Tom Thumb

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Tom Thumb Movie Poster Image
Fun musical adventure for the family.
  • NR
  • 1958
  • 98 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Tom Thumb is a lighthearted introduction to a popular fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm.


Positive Messages

It's important to know the people in whom you put your trust; strangers may not be what they seem. Be very careful when you wishing for something, because it just might come true.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Presents thoughtful, loving and responsible parenting even though it occurs in an unexpected way. Once Tom Thumb learns to be less trusting and begins to develop more judgment, he is an ideal son, friend, and citizen. Toys come to life in this movie, and a Chinese doll speaks Pidgin English and behaves in a stereotypical manner common to comic films of the era.

Violence & Scariness

One lengthy, funny fight scene. Characters are "knocked out," bopped over the head with various "weapons" (i.e. a heavy spoon, a shield, an urn). Tom also makes his way through a dark forest, falling into a swamp, but is quickly rescued. In a climactic scene,Tom's parents, wrongly accused of stealing, are tied to a stake and threatened with a lashing, but given the overall tone of the film, the audience knows that they will be saved.


Sexy Stuff

A chaste, romantic subplot involves a musician and the fairy queen of the forest.


Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The two villains smoke in one scene and drink what appears to be an adult beverage from a jug in another.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that with the exception of Tom finding himself in some mildly perilous situations and some bumbling, farcical swindlers who are more humorous than threatening, Tom Thumb is an entirely kid and family-friendly musical movie more than 50 years old. The two thieves smoke in one scene and chug-a-lug a nameless but probably alcoholic beverage in another. The "special effects," which present a thumb-sized hero in a world of full-sized people, are charmingly primitive, offering a historic look at early effects-dependent filmmaking.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byLooking4BestMedia July 7, 2014

Disappointing Degrading Chinese Character

While the movie was interesting and fun to watch for the most part, it needs to be mentioned that there is a very problematic character in the Chinese male doll... Continue reading

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What's the story?

The fairy tale about the boy no bigger than a thumb is brought to life with Russ Tamblyn as the title character. Fiendish villains Terry Thomas and Peter Sellers try to get the tiny boy to steal for them, but watching over tom is a good fairy. Watching over the good fairy is the handsome woodsman whose kiss can turn her into a mortal. Without giving anything away, it is fair to say they all live happily ever after, at least those who deserve to!

Is it any good?

Released in 1958, TOM THUMB is a fine film that the whole family can enjoy. Tom is as irresistibly charming as his "Very Own Song," one of many enchanting musical numbers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about other films about tiny characters. Why are they are so appealing?

  • Is it fun to watch a movie made so long ago?

  • How does singing and dancing enhance the storytelling?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love classics

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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