Celebrate the 200th Birthday of Charles Dickens with Free Movies, eBooks and Audio Books

Today is the 200th birth­day of Charles Dick­ens. He was born in Portsmouth, Eng­land on Feb­ru­ary 7, 1812, the sec­ond of eight chil­dren. When he was 12 years old his father was sent to debtors’ prison, along with most of his fam­i­ly, and Charles went to live with a friend of the fam­i­ly, an impov­er­ished old lady. He was forced to quit school and work in a black­ing fac­to­ry, where he past­ed labels on jars of shoe pol­ish.

Dick­ens nev­er for­got those ear­ly trau­mas. He incor­po­rat­ed his expe­ri­ences and obser­va­tions of social injus­tice into his works, includ­ing David Cop­per­field, Oliv­er Twist and A Christ­mas Car­ol. (Find free nov­els below.) He was the most pop­u­lar writer of Vic­to­ri­an Eng­land, a vir­tu­al rock star in the days before record­ed music and movies. His sto­ries, pub­lished seri­al­ly in mag­a­zines, were eager­ly await­ed by the pub­lic. Most have remained in print ever since.

The Dick­ens bicen­te­nary is being cel­e­brat­ed with spe­cial events around the world, includ­ing a wreath-lay­ing cer­e­mo­ny this morn­ing at Poets’ Cor­ner in West­min­ster Abbey, where actor and film­mak­er Ralph Fiennes, author Claire Toma­lin, and two of Dick­en­s’s descen­dants are sched­uled to give read­ings. For a list­ing of events today and through­out the year, go to Dickens2012.org. Also take a look at the short ret­ro­spec­tive of Dick­ens-inspired movies (above) from the British Film Insti­tute.

To help cel­e­brate, we have gath­ered togeth­er some of the best Dick­ens mate­r­i­al from across the Web:

Films (see our com­plete list of Free Movies):

  • Oliv­er Twist: Anoth­er clas­sic by David Lean, this 1948 film stars John Howard Davies as Oliv­er and Alec Guin­ness as Fagin. In 1999 it was ranked 46th on the BFI’s list of the top 100 British films of all time.
  • A Tale of Two Cities: The 1958 film by Ralph Thomas, star­ring Dirk Bog­a­rde as Syd­ney Car­ton and Dorothy Tutin as Lucie Manette. The film was shot in France’s Loire Val­ley, with sev­er­al thou­sand U.S. sol­diers, post­ed in near­by Orleans, cast as extras.
  • A Christ­mas Car­ol: George C. Scott gives an excel­lent per­for­mance as Ebenez­er Scrooge in this crit­i­cal­ly acclaimed 1984 film direct­ed by Clive Don­ner. It pre­miered in Amer­i­ca on CBS tele­vi­sion, and was released the­atri­cal­ly in Great Britain.
  • David Cop­per­field: A 2000 U.S.-Irish tele­vi­sion adap­ta­tion star­ring Hugh Dan­cy as David Cop­per­field, Michael Richards as Wilkins Micaw­ber and Sal­ly Field as Bet­sey Trot­wood.
  • The Pick­wick Papers: A 1952 film, adapt­ed and direct­ed by Noel Lan­g­ley and star­ring James Hayter as Samuel Pick­wick.

eBooks (see our com­plete list of Free eBooks)

Audio Books (see our com­plete list of Free Audio Books)

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Down­load 20 Pop­u­lar High School Books Avail­able as Free eBooks & Audio Books

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