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Tom Brown's Schooldays

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This new adaptation of Thomas Hughes' famous novel tells the tale of a young boy's courage in the face of vicious bullying. Set in Rugby Public School during the mid-1800s, the eponymous Tom transforms from timid, homesick schoolboy to courageous student as he learns to confront his fears, stand up for his friends, and hurdle the obstacles of adolescence.

Tom Brown's Schooldays charts a young boy's first steps towards adulthood as he attends a troubled British school. As Tom Brown (Alex Pettyfer, Stormbreaker) arrives at Rugby Public School, so does the new headmaster, Dr. Arnold (Stephen Fry, Gosford Park, Wilde), a man who intends to stamp out the bullying and drunkenness that sow corruption in the school. Brown and Arnold collide, but Brown's true enemy is the brutal Flashman (Joseph Beattie), an upperclassman who dedicates himself to making Brown's life miserable. The adaptation of this classic English novel is extremely abridged (only 93 minutes, as opposed to the almost four-hour 1971 version) and takes some liberties with the story (Flashman's crimes are much more dastardly here). But the results are strong; though the exposition may feel a bit choppy and episodic, the mixing of storylines leads to an emotionally compelling second half. This version retains the novel's greatest strength, the complexity of Tom Brown himself; far from a cardboard icon of virtue, Brown's character allows for both courage and insolence, loyalty and rebelliousness. But the movie's greatest strength is Stephen Fry's performance; his magnetism, intelligence, and empathy drive Tom Brown's Schooldays forward. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Julian Wadham, Alex Pettyfer, Stephen Fry, Jemma Redgrave, Harry Michell
  • Directors: David Moore
  • Writers: Ashley Pharoah, Thomas Hughes
  • Producers: Ashley Pharoah, Charles Pattinson, George Faber, Nick Goding, Steve Christian
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Koch Vision
  • DVD Release Date: April 10, 2007
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MR9C46
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,862 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tom Brown's Schooldays" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

This well made, and very well acted movie held my interest all the way through.
Keith Davis
It just seemed that nothing justified Tom Brown's "character growth" if, indeed, there was any.
Kevin P. Mullin
I have not watched alot of british movies and didn't know what to expect but i was not disappointed.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 11, 2007
Format: DVD
"Tom Brown's Schooldays" was originally published in 1857. Thomas Hughes had attended Rugby School, an English public school for boys from 1834 to 1842, but it seems the title character was based on his older brother George. The book is considered the first in the genre of school novels, spawning a host of imitations during the Victorian era, the most successful of which would be the Harry Potter novels of the 21st century. The BBC did a mini-series version of "Tom Brown's Schooldays" in 1972, where as this 2005 television adaptation by ITV runs only 93 minutes. I was going to say that this was by far the shortest BBC literary adaptation I had ever seen, but it turns out it was by ITV.

The relative short length of this production is especially interesting since it omits the chapters at the start of the novel dealing with the childhood of Tom Brown in his home in the Vale of White Horse. There young Tom spends days riding his pony and leading a happy, carefree existence, before being sent to the living hell of his schooldays. Instead, the script by Ashley Pharoah takes the two major stories that make up the actual school days, Tom being bullied by Flashman and Tom being told by Dr. Arnold to look after young George Arthur, and weaves them together instead of having them comprise separate parts of the story. So in this version Tom Brown (Alex Pettyfer) shows up at Rugby School and immediately becomes the target for the bullying Flashman (Joseph Beattie, and, yes, this is the character that George MacDonald Fraser made the "hero" of his "Flashman" historical novels). Meanwhile, headmaster Dr.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By R. House on April 30, 2007
Format: DVD
I have seen all the versions available of this story, and feel that this is the finest version yet produced. I enjoyed it much more than the BBC "Materpiece Theatre" series which is much longer. Usually, I prefer a more detailed story, but something did not appeal to me with the "Masterpiece" version. I have a DVD copy from England acted by John Howard Davies & Robert Newton. This is the highly acclaimed version by most from 1951. I guess the appealing qualities about the newest version are the music and filming, and most of all, the acting done by Alex Pettyfer (Tom), Stephen Fry (Dr. Arnold) and Joseph Beattie (Flashman). Supporting roles by Dane Carter (Tadpole) and Harry Michell (East) are also excellent. I recommend this new edition to all interested, especially over the 1971 "Masterpiece Theatre" version.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 23, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The story is well known: Rugby, a public school in the English midlands and where the game was invented, acquires a new headmaster in 1828: Dr Arnold managed single-handedly to change the way of life at boys' schools in the whole country. (To put this into context, these were the days when great social reforms were just beginning, with the abolition of slavery on the horizon and the first glimpses of "human rights".) When he arrived the masters were idle and often drunk, and the boys were left to develop without guidance or discipline which led to bullying - mental, physical and sexual - being the order of the day (remember the descent of the young into savagery in Lord of the Flies?).

This beautifully filmed and acted work conveys the life and hard times of Tom Brown and his battle against the principal school bully, the appalling Flashman (subject of a series of novels by George MacDonald Fraser 100 years later), mostly following the original novel. It well shows the tribal loyalties that prevent the boys from betraying their tormentors to the staff, and allows Tom's intelligence and innate decency to develop with the discreet but firm pressure from Dr Arnold who early recognises that Tom will be his best hope of an ally in his campaign to civilise the beasts. This by no means implies that Tom is a goody-goody: on the contrary, he gets into trouble quite often. I found this film to be satisfying and rather charming as a portrayal of Victorian toughness, while at the same time the sentimentality that was also very Victorian is given a brief airing with its treatment of the short life and death of a quiet child whose temperament is wholly out of step.

I cannot fault this film. But on no account should it be marketed as any kind of "coming of age" film, nor will there be anything to stir those who fancy boys or young men: it is a powerful statement about a period of educational and social reform which spread around the whole English-speaking world.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mom and Teacher on November 8, 2008
Format: DVD
This story had a compelling plot and story development. I chose it for a family movie based on everything on the front and back jacket covers. The drama was intense and disturbing at times. There is slight nudity and some amount of mature theme. It is not rated, but it was not at all what I expected based on the information on the jacket. From other reviews I have now read, the movie is more extreme (than the actual book) in its display of the bullying which occurred in this school. Even though the main culprit does get asked to leave, you always get the feeling he is not punished enough and should have been punished as a criminal. I felt like I made a mistake in choosing it as a family film even though the story has some merit. For the most part, good triumphs over evil in the end. Our family felt like it should have been rated PG-13 due to some mature sexual content.
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