The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2002)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  28 June 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 11,826 users   Metascore: 69/100
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A group of Catholic school friends, after being caught drawing an obscene comic book, plan a heist that will outdo their previous prank and make them local legends.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tyler Long ...
Joey Anderson
Arthur Bridgers ...
Donny Flynn (as Arthur Bridges)
Scott Simpson ...
Mrs. Doyle
Mr. Doyle (as Mike Harding)
Chandler McIntyre ...
Jeffrey West ...
Professor Sullivan
Mrs. Sullivan
Nicky Olson ...
Colin Gibbney


In mid-1970s Savannah, two bright but rebellious boys, Francis Doyle and Tim Sullivan, fight boredom, hormones and harsh teachers as they struggle to find something meaningful beyond the walls of their parish school. Francis, an exceptional artist whose imaginative forays into a fictional universe of good and evil fill his notebooks with comic-book imagery, creates a netherworld of superhero alter egos for the two boys. When the ultra-strict Sister Assumpta seizes their artwork one day, the boys embark upon an obsessed trail of revenge that ultimately changes their lives. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One of the most inventive, funny coming-of-age films in years! See more »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, sexual content and youth substance use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

28 June 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Innocent Boys  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$55,000 (USA) (14 June 2002)


$1,779,284 (USA) (8 November 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The final shot in the scene where the boys find an injured dog was actually just footage shot of the actors "resetting" after a blown take. It was kept in since it so clearly shows their fatigue and frustration. See more »


When Francis is purchasing a comic book at the magazine stand, several comics on the rack (The Punisher, Namor, Nocturne & Quasar) are from the 1990s although the film is set in the 1970s. See more »


[first lines]
Francis Doyle: Tell me again why we're doing this.
Tim: Homework, Francis. Your future's built on it.
Francis Doyle: [whispered] Right.
See more »


Featured in The 2003 IFP Independent Spirit Awards (2003) See more »


All The Same
Written and Produced by Joshua Homme (as Josh Homme)
Performed by Joshua Homme (as Josh Homme), Nick Oliveri & Brad Wilk
Mixed by Alain Johannes
See more »

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User Reviews

17 June 2002 | by (fairview, nj) – See all my reviews

THE DANGEROUS LIVES OF ALTAR BOYS (2002) *** Kieran Culkin, Emile Hirsch, Jena Malone, Jodie Foster, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jake Richards, Tyler Long. Funny and poignant coming of age story centering on two Catholic school adolescents (Culkin and Hirsch both superb) whose penchant for juvenile acts of defiance is only underscored by their innate desire to fit in and be loved while pitted against their arch nemesis, their teacher Sister Assumpta (a dourly cheeky Foster, who also produced the project), a one-legged harridan from Hell. Based on the novel by Chris Fuhrman and written by Jeff Stockwell and Michael Petroni, the film's strengths in storytelling are in its dynamic duo of troublemaking loners and are punched up with a wise peppering of Todd McFarlane's vivid animation depicting the boys' creative flairs as a Greek chorus to the plotline at hand. (Dir: Peter Care)

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