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Jane Eyre is a 1996 American, British, French and Italian romantic epic and dramatic feature film adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's 1847 novel Jane Eyre. This Hollywood version, directed by Franco Zeffirelli, is similar to the original novel, although it compresses and eliminates most of the plot in the last quarter of the book (the running away, the trials and tribulations, new found relations, and new job) to condense it into a 2-hour movie.

Jane Eyre
Jane eyre ver1.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byFranco Zeffirelli
Produced byDyson Lovell
Written byHugh Whitemore
Franco Zeffirelli
Based onJane Eyre
by Charlotte Brontë
Music byClaudio Capponi
Alessio Vlad
CinematographyDavid Watkin
Edited byRichard Marden
Distributed byMiramax Films (US)
Guild Film Distribution (UK)
Release date
  • April 12, 1996 (1996-04-12) (United States)
Running time
116 minutes
United Kingdom
United States
Box office$5,200,601[1]



Jane Eyre (portrayed as the orphan child by Anna Paquin and as an adult by Charlotte Gainsbourg) is the plain, impoverished young woman who is hired by Mr. Rochester (William Hurt) through Mrs. Fairfax (Joan Plowright) to work as a governess for Adèle (Josephine Serre). Despite her mild unprepossessing manner more like a nun, Jane has strong internal passions and shows her strength in character in expressing her opinions and showing resolve in times of trouble. Rochester is the Byronic anti-hero who is tortured and tormented by family troubles, past injustices and secrets. Rochester and Jane find an affinity for each other and fall in love and the marriage date is set. What she does not realize is that she must share the estate (and ultimately Mr. Rochester) with his wife, Bertha (Maria Schneider), who is mentally ill and kept locked away in an upstairs attic with a nurse, Grace Poole (Billie Whitelaw).

The marriage is stopped by Bertha's brother Richard Mason (Edward de Souza) and lawyer Briggs (Peter Woodthorpe). Jane flees, her world crashing down is a nightmare. She recovers in the parsonage of her original aunt's home, discovers she is now a wealthy woman inheriting her long-lost uncle's fortune in Madeira. She gets a proposal of marriage from Parson St. John Rivers but her heart and soul is with Rochester. Jane goes back to find Thornfield Hall burnt down, but Rochester is crippled and blinded by the fire set by his mad wife, Bertha, who has killed herself in the fire. However, Jane's love for Rochester remains undiminished; she nurses him back to health, he recovers his eyesight and they marry.



The location for Thornfield Hall is Haddon Hall, Bakewell, Derbyshire, UK [2] Since Zeffirelli's use of Haddon Hall, subsequent versions of Jane Eyre have used it and is now apparently synonymous with Thornfield Hall. Prior to Zeffirelli's location use, Haddon Hall had been once used (before Jane Eyre) as the castle for The Princess Bride.


The film holds a positive rating of 74% at Rotten Tomatoes based on 27 reviews.[3] The New York Times called Hurt "embarrassingly miscast as a Rochester more nearly a mild eccentric than a brooding, Byronic type", but conceded that the film "has its moments".[4]


  1. ^ "Jane Eyre (1996) (1996) - Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  2. ^ Haddon Hall Archived 2010-05-02 at the Wayback Machine at Astra Brit Flick Pilgrimage, Visit . Accessed July 2011
  3. ^ "Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre (1996)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  4. ^ McGrath, Charles (2011-03-04) Another Hike on the Moors for ‘Jane Eyre’, New York Times

External linksEdit