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The Adventures of Billy (1911)

Billy witnesses two tramps accidentally kill someone during a robbery. The tramps lock him up and decide that he must be killed, too.


D.W. Griffith


James Carroll




Credited cast:
Edna Foster ... Billy
Donald Crisp ... First Tramp
Joseph Graybill ... Second Tramp
Dell Henderson ... Rich Man
Claire McDowell ... Rich Woman
Kate Bruce Kate Bruce ... The Maid
Frank Evans Frank Evans ... The Farmer
W. Chrystie Miller W. Chrystie Miller ... Robbery Victim
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
D.W. Griffith ... On Bench
Grace Henderson Grace Henderson ... Woman on Porch
Harry Hyde Harry Hyde ... On Lawn
Charles Hill Mailes ... Farmhand / Rescuer
Alfred Paget ... Farmhand / Rescuer


Little Billy, the bootblack, finding luck against him, decides to move to some other town. To do this he must walk, as he hasn't the wherewithal for a railroad ticket. While trudging through the country, he falls into the hands of a couple of sinister-looking tramps, and they at once, by threats, force him to beg for them. A day or so later, the tramps hold up an old man, and while procuring his money throw him down with such force as to unintentionally kill him. Panic-stricken at their awful deed, they feel that the boy's knowledge of the affair will prove disastrous for them, and so they decide to get rid of him. Through the sagacity of a dog the boy is saved and the tramps are captured. Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Short







Release Date:

19 October 1911 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Fort Lee, New Jersey, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Biograph Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

The picture seemed "manufactured"
11 May 2016 | by deickemeyerSee all my reviews

This film pictures the influences that surround such a waif as Billy, a newsboy. To be effective, such a picture must ring true. To the reviewer the picture seemed "manufactured" so as to be dramatic and effective, but a policeman who saw it was asked for an opinion and he said, "It's the best film I ever saw. That boy was sharp and I think the dog was fine, too" Billy saw the yegg tramps kill a man for his purse. They intended only to stun him. It became necessary to get Billy out of the way and he is saved by a clever bulldog, who brings help. Yet the picture doesn't give the full and powerful effect that absolute truth would have given. It is, however, a very good story. - The Moving Picture World, November 4, 1911

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