On Borrowed Time

Watch On Borrowed Time

"The Great Broadway Stage Hit Reaches The Screen"
  • Passed
  • 1939
  • 1 hr 39 min
  • 7.7  (2,223)

On Borrowed Time is a 1939 fantasy drama film directed by Harold S. Bucquet, based on the play of the same name by Paul Osborn. The film stars Lionel Barrymore, Cedric Hardwicke, Beulah Bondi, Bobs Watson, Una Merkel, and Eily Malyon. The story revolves around an elderly man named Gramps (Barrymore) and his grandson Pud (Watson). Gramps is a cantankerous old man who has been raising Pud since the death of his parents. The two live together in a small, rural town where Gramps spends his days tending to his garden and playing pranks on the town's residents.

One day, Gramps curses Death after it claims the life of a friend. Death, in the form of Mr. Brink (Hardwicke), appears to Gramps and informs him that he will now have to "check out" at any time. Gramps, however, refuses to accept this fate and tricks Death into getting caught in the branches of his apple tree, trapping him there indefinitely.

As time passes, the town's residents begin to notice that Death has been trapped and is no longer claiming the lives of their loved ones. Gramps and Pud realize that they now have the power to keep Death at bay as long as they can keep him trapped in the tree. They begin to worry, however, that Death's presence will attract unwanted attention and that they will be accused of sorcery.

The film is a bittersweet meditation on life, death, and family. Barrymore delivers a standout performance as Gramps, capturing both the character's grouchy nature and his deep love for his grandson. Hardwicke is also excellent as Death, imbuing the character with an eerie but sympathetic presence.

The film's themes are woven throughout the story and the characters, particularly in Gramps' relationship with Pud. The two have a strong bond that is tested as they confront mortality together. While the film does not shy away from the sadness and inevitability of death, it ultimately presents a hopeful message about the power of love and family to endure.

The film features impressive special effects for its time, particularly in the depiction of Death and his interaction with the natural world. The script, adapted from Osborn's play, is well-written and avoids melodrama, instead opting for a restrained and nuanced approach to its themes.

Overall, On Borrowed Time is a well-crafted, poignant film that explores the human experience with sensitivity and depth. It remains a beloved classic for its brilliant performances, timeless themes, and superb storytelling.

On Borrowed Time is a 1939 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 39 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.7.

On Borrowed Time
Where to Watch On Borrowed Time
On Borrowed Time is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and YouTube VOD. Some platforms allow you to rent On Borrowed Time for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 39 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.7  (2,223)