Tom Sawyer (2000 film)

Tom Sawyer is an American animated musical comedy film directed by Paul Sabella and Phil Mendez. Released direct-to-video on April 4, 2000, the film was produced by MGM Animation and animated overseas by Wang Film Productions. It is an adaptation of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, with a cast of anthropomorphic animals instead of humans. The characters' voices are generally performed by country music singers.[1]

Tom Sawyer
VHS cover
Directed byPaul Sabella
Phil Mendez (co-director)
Produced byPaul Sabella
Jonathan Dern
Patricia Jones (co-producer)
Donald Reiker (co-producer)
Cary Silver (co-producer)
Written byPatricia Jones
Donald Reiker
Jymn Magon (additional material)
Based onThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain
Music byMark Watters
Distributed byMGM Home Entertainment
Release date
  • April 4, 2000 (2000-04-04)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States


Tom Sawyer and his half-brother Sid are on their way to school when they see Huckleberry Finn fishing. Tom skips school to join Huck, but changes his mind after he sees Becky Thatcher. He tries to sneak into class, but Sid snitches on him to the teacher, Mr. Dobbins. Tom is made to sit with the girls, which he actually likes since he's able to sit next to Becky. He is also sat beside Amy Lawrence, a friend to whom he became "engaged". She still has romantic feelings for him, but he is too transfixed by Becky to notice. Tom's pet frog Rebel then disrupts the class, meaning they are given early dismissal.

On the way home from school, during the musical number "Hook, Line and Sinker", Tom tries multiple times to steal a kiss from Becky, but is thwarted each time by her father, Judge Thatcher. The next day, as Tom is about to go fishing with his friends, Aunt Polly makes him paint the house as punishment for what happened at school. Tom, however, gets his friends to paint the house for him instead.

That night, when Tom and Huck go treasure hunting, they find Injurin' Joe and his friend Mutt Potter uncovering a chest of gold. Deputy Bean, who is visiting his wife's grave, discovers Joe and Mutt. As the boys watch from behind a tombstone, Joe brutally murders Bean who tried to hit him with a shovel, frames Mutt and captures Rebel. Tom knows that Joe can track him down through Rebel, so he and Huck make a pact never to tell anyone what they have seen.

The next day, at school Becky accidentally spills ink on test results. Amy is so happy because she wants to cheat Becky, but Tom takes the blame, for which he receives a thrashing with a ruler by Mr. Dobbins. After school, Tom becomes "engaged" to Becky, before a musical number by Becky and Amy, "One Dream", where the two individually express their shared love for Tom. He then admits he did the same with Amy, causing Becky to call off the engagement. Tom and Huck visit Mutt, who is on death row. They try to get him to remember Injurin' Joe murdering Bean, but Mutt doesn't remember. Joe meanwhile finds Tom and Huck, but they escape on a raft. They celebrate their survival and friendship with a musical number, "Friends for Life".

When Tom and Huck return to town, they learn that the townspeople are mourning their deaths, believing the boys to have drowned. They disrupt the service, showing up at their own funeral, and are welcomed back. Amy, wanting to make Becky more upset at Tom, kisses Tom in front of Becky making her believe that Tom has chosen Amy over her and leaves before Tom can get a chance to explain, leaving him heartbroken. Judge Thatcher sentences Mutt to be hanged, but Huck and Tom testify against Joe at the last minute. Joe goes after Tom and Huck but fails and is pulled away by a river, while Mutt is freed and the boys are hailed as heroes.

During the celebration, after making up with Tom, Becky talks Tom into exploring a cave. Amy follows them. Tom and Becky go into a cave and Tom says to Becky that she is the prettiest girl who he ever seen. That made Amy very sad and she stopped to follow Tom and Becky. They get lost and Becky begins to lose hope to finding the exit. Tom sings a number, "Light at the End of the Tunnel" to try and reassure her that they will find a way out. Instead of finding an exit, they find treasure - and Joe. Meanwhile, the townspeople notice Tom and Becky missing and Amy, who saw Tom and Becky go into the cave, reveals where they are. The townspeople go to look for them in the cave. With Huck's help, Tom subdues Joe, causing a rockfall which kills Joe, and is reunited with the townspeople and Aunt Polly. In the end Amy becomes Huck's girlfriend (after being impressed with how he assisted Tom against Joe) and Becky becomes Tom's girlfriend. Amy is no longer jealous of Becky. The next day, Sid again tries to snitch on Tom, but it backfires, as Aunt Polly makes Sid paint the house instead of Tom. The movie ends with Tom, Becky, Huck and Amy having a picnic, during which Tom shows the others a gold coin and tells them about another treasure hunt.


Character comparisons to original

Character in the book Character in the movie Species Other characteristics
Thomas "Tom" Sawyer Same Tabby cat Has reddish-brownish hair; wears blue overalls and a white shirt. For a majority of the movie, he is seen with his black shoes on. In some scenes, he is depicted barefoot.
Huckleberry "Huck" Finn Same Red fox Wears green overalls and has white hair. Also has a straw hat. He is barefoot throughout the movie.
Rebecca "Becky" Thatcher Same Persian cat Wears a pretty pink dress and carries a pink umbrella around her.
Judge Edward Thatcher Same Russian blue cat Wears a suit and cowboy hat and is semi-barefoot
Amy Lawrence Same Cat Has orangeish hair. Wears green overalls and a white shirt. She is barefoot throughout the movie.
Sidney "Sid" Sawyer Same Cat Has black hair and wears a light blue shirt with a purple bowtie, dark blue overalls, and glasses. He does wear shoes and is considered to be a snitch.
Mr. Reginald Dobbins Same Turkey Black haired; has leggings on his feet and wears glasses.
Injun Joe Injurin' Joe American black bear Wears blue jeans and a brown vest. Also wears a cowboy hat and a necklace.
Muff Potter Mutt Potter Dog Wears green shirt and brown pants
Polly Sawyer Same Cat Has grey hair. Wears pink dress with white smock.
Dr. Robinson Deputy Bean Dog Wears a blueish shirt, blueish hat, and deputy's badge. Has boots on his feet.


The film was premiered in Turkey on Disney XD.

The film was broadcast in the UK on Cartoon Network.

The film was broadcast in Netherlands on Disney XD.


  • "Leave Your Love Light On" - Marty Stuart
  • "Can't Keep a Country Boy Down" - Charlie Daniels
  • "Hook, Line, and Sinker" - Mark Nesler
  • "Houseboat Painting Song"
  • "One Dream" - Lee Ann Womack/Alecia Elliott
  • "Friends for Life" - Rhett Akins/Mark Wilis
  • "Light at the End of the Tunnel"/Reprise - Bryan White/Rebecca Lynn Howard/Rhett Akins/Lee Ann Womack
  • "Never, Ever, and Forever" - Lee Ann Womack/Mark Willis


The film was produced by MGM Animation, who were also responsible for All Dogs Go To Heaven 2 and Babes in Toyland. While the pre-production and post-production processes are based in the United States, it was animated by Wang Film Productions in Taipei, Taiwan. The film was not given a theatrical release but was direct-to-video.[2]

Critical reception

Harlene Ellin of The Chicago Tribune gave a negative review, saying that it "stray[ed] too far from Twain."[3] An uncredited review in the Wichita Eagle was also unfavorable, calling it a "shallow" interpretation of Twain's work.[4]


  1. "MGM animates Mark Twain". Video Business. 2000-01-24. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-28. Retrieved 2015-01-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. Ellin, Harlene (2000-04-06). "THIS `SAWYER' STRAYS TOO FAR FROM TWAIN". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
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