Left column, from top: Romola Garai (Emma Woodhouse) and Jonny Lee Miller (Mr. Knightley) in the 2009 mini series; Samantha Morton (Harriet Smith) and Kate Beckinsale (Emma) in the 1996 TV movie; Ania Marson (Jane Fairfax), John Carson (Mr. Knightley) and Doran Godwin (Emma Woodhouse) in the 1972 mini series; Paul Rudd (Josh) and Alicia Silverstone (Cher) in Clueless

Middle column, from top: Gwyneth Paltrow (Emma Woodhouse) and Jeremy Northam (Mr. Knightley) in the 1996 theatrical version; Sonam Kapoor in the Bollywood version, Aisha; Joanna Sotomura (Emma Woodhouse) and Brent Bailey (Alex Knightley) in Emma Approved; Polly Walker (Jane Fairfax) and Ewan McGregor (Frank Churchill) in the 1996 film

Right column, from top: Alicia Silverstone as Cher Horowitz in Clueless; Christina Cole and Blake Ritson as the Eltons in the 2009 mini series; Mark Strong as Mr. Knightley in the 1996 TV movie; Doran Godwin as the eponymous heroine in the 1972 mini series



The mid-1990s brought a flurry of Emma adaptations, beginning with Amy Heckerling’s hit 1995 film Clueless — which, in turn, sparked a wave of other Austen modernizations — and followed by two, more traditional, versions in 1996. The novel finally got a full mini series update in 2009. Several live television broadcasts from the 1940s to the 1960s are now lost for posterity, including a BBC version from 1960 with a young David McCallum as Frank Churchill and an NBC Kraft Theatre version from 1954 with Roddy McDowall as Mr. Elton.

In October 2018, Paramount Pictures announced a Clueless remake and Working Title revealed that a new version of Emma is being developed with a script by Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton. Anya Taylor-Joy has been cast in the title role.

Traditional Adaptations

Emma (2009)

This four-part mini-series, with its four-hour running time, is the most faithful adaptation of Emma to date, with even minor characters well fleshed out. The opening narration emphasizes the different life paths of Emma Woodhouse, Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill after the loss of a parent.

Director: Jim O’Hanlon
Screenplay: Sandy Welch

Lead cast:
Romola Garai (Emma Woodhouse)
Jonny Lee Miller (Mr. Knightley)
Michael Gambon (Mr. Woodhouse)
Jodhi May (Anne Weston)
Robert Bathurst (Mr. Weston)
Louise Dylan (Harriet Smith)
Blake Ritson (Mr. Elton)
Christina Cole (Mrs. Elton)
Tamsin Greig (Miss Bates)
Laura Pyper (Jane Fairfax)
Rupert Evans (Frank Churchill)
Dan Fredenburgh (John Knightley)
Poppy Miller (Isabella Knightley)

Official BBC site
2009 IMDB page

Emma (1996)

At an hour and 45 minutes, this TV movie for A&E had to truncate much of the novel but is one of Andrew Davies’ first Austen adaptation following the 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini series.

Director: Diarmuid Lawrence
Screenplay: Andrew Davies

Lead cast:
Kate Beckinsale (Emma Woodhouse)
Mark Strong (Mr. Knightley)
Samantha Morton (Harriet Smith)
James Hazeldine (Mr. Weston)
Samantha Bond (Mrs. Weston)
Dominic Rowan (Mr. Elton)
Lucy Robinson (Mrs. Elton)
Prunella Scales (Miss Bates)
Bernard Hepton (Mr. Woodhouse)
Olivia Williams (Jane Fairfax)
Raymond Coulthard (Frank Churchill)
Guy Henry (John Knightley)
Dido Miles (Isabella)
Sylvia Barter (Mrs. Bates)

Emma 1996 IMDB page

Emma (1996)

This two-hour theatrical production is relatively faithful to the novel during the first half of the film and then has to rush to the conclusion, minimizing screen time for major characters introduced later in the action.

Director: Douglas McGrath
Screenplay: Douglas McGrath

Lead cast:
Gwyneth Paltrow (Emma Woodhouse)
Jeremy Northam (Mr. Knightley)
Toni Collette (Harriet Smith)
James Cosmo (Mr. Weston)
Greta Scacchi (Mrs. Weston)
Alan Cumming (Mr. Elton)
Juliette Stevenson (Mrs. Elton)
Sophie Thompson (Miss Bates)
Denys Hawthorne (Mr. Woodhouse)
Polly Walker (Jane Fairfax)
Ewan McGregor (Frank Churchill)
Brian Capron (John Knightley)
Karen Westwood (Isabella)
Phyllida Law (Mrs. Bates)

Official trailer
Emma 1996 IMDB page

Emma (1972)

This four-hour, six-part mini series for the BBC was shot on videotape and mostly in studio, lending it more the feeling of a play on film than a film adaptation. It follows the novel’s narrative closely.

Director: John Glenister
Screenplay: Denis Constanduros

Lead cast:
Doran Godwin (Emma Woodhouse)
John Carson (Mr. Knightley)
Debbie Bowen (Harriet Smith)
Raymond Adamson (Mr. Weston)
Ellen Dryden (Mrs. Weston)
Timothy Peters (Mr. Elton)
Fiona Walker (Mrs. Elton)
Constance Chapman (Miss Bates)
Donald Eccles (Mr. Woodhouse)
Ania Marson (Jane Fairfax)
Robert East (Frank Churchill)
John Kelland (John Knightley)
Meg Gleed (Isabella)
Mary Holder (Mrs. Bates)

Emma 1972 IMDB page

Film Locations


Squerryes Court

Squerryes Court in Kent portrayed the Woodhouse estate in the 2009 mini series.

Trafalagar Park

Trafalgar Park in North Salisbury, Wiltshire, took the role of Hartfield in the 1996 TV movie.

Came House

Came House in Dorchester, Dorset, portrayed Hartfield in the 1996 feature film.

Donwell Abbey

Loseley Park

Loseley Park, Guildford, Surrey stood in for Donwell Abbey in the 2009 mini series.

Sudeley Castle

Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire served as Donwell Abbey in the 1996 TV movie with Kate Beckinsale and Mark Strong.

Claydon House

Claydon House in Buckinghamshire took the role of Donwell Abbey in the 1996 feature film with Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam.



Mapperton in Beaminster, Dorset, portrayed Randalls in the 1996 feature film.

Dorney Court

Dorney Court in Buckinghamshire played Randalls in the 1996 TV movie.



The village of Chilham in Kent stood in for Highbury Village in the 2009 mini series.

Lacock Village

Lacock Village in Wiltshire served as the setting for scenes in Highbury Village in the 1996 TV movie.


The village of Evershot in Dorset filled in for Highbury Village in the 1996 feature film.
Check out our Pinterest collection of film location boards!

Modern/Loose Adaptations

Clueless (1995)

By seamlessly translating Emma Woodhouse and her family and friends into late 20th century Beverly Hills, Amy Heckerling’s take on Emma launched a new era in Austen adaptation — the modernization.

Director: Amy Heckerling
Screenplay: Amy Heckerling

Lead cast:
Alicia Silverstone (Cher Horowitz)
Paul Rudd (Josh)
Stacey Dash (Dionne)
Brittany Murphy (Tai)
Donald Faison (Murray)
Breckin Meyer (Travis)
Jeremy Sisto (Elton)
Dan Hedaya (Mel Horowitz)
Wallace Shawn (Mr. Wendell Hall)
Twink Caplan (Miss Toby Geist)
Justin Walker (Christian)
Elisa Donovan (Amber)

Clueless IMDB page

Emma Approved (2013)

This 72-episode web series was produced by Pemberley Digital, which created The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. The multi-platform production included Emma’s fashion posts on Instagram and Harriet’s music club.

Creator: Bernie Su
Writers: Tamara Krinsky, Tracy Bitterolf, Bernie Su, Julie Benson, Shawna Benson, Ana Ávila, Angelique Hanus, Margaret Dunlap, Kate Rorick

Lead cast:
Joanna Sotomura (Emma Woodhouse)
Brent Bailey (Alex Knightley)
Dayeanne Hutton (Harriet Smith)
Alexis Boozer Sterling (Annie Taylor)
Stephen A. Chang (Frank Churchill)
Paul Stuart (James Elton)
Tyra Colar (Jane Fairfax)
James Brent Isaacs (Bobby “BMart” Martin)
Nikea Gamby-Turner (Maddy Bates)
Jessica Jade Andres (Caroline Lee)

Emma Approved official site
Emma Approved IMDB page
Emma Approved on YouTube

Aisha (2010)

The Bollywood version of Emma with a bit of Clueless thrown in for good measure.

Director: Rajshree Ojha
Screenplay: Devika Bhagat

Lead cast:
Sonam Kapoor (Aisha Kapoor)
Abhay Deol (Arjun Burman)
Cyrus Sahukar (Randhir Gambhir)
Arunoday Singh (Dhruv Singh)
Ira Dubey (Pinky Bose)
Lisa Haydon (Aarti Menon)
Yuri Suri (Col. Raghuvendra Singh)
Anand Tiwari (Saurabh Lamba)
Master Krushal (Anushka K. Burman)
Sameer Malhotra (Karan Burman)
Vidushi Mehra (Aaliya Kapoor/Aaliya K. Burman)

Aisha IMDB page

Thug Notes: Emma (2017)

YouTube sensation Thug Notes presents a spot-on, hilarious take on Emma in less than 10 minutes.

Director/Writer: Jared Bauer
Star: Greg Edwards

Thug Notes: Emma YouTube page

The Emma Agenda (2017)

This 60-episode web series was produced by Quip Modest Productions, which is dedicated to telling new and old stories through a feminist and LGBT+ lens.

Writer/Director: Jules Pigott

Selis Maria Vargas (Emma Woodhouse)
Angela Carbone (Jordan Knightley)
Jillian Hite (Harriet Smith)
Shelby Capone (Taylor Anderson)
Daniel Fisher-Golden (Lincoln Churchill)
Alex Brunt (Phil Elton)
John Yazzo (Jon Fairfax)
Andres Cordoba (Robbie Martin)
Alina Jacobs (Hedy Bates)
Yeujia Low (April Hawkins)

The Emma Agenda on YouTube
The Emma Agenda IMDB page