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Resisting everything but temptation: The best Oscar Wilde movies

Looking at some of the best adaptations of Oscar Wilde’s works.

June is Pride Month and AiPT! has celebrated with a series of articles and podcasts. Amazon Prime Video is celebrating Pride month with a page dedicated to LGBTQ+ films. Along with shows and familiar movies (including some of the movies listed below), Amazon is featuring Pride exclusives.

On the most recent episode of Adventures in Movies! I talked about how much I love Oscar Wilde. A more accurate statement would be Oscar Wilde is my favorite author of all time. He is incredibly witty and wrote some engaging plays and stories. Many of his works have been adapted to the big screen. There have also been several biopics about the Irish poet. At the height of his popularity, he was imprisoned for homosexual acts. Wilde was never able to recover from the scandal. Though he died in the gutter, he and his works live amongst the star. Here are the best movies based on the writings and life of Oscar Wilde.

The Importance of Being Earnest (2002)

An all star cast helps this trivial comedy for serious people stand out. Wilde’s wit being performed by Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon is a perfect match. The seemingly simple premise is the basis for biting social commentary about marriage and obligation. It is also incredibly funny.

Dorian Gray (1970)

Out of all the the adaptations of The Picture of Dorian Gray, this one stands out. Many have played up the homosexual overtones, but this Italian version ramps up the sexuality and eroticism. Calling this version exploitation may not be too far from truth. By wallowing in its own decadence, it also can be argued it is the most Wildean.

An Ideal Husband (1999)

Here’s a shocker: a cast of great actors elevates the already strong work of Wilde. A great example is 1999’s An Ideal Husband. Cate Blanchet and Minne Driver are just two of the award winning names in this story about blackmail in the political world.

The Happy Prince (2018)

Rupert Everett has starred in many Wilde adaptations, including the 2002 version of The Importance of Being Earnest and 1999’s An Ideal Husband. This 2018 biopic is a passion project from Everett and examines the final days of the playwright.


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