Timothy Dalton is Tortured Mr. Rochester in Fan Favorite, Jane Eyre

Jane and Rochester . . . a tale of forbidden love as compelling and chaotic as the rain swept moors . . .

Jane Eyre is considered one of the most famous works in English literature. And it is not hard to see why. The tale poignantly captures unrequited love, something that generations of people have identified with.

In the 1983 BBC version of Jane Eyre,Timothy Dalton plays the troubled Mr. Rochester. And he was born to play the role. He is both commanding while vulnerable. His very casting off of convention makes him a sympathetic character to audiences that can relate only too well to those moments in life when convention is defied to realize a heartfelt desire. Rochester is a rogue who pushes the boundaries without a moment's hesitation . . .

Zelah Clarke portrays the principled Jane. Her demureness and resolve are the perfect contrast to Edward Fairfax Rochester's tortured persona and his emotional declarations of love.

Fate has seemingly brought these two people together and they are akin . . . but all is not as it seems . . .

"It was nothing but a creature of your imagination . . . "

Filming Locations

  • Deene Park
  • Deene, Northhamptonshire England

Mystery & Intrigue in Jane Eyre

Thornfield Hall is forbidding and sets the tone for the story, a tale filled with mystery and secrets.

Jane's quiet role of governess is side-railed with the appearance of the enigmatic Mr. Rochester, master of the manor. His dark, brooding personality transforms as the repartee between him and Jane takes on a life of its own.

Rochester's preference for Jane becomes obvious and he tries to shake her from her firm standing for morality and convention. He is determined to make her his own, even if he has to fly in the face of social norms and take a wildly unconventional route to accomplish his objectives.

Thornfield Hall Holds Dark Secrets

"Good angels be my guard . . . she comes from the abode of the dead . . . I said you were an elf."

Romance and Remorse in Jane Eyre

As with all good love stories, the road to happiness is littered with obstacles.

In this British movie adaptation of Jane Eyre, morality, convention and societal rules are pitted against reason, compassion and mercy.

"So, you shun me . . . you shut yourself up and grieve alone . . . I'd rather you upbraided me with a vehemence . . ."

Jane Eyre DVDs

Have You Seen Jane Eyre?

See results without voting

Jane Eyre Quotes


  • "Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones."
  • "Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs."
  • "Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last."


  • "Dread remorse when you are tempted to err, Miss Eyre; remorse is the poison of life."
  • " I might have been as good as you--wiser--almost as stainless. I envy you your peace of mind, your clean conscience, your unpolluted memory."
  • "And this is what I wished to have. This young girl who stands so grave and quiet at the mouth of hell . . ."
  • "Is it better to drive a fellow-creature to despair than to transgress a mere human law, no man being injured by the breach?"

Jane Eyre Raises Important Questions

  • Should laws be adhered to when to do so would cause a greater degree of suffering?
  • Should obligation take precedence over human well-being?
  • Can an equilibrium be reached between moral duty and happiness?

Forms of Christianity and Their Expression

  • Mr. Brocklehurst--hypocritical puritanism
  • Helen Burns--Meekness and turning the other cheek, seeking the ultimate existence in heaven
  • St. John Rivers--a detached and duty-bound form of devotion
  • Jane--traditional morality tempered with compassion and forgiveness of human failings
  • Rochester--a sinner but far more honest about human nature and the unrealistic demands of religious ideals without compassion to temper them

Haddon Hall, Manor House Used as Thornfield Hall

Where is Haddon Hall?

A markerHaddon Hall, Bakewell, Derbyshire -
Haddon Hall, Haddon Hall, The Estate Office, Bakewell, Derbyshire DE45 1LA, UK
[get directions]

Bakewell, Derbyshire

Jane Eyre--A Masterpiece

Jane Eyre is a masterpiece, mirroring duty and pleasure, agony and happiness--a movie well worth watching again and again.

© 2011 Athlyn Green

More by this Author

Comments 11 comments

Charlotte 8 months ago

I agree with you. I adore this version. Timothy and Zelah are perfectly cast. I am rewatching it for the first time in years, after seeing some more recent adaptations, and struck by how well they play the parts, even though it now looks a bit dated.

Caroline 3 years ago

Hi, I've seen almost all existing versions for Jane Eyre, starting with the very first ones of the early days of the Cinema.....the 1983 adaptation is by far the best one in every and each respect: truthfullness to the story as told by Bronte, picking the most important scenes which disclose the main characteristics and meeting/breaking points between the characters in the plot, the language, too, is in keeping with the book, neither simplified, nor modernised, rendering an authentic dialogue exchange as per the book, which is fabulous: at once more demanding and equally charming! The cast has been an act of genius choice, no one better suited for the roles of Rochester and Jane than Dalton and Clarke, whenever I happen to watch the film I'm always struck by the sensation that there must have been some magic going on between these two fantastic actors which makes their respective parts something which transdescends a mere "acting".......something that touches the heart in a way nothing else does. The same goes for Ms. Fairfax, who's also fantastic in her role, Jane's aunt is also portrayed by a most wonderful actress (who's also playing Mrs. Musgrove in the BBC 1995 adaptation of Persuasion), the same holds equally true for Saint John Rivers and his two sisters, Morag Hood is excellent too, in short, my compliments to this true MASTERPIECE which has captured every important aspect of the book in this unforgettable and unique adaptation. There's an extra special poignancy and sensitivity to it (which is not so easy to highlight once only a few scenes from the entire book need to be selected for the film), CHAPEAU to its creators and participants, to the last one!!! Brilliant, wonderful, mesmerising :) :) :)

Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 3 years ago from West Kootenays Author

Hi Ali, I agree, Dalton was born to play Rochester.

Ali Chandler 3 years ago

I've seen about Seven versions of Jane Eyre. Up until this week when I sat through the version staring Timothy Dalton, having seen this when it was first on tv, I've said for a number of years that William Hurt made the best Edward Rochester, but now I say Timothy Dalton. William Hurt was out of this world as Rochester, but Mr Dalton now takes the crown.

Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 4 years ago from West Kootenays Author

Yes, Dalton was born to be Rochester. Incredibly sexy and intense.

pamela mills 4 years ago

timothy dalton,the greatest rochester forever..simply beatuiful performance and a beautiful man

zelah clarke, the best jane ever

one of my favorite novels and when i think of these two characters..i thinkg of thses two actors...none other.



Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 5 years ago from West Kootenays Author

I agree, Timothy Dalton was the best Rochester--one of his best roles ever!

ANNETE 5 years ago

I believe that the 1983adaptation of Jane Eyre is the best from every aspect.Timothy Dalton ead so perfect in hid performance.I have never seen a more convincing Rochester

ANNETE 5 years ago

I believe that the 1983adaptation of Jane Eyre is the best from every aspect.Timothy Dalton ead so perfect in hid performance.I have never seen a more convincing Rochester

Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 5 years ago from West Kootenays Author


Thanks for stopping by. Jane Eyre is a great movie, one that has stood the test of time.

Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Wow I can not believe it has been almost 30 years since this production, quality hub with lots of great information

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article