Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist is a Must See movie. This high praise no doubt derives to a large extent from the quality of his epic original script, to which he does justice atmospherically, if not by the letter (there seem to be some substantial abridgements towards the end). The feeling of doom is permeating, and yet, the goodness of the more complex characters often surfaces and eventually wins. While Dickens' gets the credit for developing some of the most complex characters in literature that I know of, the cast certainly deserves the same for an extraordinary rendition. The boys deserve special mention: They do not fall one jot behind their world class adult acting partners! The Artful Dodger has an incredible screen presence, for instance.
Some hacks say that Polanski's Oliver Twist is altogether too contemplative - they obviously suffer from Great Expectations disappointed. To that I say that quality does not always need to be spectacular.