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

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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:

The life story of a boy who was "born to be hung"! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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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 »
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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

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

Father Edward J. Flanagan: There is no such thing as a bad boy.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in You Bet Your Life: Episode #11.23 (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

A Hot Time in the Old Town
(1896) (uncredited)
Music by Theodore A. Metz
Played by the Boys Town Band
See more »

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User Reviews

Going my way
21 September 2010 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

It's been some years since the story about the Catholic Church sheltering pedophile priests came to light.I do hope it's only a minority.

But it's comforting to watch a movie based on this wonderful priest ,Father Flanagan (brillantly portrayed by the great Tracy)If there are saints in the universe,he must be one of them.After listening to the story of a prisoner about to be executed -a victim of fate more than a criminal-,the man of God decides he would take in all the boys standing in great danger of going to the dogs in a town he would build for them.

One of Flanagan's most salutary qualities is his superb tolerance :before lunch,every boy prays his own God ,not only Jesus (they are even allowed to have no God),which was revolutionary!thirty years later,when I was in a catholic holiday camp,we had to pray and thank OUR Lord before we ate.

Many viewers will praise Mickey Rooney and he is impressive as a "gangster in miniature" ,but my favorite is the adorable Pee Wee!


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