Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

David Copperfield (1935)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

David Copperfield (1935, UK)

In director George Cukor's literary film of Charles Dickens' novel:

  • the introduction of young David Copperfield (Freddie Bartholomew as a young boy), an orphaned son; he visited his father's tombstone that was viewed enduring harsh weather conditions through the seasons; he mused: "Poor father. How Ionely and dark it must be for him at night, shile we're at home by the fire"
  • the scene of David's harsh and cold treatment by Mr. Edward Murdstone (Basil Rathbone), David's new severe and brutal stepfather, who punished him for not immediately calculating a school lesson problem on his slate: ("If I go to a cheesemonger's shop and buy one hundred double-Gloucester cheeses at four pence-halfpenny each. And if I sell half of them at six pence-halfpenny, twenty at five pence, and use the rest myself, do I make a profit or loss?"); Murdstone stood over him and wielded a whip, as David cried out: "I can't think! I can't do it!"; Murdstone took David upstairs and whipped the trembling young boy; when David bit Murstone's hand in retaliation, he received an even more vicious beating and was locked in the room afterwards
Corporal Punishment by Murdstone
  • the scene of David's dismissal from the household of Mr. Murdstone after the death of his mother Clara (Elizabeth Allen) (the late Mrs. Murdstone) during childbirth, to venture to London to work ("...You'll earn your own food and pocket money....Now remember, you're going to London to work, to work!")
  • the sequence of David's introduction to genial Mr. Wilkins Micawber (W.C. Fields) in London (where he was to be lodged), who immediately admitted his ever-present problem with debt: "Now that you are about to share with us the privileges of our domain, I will make no stranger of you. As man to man, I will confide in you. That for years, I have been hounded, most unjustly by my creditors. Short sighted fools, they are"; he described how he had failed in many professions but was still hopeful: "I grant you that I have already tried the coal trade, the Haberdashery trade, And Her Majesty's Marines, and found none of these entirely suited to my somewhat special talents. But now... I am confidently expecting something to turn up!"
  • the scene of Micawber's denouncement of the power-seeking Uriah Heep (Roland Young), the clerk of alcoholic, wealthy, white-haired Mr. Wickfield (Lewis Stone)


Mr. Murdstone
(Basil Rathbone)

Young David Copperfield (Freddie Bartholomew)

Mr. Micawber (W. C. Fields) with David

Uriah Heep (Roland Young)


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z