The title character, a handsome, brave, generous young man of uncertain parentage and hearty appetites, remains faithful to his beloved in spirit, if not in flesh. The combination of vice and virtue in a fully realized, three-dimensional hero was unusual in English literature of its day. Throughout the lengthy book, the author openly mocks the moral rigidity of fashionable writers and critics while simultaneously acknowledging the frailties of his characters and celebrating their good natures.
In 1963 Tom Jones was made into an uproarious and unconventional film directed by Tony Richardson and starring Albert Finney as the young Tom Jones. See: Tom Jones (movie)