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Life Begins for Andy Hardy (1941)

Passed | | Comedy, Romance | 15 August 1941 (USA)
Hoping his son will attend his alma mater, Judge Hardy agrees to let Andy look for work in New York for the summer before committing to start college. In the big city, Andy is confronted with the harsh realities of life and love.


George B. Seitz


Agnes Christine Johnston (screen play), Aurania Rouverol (based upon the characters created by)




Complete credited cast:
Lewis Stone ... Judge Hardy
Mickey Rooney ... Andy Hardy
Judy Garland ... Betsy Booth
Fay Holden ... Mrs. Hardy
Ann Rutherford ... Polly Benedict
Sara Haden ... Aunt Milly
Patricia Dane ... Jennitt Hicks
Ray McDonald ... Jimmy Frobisher


With his high school graduation behind him, Andy Hardy decides that as an adult, it's time to start living his life. Judge Hardy had hoped that his son would go to college and study law, but Andy isn't sure that's what he wants to do so he heads off to New York City to find a job. Too proud to accept any help from Betsy Booth, Andy finds that living on his own isn't so easy. With perseverance he eventually finds a job and even gets to date the pretty receptionist in his office. He also has to face several of life's lessons leading him to conclude that he may still have a bit of growing up to do. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Mickey Woos! Best Hardy Hit Yet! See more »


Comedy | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The tag line for the film 'Mickey Woos! Judy Sings!' was featured on a number of ads for the release. Although she pre-recorded four songs for the film, these were all dropped before release. Except a brief rendition of 'Happy Birthday', Judy Garland does not sing in the film. See more »


Betsy Booth: Me, a child? Listen here, Andrew Hardy, my mother just bought me an evening dress that simply has no visible means of support!
See more »


Referenced in This Time for Keeps (1942) See more »


Happy Birthday to You
Written by Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill
Sung by Judy Garland
See more »

User Reviews

An Atypically Melancholy Entry in the Series
20 May 2002 | by sdiner82See all my reviews

Following his graduation from high school, a small-town teenager decides to try his luck learning about life and making it on his own in New York City. Where he encounters the death of a disillusioned, penniless young friend and the seductive wiles of a glamorous "older woman" he encounters at his office job. Not to mention the wrath of the censors (who forced the studio the change the cause of death from a suicide to a heart attack) as well as the Catholic church (whose Legion of Decency damned the film with an "objectionable for children" rating). Hard to believe that an episode in the ebullient Andy Hardy series caused such controversy, but it is this film's commendable attempt to portray the dilemmas of youth with honesty and candor (incredible for 1941) that make it the most durable and disarming entry of the entire series. As contemporary today as it was 60 years ago, "Life Begins for Andy Hardy" is blessed with, besides a refreshingly adult screenplay that evokes emotions unchanged by the passage of time, astoundingly "mature" performances by Mickey Rooney (for once underplaying) and Judy Garland (displaying a sincerity and warmth without ever singing a note).

Rooney's portrayal of a good-hearted teenager who decent instincts hardly prepare him for the brutal reality of survival in the "Big City" will strike resonant chords with anyone in a similar situation 60 years later. And, in addition to Rooney and Ms. Garland, sterling performances are contributed by the Hardy regulars (Lewis Stone, never more sage or heartrending as Andy's concerned father); the lovely Patricia Dane, as Andy's office co-worker and would-be seducer; and Ray McDonald, heartbreaking as a penniless aspiring actor reduced to living (and starving) in Central Park. A tacked-on happy ending and jarring lapses in continuity (indicating heavy studio re-cutting and re-shooting) fail to undermine the sweet sadness of this most unusual MGM drama--flirting with themes that would be dealt with far more candidly and cruelly some 20 years later in such innocents-lost-in-the-city classics as "The Rat Race" and "Breakfast at Tiffanys," of which "Life Begins for Andy Hardy" is a most poignant pre-cursor.

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Release Date:

15 August 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Andy Hardy Goes to College See more »


Box Office


$401,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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