Boys Town

Boys Town

Synopsis of Movie

Spencer Tracy won a second consecutive Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Father Edward J. Flanagan, real-life founder of Boys Town (the first had been for Captains Courageous). Boys Town was both a tribute to and an illustration of Flanagan’s philosophy that there is no such thing as a bad boy.

Near Omaha, Nebraska, kind-hearted Father Flanagan begins taking in wayward boys, supporting them with what meager funds he can raise. Having found his calling, the Father sets out to start a proper home for his charges, going about it through grassroots fundraising from folks like pawnbroker Dave Morris.

In the course of his work, Father Flanagan meets an adolescent tough named Whitey Marsh (played by teen megastar Mickey Rooney), younger brother of convicted criminal Joe Marsh. The Father takes the boy in, but Whitey rebels against the system, running away at any opportunity he can get. Through struggle, tragedy and determination, Father Flanagan works both to build his dream and to save the life and future of his most troublesome charge.

The film was an unqualified success and remains a sentimental favorite of many. When Tracy won his Oscar, he turned it over to the real Father Flanagan with an inscription that read, "To Father Edward J. Flanagan, whose great human qualities, kindly simplicity, and inspiring courage were strong enough to shine through my humble effort. Spencer Tracy."

Tracy and Rooney reunited for a 1940 sequel, Men of Boys Town, as Father Flanagan continued his noble efforts.

Movie Release History

1938 - Boys Town
1940 - Men of Boys Town

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Father Edward J. Flanagan Spencer Tracy
Whitey Marsh Mickey Rooney
Dave Morris Henry Hull
Dan Farrow Leslie Fenton
Tony Ponessa Gene Reynolds
Joe Marsh Edward Norris
Judge Addison Richards
Bishop Minor Watson
John Hargraves Jonathan Hale
Pee Wee Bobs Watson
Skinny Martin Spellman
Tommy Anderson Mickey Rentschler
Freddie Fuller Frankie Thomas
Paul Ferguson Jimmy Butler
Mo Kahn Sidney Miller

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