The Secret Garden (1987)

TV Movie  |  PG  |   |  Family, Drama  |  30 November 1987 (USA)
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When a spoiled English girl living in 19th century India loses both parents in a cholera epidemic, she is sent back to England to live in a country mansion. The lord is a strange old man-- ... See full summary »



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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gennie James ...
Mary Lennox
Dickon Sowerby
Jadrien Steele ...
Mrs. Medlock
Archibald Craven
Lucy Gutteridge ...
Colonel McGraw
Cassie Stuart ...
Philip Locke ...
Karen Archer ...
Mrs. Crawford
Irina Brook ...
Adult Mary
David Waller ...
Pat Heywood ...


When a spoiled English girl living in 19th century India loses both parents in a cholera epidemic, she is sent back to England to live in a country mansion. The lord is a strange old man-- frail and deformed, immensely kind but so melancholy. She wishes to discover what has caused him so much sorrow and to bring joy back to the household. It all must have something to do with the screams and wails which echo through the house at night and no one wants to talk about. Written by Paul Emmons <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Family | Drama







Release Date:

30 November 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hallmark Hall of Fame: The Secret Garden (#37.1)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Colin Firth and Derek Jacobi worked on The Secret Garden (1987), and The King's Speech (2010). However, they did not have any scenes together in the former. See more »


Colin: Will you stay with me Mary, please?
Mary: Well, since you said please. But if you scream once more, I'll smother you with the pillow.
Nurse: And she would, too.
See more »


Edited into Hallmark Hall of Fame (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

A well done made for television adaptation of the novel.
5 May 2006 | by (California - Film Capitol of the World) – See all my reviews

Director Alan Grint (who did a bang up job directing some of the episodes of the British Sherlock Holmes series starring Jeremy Brett) has successfully translated an F H Burnett book to the small screen. This Hallmark Hall of Fame version introduces us to a grown Mary Lennox who in flashback, relives her childhood experience in coming to the rural manor of her guardian.

The real story has no reference to grown Mary or her romantic connection to Colin Craven. This is probably due to the fact that in the novel, Burnett makes it clear that Mary and Colin are actually cousins. This film version has erased that from the story, which would not be required if the unnecessary adult portions of the story had been left out.

Young Gennie James is excellent as (at first) ill tempered and selfish Mary Lennox. She resents her new situation (orphan living in someone else's house) and strains the patience of her caretaker (Whitlaw). When she discovers there is a secret garden, she is determined to find it, and when, upon finally meeting her guardian Mr. Craven, she steers him into granting her permission to make a garden anywhere she chooses. Of course she chooses the walled in garden.

When she finally tames Colin enough to tell him of the garden and her new friend Dickon, and his mysterious way with animals, the willful Colin is determined to see these wonders for himself and demands that the servants take him outside in his wheel chair and allow Mary to escort him with Dickon to push him. The servants balk, but give in to their young master's whim. This, of course, proves to be the beginning of the sickly Colin's road to recovery.

Young Oliver as Dickon is quite good, though he has little to say. Steele does a fine job of playing the demanding, insufferable crippled boy. Horndern is just right as the crusty but faithful Gardener and Whitlaw is good as always. All in all, a charming and satisfying, if slightly altered, version of the excessivley wordy classic novel.

Incidentally, for you fans of Harry Potter, NO, director Alan Grint is not the father of Rupert Grint.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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