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Tom's Midnight Garden (1999)

Unrated | | Adventure, Family, Fantasy | 7 April 2000 (USA)
Young Tom Long is forced to stay with his kindly Aunt and Uncle while his brother recovers from a bout of the measles. At their flat, he is disappointed to find there is no garden to play ... See full summary »


Willard Carroll


Willard Carroll (screenplay), Philippa Pearce (novel)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nigel Le Vaillant Nigel Le Vaillant ... Thomas Long (adult)
Marlene Sidaway ... Doris Schuster
Serena Gordon Serena Gordon ... Melody Long
Alfie Lawrence Alfie Lawrence ... Harriet Long
Mel Martin ... Alice Long
Greta Scacchi ... Aunt Gwen Kitson
James Wilby ... Uncle Alan Kitson
Anthony Way Anthony Way ... Tom Long
Nick Robinson Nick Robinson ... Peter Long
Liz Smith ... Mrs. Willows
Arlene Cockburn Arlene Cockburn ... Susan the Maid
Tom Bowles Tom Bowles ... Mr. Ferguson
Joan Plowright ... Mrs. Bartholomew
David Bradley ... Abel
Stuart Piper Stuart Piper ... Hubert


Young Tom Long is forced to stay with his kindly Aunt and Uncle while his brother recovers from a bout of the measles. At their flat, he is disappointed to find there is no garden to play in; but his disappointment turns to wonder when he discovers a magical garden which only appears at night when an old grandfather clock strikes thirteen. His nightly excursions to this beautiful garden become even more interesting when he realises that the people he meets cannot see him - except one young girl named Hattie. Written by Rhino <rhino@blueyonder.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It was a special time... and a special place


Unrated | See all certifications »



UK | USA | Japan



Release Date:

7 April 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tom's geheimer Garten - Als die Uhr 13 schlug See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

BS24, Hyperion Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


It features a scene or two filmed in and near to Ely Cathedral in Ely Cambridgeshire See more »


[talking about Hatty]
James: Why do you hate her so much?
Aunt Melbourne: I hate her because it's so easy for the rest of you to love her.
See more »


Version of Tom's Midnight Garden (1989) See more »


After Always
Written by Debbie Wiseman & Don Black
Performed by Barbara Dickson & Miriam Stockley
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

4 August 2002 | by pkendellSee all my reviews

I was entranced by this book as a child, so I was hoping for the best from this film. I wish I was able to say that my hopes were fulfilled.

Let's start with the good things. This film looks very good and, visually at least, belies its low budget. One of the things that digital effects have achieved is to enable inexpensively-made films to look as if they cost more to make than they actually did. The sets and outdoor shots are fine, except for one or two scenes where the (hilly) Isle of Man where the film was shot doesn't completely impersonate the (flat) countryside around Ely where the story is set.

So far, so good. The problems start with the script. It tops and tails the original story with an irritating 'present day' sequence featuring a grown-up Tom. I suppose the writers could find no other way to accommodate a story that is firmly fixed in the 1950s, but these scenes still grate.

Next, there is some fearfully clunky dialogue. Many of the adult actors manage to handle the stuff they have to speak pretty well, but this is unfortunately not true of Anthony Way who plays Tom, and whose acting is little better than the sort of thing you can see in any school play. He was 16-17 when the film was made, so he also looks much too old for the part. Perhaps the low budget led to insufficient rehearsal and shooting time. Some scenes are simply embarrassing.

If you can ignore this poor performance there is much to enjoy here. The atmosphere of 1950s England is nicely recreated, for instance. But, in the end, you may find that you're cringing too much...

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