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    SUBJECTS — Drama/Musicals; Literature/England; World/England;
    SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Spousal Abuse;Crime;

    Age: 8+; MPAA Rating -- G; Musical; 1968; 145 minutes; Color; Available from Amazon.com.

    Description:     This is a musical version of Charles Dickens' classic tale of life among the poor and criminal elements in London during the early 19th century.

    Benefits of the Movie: "Oliver!" will introduce children to the 19th century London experienced by the poor. Nancy is beaten and then killed by her boyfriend when she tries to protect Oliver. This episode provides an opportunity to discuss spousal abuse.

    Possible Problems: MODERATE. Spousal abuse and the murder of a woman informant are shown. Alcohol use and abuse are shown.

    Parenting Points:     Immediately after the movie, or at odd times over the next week (for example at the dinner table or in the car on the way to school) bring up some of the Discussion Questions, starting with the Quick Discussion Question in the sidebar. Don't worry if you can only get through a few questions. Just taking the film seriously and discussing it is the key. Allow your child to watch the movie several times and continue to bring up discussion questions relating to the film.


Benefits of the Movie
Possible Problems
Parenting Points
Selected Awards & Cast
Helpful Background
Discussion Questions:
      Subjects (Curriculum Topics)
      Social-Emotional Learning
      Moral-Ethical Emphasis
            (Character Counts)
Bridges to Reading
Links to the Internet
Assignments, Projects & Activities

WORKSHEETS: TWM offers the following worksheets to keep students' minds on the movie and direct them to the lessons that can be learned from the film. Teachers can modify the movie worksheets to fit the needs of each class. See also TWM's Movies as Literature Homework Project.

    Selected Awards, Cast and Director:

      Selected Awards:   1968 Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director (Reed), Best Art Direction/Set Decoration; Best Sound, Best Score; 1969 Golden Globe Awards: Best Film - Musical/Comedy, Best Actor - Musical/Comedy (Moody); 1968 National Board of Review Awards: Ten Best Films of the Year; 1968 Academy Award Nominations: Best Actor (Moody), Best Supporting Actor (Wild), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing.

      Featured Actors:  Mark Lester, Jack Wild, Ron Moody, Shani Wallis, Oliver Reed, Hugh Griffith.

      Director:  Carol Reed.
QUICK DISCUSSION QUESTION:   As shown in the movie, what efforts did English society in the nineteenth century take to protect and nurture orphans and children of the poor? What are some of the steps taken by our society to permit children to develop their full potential?

Suggested Response: English society of the early 19th century did very little to protect or nurture children. In modern society, children go to school, in some locations they are provided with medical care if their parents can't afford it, and there are many clubs and organizations for children such as Boy and Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA's, etc. In addition, the state maintains children's services departments to take children out of unsafe situations and place them in foster homes. These are just a few of the benefits afforded to children by modern society.
    Helpful Background:

    Why did the children cling to Fagin? For a description of the oppressive system of treating the poor in England at the beginning of the nineteenth century, see Learning Guide to A Christmas Carol. The poor houses and orphanages were a part of that system. The children were required to work long hours and received precious little for it. The adult operators of these establishments often used them for their own profit. This was the life facing the Artful Dodger and the other children if they left Fagin.

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Click here for TWM's lesson plans to introduce cinematic and theatrical technique.

Select questions that are appropriate for your students.

    Social-Emotional Learning Discussion Questions:


    1.  Why did Bill Sykes beat Nancy?


    2.  Did the children have any choice other than to stay with Fagin and become pickpockets?
  Reminder to Teachers: Obtain all required permissions from your school administration before showing any film.

Teachers who want parental permission to show this movie can use TWM's Movie Permission Slip.

BUILDING VOCABULARY: poor house, Beadle, prerogative, laudanum, miser, drawing straws, snuff, portrait, hag, sniveling, coffin.

For English Language Arts classes, distribute TWM's Film Study Worksheet. Teachers can modify the worksheet to fit the needs of each class. Ask students to fill out the worksheet as they watch the film or at the film's end.

Teachwithmovies.com is a Character Counts "Six Pillars Partner" and uses The Six Pillars of Character to organize ethical principles.

Character Counts and the Six Pillars of Character are marks of the CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition, a project of the Josephson Institute of Ethics.

    Bridges to Reading: All books by Dickens are excellent reading for older children who are good readers. Remind them that the novel is much richer and has more detail than the movie. Other books recommended for middle school and junior high readers include: Charles Dickens: The Man Who Had Great Expectations by Diane Stanley & Peter Vennema.

MOVIES ON RELATED TOPICS: Other movies on this site based on Dickins' novels are: A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist(a film about the book on which the musical is based), A Tale of Two Cities and The Old Curiosity Shop.

    Links to the Internet: None.

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