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On Borrowed Time


List Price: $19.99
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Product Details

  • Actors: Cedric Hardwicke, Beulah Bondi Lionel Barrymore
  • Directors: Harold S. Bucquet
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • DVD Release Date: June 22, 2009
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0026R9A24
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,479 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "On Borrowed Time" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Death has come for Gramps Northrup. But Gramps has important work to do: raising his orphaned grandson. So he uses a bit of magic to trap Death in the branches of an apple tree. Clever work, Gramps! Or is it? With Death on hiatus, other folks whose time has come - folks who are worn out, ill and in pain - can't be released from their earthly suffering. And Gramps begins to wonder if he's done the right thing.

From the beloved Paul Osborn play, this endearing fantasy of family, love and mortality moves effortlessly from rollicking to whimsical to tragic. Lionel Barrymore plays Gramps, leading a sterling cast of character stars, including Beulah Bondi, Una Merkel, Henry Travers and, as a most wry and gentlemanly Grim Reaper, Sir Cedric Hardwicke

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.

Customer Reviews

I love old movies from the 30's & 40's.
Toni Stafford
ON BORROWED TIME is one of the best of the many charming fantasies that were popular in the classic movie era.
Annie Van Auken
It makes you think, feel, cry and just moves you in so many ways!
Audrey Litteral

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

110 of 113 people found the following review helpful By Kona VINE VOICE on July 5, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This unforgettable family fantasy from the 30s is about a crotchity, salt-of-the-earth grandfather who loves his young grandson, Pud. Troubled by apple thieves, Gramps makes a wish that anyone who climbs his apple tree would have to stay there until he lets them down. When Death comes to visit, he is trapped in the tree and now no one in the world can die. Sounds good, doesn't it? But Gramps soon discovers it's not.

Barrymore is utterly convincing as the cantankerous, warm-hearted Gramps. He plays the role in a wheel chair due to debilitating arthritis and the final scene where he appears to walk is therefore especially poignant. As Death, Sir Cedric Hardwicke is chilling and yet kindly and wise; he takes people to Eternity, which, as Gramps would say is, "a right smart piece o' time."

Despite its age, the movie is timeless, sweet, and inspiring. If you love someone or have experienced loss, this movie will affect you deeply and it's worth watching more than once. Heartily recommended.
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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Hearse Queen on October 23, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This film is absolutely charming. Lionel Barrymore is Julian Northrup or Gramps, a likeable curmudgeon who dotes on his grandson, Pud (Bobs Watson), a precious little boy. Miss Nellie (Beulah Bondi), Pud's gramma is always happily aghast at the trouble that Gramps and Pud gets themselves into.
Pud's parents die tragically in a car accident. They've been taken by Mr. Brink, the living embodiment of death, played by the very dapper Cedric Hardwicke. Mr. Brink isn't done with their family however, and visits Gramps home.
Through a chain of events, they discover that anyone who goes up into an apple tree in the backyard cannot get down until gramps tells them they can. They trap Mr. Brink in the tree, and the story only gets better from there.
I left watching this movie with a wonderfully comforted feeling, that loves knows no bounds. I recommend this film to all my friends and family, it's a charmer.
Don't let the color picture of the box displayed fool you, it's in it's original glorious black and white.
If you enjoy the "love conquers death" movie genre, check out "What Dreams May Come" and "Death Takes a Holiday" which inspired the film, "Meet Joe Black".
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Richard in Indy on June 18, 2009
Format: DVD
This wonderful fantasy has been a long time coming to DVD. It's a five star movie with a three star dvd transfer. It's part of the Warner Brothers Archive Collection. You might want to hold on to your vhs copy of this film, however. The DVD is of marginal quality. Particularly during the opening credits, there is an annoying flutter that makes you want to fine tune your TV. The overall picture quality is somewhat "soft" and not quite as crisp as the vhs version. Most films in the WB Archive Collection have NOT been restored or enhanced so don't expect the same quality that you might find in other studio dvd releases. Don't be a victim of the Amazon Marketplace sellers who have doubled the price plus shipping. You can buy it directly from the WBshop at $19.95 with free shipping with a minimum purchase.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 1, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This superlative 1939 classic film is an underrated silver screen gem. Sure to tug at the viewer's heartstrings, it is peppered with superb performances by the entire cast. Charming, funny, and, ultimately, heartbreaking, it is based upon an age old, medieval folktale that will not fail to move the viewer.
When young Pud Northrup (Bobs Watson) is unexpectedly orphaned, he remains with his elderly, paternal grandparents, Nelly (Beulah Bondi) and Julian Northrup (Lionel Barrymore). The adorable Pud loves his doting Granny and his curmudgeonly, but affectionate, wheelchair bound Gramps.
All is well in the Northrup household until Puds aunt, the greedy Demetria Wiffle (Eily Malyon), discovers that Pud's parents left him a sizable inheritance. From then on, Demetria will stop at nothing to get legal guardianship of Pud. Gramps, however, will stop at nothing to keep her from his little grandson, whom he adores. Not even death has reckoned with the will of Gramps.
When death comes, calling himself Mr. Brink (Cedric Hardwicke), Granny succumbs to his charms, but Gramps resists, managing to get Mr. Brink nestled in the apple tree in the yard. There he patiently sits, as Gramps refuses to let him down. This eventually has unexpected repercussions, some funny and some infinitely sad. It is a cautionary tale that tells the viewer to be careful what one wishes for, as one just may get one's wish.
Beulah Bondi is heartwarming as Granny, and Bobs Watson is affecting as the adorable Pud. Eily Malyon is suitably malevolent as greedy and conniving Aunt Demetria, and Cedric Hardwicke gives an excellent, straightforward performnce as Mr. Brink. The rest of the supporting cast is also terrific in their respective roles.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Linda J. Barrett on May 6, 2001
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I saw this movie for the fist time when I was growing up in Buckeye, Arizona...over 40 years ago. It made an indelible impression and haunted me for years. However, it was out of print and unavailable until a few short years ago. It was with great delight that I purchased this film and watched...and rewatched it over and over again. I've passed it from one friend to another, who...with only one exception (there is always someone in the crowd) throughly enjoyed it. Admittedly, this is your classic tear jerker...or, what would be euphemistically called these days, a "Chick Flick". The film's theme revolves around the eternal quest to outwit Death...and in this movie...Lionel Barrymore manages to do just that...but with unexpected consequences. He finds that by beating Death, much unnecessary pain and suffering has been caused. In this particular case, it's the suffering of his small grandson who has fallen from an apple tree and should have died, but didn't. Not until Barrymore finally realizes that Death is nothing to fear...and is in fact a bearer of a great gift...does he finally allow Death to get on with his job. The ending of this movie is one of the most touching and beautiful of any you will ever experience. I suggest you have a box of tissues close by. Recently, I watched this movie with my husband who had never seen it before. Mr. "I Never Cry At The Movies", had tidal wave size tears in his eyes by the movies end. Corny...yes. Wonderful...you bet. This is a must have, especially if you are considering purchasing this as a "family" film. Add On Borrowed Time to your video library.
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