37 user 11 critic

Tom Thumb (1958)

Approved | | Family, Fantasy, Musical | 24 December 1958 (UK)
Follows a boy, no bigger than a thumb, who manages to outwit two thieves determined to make a fortune from him.


George Pal


Ladislas Fodor (screenplay), Jacob Grimm (based on a story from the pen of) (as the Brothers Grimm) | 1 more credit »

On Disc

at Amazon

Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Russ Tamblyn ... Tom Thumb
Alan Young ... The Lover: Woody
June Thorburn ... The Lover: Forest Queen
Terry-Thomas ... The Villain: Ivan
Peter Sellers ... The Villain: Antony
Bernard Miles ... The Parent: Jonathan
Jessie Matthews ... The Parent: Anne
Ian Wallace Ian Wallace ... The Cobbler
Peter Butterworth Peter Butterworth ... Kapellmeister
Peter Bull ... Town Crier
Stan Freberg ... Yawning Man (voice)
Dal McKennon Dal McKennon ... Con-Fu-Shon (voice)


In a mythical land, woodcutter Jonathan agrees not to chop down the oldest tree in the forest in return for three wishes granted by the Forest Queen. After he wastes two wishes bickering with his wife, the third brings them Tom, a thumb-sized child. The couple dote upon him, but are unable to protect him when, on his way to the village, the innocent Tom falls in with villainous Ivan and Tony. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's Colorsome! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

24 December 1958 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

El pequeño gigante See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The head of MGM's British operations was so impressed that George Pal brought this film in under budget that he suggested that Pal submit a script for his favorite unproduced project. Pal chose The Time Machine (1960) See more »


Given the density of gold, Tom would be unable to pick up coins so easily. See more »


Ivan: There are two crooks here - and both of them are you!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing credits: "Tom Thumb" is a trade - mark See more »


Spoofed in Meet the Robinsons (2007) See more »


After All These Years
Music by Fred Spielman
Lyrics by Janice Torre
Sung by Jessie Matthews (dubbed by Norma Zimmer)
See more »

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User Reviews

Good things do indeed come in small packages.
2 October 2009 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Woodcutter Honest Jonathan is granted three wishes by the forest queen as gratitude for not chopping down a mighty oak tree. Returning home he excitedly tries to tell his wife about the wishes, but an argument ensues and during the course of which, the three wishes are foolishly wasted. Realising the folly of their waste, they both sadly ponder on the absence of a son in their life, no matter what size he be. Jonathan muses that perhaps the queen would grant them one more wish, even a small one...

Based on the Brothers Grimm story, "tom thumb" may just be the most undervalued musical ever made in the 1950s. Not having a fully fledged Region 2 DVD release yet is not helping its cause, and quite frankly that's something of a disgrace. "tom thumb" has everything a family musical should have. A fantastical fairytale full of colour, vibrant song and dance, and a warmth to cheer the bluest of hearts. With the athletic and vibrant Russ Tamblyn taking the lead as Tom, and villains portrayed with such gleeful caddishness by Peter Sellers and Terry-Thomas, the film was always going to start from a good footing. Add in Tom Howard's Academy Award winning effects, Gamley & Jones' whimsical score and the zippy direction from Ray Harryhausen mentor, George Pal. Well what's the excuse for not letting this film into yours, and your children's life?

The story unfolds in a blaze of glorious art design and pupetoon effects. As Tamblyn roams around his little world, the makers blend over-sized sets with animation and real life choreography. Yeah its a little creaky now, but this is still magic, a hark back to a time when it was hard work to craft such a fusion of incredible delights. There's a main sequence as Tom brings the toys to life {you see a toy without a child is as bad as a child without a toy}, a truly wondrous segment of film that deserves classic status. Fit to sit alongside the moment Gene Kelly danced with Mickey Mouse in Anchors Aweigh, this sees Tamblyn trip the light fantastic around, and with, numerous articles and childhood toys beloved by so many in the past. Then there is the talented shoes, a mortality romantic sub-plot, and yes! The good against evil thematic so rich and potent with many a fairytale that has been spun. It's all good, really it is.

Am I biased because it was a childhood favourite? You can bet your last Cent, Penny or Euro that I am indeed! But I know this one truth. I have shown this to various age groups over the years, and not once has this film finished and not been met with smiles and even happy tears on occasions. Because ultimately it delivers the joy to the children, and to the children in us all. And that be the truth your honour.

Doo be doo be doo 9/10

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