I haven't seen the musical "Oliver!" in quite some time, and I've never read Dickens' novel, but I really enjoyed this movie. It has one of my favorite credit sequences - not that flashy, but it really makes you feel like you're walking into the pages of a Dickens novel. And Rachel Portman is one of my all-time favorite film composers. Her score for this film is not quite up there with Emma and Cider House Rules, but it has an excellent main theme that very much represents Oliver's character.
The film is a bit bleaker than I remember "Oliver!" being, and it feels much more Dickensian. And it does the smart thing by not actually making Oliver the main character - at least that's the way I saw it. Oliver, of course, is not a very interesting hero, per se. The real star of the film is 19th Century London herself. And the characters revolve around her. But Oliver, and perhaps Nancy even more, give the film its heart. While Barney Clark is a cute Oliver, I think the real gem of the piece is Leanne Rowe as Nancy. That's as it's meant to be, I suppose, from what I've heard of the novel.
Perhaps the highest praise I can give the film is that it never felt like an adaptation. I can't remember once thinking that maybe I'd understand something better if I had read the book. It was an excellent story in and of itself, and nothing felt tacked on or stuck in just because it was in the original work. This movie is probably out of the theaters by now, but if you can still catch it, it's quite good.