Tom Jones

MGM Released 1963




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Tom Jones

Movie Summary

Tony Richardson

Winner of the Best Film Oscar for 1963, Tom Jones is an adaptation of Henry Fielding's classic 18th-century novel. Directed by Tony Richardson, the film tells the story of Tom Jones, a foundling raised by the stern but caring Squire Allworthy. Tom is popular, good-hearted and in love with Sophie Western, the daughter of a neighbouring squire. She returns his feelings, but is forbidden to marry a bastard of uncertain parentage and is instead promised in marriage to the unpleasant Blifil, nephew to Squire Allworthy. Tom leaves home in disgrace after a local peasant girl falls pregnant (not by him, as it happens) and embarks on a series of wild adventures that lead him to the gallows - well, almost - before he finally finds out who he really is. One of the huge box-office hits of the 1960s, and a bawdy, beautiful, fast-paced and enduringly well-loved British film.


Metacritic Score

  • 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    Albert Finney and Susannah York look impossibly young and attractive, and it's easy to see how Oscar nominations went to four supporting performers; Richardson's chosen style, a se...

  • 88

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Jay Scott

    With its wit, speed and bawdiness, it revolutionized screen comedy and influenced directors from Richard Lester to Francis Coppola. [05 Jan 1990]

  • 75

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    Tom Jones succeeded in large part because of its wit, its performances, and its energy.

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Woodfall Films had great difficulty in persuading potential backers that a comedy set in the 18th century could be a box-office proposition, and several key contributors took rather less than their usual fees to get the film done. Its final budget was in the area of £350,000, about a million dollars in 1963. Albert Finney's percentage of the profits made him a millionaire; the film made roughly $40,000,000 on its initial release, and was being constantly reissued for several years before it began being shown on TV.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Miss Western: [quarrelling with her brother]: Oh, more than Gothic ignorance! And, as for your manners, they deserve a cane!

    • Narrator: [last words of film]: Happy the man, and he alone, he who can call each day his own - he who, safe within, can say: Tomorrow, do thy worst! For I have lived today.

    • Narrator: [as Tom is about to be hanged]: To die for a cause is a common evil. To die for nothing is the devil. And it would be the devil's own nonsense to leave Tom Jones without a rescuer! [Squire Western cuts the rope and rescues Tom].

    • Narrator: Our hero had his weaknesses, it is true. But then, if Adam had not had a weakness for apples, there would be no-one here to tell Tom Jones's story in the first place...

  • NOTES (1)

    • The film won Oscars for director Tony Richardson, screenwriter John Osborne and composer John Addison as well as taking the award for Best Film. However, it took no acting awards, despite having no fewer than five nominees in various acting categories.


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