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Film Released:  1968
Genre: Family, Musical, Comedy, Crime, Drama
Directed by: Carol Reed
Based on the books by Charles Dickens and Lionel Bart
Cast/Actors: Ron Moody,  Mark Lester,  Jack Wild,  Oliver Reed,  Shani Wallis, Harry Secombe

Possibly one of the best musicals of all time, Oliver is based on the book by Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist. Mainly set in London, the story follows the trials and tribulations of Oliver Twist, played by mark Lester , an orphan who lives in a workhouse.

Underfed and constantly hungry, the boys at the workhouse decide to draw lots to see who will be the one to ask for more food. Oliver gets the short straw and nervously approaches the beadle played by Harry Secombe who, together with the governors, decides he must be sold for his impertinence.

He is eventually sold to an undertaker, but runs away after being mistreated and finds himself in London where he is promptly befriended by the Artful Dodger, played by Jack Wild, who is a pick-pocket and a member of a gang of child thieves under the watchful eye of Fagin who is played by Ron Moody. Fagin takes him under his wing to “groom” him for life as a thief on the streets on London.

Oliver is allowed out to work with the rest of the boys, although being a mild mannered and almost gentile child, he doesn’t realize what this “work” really involves. On his first day out, he gets mistaken for one of the other lads who steals a wallet from an old gentleman and is promptly taken to “the beak” (a magistrate) to have charges brought against him. Luckily, a witness testifies that it wasn’t Oliver who stole the wallet and as reparation, the old gentleman takes him home to look after him.

A twist (pardon the pun) in the story comes when, after some enquiries into Oliver’s background , the old gentleman finds out that Oliver is, in fact, the son of his dead niece who ran away from home to have her baby (conceived out of wedlock). Unfortunately Fagin and Bill Sykes, an adult villain who uses Fagin to fence his ill gotten gains (played by Oliver Reed) decide it’s too risky to leave Oliver where he is as he could “put the finger” on the gang, so they force Bill's girlfriend, Nancy (played by Shani Wallis) who was Oliver’s special friend, to kidnap him and bring him back.


All's well that ends well (apart from Bill murdering Nancy when she tries to return Oliver to the old gentleman then getting shot himself by a policeman) and Oliver ends up back where he belongs – at his great Uncle’s home.

The food aspect comes almost at the beginning of the film just before Oliver asks for more. There as a brilliant musical sequence with the boys singing “food Glorious Food”. Sing along now......

Food, glorious food!
Hot sausage and mustard!
While we're in the mood
Cold jelly and custard!
Pease pudding and saveloys!
What next is the question?
Rich gentlemen have it, boys

Although many argue that a traditional English trifle doesn’t contain jelly, below is our version of a trifle which does….in contains both cold jelly and custard!

Happy Cooking!


  Back to Main Food in Film Page

Olie’s Trifle    CD   DP   English  20mins plus chilling

Serves 4-6    Cold   Fruit  Dessert  Puddings  England  British  Europe

1 small Raspberry Swiss Roll
250g/9oz Fresh Raspberries
450ml/15fl.oz Quick Set Raspberry
450ml/15fl.oz. Very Thick Cold Custard
150ml/5fl.oz. Double Cream, whipped


1. Cut the swiss roll into 2.5cm/1-inch slices and arrange in the base of a 1.5L/2˝ pt serving dish (preferably glass).

2. Make up the jelly as per the instructions on the packet, then immediately pour the liquid jelly slowly over the cake and quickly sprinkle most of the fruit into the jelly, reserving a few for decoration. Refrigerate until set.

3. Once set, top the jelly with the custard. Chill until ready to serve.

4. To serve - decorate the top of the trifle with whipped cream and the reserved fruit.









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