This film is part of Rentals

Tom's Ride

Temptation on two wheels: should young Tom use the money he's found to buy himself a bike? Or should he do the right thing?

Children's 1944 11 mins

Director: Darrel Catling


This enjoyably stern morality tale was the first of many wholesome kids' films funded by cinema baron J. Arthur Rank, soon to set up the Children's Film Foundation. Here Tom, a member of Rank's National Cinema Club for Boys and Girls, is tempted to use some cash he's found to buy a bike. Persuaded by his sister that it would be wrong, he borrows her bike to return the wallet to its rightful owner.

Cinema managers' surveys revealed that young viewers enjoyed the then-unusual sight of children like themselves doing everyday things on the screen. However, many were frustrated with the ending, which saw Tom unrewarded for his good deed and - still with no prospect of a bike - only able to re-enact his ride on a living room chair. Many boys and girls thought this was more than unjust. This heavy-handed moralism - born of Rank's own Methodist beliefs - was thankfully rarely found in the Children's Film Foundation's pictures.