Great Expectations | 1946, John Mills, Alec Guinness

Great Expectations | 1946, John Mills, Alec Guinness

The definitive version of the Dickens classic about an orphaned British boy befriended by a mysterious benefactor who enables him to become a gentleman of means. In the gloom of a country graveyard, a young boy encounters an escaped convict, a chance meeting that years later leads the boy to mysterious adventure, wealth, and joy. Lean’s achievement is in setting once-in-a-lifetime performances in a vibrant narrative that maintains rich detail but never bogs down. Considered by many to be among the greatest films ever made.

Pre-eminent British filmmaker Carol Reed had some nice words for director David Lean after watching the film. Envious of the film’s success, he jokingly told Lean, "Why don’t you fall under a bus?

production details

UK | 118 minutes | 1946

Director: David Lean
Novel: Charles Dickens
Screenplay: David Lean, Ronald Neame, Anthony Havelock-Allan, Kay Walsh, Cecil McGivern
Music: Walter Goehr
Executive Producer: Anthony Havelock-Allan
Producer: Ronald Neame

John Mills as Pip
Tony Wager as Young Pip
Valerie Hobson as Estella
Jean Simmons as Young Estella
Bernard Miles as Joe Gargery
Francis L. Sullivan as Mr. Jaggers
Finlay Currie as Abel Magwitch
Martita Hunt as Miss Havisham
Alec Guinness as Herbert Pocket
Ivor Barnard as Mr. Wemmick
Freda Jackson as Mrs. Joe
Eileen Erskine as Biddy
George Hayes as Convict
Hay Petrie as Uncle Pumblechook
John Forrest as The Pale Young Gentleman
Torin Thatcher as Bentley Drummle
O. B. Clarence as The Aged Parent
John Burch as Mr. Wopsle
Richard George as The Sergeant
Grace Denbigh Russell as Mrs. Wopsle
Everley Gregg as Sarah Pocket
Anne Holland as Relation
Frank Atkinson as Mike
Gordon Begg as Night Porter
Edie Martin as Mrs. Whimple
Walford Hyden as The Dancing Master
Roy Arthur as Galley Steersman




The Viewer's Guide to Film intends to be a comprehensive guide to the very best of cinema from the earliest silent era, through to the golden age of Hollywood and on to today's biggest blockbusters.

Each entry on the site includes a capsule review/plot overview, along with cast and crew credits, images and trailers where available.