This English film made in 1940 is an adaptation from the book by the same name. I imagine that had one read the book some issues, like the nature of Thomas Arnold's "revolutionary" ideas, would be somewhat clearer.
Tom Brown's School Days is the joint story of Thomas Arnold, headmaster of Rugby (a boys school) and Thomas Brown, a student and son of one of the trustee's (at least I think that is what he was); also to a great extent it is the story of another lad, East.
Dr. Arnold's dream is to reform boys schools, he desires to produce a generation of "God-fearing" men (I use quotation marks for that is the langauge of the film). He encourages manliness and honor in his boys. He decries cowardice for what it is. He expells boys for lying--for that is an outworking of cowardice. One of the main things he fights against is the bullying.
Tom is bullied as the "new boy". Tom's bravery in the face of one particular incident inspires the boys of the "Forth Form" (I suppose that is much like a grade), to fight back against the school bully, Flashman, and his special henchmen.
I cannot say much more without spoiling the climax, but I will go so far as to say that Tom is faced with a choice that has the potential to cause him disgrace and/or heartache no matter which choice, the right one or the wrong one, that he ultimately makes.
I found this film to be quite encouraging in it's protrayal of boys as young men--men who cry with a broken heart, rejoice with their friends, have compassion on the downtrodden, and fight bravely against bigger and stronger oppressors. The viewer is left rooting for the boys to be manly, Godly, brave young men. We are disappointed when they fail, but encouraged as they pick themselves up and face forward into the fray again. I'm actually interested in reading the book after watching the film.
A Reformed Presbyterian girl who enjoys a good movie or a good book any ol' time.
Note: All images picked up online. No copyright infringment intended.