Mr Darcy, Ranked
By Madeline Ward
There is no question more important, nor more contentious, in literature or in film than that of the best Mr Darcy. The best Mr Darcy does not immediately equal the best Pride and Prejudice, but a swoonable leading man goes a long way in the overall effectiveness of the adaptation. For this article, I have ranked each Darcy according to their moodiness, handsomeness, and faithfulness to character. I have chosen Darcies from the four best and most recent adaptations. Don’t @ me.
4. Sam Riley, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, 2016
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is on this list for trash value and trash value alone, which is a shame, because I have complete faith that Sam Riley would excel in any other adaption. Riley is both moody and handsome , the two most important important qualities in any good Darcy, but is ultimately let down by a weak premise. Don’t let this put you off, as it is an enjoyable film: just make sure you enter with low expectations.
Image Source: Pride, Prejudice and Zombies (2016)
3. Martin Henderson, Bride and Prejudice, 2004
Though Bride and Prejudice is undoubtedly the best of all the adaptations, Gurinder Chadha’s Will Darcy is a little too true to character. This Darcy is filthy rich and American, too arrogant and insufficiently brooding. In Bride and Prejudice, Darcy is exposed for the capitalist fuckboy that he truly is: but this very much ruins the fantasy, and therefore he ranks second last on our Darcy hierarchy.
Image Source: Bride and Prejudice (2004)
2. Colin Firth, Pride and Prejudice, 1995
I anguished over this decision: by bumping Firth to 2nd place I feel that I am disrupting the established Darcy order. However, though Colin Firth’s is certainly the most iconic portrayal of Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy, it’s not necessarily the best.That’s not to say that this Darcy is somehow insufficient (the bath and lake scenes prove otherwise) more that the next Darcy is just better. Second place aside, Firth is certainly the most handsome, and the length of the BBC miniseries means that viewers are entitled to a full 6 hours of Mr Darcy in all his arrogant glory. Splendid.
Image Source: Pride and Prejudice (1995)
1. Matthew MacFadyen, Pride and Prejudice, 2005
This was a hard decision, but ultimately MacFadyen won out. Matthew MacFadyen’s Darcy is moodier, more vulnerable than his predecessors, and certainly more likeable than the Darcy we find in the original novel. This is what makes his Darcy the best one: rather than the arrogant, emotionally immature reality of the original character, we are given the ultimate Darcy fantasy. Besides, I challenge you to find me, in any previous adaptation, a scene more singularly romantic than Darcy striding through the mists of dawn in an open shirt to tell Elizabeth that she has bewitched him, body and soul.
Image Source: Pride and Prejudice (2005)