7.3/10
4,745
51 user 22 critic

Boys Town (1938)

Passed | | Biography, Drama | 9 September 1938 (USA)
When a death row prisoner tells him he wouldn't have led a life of crime if only he had had one friend as a child, Father Edward Flanagan decides to do something about. An advocate of child... See full summary »

Director:

Norman Taurog

Writers:

John Meehan (screenplay), Dore Schary (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
Won 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Mickey Rooney and Spencer Tracy return in this sequel to the original Boys Town. This time the school faces financial trouble as Father Flannigan tries to help every little boy he meets. ... See full summary »

Director: Norman Taurog
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney, Bobs Watson
San Francisco (1936)
Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A Barbary Coast saloonkeeper and a Nob Hill impresario are rivals for the affections of a beautiful singer, both personally and professionally in 1906 San Francisco.

Director: W.S. Van Dyke
Stars: Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald, Spencer Tracy
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The father of a young woman deals with the emotional pain of her getting married, along with the financial and organizational trouble of arranging the wedding.

Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett, Elizabeth Taylor
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The biography of the pioneering French microbiologist who helped revolutionize agriculture and medicine.

Director: William Dieterle
Stars: Paul Muni, Josephine Hutchinson, Anita Louise
Test Pilot (1938)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Jim is a test pilot. His wife Ann and best friend Gunner try their best to keep him sober. But the life of a test pilot is anything but safe.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy
Certificate: Passed Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In the wake of Pearl Harbor, a young lieutenant leaves his expectant wife to volunteer for a secret bombing mission which will take the war to the Japanese homeland.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Van Johnson, Robert Walker
Jezebel (1938)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In 1850s Louisiana, a free-spirited Southern belle loses her fiancé due to her stubborn vanity and pride, and vows to win him back.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, George Brent
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An aged teacher and former headmaster of a boarding school recalls his career and his personal life over the decades.

Directors: Sam Wood, Sidney Franklin
Stars: Robert Donat, Greer Garson, Terry Kilburn
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The daughter of a struggling musician forms a symphony orchestra made up of his unemployed friends and through persistence, charm and a few misunderstandings, is able to get Leopold ... See full summary »

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Deanna Durbin, Adolphe Menjou, Alice Brady
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An old Cuban fisherman's dry spell is broken when he hooks a gigantic fish that drags him out to sea. Based on Ernest Hemingway's story.

Directors: John Sturges, Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Felipe Pazos, Harry Bellaver
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

82 year old inventor and entrepreneur Thomas Alva Edison is honored in 1929 and he reflects back on his sixty year career of scientific achievement.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Rita Johnson, Lynne Overman
Pat and Mike (1952)
Comedy | Romance | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Pat is a women's sports sensation unless her fiancé is around. Her new shady manager Mike keeps them apart and develops feelings for her.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Aldo Ray
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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
Edit

Storyline

When a death row prisoner tells him he wouldn't have led a life of crime if only he had had one friend as a child, Father Edward Flanagan decides to do something about. An advocate of child rights and an opponent of the severe approach to juvenile delinquency at the time, Flanagan genuinely believed that there is no such thing as a bad boy. Starting with just a few boys in a rented house, Father Flanagan eventually establishes Boys Town on 200 acres of land 10 miles outside of Omaha, Nebraska. Much of the film focuses on Flanagan's attempts to influence one boy, Whitey Marsh, who will become a hoodlum if he doesn't change his ways. When Whitey is implicated in a bank robbery, it puts all of Boys Town at risk. Throughout it all Flanagan has to fight prejudice in those who believe delinquents should just be locked up and the never ending shortage of money to accomplish his goals. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Greater than the imagination of the best writers! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Hebrew

Release Date:

9 September 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Boys' Town See more »

Filming Locations:

Boys Town, Nebraska, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The Boys Town organization hoped that the success of the movie would increase the amount of donations. In fact, the amount of donor money sharply decreased because many donors thought that the organization had made a huge profit due to the movie's success. See more »

Goofs

While the boys are praying out front for the injured Pee Wee, Whitey goes behind them and grabs a branch of a tree with no leaves. When he turns around, the branch now is covered with leaves. 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 »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bob's Burgers: The Silence of the Louise (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Jingle Bells
(1857) (uncredited)
Written by James Pierpont
Sung a cappella by Henry Hull
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A fine story of one man's love for the forlorn and another's discovery of humility
21 March 2001 | by shankar_kSee all my reviews

A classic tale of one man's belief in the inherent goodness in every human being. Spencer Tracey, in one of his finest performances, essays the role of Father Flanagan who, in spite of mounting pressure from society, champions the cause of juvenile delinquents and gives them a shelter and some much-needed care. But the order in Boys Town is marred by the reluctant entry of Whitey Marsh (played effortlessly by Mickey Rooney), a cocky street-smart urchin who loathes having to adjust his ways to suit the others. However, as the events unwind, Whitey slowly starts loving Boys Town so much so that he stakes his life for it. What impressed me about the movie most was the brilliant performance from Spencer Tracey - a delicate balance of charm, wit, care and enormous willpower.


14 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 51 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed