Austen’s last complete and most mature novel has rarely been produced in comparison with Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma but that may be about to change. Searchlight Pictures has greenlit a feature film version starring Sarah Snook (HBO’s Succession), penned by Jessica Swale and directed by Mahalia Belo. A contemporary adaptation, Modern Persuasion, was released in December 2020, and another new modernization starring Dakota Johnson (with a script by Ron Bass and Alice Victoria Winslow, directed by British theater director Carrie Cracknell) was announced in April 2021 for Netflix. Many consider the 1995 film to be the definitive version, and — the uncharacteristic running at the end of the 2007 version notwithstanding — the more recent update also has its merits. The 1971 miniseries is heartfelt and faithful to the original, while a 1960 miniseries from the BBC is now considered lost. The novel also has inspired some very loose adaptations, as well as a web series. 

Left column, from top: Amanda Root (Anne Elliot) and Ciarán Hinds (Capt. Wentworth) in the 1995 film; Rupert Penry-Jones (Capt. Wentworth) and Sally Hawkins (Anne Elliot) in the 2007 television movie; Bryan Marshall (Capt. Wentworth) and Ann Firbank (Anne Elliot) in the 1971 mini series; Captain Wentworth in the 1995 film (Ciarán Hinds); Captain Wentworth in the 2007 television movie (Rupert Penry-Jones); Alicia Witt in Modern Persuasion (2020)

Middle column, from top: Sally Hawkins (Anne), Rupert-Penry Jones (Capt. Wentworth) and Jennifer Higham (Louisa Musgrove) in the 2007 television movie; Sally Hawkins (Anne) in the concert scene from 2007; Tia Streaty in the web series from 2015; the scene on the Cobb in Lyme Regis from 1995 and 2007; Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth in a scene from Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Sarah Snook will star in the upcoming feature from Searchlight Pictures

Right column, from top: the concert scene from the 1971 mini series; Keanu Reeves in The Lake House, in which a copy of the book plays a key role; Amanda Root (Anne) and Susan Fleetwood (Lady Russell) in the 1995 film; Sally Hawkins (Anne) and Alice Krige (Lady Russell) in the 2007 adaptation; Samuel West (Mr. Elliot), Amanda Root (Anne Elliot) and Ciarán Hinds (Capt. Wentworth) in the 1995 film; Anthony Head (Sir Walter Elliot), Julia Davis (Elizabeth Elliot) and Amanda Hale (Mary Musgrove) in the 2007 adaptation; Shane McRae and Alicia Witt in Modern Persuasion (2020)

Traditional Versions

Persuasion (2007)

This 93-minute version by Clerkenwell Films and WGBH Boston features a bit too much uncharacteristic running at the conclusion but has its merits and a few excellent casting choices.

Director: Adrian Shergold
Screenplay: Simon Burke

Lead cast:
Sally Hawkins (Anne Elliot)
Rupert Penry-Jones (Capt. Wentworth)
Alice Krige (Lady Russell)
Tobias Menzies (William Elliot)
Anthony Head (Sir Walter Elliot)
Julia Davis (Elizabeth Elliot)
Amanda Hale (Mary Musgrove)
Sam Hazeldine (Charles Musgrove)
Jennifer Higham (Louisa Musgrove)
Rosamund Stephen (Henrietta Musgrove)
Finlay Robertson (James Benwick)
Peter Wight (Admiral Croft)
Marion Bailey (Mrs. Croft)
Nicholas Farrell (Mr. Musgrove)
Stella Gonet (Mrs. Musgrove)
Mary Stockley (Mrs. Clay)
Maisie Dimbleby (Mrs. Smith)

Persuasion 2007 IMDB page

Persuasion (1995)

This well-cast theatrical version is a faithful dramatization of the novel that captures Austen’s tone and never feels rushed, despite the running time of only 1 hour, 47 minutes. It is widely considered the definitive adaptation of Persuasion.

Director: Roger Michell
Screenplay: Nick Dear

Lead cast:
Amanda Root (Anne Elliot)
Ciarán Hinds (Capt. Wentworth)
Susan Fleetwood (Lady Russell)
Samuel West (Mr. Elliot)
Corin Redgrave (Sir Walter Elliot)
Phoebe Nicholls (Elizabeth Elliot)
Sophie Thompson (Mary Musgrove)
Simon Russell Beale (Charles Musgrove)
Emma Roberts (Louisa Musgrove)
Victoria Hamilton (Henrietta Musgrove)
Richard McCabe (Capt. Benwick)
John Woodvine (Admiral Croft)
Fiona Shaw (Mrs. Croft)
Roger Hammond (Mr. Musgrove)
Judy Cornwell (Mrs. Musgrove)
Felicity Dean (Mrs. Clay)
Helen Schlesinger (Mrs. Smith)

Persuasion official trailer
Persuasion 1995 IMDB page

Persuasion (1971)

This five-hour miniseries is a faithful adaptation, shot mostly in studio, on videotape, as was the practice during the era.

Director: Howard Baker
Screenplay: Julian Mitchell

Lead cast:
Ann Firbank (Anne Elliot)
Bryan Marshall (Capt. Wentworth)
Marion Spencer (Lady Russell)
David Savile (William Elliot)
Basil Dignam (Sir Walter Elliot)
Valerie Gearon (Elizabeth Elliot)
Morag Hood (Mary Musgrove)
Rowland Davies (Charles Musgrove)
Zhivala Roche (Louisa Musgrove)
Mel Martin (Henrietta Musgrove)
Paul Chapman (James Benwick)
Richard Vernon (Admiral Croft)
Georgine Anderson (Mrs. Croft)
William Kendall (Mr. Musgrove)
Noel Dyson (Mrs. Musgrove)
Charlotte Mitchell (Mrs. Clay)
Polly Murch (Mrs. Smith)

Persuasion 1971 IMDB page

Persuasion (1960)

This four-episode BBC miniseries is now considered lost.

Director: Campbell Logan
Screenplay: Barbara Burnham and Michael Voysey

Lead cast:
Daphne Slater (Anne Elliot)
Paul Daneman (Capt. Wentworth)
Fabia Drake (Lady Russell)
Derek Blomfield (William Elliot)
George Curzon (Sir Walter Elliot)
Jane Hardie (Elizabeth Elliot)
Clare Austin (Mary Musgrove)
Edward Jewesbury (Charles Musgrove)
Jill Dixon (Louisa Musgrove)
Diane Clare (Henrietta Musgrove)
Brian Nissen (James Benwick)
William Mervyn (Admiral Croft)
Thea Holme (Mrs. Croft)
Wensley Pithey (Mr. Musgrove)
Olga Lindo (Mrs. Musgrove)
Daphne Anderson (Mrs. Clay)
Jane Wenham (Mrs. Smith)

Persuasion 1960 IMDB page

Film Locations

Kellynch Hall

Neston Park

Neston Park in Wiltshire stood in for Kellynch Hall for the 2007 TV movie.

Barnsley Park

Barnsley Park in Gloucestershire served as Kellynch Hall in the 1995 film.

Orangery, Frampton Court

The Orangery, Frampton Court, Gloucestershire, played Kellynch Hall in the 1971 mini series.

Uppercross Great House

Sheldon Manor

Sheldon Manor in Chippenham, Wiltshire, served as Uppercross Great House in both the 2007 TV movie and the 1995 feature film.

Frampton Court

Frampton Court, Gloucestershire, played Uppercross Great House in the 1971 mini series.

Lyme Coaching Inn

Manor House, Great Chalfield

The Manor House in Great Chalfield, Wiltshire, served as the Lyme Coaching Inn in the 2007 TV movie.

George Inn

The George Inn, Norton Street, Philip, Somerset, portrayed the Lyme Coaching Inn in the 1995 film.

Camden Place

Number One, Royal Crescent

Number One, Royal Crescent, portrayed the Camden Place lodgings in the 2007 TV movie.

Sydney Place

Sydney Place stood in for Camden Place in the 1995 film.

Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis

Another perspective on the Cobb at Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis

The Cobb at Lyme Regis is a key location for traditional versions of Persuasion.
Check out our Pinterest collection of film location boards!

Modern/Loose Adaptations

Modern Persuasion (2020)

While the plot has little similarity with Persuasion, the heroine’s copy of the novel — her favorite and a gift from her father — plays a pivotal role in the action, letters are exchanged by the leads, and the description of Anne and Capt. Wentworth’s compatibility is referenced.

Directors: Alex Appel and Jonathan Lisecki
Screenplay: Jonathan Lisecki and Barbara Radecki

Lead cast:
Alicia Witt (Wren Cosgrove)
Shane McRae (Owen Jasper)
Bebe Newwirth (Vanessa Perry)
Daniella Pineda (Kate Grant)
Dominic Rains (Sam Benson)
Mark Moses (Grayson Keller)

Modern Persuasion IMDB page

The Lake House (2006)

While the plot has little similarity with Persuasion, the heroine’s copy of the novel — her favorite and a gift from her father — plays a pivotal role in the action, letters are exchanged by the leads, and the description of Anne and Capt. Wentworth’s compatibility is referenced.

Director: Alejandro Agresti
Screenplay: David Auburn (based on film Siworae by Eun-Jeong Kim & Ji-na Yeo)

Lead cast:
Keanu Reeves (Alex Wyler)
Sandra Bullock (Kate Forster)
Christopher Plummer (Simon Wyler)
Ebon Moss-Bachrach (Henry Wyler)
Dylan Walsh (Morgan)
Shohreh Aghdashloo (Anna)
Willeke van Ammelrooy (Kate’s Mother)

The Lake House IMDB page

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)

Helen Fielding’s novel, on which this followup to her Bridget Jones’s Diary is based, shares numerous parallels with (or homages to) Austen’s Persuasion.

Director: Beeban Kidron
Screenplay: Andrew Davies, Helen Fielding, Richard Curtis and Adam Brooks

Lead cast:
Renée Zellweger (Bridget Jones)
Colin Firth (Mark Darcy)
Hugh Grant (Daniel Cleaver)
Jim Broadbent (Bridget’s Dad)
Gemma Jones (Bridget’s Mum)
Shirley Henderson (Jude)
Sally Phillips (Shazza)
James Callis (Tom)
Celia Imrie (Una Alconbury)
James Faulkner (Geoffrey Alconbury)
Neil Pearson (Richard Finch)
Jessica Hynes (Magda)
Lucy Robinson (Janey)

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason IMDB page

Persuasion (2015)

This 10-episode scripted web series is a dramedy about millennials that borrows from Austen’s novel, beginning with the heroine’s rejection of a marriage proposal from her longtime boyfriend for complicated reasons.

Director: Rico Aleus
Writers: Rico Aleus and Jerrell Pippens

Lead cast:
Jerrell Pippens (Jerrell Spencer)
Tia Streaty (Renee)
Maria Sten (Terry)
Christopher D. Lindsay (Shaun)
Sid Mallya (Brett)
Emilie Kuznicki (Nataasha)
Tonie Quintero-Gonzalez (Ms. Suarez)
Arlene Victoria (Tiffany)
Tatum Miranda (Tatum)
Quincy Ndekwe (Cedric)
Joshua M. Watson (Josh)

Persuasion web series IMDB page