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The Borrowers (1997)

A secret family of four-inch people living inside the walls of a house must save their home from an evil real estate developer.



(novels), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
3,821 ( 494)

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Exterminator Jeff
Flora Newbigin ...
Raymond Pickard ...
Aden Gillett ...
Joe Lender
Victoria Lender
Town Hall Clerk
Andrew Dunford ...
Dustbunny Binn
Bob Goody ...
Minty Branch
Patrick Monckton ...
Swag (as Patrick Monkton)


The Borrowers are four-inch high "little people" who live under the floorboards. When the owner of the house they live in dies and evil realtor Ocious Potter wants to destroy the house to build luxury apartments on its place, they start to fight him with the help of the son of house owner, Pete. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The screen's smallest heroes in the year's biggest adventure. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild peril and some crude humor | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

13 February 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lånerne  »

Box Office


$29,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

DEM 640,552 (Germany) (12 December 1997)


$22,359,293 (USA) (8 May 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (uncredited)| (uncredited)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Arrietty is watching TV with bean (pete), and is seen, she knocks over plastic Indian. It is the same plastic Indian from Indian in the Cupboard. See more »


How does Potter's car suddenly turn up at the bakery? See more »


Peagreen Clock: Squished, or might get squished. Not much of a choice then, is there?
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits, there is a scene shown where Potter tries to explain to the police about seeing the Borrowers. See more »


References The Lone Ranger (1949) See more »


Written by Desmond Child and Hanson
Performed by Hanson
Courtesy of Mercury Records
By Arrangement with PolyGram Film & TV Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

A travesty
24 December 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I consider myself a fan of THE BORROWERS after watching the BBC children's TV series in the early 1990s. Recently I read the original novel for the first time and enjoyed it; I also saw the fine Japanese animated adaptation of the story, ARRIETTY. So I was interested, if not a little wary, to see how this American version of the story would held up. It's worth noting that I'd never seen it before.

Simply put, this is a travesty of a film and a huge disappointment for a true BORROWERS fan. Other than the central characters, the entire storyline has been jettisoned in favour of a bombastic, action-packed chase narrative in which the little people must team up to battle evil property tycoon John Goodman. This is about as far from the small-scale (pun intended) origins of the original Mary Norton story as it gets.

There are a few lights twinkling away amid the garbage; I'll be the first to admit that Jim Broadbent makes for an effective Pod, and Tom Felton shines in an early role. Celia Imrie isn't bad as Homily, but she's no match for Penelope Wilton. The special effects aren't too bad for the year, and few of them scream 'obvious CGI' like so many Hollywood films today.

So where did it go wrong? Well, the attempts to update the story for a modern American audience is a good start. The setting is some ridiculous 'netherworld' which mixes modern-day technology with 1950s-era Britain and America. It's ludicrous. Goodman's villain is poorly shoe-horned into the storyline and the subject of numerous fat jokes. Really? Is it right for a film to be teaching kids to constantly insult people due to their weight? The characters are badly written, the dumb humour consists of farting dogs and the like, and the whole thing has been dumbed down massively and lost the magic of the original. In the end it's just another soulless Hollywood effects piece.

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