35 user 3 critic

Goodnight, Mister Tom (1998)

A shy and quiet World War II evacuee is housed by a disgruntled old man, and they soon develop a close bond.



(adaptation), (novel)
4,944 ( 68)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Oakley
Nick Robinson ...
William Beech
Mrs. Beech
Thomas Orange ...
Zacharias Wrench
Bill Armstrong ...
Dr. Stelton (as William Armstrong)
Geoffrey Beevers ...
Mossie Smith ...
Mrs. Fletcher
Peter England ...
Michael Fletcher
Ivan Berry ...
George Fletcher
Harry Capehorn ...
Edward Fletcher
Mrs. Holland
Mrs. Webster
Dr. Little
Denyse Alexander ...
Mrs. Little
Avril Elgar ...
Mrs. Ford


We're in an English village shortly before Dunkirk. "Mr. Tom" Oakley still broods over the death of his wife and small son while he was away in the navy during WWI, and grief has made him a surly hermit. Now children evacuated from London are overwhelming volunteers to house them. Practically under protest, Mr. Tom takes in a painfully quiet 10-year-old, who gradually reveals big problems. William nightly wets the bed. He can't read or write, although he is intelligent and shows artistic talent. He constantly dreads going to hell. Scars cover his back. Mr. Tom soon realizes that his little boarder comes from a horribly abusive home, and determines to provide him a better one. All goes well until William's mother persuades him to return to London for a few days' visit. When Mr. Tom hears nothing from the boy after two weeks, he can endure the loneliness and worry no longer. Written by Paul Emmons <pemmons@voicenet.com>

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Drama | War

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Release Date:

30 May 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Masterpiece Theatre: Goodnight Mister Tom  »

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Did You Know?


Based on the book, 'Goodnight Mister Tom' See more »


During this programme we sometimes get a view of other houses / cottages in the village. It is a shame that with all the other detail and thought that went into the making of it, no one thought to remove or disguise the UHF television aerials on their rooves ! You would not have seen an aerial of that type on a roof until the mid 1960's when BBC2 came into being. See more »


Featured in The Unforgettable John Thaw (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

A brilliant film that deserves to be better known
16 August 2008 | by See all my reviews

This film has been on my wish list for ten years and I only recently found it on DVD when my partner's grandson was given it. He watched it at and was thrilled to learn that it was about my generation - born in 1930 and evacuated in 1939 and he wanted to know more about it - and me. Luckily I borrowed it from him and watched it on my own and I cried all through it. Not only did it capture the emotions, the class distinction, the hardship and the warmth of human relationships of those years (as well as the cruelties (spoken and unspoken); but it was accurate! I am also a bit of an anorak when it comes to ARP uniforms, ambulances (LCC) in the right colour (white) and all the impedimenta of the management of bomb sites and the work of the Heavy Rescue Brigades. I couldn't fault any of this from my memories, and the sandbagged Anderson shelter and the WVS canteens brought it all back. The difference between the relatively unspoiled life in the village and war-torn London was also sharply presented I re-lived 1939/40 and my own evacuation from London with this production! I know Jack Gold's work, of course, and one would expect no more from him than this meticulous detail; but it went far beyond the accurate representation of the facts and touched deep chords about human responses and the only half-uttered value judgements of those years. It was certainly one of the great high spots in John Thaw's acting career and of Gold's direction and deserves to be better known. It is a magnificent film and I have already ordered a couple of copies to send to friends.

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