We’ve got Mr. Darcy on the brain lately. And who can blame us? Darcy is one of those literary heroes who has transcended the page to become a cultural icon. Stubborn, proud, and hopelessly in love with Elizabeth Bennet, he’s one of our favorite parts of Pride and Prejudice – and one of our favorite book boyfriends in general.
This summer marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, so it’s no wonder that Darcy is consuming our thoughts. The author died on July 18, 1817, at age 41, after having written 7 novels that become instant classics and 2 unfinished works that will always leave us wondering, what if?. There’s a reason that Austen is still just as popular 200 years later – her books are filled with strong and complex characters, and she creates intriguing love stories that have touched generation after generation of readers. This is probably why we’ve seen so many adaptations of Austen’s work over the years; her stories are ones that we want to hear over and over, told to us in any kind of form.
All of those retellings and adaptations have given us a lot of different Darcys to choose from over the years. And while we’ll always love Austen’s original Darcy the best, we most definitely have our favorite interpretations of him over the years. So here’s our definitive ranking of the top ten Mr. Darcys – from both books and the screen – who perfectly capture Jane Austen’s classic brooding hero.
Colin Firth in the 1995 BBC
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Firth has become synonymous with Mr. Darcy thanks to this classic mini-series that is still, hands-down, the best Pride and Prejudice adaptation out there. Firth’s Darcy is all dark-eyed and heavy glances, and he stares at Elizabeth like she hung the moon (and also like he wants to see what’s under that corset). Firth’s Darcy will always be the one to beat.
Matthew Macfadyen in the 2005 Joe Wright directed Pride and Prejudice
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Those smoldering eyes! We’re kind of obsessed with McFadden’s awkward, visibly lovesick Darcy. Wright’s directing doesn’t hurt either, with all those sexy shots in the rain and a palpable chemistry between Macfadyen and Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth. Macfadyen’s Darcy feels a little softer than Firth’s, but that slight sensitivity (as well as the requisite brooding) endlessly wins us over.
Mr. Darcy in Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife
Whoa man, this is one hot Darcy. Linda Berdoll continues the story of Pride & Prejudice in her sexy take on what married life is like for the newlywed Darcys. Let’s just say there’s a lot of bedroom action. This is the take-charge, sexually adventurous Darcy that you always suspected was under those starched collars and staid manners.
Mark Darcy from Bridget Jones’s Diary
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Book or movie, we don’t care! We adore Mark Darcy in any form (although the Colin Firth movie version is definitely dreamy). Helen Fielding’s novel may be only loosely based on Pride and Prejudice, but her Darcy is still pretty iconic, especially since she based the character on Firth’s mini-series version of Darcy. The wealthy lawyer is definitely as stoic and standoffish as any Darcy out there, made all the more dramatic by Bridget’s constant awkward and embarrassing moments.
Mr. Darcy from Death Comes to Pemberley
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We clearly have a soft spot for stories that continue Austen’s classic tale, mostly because we just can’t get enough of Darcy or Elizabeth! Death Comes to Pemberley, by P.D. James, is another favorite, delivering a Darcy who’s a little older but clearly still prideful. BBC One tackled the TV adaptation, and we’re especially drawn to Matthew Rhys’s angry, more passionate version of the endlessly brooding Darcy.
William Darcy from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
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It’s a little embarrassing how many times we’ve watched The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a modern YouTube version of the classic tale. But Lizzie and William are just so charming, and the vlogging premise still feels fresh and original. William is a bit of a robot in this version (or so Lizzie likes to tell him), but it makes all that hidden passion even more exciting.
Mr. Darcy from Mr. Darcy’s Diary
There’s something so delicious about getting Darcy’s point of view, especially around Elizabeth and how/when he fell in love with her. That’s exactly what we get in Amanda Grange’s retelling of the classic tale, diving deep into Darcy’s head and letting us actually see the enigmatic man’s thoughts. It’s hard not to fall for a Darcy this open – though, let’s face it, sometimes the mystery surrounding his true feelings is half the fun!
Fitzwilliam Darcy from Eligible
Modern day adaptations are always fun, and Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible sets the story in present day Cincinnati. Her Darcy is a neurosurgeon this time, and as pompous as any good Darcy should be. Though he might be a little too rigid for a modern day story, the relationship between him and Elizabeth feels exactly right.
Will Darcy from Bride and Prejudice
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This adaptation wins all the points for creativity, setting the classic tale in a modern day India, complete with Bollywood style dancing. Aishwarya Rai definitely shines as Lalita Bakshi, the version’s Elizabeth Bennet character. Martin Henderson, who plays Will Darcy, is handsome and sweet, but he doesn’t really have the same edge that we’ve come to love in our Darcys. Still, the two have tons of chemistry and the new setting is pretty awesome.
Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
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What’s better than a brooding Darcy? A brooding zombie-fighting Darcy! The book version hits a lot of the same beats as the original tale, just with brain-eating monsters thrown in for good measure. The movie version is a bit blander, with not a ton of chemistry between the two leads (Lily James and Sam Riley). Still, we’ll take Darcy anyway we can get him, especially if there’s lots of sweaty fighting going on.
Agree with our ranking? Let us know who your favorite Darcy is!