Pride and Prejudice (1940)

| 8+
Cautions: some immodesty and mild sensuality, mild ethical confusion, and some minced oaths and mild insults

Pride and Prejudice, as told by MGM in the 1940’s, may be a Jane Austen purist’s nightmare, but for viewers who don’t mind a little deviation from the original story, and who like light, old-fashioned comedies, this tale of rivalry between a lady’s biting wit and a gentleman’s detached snobbery—interrupted, thwarted and reinforced by family connections of precisely the wrong sort—will fill that niche desire for slightly exaggerated characters and nineteenth-century social peculiarities quite nicely.

1940 | Robert Z. Leonard | 118 min Watch Trailer

Some Immodesty and Mild Sensuality

Necklines are occasionally low and off the shoulder.

Lizzie owns a “daring” nightdress (only shown being taken out of a trunk, and not inherently immodest) that she jokingly says she hasn’t “dared show it to mama.” She says she wants her ball gown to be “very worldly”.

A negatively-portrayed girl is said to have run away with a man. Nothing explicit is said, beyond, “they’re not married.” This is shown to be wrong and harmful to others.

An engaged couple kisses. Gentlemen kiss ladies’ hands.

A foolish woman hopes that a walk in “delightfully secluded shrubberies” will help her daughter’s relationship with her beau.

A man makes a tongue in cheek remark about women attempting to show off their figures.

Couples dance in an embracing style.

Mild Ethical Confusion

Lizzie’s mother is foolish, and is portrayed as such. She is still given general respect, although occasionally her emotional, impulsive commands are disobeyed or overridden for the well being of herself or others. Her husband appears to sanction this occasional disobedience.

A positively-portrayed woman says she still daydreams of a man who is no longer interested in her, and says that another broken hearted woman needs to learn to dream like that, too.

Lizzie’s younger sisters are wild and foolish, and no attempt is made to restrain them by their parents. The father describes “most girls” as silly and ignorant, referring specifically to young girls of the time, not females in general. He also uses this descriptive of his two wiser daughters.

A ridiculous but opinionated character tells a man that he needs a woman who will stand up to him.

Some Minced Oaths and Mild Insults

Good heavens!
My goodness!
My goodness!
My word!
By all the…

Smiling insults are thrown around, the most harsh by foolish characters, more mild jabs by positively-portrayed characters, although these are occasionally shown to be inappropriate.


A father sarcastically responds to his wife's fretting over their daughters' futures by suggesting they should have drowned some of them at birth.
Characters drink wine and punch in moderation. Negatively-portrayed girls are shown drunk, having a good time but annoying the positively-portrayed characters.

Part of a Punch and Judy puppet show is seen, with its characteristic domestic abuse, portrayed as funny.

The view that, “In marriage, happiness is just a matter of chance,” is shown to result in unhappiness.

A virtuous girl is hyperbolically said to have “never done anything wrong.” Honesty is said to be “a greatly overrated virtue,” but unnecessary frankness is what is meant.

A foolish character references dueling, but nothing comes of it.

Utopia is jokingly mentioned.

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