Made-For-TV Movie Goodnight Mister Tom Rediscovered

Rick Forchuk clarifies the name of made-for-TV movie Goodnight Mister Tom and shares how you can find it


Goodnight Mister Tom

The 1998 made-for-TV movie Goodnight Mister Tom

I remember a relatively recent movie called Mr. Tom about World War II and the plight of an abused child, but I can’t find anyone who even recalls the film – every video store that I have visited says it doesn’t exist. I don’t know where else to turn. – Q.S. ,via e-mail

As we often say in this space, doing internet or in-store searches with an incorrect title usually has you come up empty. I think the movie you are after is called Goodnight Mister Tom, and it was never shown in theatres, but rather on television as a made-for-TV movie for Masterpiece Theatre in 1998.

Tom Oakly (John Thaw) is a wretched near-hermit living in a small English village in the days just before Dunkirk. He wasn’t always this miserable and unhappy. While he was away fighting on the high seas in the British Navy, his wife and young son tragically died back at home.

Inconsolable in his grief, he has little contact with any other human beings, until he reluctantly agrees to take in a quiet, troubled 10 year-old boy who, like hundreds of children was evacuated to a safer district when the London Blitz was in full flight.

Over time, Tom learns of the boy’s terrible young life, a life of abuse and threats. He decides that he can give the boy a better home, but the lad’s mother comes and collects him, promising to return in a few days with the boy … but she does not. Tom fears the worst, and decides to take matters into his own hands. It’s a delightful – though sad – emotional movie, and it can be found online for purchase at