The Borrowers

The Borrowers


An 8-year-old boy discovers a family of tiny people, only a few inches tall, living beneath the floorboards of a Victorian country home.

Dove Review

Here is a unique family movie that reminds me of the old TV series Land of the Giants. The Clock family comes in miniature size, including the father, Pod (Eddie Albert of Green Acres fame), his wife Homily (Tammy Grimes) and their daughter, Arrietty (Karen Pearson). Pod has a relationship with the lady of the house, Sophy (Dame Judith Anderson), who loves his tiny company and her madeira and drinks it often. She assumes that Pod is a figment of her intoxicated imagination. She says he is a “poor little delusion.” She makes it clear that her madeira is not medicinal. Pod’s contrast of wanting tea is humorous. Sophy is direct, funny, and enjoys talking to the diminutive Pod. The title of the made-for-TV movie from 1973, The Borrowers, is based on how Pod and the family forage for items that help them survive, including hooks, pins, and string.

One day a young boy comes to visit, Sophy’s nephew, played by Dennis Larson, and he discovers the family. He spies Pod taking a tiny cup and saucer from a dollhouse. He soon forms a relationship with Arrietty, who keeps a journal. The boy and family must contend with a cranky groundskeeper (Barnard Hughes) and a stern housekeeper, played by Beatrice Straight. The setting is Victorian England and the house is a mansion, which gives Pod Clock and his family a lot of room to wander. The movie is based on the novel by Mary Norton, who also wrote the novel that became the Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

The special effects are a bid dated now, but still, it is neat to watch Pod use a hook and string to pull himself up the large stairs. One of the charms of this family-friendly film is the performances, including that of Eddie Albert who, as Pod, is warm and totally believable as the miniscule father. And the wonder of children is nicely portrayed by Arrietty’s relationship with the boy (we don’t discover his name in the film). In one outside scene the boy asks, longingly, for Arrietty to read to him. This movie won an Emmy award for the outstanding achievement in a children’s movie. The direction of Walter C. Miller is well crafted, with certain camera angles giving the impression of either the smallness of the Clock family, or the largeness of their surroundings.

A few melodic songs in the background music adds to the charm and feel of the film. One softly played song includes shots of the sky, clover, and a butterfly. And some of the special effects shots of the film are nicely accomplished, including a scene in which Arrietty climbs down a large, concrete step. Another nicely done shot includes Arrietty walking by a giant clock. Once Pod tells his wife he’s been seen, by the boy, the question soon becomes as to whether or not the family may have to move. And once several missing items are discovered, the family might face a ferret or a dog-or both-as the groundskeeper and housekeeper are determined to find out what is behind the foraged items.

The movie heads toward a climax as the ferret is released to find the diminutive people, and Pod and Homily work hard with a nail file to break through a wooden grate so they can escape to the outside.

This film is food for the imagination and is a wholesome adventure. It has earned our Dove-approved seal for All Ages.

The Dove Take

This movie focuses on love for one’s family, and its imaginative plot will provide an enjoyable viewing experience for the entire family.

Content Description

Faith: None
Integrity: A husband looks out for his family, borrowing supplies for their survival; a woman is kind, allowing her nephew to stay with her for a while; a young girl befriends a lonely boy.
Sex: A husband kisses his wife on the cheek.
Language: “Wicked little thief”; “Little Pickpocket”; “You great clot!”
Violence: A woman grabs a boy briefly by the ear.
Drugs: A woman likes her madeira and drinks the wine fairly often and it is played for humor due to her flighty attitude.
Nudity: None
Other: Little people must run and hide in a few scenes, so they are not discovered; some tension between a housekeeper and a boy.


Company: Cinedigm
Writer: Mary Norton (novel), Jay Presson Allen
Genre: Family Fantasy
Runtime: 81 min.
Industry Rating: Not Rated
Reviewer: Ed C.