One features an adorable orange cat, the other an adorable, less-orange child, but both Oliver & Company and Oliver Twist tell the same story. Today, we’re putting our analytical hats on (actual hats that say “It’s Analyzing Time”) to really get to the bottom of how one differentiates the Dickens classic from the Disney classic. This is about so much more than Billy Joel, guys. So let’s do it.
Oliver & Company Takes Place in NYC
Oliver Twist takes place in London, where there are considerably less bagels and attitude but more bacon sandwiches and polite avoidance of eye contact. We think updating the story to Manhattan totally works in the film’s favor. We can’t image a dog wearing a hot dog scarf riding on the top of a cab in London. We just can’t picture it.
Oliver & Company Hits Us Right in the Feels
So we just rewatched the movie for the purposes of this article and that scene at the beginning where Oliver is the last kitten in the box and it starts raining and he’s all alone and scared and well, we lost it. There were tears. Oliver Twist’s story is equally tragic: his beloved mother dies and he’s eventually sent to a pretty awful workhouse, but he is not an adorable cat and thus this part of O&C hits us harder. (We chose a not-so-sad image for you benefit.)
In Oliver & Company, Dodger is Slightly Less of a Jerk Because He Sings
O&C Dodger doesn’t refer to himself as “Artful” so that’s a plus, but like the book, he does simultaneously use Oliver for his own good and introduce him to a life of crime. Luckily for Dodger, he sings the best song in the movie (in our humble opinion).
In Oliver & Company, Fagin is Pretty Pathetic But Ultimately Not the Worst
The scene where Fagin is pleading with Bill Sykes has drama of Shakespearean proportions and when he reads the dogs a bedtime story our hearts kind of melt. However, he sells Oliver out in a New York minute, but he is super desperate. Fagin does the same in the book, but at least has a little moxy.
In Oliver & Company, Bill Sykes is Slightly Less of a Terror
It doesn’t get more evil than Sykes in the novel, so Sykes in the film comes in second (but it was a pretty close race. Of evilness.).
In Oliver & Company, There is a Colorful Cast of Fun Animals
Frankie and Tito are both comedic relief and really cute. The boys in Fagin’s gang in Oliver Twist are less funny and more sad. We mean, come on. Tito’s wearing a bandana around his head. That’s hard to top.
In Oliver & Company, Georgette is a Thing That Happens
We’re not sure what to compare this to. It might be that nothing as fabulous has ever happened.
In Oliver & Company, Jenny adopts Oliver
This is probably the second biggest variation (after Sykes stealing Jenny instead of Oliver), and one that was totally necessary. In Oliver Twist, Oliver’s mother’s family eventually finds him and they’re reunited. Both very happy and well-deserved endings. Hooray!
And there you have it. A comparison you never asked for, but hopefully appreciated. What’s your favorite part of Oliver & Company? Tell us in the comments!