and yet the soulful looks he gives Lizzy don’t go unnoticed.

How did your favorite Elizabeth rank? We’ve got a list for you!

About Jennifer Abella

Jennifer Abella is a TV/movie/pop culture/knitting/sewing/Jane Austen geek. Oh, and a total Anglophile. Follow her on Twitter: @nextjen.

19 thoughts on “Mr. Darcys, ranked

  1. Totally agree with your 1-4 rankings! The others interested me so little that I’d have trouble ordering them. I thought that Douglas Booth, Mr. Bingley in “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” was far more attractive than the actor they cast as Darcy. Booth also played Percy Bysshe Shelley in the movie “Mary Shelley.”

  2. While Mark Darcy is a Darcy I don’t know if he really belongs on this list. I thought the ratings were fair.

  3. Lawrence Olivier’s Darcy shouldn’t even be on the list. His foppish, mincing portrayal is just cringe-worthy

  4. Not for me! I just don’t get any tingling from Colin- and I need that for my Mr Darcy. My no 1 is your no 6- Matthew McFadyen. I got tingly and find him adorably snobbish at first- perfect Darcy for me and Lizzie.😉

  5. #1 and #2 I feel should be a tie ..both David Rintoul and Colin Firth were so much like Darcy’s character in the book. Though, I do feel David R. was superb in the scene in the Collins home where Darcy proposes to Lizzy and she rejects him.

    1. Since you mention that scene, for those of us who notice Austen’s novel, Darcy does not unbend in that set-to—much less descend to romance comic-book dialogue—to say:

      “I beg you most fervently to relieve my suffering and consent to be my wife.” 1995 Colin Firth [a takeoff on the novel, not an adaptation]

  6. Olivier was brilliant in the role, but Aldous Huxley’s screenplay changed the character too drastically. I’d love to have seen Olivier in the 1995 version that Colin Firth handled so masterfully.

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