One fateful night, in the 1830s, a young orphan boy named Pip, who is a country blacksmith's apprentice, comes to the cemetery to put flowers on his mother's grave. Frightened by the general eerieness of his surroundings, Pip is terrified when, as he turns to leave, he is accosted by a granite-faced convict named Magwitch, who has escaped from the nearby hulks. Out of fear and compassion, the young boy befriends the felon before his recapture and exile to New South Wales. While still a child, Pip first makes the acquaintance of Estella and her eccentric rich lady guardian, Miss Havisharn.
In his teens, Pip receives a fortune from an anonymous benefactor which allows himto embark upon fashionable London life. As he becomes a gentleman in London society, his love for Estella develops. Pip learns that his benefactor is the convict Magwitch who became rich in Australia. Magwitch illegally returns to London in disguise to visit Pip. Though assisted by Pip and Herbert Pocket in a futile attempt to escape by packet steamer, Magwitch is again arrested and dies in prison. The lawyer, Jaggers, reveals to Pip that as it turns out, Estella is the convict's daughter. Pip later rescues Estella from becoming the prey of her guardian's madness, and Miss Havisham burns to death in her decaying mansion.