51 user 7 critic

On Borrowed Time (1939)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy | 7 July 1939 (USA)
Young Pud is orphaned and left in the care of his aged grandparents. The boy and his cantankerous old grandfather become inseparable friends. But Gramps is concerned for his grandson's ... See full summary »



(screen play), (screen play) | 3 more credits »

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Complete credited cast:
Mr. Brink (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Nellie - Granny
Marcia Giles
Bobs Watson ...
Mr. Grimes
Dr. Evans
Mr. Pilbeam
Eily Malyon ...
Demetria Riffle
James Burke ...
Sheriff Burlingame
Charles Waldron ...
Reverend Murdock
Charles Wentworth
Bill Lowry
Truman Bradley ...
James Northrup


Young Pud is orphaned and left in the care of his aged grandparents. The boy and his cantankerous old grandfather become inseparable friends. But Gramps is concerned for his grandson's future and wary of a scheming relative who seeks Pud's custody. One day Mr. Brink--an agent of Death--arrives to take Gramps "to the land where the woodbine twineth." Through a bit of trickery, Gramps confines Mr. Brink, and thus Death, to the top of an old apple tree, giving Gramps extra time to resolve issues about Pud's future. Written by Thomas McWilliams <tgm@netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

boy | tree | death | man in tree | heaven | See All (24) »


The Great Broadway Stage Hit Reaches The Screen


Comedy | Drama | Fantasy


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

7 July 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Horas Roubadas  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film and Calling Dr. Kildare share much of the same cast and crew. The following actors are in both: Lionel Barrymore, Bobs Watson, Nat Pendleton, Barbara Bedford, Phillip Terry, Dorothy Adams, and Howard C. Hickman The following crew worked on both as well: Harold S. Bucquet (Director), Cedric Gibbons (Art Director), Edwin B. Willis (Set Decorator), Douglas Shearer (Recording Director), and Leonid Raab (Orchestrator) Both were released in 1939 and, of course, they were both MGM productions. See more »


John 'Pud' Northrup: Gee, you got funny eyes, Mr. Brink. They make me dizzy.
See more »


Featured in Biography: The Barrymores (2002) See more »


Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair
(1854) (uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
Played on the radio
See more »

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User Reviews

Charming Tale!
8 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This charming tale of an orphaned boy, his grandfather, and Death is a must-see for so many reasons. It is such a sweet story so cleverly played out by a wonderful cast through humorous, heartwarming, and tear jerking moments. The final touching scene will leave anyone with a heart in tears.

I won't go into the story line--anyone interested in this movie will have already read about it. I will say though that the reason Gramps gets to make the wish that anyone climbing his apple tree must remain there until he releases them is clearly explained beforehand. Following his wife's death, he pays the preacher very well for his services, and Pud tells him that anyone who does a good deed gets to make a wish, and it will come true.

Lionel Barrymore is cantankerous yet lovable as Gramps. Sir Cedric Hardwicke plays Death perfectly--solemn, calm, matter-of-fact. Bobs Watson is remarkable as Pud, crying more believably than any child actor I've ever seen. I also found Una Merkel's portrayal of Marcia Giles, the good-hearted young woman who helps the Northrup family, to be very sweet and moving.

What a wonderful, heartwarming classic!

13 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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