Who is the ‘Real’ Mr. Darcy?


Seventy-three years after Laurence Olivier, thirty-three years after David Rintoul, eighteen years after Colin Firth, and eight years after Matthew Macfadyen…. MATTHEW RHYS joins the I-Am-Darcy Club. He’ll be stepping up to play Mr. Darcy in BBC’s three-part series, Death Comes to Pemberley.

Pemberley is based on a bestselling novel of the same name by veteran mystery author P.D. James. Her 2011 whodunit is a sequel to Austen’s most famous work. In Pemberley, Darcy and wife Elizabeth, now wed for six years and the parents of two children, find themselves caught up in a murder investigation after a body turns up on the grounds of Pemberley, Darcy’s ancestral home.

-BBC America

There’s such a long history behind the role of Darcy in TV/film that I can imagine the pressure an actor might feel. Rhys himself said: “Exciting as it is, one of the challenges of a part such as Darcy are the comparisons that will be drawn to those who’ve institutionalised him in the past.”

In my opinion, the four actors (below) are the most memorable Mr. Darcys, memorable in the sense that they either portrayed Mr. Darcy in the BEST or WORST possible way.

Pride and Prejudice



Laurence Olivier played Mr. Darcy as an EFFEMINATE FOP




P&P 1980 mr. darcy david rintoul


David Rintoul turned Mr. Darcy into THE NUTCRACKER (When he speaks, only his jaws move…he has no expression whatsoever. See the clip if you want a good laugh)






Colin Firth played Mr. Darcy as THE BROODER







Matthew Macfadyen played Mr. Darcy as THE HUMAN (shy and vulnerable)



If we were to gather all the Darcy fans into one room and if we had to come to a consensus on who played Mr. Darcy BEST… Oh, the horrors. I remember, in my Jane Austen Seminar, the class got a bit heated when our professor asked us that very question: “Who played Mr. Darcy best?” The room was divided into shouts of Macfayden and Firth.

I was on the Firth-side.

Nevertheless, I have a feeling that I’ll appreciate Rhys as Mr. Darcy in Death Comes to Pemberley. I liked him enough in The Mystery of Edwin Drood (2012), he’s quite the talented actor.


7 thoughts on “Who is the ‘Real’ Mr. Darcy?

  1. I haven’t seen the mini-series with Colin Firth (and I don’t think I’ll ever watch it). Judging from that clip, I honestly say that the ‘real’ Mr. Darcy will always be (until someone else perfect for the role comes along) Matthew Macfadyen. I like that you described him as The Human because it is his vulnerability/shyness that makes it hard not to like him despite his broodiness. I can’t say any of the men who played Darcy portray the character exactly the way he was written, but I think Matthew Macfadyen does a fantastic job. Plus, the scene where he tells Elizabeth that he loved her and the ending…*swoon* So, yeah, if I were in your class you know what side I would be on. 🙂

    And this new series sounds really interesting. I haven’t heard about it before, so I’ll definitely have to keep an eye out for it.


    • I guess the reason why I liked Firth as Darcy is because he had so many layers. It’s hard to like him at first, but layer by layer, we come to see him for the man that he truly is – awkward, considerate, and misunderstood – which is a delicious experience for us audience. Anyway, both Macfayden and Firth portrayed Darcy the best, but I suppose I like Firth the best for sentimental reasons. The BBC 1995 version was the first I watched. And because the BBC version is a few hours longer, it made me grow more attached to the characters.

      But yes, the scene where he confessed to Lizzie that he L-Loved her was swoon-worthy. Oh man, and the scenery was stunningly romantic too… the Pantheon.. the rain… *sigh*

      Anyway, thanks for dropping by! 🙂


  2. Okay, so I’ve only ever watched the Matthew MacFayden version of Pride and Prejudice, so he’s the only one I can really vote for.

    I know, that probably makes me sound horrible…As a historical romance fan, I should probably have watched the Colin Firth version – everyone’s always raving about it. But I just can’t seem to make myself watch it…


    • I know where you’re coming from – not being able to make yourself watch the hours long series. I guess it’s because 1) it’s long, 2)you already know the story 3) the series is several years old?

      You can always think of this 1995 BBC adaptation as a night-cap lol. One episode a night to finish your day off with, haha. That’s how I got myself to start and finish Great Expectations.


      • That’s what I did with Bleak House – it was a LONG series…

        I might watch the Firth version – I usually run out of good TV shows to watch in the summer, since everythong seems to go on break, so it would be a nice way to keep busy.


      • I think I’ve watched the Firth version five times already haha. I was so obsessed when I watched it years ago. It’s what got me writing in the first place, lol

        Oh MAN, the Bleak House series….Sooooooo long. I tried watching it several times but always give up because there doesn’t seem to be a romance subplot. And it’s that dash of romance that gets me through a longgggg series


  3. Pingback: Cover Reveal: My Own Mr Darcy | Me, Bookshelf and I

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