The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb

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The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb
The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb DVD.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Dave Borthwick
Produced by Richard Hutchinson
Written by Dave Borthwick
Starring Nick Upton
Deborah Collard
Music by Startled Insects
John Paul Jones
Cinematography Dave Borthwick
Frank Passingham
Edited by Dave Borthwick
Distributed by Manga Entertainment
Release date
  • 10 December 1993 (1993-12-10)
Running time
60 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb is a 1993 surrealist horror mystery stop-motion animated film directed, written, shot and edited by Dave Borthwick, produced by Bolexbrothers studio and funded by Richard Hutchinson, BBC, La Sept and Manga Entertainment, which also distributed the film on video. Though it draws its title character from the fairy tale Tom Thumb, the story and setting is substantially different, depicting Tom as a fetus-like child living in a grim and squalid urban environment.


The story follows the tiny Tom Thumb as he is abducted from his loving parents and taken to an experimental laboratory, and his subsequent escape. He discovers a community of similarly-sized people living in a swamp, who help him on his journey to return to his parents. The film is largely dialogue-free, limited mostly to grunts and other non-verbal vocalizations.


The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb was made using a combination of stop-motion animation and pixilation (live actors posed and shot frame-by-frame), often with live actors and puppets sharing the frame. It was originally commissioned as a 10-minute short for BBC2's Christmas programming, but was rejected for being too dark for the festive season. The short version nevertheless garnered critical acclaim through showings at animation festivals, and a feature-length version was commissioned by the BBC a year later.





  • Kowalski, Frankie (1996-06-01). "Instinctive Decisions - Dave Borthwick, Radical Independent". Animation World Magazine. Retrieved 2007-02-24.
  • Toonhound - The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb
  • Eye Weekly - The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb

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