IMDb > Boys Town (1938)
Boys Town
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Boys Town (1938) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 12 | slideshow)

Overview

User Rating:
7.3/10   3,430 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Up 25% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
John Meehan (screenplay) and
Dore Schary (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Boys Town on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
9 September 1938 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
BOYS' TOWN IS Real! (original print ad - mostly caps) See more »
Plot:
Against all odds Father Flanagan starts "Boys' Town" after hearing a convict's story. Whitey Marsh comes there... See more » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Won 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Tribute To A Remarkable Man & Place See more (39 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Spencer Tracy ... Father Flanagan

Mickey Rooney ... Whitey Marsh

Henry Hull ... Dave Morris
Leslie Fenton ... Dan Farrow
Gene Reynolds ... Tony Ponessa
Edward Norris ... Joe Marsh
Addison Richards ... The Judge
Minor Watson ... The Bishop
Jonathan Hale ... John Hargraves
Bobs Watson ... Pee Wee
Martin Spellman ... Skinny
Mickey Rentschler ... Tommy Anderson
Frankie Thomas ... Freddie Fuller
Jimmy Butler ... Paul Ferguson
Sidney Miller ... Mo Kahn
Robert Emmett Keane ... Burton
Victor Kilian ... The Sheriff (as Victor Killian)
Boys Town Acapella Choir ... The Choir (voice) (as Boys Town A Cappella Choir)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Arthur Aylesworth ... Tim (uncredited)
King Baggot ... Derelict in Mission Next to Weasel (uncredited)

Barbara Bedford ... Catholic Nun (uncredited)
James Blaine ... Court Officer (uncredited)
Stanley Blystone ... Guard (uncredited)
Edwin Brian ... Boy (uncredited)
Everett Brown ... Darky (uncredited)
Orville Caldwell ... Warden (uncredited)
Bennie Chorre ... Young Thunder (uncredited)
Richard Clucas ... Boy (uncredited)
Roger Converse ... Newspaper Reporter Lane (uncredited)
George Cooper ... Tramp (uncredited)
Nell Craig ... Catholic Nun (uncredited)
Helen Dickson ... Catholic Nun (uncredited)
Calvin Ellison ... Boy (uncredited)
Wesley Giraud ... Butch (uncredited)
Robert Gleckler ... Mr. Reynolds (uncredited)
Donald Haines ... Alabama (uncredited)
John Hamilton ... Warden (uncredited)
Murray Harris ... Hillbilly (uncredited)
Billy Hazard ... Newsboy (uncredited)
Edward Hearn ... Train Guard (uncredited)
Al Hill Jr. ... Apples (uncredited)
Al Hill ... Rod (uncredited)
Donald Hull ... Newsboy (uncredited)
George Humbert ... Calateri (uncredited)
Gladden James ... Doctor (uncredited)
Raymond Kelly ... Boy (uncredited)
Don Latorre ... Boy (uncredited)
Billy McCullough ... Boy (uncredited)

Claire McDowell ... Catholic Nun (uncredited)
Jackie Morrow ... Boy (uncredited)
Paul Nichols ... Boy (uncredited)
Ray Nichols ... Boy (uncredited)

Tommy Noonan ... Red (uncredited)
Jay Novello ... Gangster (uncredited)
Ronald Paige ... Jimmy (uncredited)
Charles Ramos ... Mex (uncredited)
Kane Richmond ... Newspaper Reporter Jackson (uncredited)
Kent Rogers ... Tailor (uncredited)
Nelson Scott ... Commissioner (uncredited)
Jimmy Sommerville ... Newsboy (uncredited)
Bobby Stone ... Boy Mopping Floor (uncredited)
Chuck Stubbs ... Slats - in Prologue (uncredited)
A.W. Sweatt ... Jackie - in Prologue (uncredited)
Phillip Terry ... Newspaper Reporter (uncredited)
Johnny Walsh ... Charley Haines (uncredited)
Frank Whitbeck ... Trailer Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
Sonny Boy Williams ... Boy on Bannister (uncredited)
Robert Winkler ... Boy (uncredited)
William Worthington ... Governor (uncredited)

John Wray ... Weasel (uncredited)
Walter Young ... Judge (uncredited)

Directed by
Norman Taurog 
 
Writing credits
John Meehan (screenplay) and
Dore Schary (screenplay)

Dore Schary (original story) and
Eleanore Griffin (original story)

Jack Mintz  contributor to screenplay construction (uncredited)

Produced by
John W. Considine Jr. .... producer
 
Original Music by
Edward Ward 
 
Cinematography by
Sidney Wagner (photographed by)
 
Film Editing by
Elmo Veron 
 
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
 
Makeup Department
Jack Dawn .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Robert J. Schiffer .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Joe Cooke .... unit manager (uncredited)
Jay Marchant .... unit manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Horace Hough .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Urie McCleary .... associate art director
Edwin B. Willis .... associate art director
 
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
 
Special Effects by
Slavko Vorkapich .... montage effects
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Leo Arnaud .... musical arranger
 
Other crew
Howard Dietz .... press representative (uncredited)
Orville O. Dull .... production associate (uncredited)
Edward Flanagan .... technical advisor (uncredited)
Carl 'Major' Roup .... script clerk (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Boys' Town" - USA (poster title)
See more »
Runtime:
96 min | 93 min (DVD version) | West Germany:107 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:G | Canada:G (video rating) | Finland:S | Sweden:Btl | USA:TV-G | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #4528) | West Germany:12
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Father Flanagan may have been the basis for Harold Gray's character Collar John, a boxer turned priest who appeared in his comic strip Little Orphan Annie.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: Pee Wee is hit by a car. Whitey rushes to see whether he is injured. You'd expect the car driver to come and see as well, but the driver has disappeared.See more »
Quotes:
Tony Ponessa:If you're a Catholic or a Protestant, you can go right on being one.
Whitey Marsh:Well, I'm nothin'.
Tony Ponessa:Then, you can go right on being nothin', and nobody cares.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Hell's Kitchen (1939)See more »
Soundtrack:
Theme Music of Boys TownSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
19 out of 22 people found the following review useful.
Tribute To A Remarkable Man & Place, 18 June 2002
Author: Ron Oliver (revilorest@juno.com) from Forest Ranch, CA

Father Flanagan courageously fights against all odds to see his dream of BOYS TOWN become a reality.

Pulsing with real life, here is a family film which not only entertains but informs - bringing back to our attention one of the most vibrant personalities of the 20th Century, Father Edward Flanagan. Excellent production values - with outdoor filming that actually appears to have taken place on location at the authentic Boys Town - help tremendously with the viewer's enjoyment.

Earning his second Oscar in two years, Spencer Tracy is magnificent as the good Father. He gives us a hero of patience & grace, one who values prayer & faith, but one who is also quite ready to land a few powerful punches for a good cause. Tracy's own private life was anything but tranquil, which only makes his performance here all the more impressive.

Admirably cast as a nasty little punk, young Mickey Rooney breezes through an important role which would help propel him into becoming Hollywood's top star within a couple of years. Like a junior version of Tracy himself, the two are wonderful together, striking several dramatic sparks off their characters' personalities. While Tracy plays his role with quiet humor & dignity, Rooney hams it up magnificently.

Henry Hull offers good support as Tracy's pawnbroker friend who nervously gets to worry about all of Boys Town's financial woes. Little Bobs Watson as Pee Wee, the Town's youngest resident, is cute without being too cloying.

*************************

After an education in Rome, Irish-born Edward Joseph Flanagan (1886-1948) came to America in 1904. Ordained a priest in 1912, Father Flanagan was sent to Omaha, Nebraska, where he established the Workingmen's Hotel for derelict men in 1914.

Soon, however, his great calling and the purpose for his life's ministry became clear - the work with abandoned & abused boys. In 1917 Father Flanagan opened the Home for Homeless Boys in a large old house. Outgrowing their facilities, in 1921 Father Flanagan moved his young charges to a farm site 10 miles from Omaha, capable of housing hundreds of youths. Quickly becoming more of a living community than just a school, the boys voted in 1926 to rename the place Boys Town.

Eventually covering some 1300 acres of farmland, dormitories, workshops, classrooms & playing fields, Boys Town incorporated itself as a sovereign township in 1936. Largely governed by the young men themselves, the institution is open to boys of all religions, colors & creeds and strives to provide healing for all manner of emotional & physical abuses.

Girls were first brought into the program in 1979.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (39 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Boys Town (1938)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
why did tony cry? Binkles
They had better Never Remake this movie! keeperspencer
No DVD??? FibberMcGee18
Whitey's Walk to 30th and Dodge huskerfanlife
Whitey Marsh leroykevin
Filming locations on campus.. dallas_osborn
See more »

Recommendations

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Blood In, Blood Out Angela's Ashes Freeway Giant Men of Boys Town
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Biography section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.