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Tom Brown's Schooldays (1951)

Passed | | Drama | 2 November 1951 (USA)
A young boy starts at Rugby boarding school. He is tormented by Flashman, the school bully.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Howard Davies ...
John Charlesworth ...
Old Thomas
John Forrest ...
Max Bygraves ...
Coach Guard
Francis De Wolff ...
Sally Harrowell
Mrs. Brown
Amy Veness ...
Mrs. Wixie
Brian Worth ...
Mrs. Arthur
Michael Brennan ...
Black Bart


A faithful rendition of the Thomas Hughes book of life at the famed Rugby School for Boys in 1834, when Dr. Thomas Arnold, headmaster, was trying to alleviate the brutality of the 'hazing system' which was supposed to make men of the young boys, but which actually was a mask for passionate, unregenerate cruelty. The primary story has Tom Brown ragged continually by one particularly brutal upper-class-man, Flashman. Tom's bravery and school-spirited silence gains him Arnold's admiration. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Thrilling New Motion Picture!




Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

2 November 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Revolt i plugget  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film debut of Ben Aris. See more »


At the very end when Tow Brown is chasing behind the camera car, 3 sets of tyre marks can clearly be seen in the grass. See more »


Flashman: [To Ned] You lying blackguard!
Dr. Arnold: Silent.
Flashman: [flustered] ...but...this man has a private grudge against me sir..!
Dr. Arnold: Silent, I say!
See more »


Version of Tom Brown's Schooldays (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

Solid film, particularly for the acting
19 June 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

'Tom Brown's School Days', one of the best depictions of schoolboy life in literature, was previously adapted in 1940. While not the truest to the source material either, that was also a good film, especially for Cedric Hardwicke's performance, and it is hard to say which is the better one out of that and this film.

1951's adaptation is not perfect. The direction is a bit staid and lacklustre, Robert Stevenson in the 1940 film directed with more sympathy, energy and style to me, here the direction is not bad, just that it could have been more.

The story is sometimes a little too episodically told, and while it's well paced on the whole there are occasions where it sags. John Howard Davies is more age appropriate than Jimmy Lydon and has cuteness and charm, but is also a little too delicate and wistful in the title role, which due to being the main focus is more interestingly written, the earlier version focusing more on Arnold.

However, 'Tom Brown's School Days' looks great, beautifully shot and the period setting is suitably atmospheric and quaint. Richard Adinsell's score complements well and has the right amount of jauntiness and whimsy as well as stirring atmosphere. The script is very thought-provoking, with some nice charming, humorous and poignant moments, and much of the story is charming and lively, with Arnold's strictness and progressiveness and Flashman's very vindictive bullying (to the point of being reprehensible, have to agree that one cannot feel sympathy for him as a result) very well-realised.

Particularly notable here in 'Tom Brown's School Days' is the acting. A more restrained than usual Robert Newton gives an authoritative and very sincere performance as strict but saintly Arnold, while John Clarlesworth is appealing as East and John Forrest comes very close to stealing the show making for a viciously snobbish and quite intimidating bully in Flashman. Supporting turns are splendid, though some are brief.

Overall, solid film with the acting being especially noteworthy. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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