Oliver Twist (1974 film)

Oliver Twist is a 1974 American animated adventure musical drama film directed by Hal Sutherland that is based on Charles Dickens's novel Oliver Twist. The film was the second and last to be produced by Filmation and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.[1] Davy Jones, who played The Artful Dodger in the original Broadway production of Oliver!, reprises his role.

Oliver Twist
DVD cover
Directed byHal Sutherland
Produced byNorm Prescott
Lou Scheimer
Screenplay byBen Starr
Alan Dinehart
Based onOliver Twist
by Charles Dickens
StarringJosh Albee
Phil Clark
Cathleen Cordell
Michael Evans
Lola Fisher
Robert Holt
Davy Jones
Larry D. Mann
Dallas McKennon
Billy Simpson
Larry Storch
Les Tremayne
Jane Webb
Helene Winston
Music byYvette Blais
Jeff Michael (original score)
Dave Roberts (song orchestrations and conductor)
Sherry Gaden
Richard Canada (song composers)
Richard Delvy
Ed Fournier (song producers)
Dave Roberts
Richard Delvy
Ed Fournier (song arrangements)
CinematographyR.W. Pope
Edited byJoseph Simon
Doreen Dixon
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • July 10, 1974 (1974-07-10)
Running time
91 minutes


In the 19th century, orphan Oliver Twist is sent to a workhouse, where the children are barely fed and mistreated. He moves to the house of an undertaker, but after an unfair severe spanking, he starts a seven-day runaway to London. He arrives exhausted and starving, and is welcomed by a gang of pickpockets led by old crook Fagin. When he is mistakenly taken as a thief, wealthy victim Mr. Brownlow brings Oliver to his home and shelters him. But Fagin and the dangerous Bill Sykes decide to kidnap Oliver to burglarize Mr. Brownlow's fancy house. Oliver is wounded, while Mr. Brownlow tries to save Oliver.



The film was announced to be produced in mid-January 1972, as part of Family Classics, a series of films based on concepts in the public domain commissioned by Warner Bros. Production for the film and Treasure Island had been finished by late 1973. The film's budget amounted to $1.050.000, with the million given by Warner Bros., and the rest put in by the studio itself.[1]


Oliver Twist was first released in theaters on July 10, 1974. According to media historian Hal Erickson, its distributor, Warner Bros., "virtually threw away the film when it performed poorly in previews." It was broadcast as an NBC Special Treat special on April 14, 1981, at a time its television runtime had been cut down to "an adumbrated 47 minutes."[3][1] The movie was first released on VHS on December 5, 1994,[4] and re-released on August 13, 1996, as part of the Warner Bros. Classic Tales series.[5] It was first released on DVD on September 3, 2002, by Warner Home Video, through Warner Bros. Family Entertainment.[6][1]

Critical reception

Variety panned the film, saying that "neither Dickens nor the youngsters watching will profit much from this one," although the animation showcasing the streets of London received praise.[1]


  1. Scheimer, Lou; Mangels, Andy (December 4, 2012). Nolen-Weathington, Eric (ed.). Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation. TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 87, 95, 113, 179–180. ISBN 978-1605490441.
  2. Hischak, Thomas (2011-09-21). Disney Voice Actors: A Biographical Dictionary. McFarland & Company. p. 102. ISBN 978-0-7864-6271-1.
  3. Oliver Twist at AllMovie
  4. Oliver Twist at amazon.com, Warner Home Video.
  5. Oliver Twist at amazon.com, Warner Home Video.
  6. Oliver Twist at amazon.com, Warner Home Video.
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