The latest version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice comes to DVD this month. And with Keira Knightley’s performance as Elizabeth Bennet gathering her an Academy Award nomination for best actress, perhaps we should take a moment to look at exactly where her suitor, Matthew McFadyen, stands when it comes to playing the infamous Mr. Darcy. Here are our five favorite portrayals of Fitzwilliam Darcy.
1. Colin Firth (1995 BBC miniseries): When Firth emerged fully clothed and wringing wet from the lake at Pemberley, millions of hearts broke across the globe.
2. Laurence Olivier (1940 film): Not even the questionable liberties of the screenplay — penned by Aldous Huxley — could overshadow Olivier’s sparkling performance.
3. David Rintoul (1980 BBC miniseries): Dark, brooding, and introspective; a fine performance from someone who has since become a U.K. small-screen veteran.
4. Peter Cushing (1952 BBC miniseries): The first of the BBC miniseries. Cushing offers just a hint of his dark side, long before he went on to harass Princess Leia in Star Wars.
5. Matthew McFadyen (2005 film): Maybe a little too prissy to be a true Darcy, but adequately charming. His tempered dissolution serves this warts-and-all rendition well.