The Secret Garden

August 13th, 1993


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A young British girl born and raised in India loses her neglectful parents in an earthquake. She is returned to England to live at her uncle's castle...

Release Year: 1993

Rating: 7.1/10 (13,569 voted)

Director: Agnieszka Holland

Stars: Kate Maberly, Maggie Smith, Heydon Prowse

A young British girl born and raised in India loses her neglectful parents in an earthquake. She is returned to England to live at her uncle's castle. Her uncle is very distant due to the loss of his wife ten years before. Neglected once again, she begins exploring the estate and discovers a garden that has been locked and neglected. Aided by one of the servants' boys, she begins restoring the garden, and eventually discovers some other secrets of the manor.

Writers: Frances Hodgson Burnett, Caroline Thompson

Kate Maberly - Mary Lennox
Heydon Prowse - Colin Craven
Andrew Knott - Dickon
Maggie Smith - Mrs. Medlock
Laura Crossley - Martha
John Lynch - Lord Archibald Craven
Walter Sparrow - Ben Weatherstaff
Irène Jacob - Mary's Mother / Lilias Craven (as Irene Jacob)
Frank Baker - Government Official
Valerie Hill - Cook
Andrea Pickering - Betty Butterworth
Peter Moreton - Will
Arthur Spreckley - John
Colin Bruce - Major Lennox
Parsan Singh - Ayah

Taglines: The timeless tale of a special place where magic, hope and love grow.

Release Date: 13 August 1993

Filming Locations: Allerton Park, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, England, UK

Gross: $31,181,347 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The corridor leading to Colin's room and the interior of the room are decorated with tapestries depicting Edward VI, a sickly boy king who died young at the age of 16.

Continuity: During the scene in which Colin throws a temper tantrum after being exposed to an open window, the camera returns to focus on Colin for reaction shots several times during the argument. In some shots, he's dry and his face is pale, in others, he's flushed and sweaty.

[first lines]
Mary: My name is Mary Lennox. I was born in India. It was hot, and strange, and lonely in India. I didn't like it. Nobody by my servant, my ayah, looked after me. My parents didn't want me. My mother cared only to go to parties. And my father was busy with his military duties. I was never allowed to go to the parties. I watched them from my mother's bedroom window. I was angry, but I never cried. I didn't know how to cry.

User Review

An utter delight

Rating: 10/10

This movie is an utter delight to watch. I have probably seen it a dozen times, and I never get tired of it. Everything about it is perfect: it's well-directed, well-acted, beautifully filmed, has great music, and the script and story are wonderful.

Agneiszka Holland does an outstanding job directing this film. Each character is separate and unique; each one has little personality quirks that makes it seem real. Just about every scene in the movie includes children, animals, or both -- which must have been a nightmare to coordinate. Ms. Holland pulls it off without a hitch. Everything melds perfectly, and we are transported to a distant place and time, and fall in love with real, human characters.

The primary three characters in this story -- Mary Lennox, Colin Craven, and Dickon -- are all children, played by actors who are around 10 years old. Ordinarily having one child in a movie is difficult enough, but again, somehow they pull it off. All three kids -- especially Kate Maberly -- do a fine job of acting, and they are quite credible. Kate is simply divine as Mary Lennox, and Heydon Prowse was a good counter-point to her as Colin.

The story is touching and charming, and I think you'd have to be almost inhuman not to have a tear in your eye by the end of it. I absolutely fell in love with these children, and came to care very much about their characters. The "secret garden" really does seem to be a magical place (and I will say no more about it, since otherwise that would spoil things), and at the end I found myself wishing I could go and visit it first-hand. The accompanying music is wonderful -- I find myself humming it for days and days after watching it.

In short, everything comes together to make this film a masterpiece. It is easily one of the 10 or 12 best movies ever made, perhaps *the* best movie ever made. I love it so much that I went out and bought the DVD of it, even though I'd seen it 8 or 10 times already. If you have not seen it I give it my highest possible recommendation. My score: 10/10.