The Little Princess (1939) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Little Princess (1939)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Little Princess Photos

Movie Info

Shirley Temple's first Technicolor feature, The Little Princess was inspired by the oft-filmed novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Set in turn-of-the-century England, the film finds Temple being enrolled in a boarding school by her wealthy widowed father (Ian Hunter), who must head off to fight in the Boer War. At first, Temple is treated like royalty; her behavior couldn't be more down to earth, but this preferential treatment foments resentment. When her father is reported killed in the war, circumstances are severely altered. The spiteful headmistress (Mary Nash) relegates Temple to servant status and forces the girl to sleep in a drafty attic. She keeps her spirits up by hoping against hope that her father will return, and to that end she haunts the corridors of a nearby military hospital. Queen Victoria doesn't have to make a guest appearance in the tearfully joyous closing sequence, but it does serve as icing on the cake to this, one of Temple's most enjoyable feature films. Reliable Shirley Temple flick supporting actors Cesar Romero and Arthur Treacher are back in harness in The Little Princess, while adult leading lady Anita Louise figures prominently in a sugary dream sequence.

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Shirley Temple
as Sara Crewe
Richard Greene
as Geoffrey Hamilton
Ian Hunter
as Capt. Crewe
Cesar Romero
as Ram Dass
Arthur Treacher
as Bertie Minchin
Mary Nash
as Amanda Minchin
Miles Mander
as Lord Wickham
Beryl Mercer
as Queen Victoria
Ira Stevens
as Ermengarde
E.E. Clive
as Mr. Barrows
Guy Bellis
as Doctor
Clyde Cook
as Attendant
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Critic Reviews for The Little Princess

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (1)

Irresistible Shirley Temple showcase vehicle.

December 31, 2008 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Heart tugging Temple with payoff ending

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 4/5

Good Temple vehicle.

January 9, 2003 | Rating: 4/5

Too sweetly cloying. Not one of little Shirley's best efforts.

August 21, 2002 | Rating: 2/5

Audience Reviews for The Little Princess


A Technicolor-bright addition into the Shirley Temple canon, this concerns a rich girl dropped into poverty due to the death of her father. Temple's role is focused on her stubborn contention, without any verifiable proof, that her father is alive. The rest of the cast, in differing degrees, either support or oppose her, and this dynamic drives the work. Although obviously predictable, still this remains a lighthearted children's film that is creative in it"s resolution.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

I read the book when I was a kid, and saw the remake, and this movie was pretty good too. It could have been better, though.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer


Shirley Temple plays a rich girl in an exclusive boarding school, whose father is suddenly killed in the British War. She becomes a pauper and the hateful headmistress has her stripped of all privileges and forces her to work in the kitchen to earn her keep. Temple refuses to believe her father is dead and searches the hospitals for him where she encounters Queen Victoria.

Deb S
Deb S

Super Reviewer

The Little Princess Quotes

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