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Which Is The Best Emma Movie?

Updated on February 10, 2015

Looking For The Best Movie Adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma?

Recently, I watched the BBC's and Jane Austen's 2009 movie, Emma. Afterward, I discovered that it is considered by some to be the best Emma movie. However, there are four main contenders out there including the 1972 version with Doran Godwin, the 1997 version with Kate Beckinsale, 1996 version with Gwyneth Paltrow and the 2009 version with Romola Garai.

Blu-ray fans will be disappointed that none of the versions of Emma are available on blu-ray, not even the 2009 version. However, that did not stop us from enjoying the magnificently produced 2009 version of Emma.

On this page, you will find the four Emma movies ranked in chronological order, from the oldest movie too the newest one. True Jane Austen and Emma fans will undoubtedly want to see them all. If you have already seen these movies (and even if you have not), please take a moment at the end to vote for YOUR favourite version of Emma.

The Four Emma Movies

The Four Emma Movies

Which version is your favorite? Will it be:

  • The BBC's Emma with Doran Godwin (1972)
  • Gwyneth Paltrow's Emma (1996)
  • A&E's Emma with Kate Beckinsale (1997)
  • The BBC's Emma with Romola Garai (2009)

They're all displayed here on this page to help you vote for your favorite. A chance to vote for your favorite appears at the end of the page. If you're inclined, you can also click through to Amazon to read more about the individual movies.

The BBC's Emma with Mollie Sugden (1972)

"Love knows no boundaries. And neither does she."

The BBC's Emma with Doran Godwin (1972)

This is the BBC's 1972 version of the story and stars Doran Godwin, Mollie Sugden and Fiona Walker. This movie version of the story may be truest to the book. You will notice a striking difference in how this film was made as compared to how it would have been made today. It almost feels as if you are watching the story on a stage.

This version has a run time of 257 minutes. The trailer is not really a trailer but rather the opening scene of the movie and, as such, runs for eight minutes. Check it out for yourself here:

Emma (1972) Movie Trailer

Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow's (1996)

Gwyneth Paltrow's Emma (1996)

Jane Austen's Emma (1996) stars Gwyneth Paltrow, James Cosmo, Greta Scacchi, Alan Cumming and Denys Hawthorne. This movie received mixed reviews, especially among true fans. Gwyneth Paltrow sparkled in this movie and received generally good reviews. This version is a standard length movie with a run time of 121 minutes. Check out the video trailer here:

A&E's Emma with Kate Beckinsale (1997)

A&E's Emma with Kate Beckinsale (1997)

Emma (1997)

A&E's version of Emma (1997) starred Kate Beckinsale, Bernard Hepton, Mark Strong, Samantha Bond and James Hazeldine. Some called this the best version ever and thought that Kate Beckinsale made the perfect Emma. The version is also movie length with a runtime of 107 minutes. Check her performance out in this brief Youtube video.

Emma (1997) Movie Trailer

The BBC's Emma with Romola Garai (2009)

The BBC's Emma with Romola Garai (2009)

This is yet another BBC version of Emma (2009) and stars Romola Garai, Jonny Lee Miller, Michael Gambon, Tamsin Greig and Rupert Evans. It has two discs and a run time of 229 minutes. Check it out here on the trailer:

Do you have a favorite Emma movie?

Which version of Jane Austen's Emma do you prefer?

See results

More Period Dramas

© 2010 Treasures By Brenda

Do you have a favorite Emma movie?

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    • profile image

      Donna Cook 3 years ago

      Great lens! A&E's Emma (1997) Movie With Kate Beckinsale is my favorite. There's so much more detail and Mark Strong is a fabulous Mr. Knightley.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image
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      Treasures By Brenda 3 years ago from Canada

      @sybil watson: I hope you enjoy them all, Sybil!

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image
      Author

      Treasures By Brenda 3 years ago from Canada

      @TerriCarr: Yes, I've seen it though I haven't written about it. So many great movies!

    • TerriCarr profile image

      TerriCarr 3 years ago

      I like them all! Did you know there is a movie about Jane Austen's life called "Becoming Jane" ?

    • profile image

      sybil watson 3 years ago

      I don't know how I missed the 2009 Masterpiece Classic version of Emma - I watch Masterpiece every week! I thought Gwyneth Paltrow was very good as Emma and of course Jeremy Northam is dreamy. I'll definitely be watching the others you mentioned.

    • profile image

      ChocolateLily 4 years ago

      I've only seen the 2009 version from the library, but I loved it so much I bought it just last week. Thanks for sharing all the versions!

    • LoriBeninger profile image

      LoriBeninger 4 years ago

      I would have liked to hear your summary and opinion...but since I was unaware of any version other then Gwyneth Paltrow's (which I thought was good), I was happy to find this lens. Thank you.

    • profile image

      santadelcobre 5 years ago

      Jeremy Northam in Gwyneth Paltrow's version is amazing.He is the reason I love this version!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I watched the four main Emma adaptations one after another recently and would say this is a really difficult call to make! They all have wonderful things to recommend them. The 2009 version is overall so tight, visually gorgeous, and so well-acted that I think it "wins". I reviewed my thoughts on all the actors in all the key roles for all these adaptations on my blog. It was a fun project!http://lostinbritishtv.blogspot.com/2011/07/emma-c...

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 6 years ago

      I only saw the 1997 version, but I really did love it and saw it several times :) I guess I have some catching up to do.

    • awakeningwellness profile image

      awakeningwellness 7 years ago

      The only one I haven't seen is the older BBC version. I loved the new BBC movie and I also love the Gwenneth Paltrow version but there was something about the A&E one that I really did not like.

    • toriphile81 profile image

      toriphile81 7 years ago

      I loved the Gywenth Paltrow version for years, but I believe that Masterpiece Theater has the most accurate version of all the Jane Austen books, including Emma. I also think the casting is better, even though I enjoyed the cast in the Hollywood version, many of the characters were really not the right age or look, as they were in the Masterpiece Theater version.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      I remember seeing the movie, though I haven't read the book. Next step.

    • toriphile81 profile image

      toriphile81 7 years ago

      I loved the Gywenth Paltrow version for years, but I believe that Masterpiece Theater has the most accurate version of all the Jane Austen books, including Emma. I also think the casting is better, even though I enjoyed the cast in the Hollywood version, many of the characters were really not the right age or look, as they were in the Masterpiece Theater version.

    • Missmerfaery444 profile image

      Missmerfaery444 7 years ago

      Great idea for a lens! I didn't know Kate Beckinsale had done Emma. I haven't seen any of these yet but the BBC usually do make wonderful adaptations. Their Pride and Prejudice is wonderful!

    • profile image

      Joan4 7 years ago

      I really do need to watch each one of these -- and soon! Maybe this winter, that would be a good "pleasure" project for me.

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 7 years ago

      I always liked the Gwenyth Paltrow version best, but I may need to check out that BBC version. You made it sound good.

    • profile image

      SandraRoseDesigns 7 years ago

      I like the original one the best - but have only seen the 1997 version besides. Reading about all of them makes me want to see the other ones! Good movie in general

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 7 years ago

      Brenda, would you believe just a month ago I was scrounging around the 'net looking for a page just like this to compare all the Emmas? Boy, did I need your movie moxie then!

    • capriliz lm profile image

      capriliz lm 7 years ago

      I would have to say that Gwyneth Paltrow's 1996 version is our favorite.