One of the Greatest Movies You’ve Never Seen: “Secondhand Lions”


Secondhand Lions from 2003. Here is the trailer.

Sometimes you watch some movie you’ve never heard of and wonder why it isn’t much more widely known and admired, this is one of those.

Set in the early 60s, it stars both Michael Caine and Robert Duvall as a couple of crazy old (and apparently rich) uncles who take in a young boy relative (played by Haley Joel Osment) — whose mother manipulates and abandons him — and teach him what being a man is really all about: courage, honor, sacrifice, and virtue.

The story is timeless and classic — it feels like it was lifted straight from the 1950s — and you grow to like the characters you’re supposed to like and dislike those you’re not. 

The uncles have led quite the adventurous life, if we can believe all their stories — we’re never quite sure, and various people float rumors about their past and where they got their cash, but then we slowly realize it doesn’t really matter if a story is strictly 100% true or not if it inspires people and captures their imaginations and teaches them about what they should aim for and what is important in life.

Family-friendly, with life lessons and humor and larger-than-life characters. Did I mention that Robert Duvall and Michael Caine are in it?

Quote from the Robert Duvall character “Hub”: 

"Sometimes, the things that may or may not be true, are the things that a man needs to believe in the most. That people are good, that honor, courage and virtue mean everything, that power and money, money and power mean nothing, that good always triumphs over evil, … that love … true love never dies."

Here’s that scene.



A wonderful tale, masterfully told, with excellent acting all around, and a real throwback to when movies instilled valuable life lessons.

It’s available to buy or rent on YouTube and Amazon along with other ways to watch it, and does play on cable occasionally (that’s how I first saw it about 10 years ago).

Links