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The Little Princess (1939)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Family  |  17 March 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 3,951 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 13 critic

A little girl is left by her father in an exclusive seminary for girls, due to her father having to go to Africa with the army.


, (uncredited)


(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Greene ...
Arthur Treacher ...
Sybil Jason ...
Lord Wickham
Marcia Mae Jones ...
Beryl Mercer ...
Deidre Gale ...
Ira Stevens ...
E.E. Clive ...
Eily Malyon ...


When her father, Captain Crewe, goes off to fight in the Boer War, young Sara Crewe is placed into the care of Amanda Minchin, the head of an exclusive private school for girls. Sara lives a wonderful life of a privileged child and is quite happy in her surroundings. When her father is listed as missing in action however, her life goes from one of plenty to that of a poor house maid. Mrs. Minchin agrees to keep her on at the school, but in the absence of her tuition payments, she has to work for her keep. She is soon cleaning out the fireplace and scrubbing floors and is dubbed the little princess by her former schoolmates. She also refuses to accept that her father is dead and prowls the hospitals in the hope of locating him. Luck - and Royal intervention - assist her in her quest. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A great classic comes to life in glorious Technicolor!


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

17 March 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La princesita  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Marcia Mae Jones, who played Lavinia in this picture, received hate mail from Shirley Temple fans over the way Lavinia treated Temple's Sara Crewe, in contrast to the way Temple's Heidi treated Jones' Klara in "Heidi" (1937). See more »


In opening scene, the father is referred to as "Captain" but the rank on his shoulder is that of first lieutenant based on the two pips he wears. A captain's rank is three pips. See more »


[first lines]
Sara Crewe: Why are they sending so many soldiers, daddy, if it's only going to be a little war?
Captain Reginald Crewe: To make those stubborn Boers take us seriously this time, my darling. When they realize Her Majesty intends to put a stop to their nonsense, they'll quiet down.
Sara Crewe: They'd better. Anyhow, when you get there, you'll stop them. Won't you, daddy?
Captain Reginald Crewe: I'll do my best, dear.
See more »


The Fantasy
Music by Samuel Pokrass
Words by Walter Bullock
Performed by Shirley Temple, Arthur Treacher, Mary Nash,
Cesar Romero, Anita Louise, Richard Greene and unidentified Extras.
Danced by Temple with unidentified Ballerinas
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Little Princess- Thank Heaven for Little Girls ***1/2
16 October 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Charming film in color where Shirley Temple's dad goes off to fight in the Boer War. She is left is a fancy girl's school with a headmistress who is stern.

When word is brought to the school that the father, who adored his Sarah (Temple), has been killed and the child is left penniless, poor Sarah is shut up in the attic and made to work in the kitchen. Move over Cinderella.

Sarah never gives up hope that her dad (Ian Hunter) is living and she searches feverishly for him.

When a Indian mystery man (Cesar Romero) makes her room beautiful during a ballet sequence, Sarah is suspected of stealing.

Mary Nash is the wicked headmistress and acts in the same way as Margaret Hamilton in "The Wizard of Oz." Richard Green and Anita Louise play lovers, who are discharged from the school, by Nash for loving each other.

The ending is wonderful when Sarah finds her dad with the help no less of Queen Victoria (Beryl Mercer).

Enjoyable tale for children and adults alike.

17 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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