I remember watching this film occasionally until I was in 7th grade. I just watched it this spring because I remember my imagination opening up for this adventure; that attribute makes this the best Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer screenplay.
This blows "Tom and Huck" out of the water with its much better storyline, subplots and innocence that many children's films lack today. The boys do fight over the carnie's daughter. However, it's more to show the innocence that children once had at 14 and does not get in the way with the plot like "Tom and Huck" did.
The movie shows it's time because of the special effects, the choreography and the adolescent Anthony Michael Hall with his mop of blond hair. (Who would have thought he would be Johnny Smith in "The Dead Zone" one day?) Hall definitely deserves credit for it being his first film he stars in. Patrick Creadon is also in this film, but I'm not as familiar with the boy.
The best part of the film is when the boys are in the woods running away from con-artist Scree. They work together escaping from their bondage from Scree. If one boy is in trouble, the other bails him out. The screenplay unfolds the boys' friendship for each other, which I didn't notice until I saw it this year.
Definitely recommend it for children and viewers who love adventure and living like a kid again.