|The Artful Dodger|
|First appearance||Oliver Twist|
|Created by||Charles Dickens|
|Portrayed by||Edouard Trebaol (1922)
Sonny Ray (voice only, 1933)
Anthony Newley (1948)
Davy Jones (1963)
Jack Wild (1968)
Martin Tempest (1982)
David Garlick (1985)
Billy Joel (voice only, 1988)
Elijah Wood (1997)
Harry Eden (2005)
Adam Arnold (2007)
Hayley Smith (2011)
Alyssa Coyle (2011)
Sulaiman Khan (2012)
Charlie Dunn (2012)
Jack Dawkins, better known as the Artful Dodger, is a character in the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist. Dodger is a pickpocket, so called for his skill and cunning in that respect. He is the leader of the gang of child criminals, trained by the elderly Fagin. He becomes Oliver's closest friend (although he betrays him when Oliver is mistakenly caught) and he tries to make him a pickpocket, but soon realizes that Oliver won't succeed, and feels sorry for him, saying "What a pity ain't a prig!" He also has a close relationship with Charley Bates. Ultimately the Dodger is caught with a stolen silver snuff box and presumably sent to a penal colony in Australia (only alluded to in the novel). The Dodger chooses to consider himself a "victim of society," roaring in the courtroom "I am an Englishman; where are my rights?" The judge has little patience with the Dodger's posturing, and orders him out of the courtroom immediately after the jury convicts him of the theft. Dickens describes him this way:
With these last words, the Dodger suffered himself to be led off by the collar, threatening, till he got into the yard, to make a parliamentary business of it, and then grinning in the officer's face, with great glee and self-approval.
He was a snub-nosed, flat-browed, common-faced boy enough; and as dirty a juvenile as one would wish to see; but he had about him all the airs and manners of a man. He was short of his age: with rather bow-legs, and little, sharp, ugly eyes. His hat was stuck on the top of his head so lightly, that it threatened to fall off every moment--and would have done so, very often, if the wearer had not had a knack of every now and then giving his head a sudden twitch, which brought it back to its old place again. He wore a man's coat, which reached nearly to his heels. He had turned the cuffs back, half-way up his arm, to get his hands out of the sleeves: apparently with the ultimated view of thrusting them into the pockets of his corduroy trousers; for there he kept them. He was, altogether, as roystering and swaggering a young gentleman as ever stood four feet six, or something less, in the bluchers.
The nickname "Artful Dodger" is still commonly used to refer to someone who is good at avoiding responsibility or the consequences of his or her actions. "Artful Dodger" is also rhyming slang for "lodger".
Dickens had first used a similar term in his previous novel, The Pickwick Papers. At the close of Chapter 16, Sam Weller refers to the recent schemes of Mr. Jingle: "Reg'lar do, sir; artful dodge."
The Artful Dodger, though a pickpocket, is not a heartless character. He has a great respect for Fagin, to whom he delivers all of the pickpocketing spoils without question.
Actors who have played the role
The role of the Artful Dodger has been played by several notable performers. British actor Anthony Newley played the character in a 1948 film adaptation of the story. The role was amplified in the musical Oliver!. The part was first played by Martin Horsey (actor, director and author of "L'Chaim"), and later by Tony Robinson, Davy Jones, Steve Marriott and Phil Collins among others. Elijah Wood also portrayed the character in the 1997 television film that aired during The Wonderful World of Disney on ABC. He was played by Harry Eden in Roman Polanski's big-budget 2005 film version. In the 1968 film Oliver!, Jack Wild played the role and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, Zachary Pereira in 2012 and Charlie Dunn in 2012 
In the 1980 ATV series The Further Adventures of Oliver Twist, the Dodger was played by John Fowler. When Oliver is sent by Mr. Brownlow to a boarding school, he finds the Dodger already there, and it is revealed that thanks to Oliver's uncle Harry Maylie the Dodger escaped transportion and was instead enrolled in the school. The two friends re-unite, and when Oliver flees the school the Dodger follows him back to London. Oliver is made to believe by Noah Claypole, Noah's girlfriend Charlotte and Mrs. Carraway (Mr. Brownlow's corrupt new housekeeper) that Mr. Brownlow is ill to the point of death. After Dodger rescues Oliver from his imprisonment by Claypole in the Brownlow cellar, he and Oliver are forced to take to the streets to uncover the truth, encountering Mr. Bumble, the villainous Monks and their old mentor Fagin along the way.
In Walt Disney's 1988 animated feature film version of Oliver Twist, Oliver and Company, the character of the Artful Dodger was changed to a streetwise anthropomorphic mutt simply named Dodger. The voice was provided by musician Billy Joel.
In 1996, Jean Loup Wolfman played the role in an adaptation by Seth Michael Donsky entitled Twisted. The film is set in a New York City contemporary underground populated by drag queens, drug abusers and hustlers. The Artful Dodger is a gay rent boy and hustler called Arthur, better known among his clientele as "Fine Art". He befriends the Oliver Twist character called Lee (played by Keivyn McNeill Grayes), where the latter is a black runaway adolescent.
In 2001, the Artful Dodger was the subject of an Australian children's show called Escape of the Artful Dodger. The show followed the Artful Dodger's adventures in the Australian penal colony in New South Wales, as well as his eventual redemption. Oliver Twist and Fagin also appeared.
In the 2003 Twist film, a modern-day retelling of the story, the Artful Dodger is called Dodge and is played by Nick Stahl. The film is told from his point of view, where he's a drug addict influenced by Fagin.
In the BBC adaptation of Oliver Twist in 2007, in which he is played by Adam Arnold, the Artful Dodger is shown to care deeply about Nancy. He is shown to have been very upset about her eventual death and is also shown to be slightly jealous of not being Nancy's favorite when Oliver is being nursed by her after being shot.
At least two different books about the Major League Baseball club known as the "Dodgers" have used this character's name as a play-on-words for their titles: The Artful Dodgers, edited by Tom Meany; and The Artful Dodger, by Tommy Lasorda with David Fisher.
Condredge Holloway, the legendary quarterback for the University of Tennessee Volunteers (1972–74), was known as "The Artful Dodger" for his scrambling prowess and elusive manner. Holloway was the first African-American starting quarterback in the history of Southeastern Conference football, went on to star in the Canadian Football League from 1975 through 1987, and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
In the Bewitched episode, " The Phrase is Familiar", Tabitha's tutor uses witchcraft to make the Artful Dodger come out of Oliver Twist. In this episode he steals Samantha's ring, Darrin's watch, and a client of Darrin's advertising company's cufflinks.
The literary magazine Artful Dodge was named after the character.
Sequels To Oliver Twist
At least four modern writers have written sequels about the further adventures of the Artful Dodger.
The Further Adventures and Life of Jack Dawkins, Also Known as the Artful Dodger by Montgomery Alan Montgomery was published in April 2010. The plot synopsis suggests that Jack Dawkins was deported to America. 
Dodge & Twist: A Sequel To Oliver Twist by Tony Lee was published September 2011 and subsequently slated for a film by the same name, currently in development. The story involves Oliver losing his money and subsequently becoming embroiled in a plot to steal the Crown Jewels with his old mate, the Artful Dodger.  
Terry Pratchett has written a non-Discworld novel called Dodger, released September 2012, with the title character bearing certain similarities to the Dickens character. The sampler of the book also includes him meeting an astute gentleman who concerns himself with the well-being of the poor called Charlie Dickens. 
Jack Dawkins by Charlton Daines was released April 2013. This version of Jack Dawkins' story begins with him returning to England from his exile in Australia and trying to find his place in a rapidly changing late Victorian England. 
In the first edition of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's comic series League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, set in the London of 1898, the Dodger briefly appears as an elderly man running his own gang of boy thieves, hinting that he is still following in Fagin's footsteps.
He was featured singing the song "Consider Yourself" in Oliver! the film in 1967.