Huckleberry Finn, written as a sequel to this book, is usually judged to be a more profound and powerful work. Both pieces hold central positions in American literature.
Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn continued to fascinate Twain, and he used them in a number of other, generally ignored works such as Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894), a fantastic adventure in a balloon, and Tom Sawyer, Detective (1896), in which Tom solves a murder mystery. These continuations of the boys’ adventures offer little of literary merit or interest to the contemporary reader. Twain wrote a play based upon Tom Sawyer, and the novel has appeared in a number of dramatic versions, none of which achieved great distinction.
Three films, all titled Tom Sawyer, have been made from the novel: a slow-paced 1930 version directed by John Cromwell and starring Jackie Coogan, Mitzi Green, Junior Durkin, and Jackie Searle; a 1973 film musical with songs by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman, directed by Don Taylor, and starring Johnnie Whitaker, Celeste Holm, Warren Oates, Jeff East, and Jodie Foster; and a 1973 made-for-television movie directed by James Neilson and starring Josh Albee, Jeff Tyler, Jane Wyatt, Buddy Ebsen, and Vic Morrow. The book has become an American classic and continues to be reworked by illustrators and television animators.