53 user 30 critic

The Boy with Green Hair (1948)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Family | 12 September 1949 (Sweden)
This parable looks at public reaction when the hair of an American war orphan mysteriously turns green.


Joseph Losey


Ben Barzman (screen play), Alfred Lewis Levitt (screen play) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Pat O'Brien ... Gramp
Robert Ryan ... Dr. Evans
Barbara Hale ... Miss Brand
Dean Stockwell ... Peter
Richard Lyon ... Michael
Walter Catlett ... The King
Samuel S. Hinds ... Dr. Knudson
Regis Toomey ... Mr. Davis
Charles Meredith ... Mr. Piper
David Clarke ... Barber
Billy Sheffield Billy Sheffield ... Red
Johnny Calkins ... Danny (as John Calkins)
Teddy Infuhr Teddy Infuhr ... Timmy
Dwayne Hickman ... Joey
Eilene Janssen ... Peggy


Peter Frye, typical American boy, is orphaned when his parents are caught in the London Blitz. He is not told of their fate, but shuttled from one selfish relative to the next, ending with "Gramp," a kindly ex-vaudevillean. Peter and Gramp, both fond of "Irish bulls," get along fine; but the morning after Peter finally learns he's an orphan, his hair spontaneously turns green! The absurd over-reactions of stupid people overturn his life as the story becomes a parable. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Please don't tell why his hair turned green! See more »


Comedy | Drama | Family


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

12 September 1949 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Junge mit den grünen Haaren See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Dean Stockwell was allergic to the green wig he had to wear in the movie, and became ill because of the allergy. See more »


When the barber is preparing to cut his hair, a close-up shot shows a chunk of cut hair on his right side. Then when the barber begins cutting, it's not there. But re-appears for the next close-up of him crying. See more »


Peter: I want my hair back the way it was!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Dean Stockwell is credited simply as "The Boy" in the opening credits and as "Peter" in the end credits complete cast of characters. See more »


Referenced in Moulin Rouge! (2001) See more »


Nature Boy
by Eden Ahbez (as eden ahbez)
Sung behind credits by chorus
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

It's Not Easy Being Green
9 December 2007 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

As the film begins, young Dean Stockwell (as Peter Fry) is in a police station; obviously, the adults do not know where he belongs, or why his head is shaved bald. Robert Ryan (as Dr. Evans) gets young Stockwell to speak, after giving the hungry boy a hamburger. Stockwell tells his story: he was a war orphan, and was shuffled between relatives ("I sure lived in a lot of places"). Finally, he winds up with Pat O'Brien (as "Gramps"), a vaudeville-type actor. He and Mr. O'Brian form a relatively happy family. However, at school, Stockwell is teased, for being an orphan; specifically, he is told he resembles an "Unidentified War Orphan" depicted in a poster. That evening, O'Brien comforts Stockwell, and promises the next day will bring hope in the form of a surprise.

The surprise is, of course, that Stockwell becomes "The Boy with Green Hair". This is a very unusual film, particularly for the time period; it is both thought-provoking, and entertaining. Stockwell and O'Brien are wonderful. "Nature Boy" is a beautiful, and apt, theme song. Stockwell's meeting with the War Poster children is very well done - still, quiet, and effective. However, the themes of "peace" and "tolerance" could be better connected. And, there are some minor story difficulties; for example, the milkman couldn't possibly be responsible for the green hair, unless Stockwell is the only milk drinker in town (stipulating the townspeople, as a whole, are of average intelligence). Still, a lovely film about being different, which we all are.

******* The Boy with Green Hair (11/16/48) Joseph Losey ~ Dean Stockwell, Pat O'Brien, Robert Ryan

10 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 53 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed