Bingley is probably the easiest part to play of the Pride and Prejudice characters. He is friendly, kind, and defers to Darcy in matters of importance out of regard for Darcy being a person whose family has always had money and property. There is also the fact that his friend exhibits greater self-control in his emotions, which to Bingley is an indication of dependability and trust.
Here's Bingley as I see it:
1940 - Bruce Lester is my least favorite Bingley, not because he does a poor job with the part he's given, but there is just not that deference to Darcy which is necessary for the story. The idea that the relationship between Darcy and Charles could have the weight of persuading a man in love to leave the object of his love is just not plausible as portrayed in this version. And another thing, he is not very handsome, which Charles is supposed to be.
1980 - Osmund Bullock is better looking than Bruce Lester, so his is better suited to the part from that point of view. But here again we find a failure in displaying that most important aspect of the relationship between himself and Darcy -- that of dependence upon his good friend for making important decisions. So even though it is enjoyable to see some scenes from the book involving Bingley that are not shown in the other movies, this Mr. Bingley falls short of fitting the bill as far as the book goes.
Bride and Prejudice - Naveen Andrews is perhaps one of the best-looking men in the world, but alas, this version also falls short in the same way as the two mentioned above. This version, of course, gives him the name Balraj.
2005 - Simon Woods portrays a different Charles Bingley by being a bit of a bumbler, and in so doing has that quality of natural dependence on his friend. We see him leaning on Darcy for various reasons. I really like this Bingley even though there is much about him that is not quite as described by Austen, such as the time when he is talking to Jane about reading books, which is one of my favorite scenes. He is also handsome, and therefore is my pick as runner-up for the best Charles Bingley.
1995 - Crispin Bonham-Carter is without question the best Bingley. He is good-looking, and he manages that innocent appearance of one less experienced that Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley. His relationship with his sisters is great as well. You can really see in his depiction of Charles Bingley the perfect match for Miss Jane Bennet.
|2005 Simon Woods|
|2005 Jane and Charles|
|1995 Crispin Bonham-Carter|
|1995 Bingley and Jane|