Oliver Twist is born at the workhouse of Mr. Bumble, where he is left an orphan as his mother dies shortly after giving birth to him. Mr. Bumble, just as he does with all his other orphans, puts Oliver to daily work, giving him in exchange little more than a daily bowl of porridge. One day, outraged that Oliver would dare supplicate for more food, Mr. Bumble sells the boy to Mr. Sowerberry, an undertaker, who makes him an apprentice at his funeral home. There, Oliver is humiliated and insulted by Noah, Mr. Sowerberry's other apprentice. Tired of this life, Oliver runs away from the funeral home and heads for the city of London where he meets the Artful Dodger. The Artful Dodger takes Oliver to the home of Fagin, a seemingly kind old man who turns homeless boys into shameless pickpockets. There, Oliver is trained to wander the streets stealing from ladies and gentlemen. When Oliver witnesses the Artful Dodger and another boy named Charlie stealing the handkerchief of Mr. Brownlow as he browses the books at a street bookshop, Oliver flees. The suspicious act on Oliver's part arouses the attention of Mr. Brownlow and accuses him of theft. When caught, Oliver is taken before a magistrate treated as a cold-blooded criminal and sentenced. Mr. Brownlow confronts the magistrate, telling him that his sentence is too harsh and that he never did see Oliver actually steal the piece of cloth. Mr. Brownlow takes a liking towards Oliver and invites him to live in his home. Mr. Monks, a sinister man, seeks information about Oliver from Mr. and Mrs. Bumble, when they present him with a locket that the old nurse Sally had taken from Oliver's mother. Mr. Monks wishes Oliver to be involved in a crime and imprisoned, so he may claim the inheritance that is rightfully Oliver's.
Oliver Twist: The protagonist, Oliver Twist is a ten-year-old orphaned boy born at Mr. Bumble's workhouse. He experiences many hardships and cruelty from greedy villains before finding his rightful place in the world.
Mr. Brownlow: An old friend of Oliver Twist's mother, his path is crossed with Oliver's when he believes the boy had stolen his handkerchief.
Fagin: Fagin is a seemingly kind and harmless old man who collects homeless boys from the streets and teaches them to steal from people, thus making his own fortune.
Artful Dodger: The Artful Dodger is Oliver's first friend and Fagin's preferred boy. He is streetwise and the best among Fagin's band of pickpockets.
Nancy: Nancy is the girlfriend of Bill Sykes. She takes pity towards Oliver and tries to help him into a new, better life, which ends up costing her her own.
Bill Sykes: A cruel man, he is determined to see Oliver commit a crime in order to receive compensation from Mr. Monks, no matter whose life may be at stake.
Mr. Monks: He is revealed to be Oliver Twist's own brother and wishes to take his inheritance from him by involving the young boy in a crime. He believes he's destroyed the last evidence of Oliver's parentage when he destroys the golden locket Sally gives to Mrs. Bumble.
Mr. Bumble: He is the owner of the workhouse where Oliver Twist is born. He is a cruel man and forces his boys to hard work from the day they're capable of standing on their feet.
Sally: Sally is an old nurse working for Mr. Bumble at his workhouse, where she is abused and ill-treated. She nurses Oliver Twist's mother as she gives birth to her son and is with her when she dies. She notices Agnes, Oliver's mother, dropping an old locket on the ground; she picks it up and holds on to it. Ten years later and shortly before dying, she apologetically gives the locket to Mrs. Bumble and supplicates her to give the piece of jewelry to Oliver, so that he may know who he is.