While there have been various movies made, two that most closely follow the narrative and characterization of Charles Dickens are the original production of 1946 (black and white) and the 2012 British film adaptation.
The 1946 version follows most closely the narrative of Great Expectations as, unlike other productions, it adheres to the characterizations made by Dickens; there is more development of these characters, and there are more minor characters in this film. For example, Mr. Wemmick is an actual presence and his father, Aged One, is in this film, providing comic relief. In the 2012 version, which is well done, but always somber, Wemmick makes only an appearance at Jaggers' office, and the humorous scenes at his home are omitted. No comic relief is provided by Joe Gargery, either, as is done in the 1946 version in which Joe awkwardly tries to act the gentleman when he unexpectedly visits Pip in London. He tries to balance his upturned hat on the fireplace, but instead juggles it for a minute or so, amusing Herbert. In addition, Bentley Drummle, Pip's rival and eventually Estella's husband, is only briefly in the film, in the dinner scene at Mr. Jaggers' house. The character of Jaggers is less developed and certainly less volatile in the modern version. The same is true for Uncle Pumblechook, who plays no real role in the newer film, when he was a source of comedy and ridicule in the 1946 film.
On the other hand, the 2012 production develops Estella well and has her analyze young Pip as she tells him in a created line before she goes away to school:
You imagine yourself a young knight from a child's story, tearing away the cobwebs . . . marrying the princess.
Another character who is more developed than in the novel and the 1946 version is Biddy. Yet, this character development in the 2012 film has authenticity because Biddy remains the same type of person as in the novel. Screenwriter David Nicholls effectively makes use of Biddy's character to assist in the development of Pip's character and the setting of his youth.
Miss Havisham is not as fully developed in the newer films as she is in the 1946 version, either, and she does not seem as human and contrite in the end as the Miss Havisham of the older film in her final scenes. However, the relationship that develops between Pip and his benefactor Magwitch is very well done in the modern version and there is great suspense with their actions near the end.
Since modern audiences are not accustomed to lengthy dialogues, newer films do not contain as many scenes that rely strongly on such dialogues. So, whenever a film is made on a classic novel with a myriad of characters, there is usually a substitution of action for much of the dialogue. This substitution can mitigate the power of the film. This seemed to be the result for the 2012, which also suffered from being a rather maudlin.