23 user 9 critic

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939)

To avoid his abusive father, a rambunctious boy rafts the Mississippi River with a slave, encountering many wild characters.


Richard Thorpe


Hugo Butler, Mark Twain (novel)




Complete credited cast:
Mickey Rooney ... Huckleberry Finn
Walter Connolly ... The 'King'
William Frawley ... The 'Duke'
Rex Ingram ... Jim
Lynne Carver ... Mary Jane
Jo Ann Sayers ... Susan
Minor Watson ... Capt. Brandy
Elisabeth Risdon ... Widow Douglass (as Elizabeth Risdon)
Victor Kilian ... 'Pap' Finn
Clara Blandick ... Miss Watson


Huckleberry Finn, a rambunctious boy adventurer chafing under the bonds of civilization, escapes his humdrum world and his selfish, plotting father by sailing a raft down the Mississippi River. Accompanying him is Jim, a slave running away from being sold. Together the two strike a bond of friendship that takes them through harrowing events and thrilling adventures. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


HIS GREATEST TRIUMPH! (print ad - Lubbock Morning Avalanche - Tech Theatre - Lubbock, Texas - DEc. 21, 1939 - all caps)


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Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This was musicalized into a hit show on Broadway in 1985 called "Big River". It ran for several years years, won several Tonys including Best Musical; and had a successful revival in 2003. See more »


After the Duke and King climb aboard Huck's raft, they should have been hit by the wake of the passing riverboat. See more »


Jim: I run off.
Huckleberry Finn: Jim!
Jim: I had to, Huck, I had to.
Huckleberry Finn: You can't do that! You belong to the women.
Jim: She was fixing to sell me, Huck. I heard her talking about it last night. She said she need the money bad. Had to give it to your Pap.
Huckleberry Finn: Oh.
Jim: If one of them slave traders got me, I never would get to that free state. I never would see my wife, or little Joey.
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Featured in Easy A (2010) See more »


Jim's Song
Written by Franz Waxman
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User Reviews

Of the four versions seen of Huckleberry Finn so far, this one's the best
18 October 2013 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

The others were the 1993 Elijah Wood film which was quite good, the 1974 musical version which was heavily flawed but still above-average and the 1975 Ron Howard version which was soggy and actually very bad. The photography in this film may be at times less than lavish and the final third feels rushed, but of the four it was the version that came across on its own as the best. As an adaptation perhaps it's not great, then again this is adaptation we're talking about(when something is not faithful to its source it doesn't mean it's immediately bad) and it does deserve judgement on its own merits. And while it's not perfect, it has many merits. The authentic river locations are a major plus, while the dialogue flows well and manages to be entertaining and poignant and the story still has cohesion and a good sense of atmosphere. The film may have primarily have been a showcase for Mickey Rooney but even with that the story is thankfully not ignored. Jim's jail scene is deeply heart-breaking. The pacing does feel rushed in the final third of the film but for most of the film it is just right, while the direction is very competent if not entirely imaginative. But the best asset about this version of Huckleberry Finn is the acting, so effective to the extent that it's like the characters themselves stepping out of the pages, and we are talking also about physical resemblances. Mickey Rooney's Huck is charming, mischievous and towards the end affecting(he may be somewhat too old, though not by much, but he doesn't look like he is), while Rex Ingram(personal favourite actor in the film) is very dignified and nuanced as Jim and Victor Kilian's Pap dominates quite terrifyingly. Walter Connolly and William Frawley are wickedly funny and menacing, in almost all four versions the Duke and the King have been scene-stealing characters(apart from 1975, hardly any the actors acquitted themselves well apart from Jack Elam). Elizabeth Ridson is fine as well. Overall, very good and underrated, of the four versions so far seen it's the best by quite some way. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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Release Date:

10 February 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Huckleberry Finn See more »

Filming Locations:

Alabama, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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