From Pride & Prejudice's Keira Knightley to Emma's Gwyneth Paltrow: A Look Back at Jane Austen's On-Screen Heroines
Knightley took on Austen's most famous heroine — Elizabeth Bennet — in the 2005 adaption of Pride & Prejudice. Her portrayal earned her Golden Globe and Oscar nominations.
Before she was Gone Girl, Pike played the beautiful and kind Jane Bennet alongside Knightley in the 2005 Pride & Prejudice film.
Paltrow is one of the only actors to play Emma Woodhouse, the eponymous character of Austen's Emma. The1996 film remains the only big screen adaptation of the book.
Thompson not only starred as Elinor Dashwood in the 1995 film version of Sense and Sensibility, she also wrote the screenplay — and won an Oscar for it.
In Thompson's Sense and Sensibility, Winslet played the younger Dashwood sister, Marianne. The role helped propel her to fame and led to her first Oscar nomination.
James plays a battle-ready version of Elizabeth Bennet in 2016's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an adaptation of the satirical novel that imagines Austen's classic novel in the midst of a zombie invasion.
Beckinsale has starred in two Austen adaptations. In the first, she played Emma Woodhouse in a TV movie version of Emma, which was released in 1996 — the same year as the Paltrow adaptation. More recently, she starred in Love & Friendship, which is inspired by Austen's novella, Lady Susan. While the book served as one of Austen's first works, it wasn't published until over 50 years after her death.
Dench was as fierce as can be as the overly critical, haughty Lady Catherine in 2005's Pride & Prejudice.
BONUS: COLIN FIRTH
While Mr. Darcy is not an Austen heroine, he's set the hearts of Austen fans aflutter for over two centuries. And since 1995, Firth's portrayal in the BBC's Pride and Prejudice miniseries has been the Darcy people have fallen in love with, which makes him worth including.