Critic Reviews



Based on 11 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Sir Carol Reed's Oliver! is a treasure of a movie. It is very nearly universal entertainment, one of those rare films like The Wizard of Oz that appeals in many ways to all sorts of people.
Oliver! is a timeless classic that will be as lovable in 10 or 20 years as it is today.
Some of the set pieces are overdone but the final scenes take on an almost operatic quality.
It’s a bright, shiny, heartwarming musical, packed with songs and lively production highspots and, though the leading performances are not all up to the Lean mark, if memory serves it’s a fine enough thesping ensemble to keep exhibitors and audience enthusiastic.
Oliver! is better than most screen musicals of the 1960s, a period when oversized, poorly rendered songfests virtually killed the genre.
It’s an uneven film with a tone that veers from playful to menacing. Despite numerous simplifications of the source material, it’s long and, with only a few exceptions, the songs are unremarkable and feel more like filler than organic elements of storytelling.
Carol Reed's careful if passionless adaptation of the musical was mounted handsomely enough to win the best-picture Oscar back in 1969. In retrospect, it seems emblematic of the triviality Reed descended to in the last years of his career.
Even if you're not a 'fan' of the musicals, Oliver is so witty, so bright and so endearing that even the iciest viewer should start melting in it's corona.
Time Out
Reed is craftsman enough to make an efficient family entertainment out of Lionel Bart's musical, but not artist enough to put back any of Dickens' teeth which Bart had so assiduously drawn.
The focus of the movie is so wide, and the logistics of the production so heavy, that Oliver himself, dutifully played by 9-year-old Mark Lester, gets flattened out and almost lost, as if he had been run over by a studio bulldozer.

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