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Boys Town (1938)

Spencer Tracy , Mickey Rooney , Norman Taurog  |  NR |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney, Bobs Watson, Larry Nunn, Darryl Hickman
  • Directors: Norman Taurog
  • Writers: Dore Schary, Eleanore Griffin, Jack Mintz, James Kevin McGuinness, John Meehan
  • Producers: John W. Considine Jr.
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 8, 2005
  • Run Time: 199 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000B5XOYS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,324 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Boys Town" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Bonus movie sequel: Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney in Men of Boys Town (1941)
  • Vintage featurette: The City of Little men
  • Good News of 1939 readio show excerpt with Tracy and Rooney
  • Girls and Boys Town promotional featurette
  • Theatrical trailers

Editorial Reviews

Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney both won Oscars(R) in 1938 for their work in this touching and inspirational story of Father Flanagan and his young, delinquent charges. Year: 1938 Director: Norman Taurog Starring: Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney, Henry Hull

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Moving Story Of Father Flanagan And Boys Town November 15, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
"Boys Town", is I believe one of those very special movies that only comes along occasionally in a viewing lifetime. I never fail to be moved and inspired by this wonderful story and by the very special man who is central to this story; Father Edward J. Flanagan, the man who founded Nebraska's famed Boys Town which has given hope and a decent future to countless homeless and abused young boys and girls ever since. MGM here created a perfect story out of this unique man's life and they ended up with a stunning motion picture that has remained a much loved classic ever since. Spencer Tracy will always be remembered for his Academy Award winning portrayal of Father Flanagan and it is he who gives "Boys Town", its lasting appeal with a performance full of honesty, and a belief in the basic decency of all people regardless of religion, age or colour. The films most famous line that "there is no such thing as a bad boy", echoes Father Flanagan's philosophy throughout his life and it creates a lasting impression that has succeeded in touching each new generation of movie goers who have loved this film.

"Boys Town", was planned as one of MGM Studios biggest productions for 1938 and having Spencer Tracy play the famous priest was an inspired piece of casting if ever there was. Tracy actually built up a reputation for his roles as a priest from his earlier work in "San Francisco". It indeed would be hard to find a better marriage of actor and role than we have here with Spencer Tracy and Father Flanagan. Playing the Priest as a caring, warm and endlessly optimistic man Spencer Tracy also injects the character with enough toughness and inner drive to make him a believable person who at times questions his own judgement and inner faith.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Keeping this review "short", I am compelled to echo the kind words of previous reviewers. There's much to be said of Boys Town, but it would fill a 1500 page book and still be too short. Father Flanagan died in Germany May 15, 1948. The tears still well up today, more than a half century later. Watching these 1938 and 1941 films is like reliving my childhood all over again. I recall so well the scenes in the movie.... but "I" remember the rooms, the buildings, the birch trees lining the entryway to Boys Town and the wooden stage where Whitey Marsh (Mickey Rooney) was elected Mayor of Boys Town. Father Flanagan's office (and the rest of the building) where PeeWee got his candy treats became the gradeschool principal's office. I remember it all so well. I relive my childhood with every viewing. Oh yes.... in real life I was there: 1948 - 1953. These two movies are part of me today to share my history with my children and their children.
How could I possibly "not" like these great works?
Bill Ford - Southern California - August 2003
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PRIME TRACY PERFORMANCE. March 30, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Father Flanagan takes in abandoned boys between the ages of 12 to 18, regardless of race or creed, and fights to raise money, to feed and teach and mother his friendless charges. Mickey Rooney - bless him - runs the gamut of emotions from the tough, poker-playing gangster kid, through the tear-choked, made over youngster, to the final noble youth who becomes mayor of Boys Town. The film manages - in spite of its embarrassing sentimentality of its closing scenes - to be a consistently interesting and frequently touching movie. A burning desire to help his fellowmen and a belief that there is no such thing as a "bad boy" inspired and assisted the Reverend Edward J. Flanagan to found "Boy's Town". Spencer Tracy's sincere portrayal of the role of the priest Father Flanagan was truly an outstanding performance in his career, it even ranks above his Father Tim in SAN FRANCISCO; Tracy simply IS Father Flanagan! As a footnote, in real life, Tracy donated the Oscar he won for his portrayal as Father Flanagan TO Father Flanagan himself; Tracy had it inscribed thusly: "To Father Edward J. Flanagan, whose great human qualities, kindly simplicity and inspiring courage were strong enough to shine through my humble efforts. S/Spencer Tracy".
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT AND WONDERFUL MOVIE November 22, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
This movie is one of the all time best movies ever made. The second part Men Of Boys Town is just a great if not more so. Mickey Rooney gives one of his best performances, if not his all time best. This movie really spotlights his great dramitic acting skills as well as his comedy skills. Spencer Tracy was great as Father Flannigan, but Mickey Rooney steals the show. The story is great and the acting as just great. I love the friendship of the little boy Pee Wee and Whitney Marsh(Mickey Rooney). This movie is highly it now!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two great actors in a great movie December 22, 2005
"Boys Town" stars two of the greatest actors of the golden era of Hollywood, Mickey Rooney and Spencer Tracy, and their parts in this movie are among their best roles. "Boys Town" doesn't have quite as close a connection to Christmas as the other two titles in the Classic Holiday Collection (there's one scene set on the holiday), but this true story of a priest who builds a boarding school for troubled youth is one that will warm your heart. Tracy plays Father Flanagan, a kind, socially conscious priest who can be tough when he needs to be, and Mickey Rooney displays his wide-ranging acting talent (from tough talk to tears) as one of the neglected boys whom Flanagan sets on the right path.

"Boys Town" is accompanied by its own less-famous sequel, "Men Of Boys Town," so you're getting two features on one disc. You also get a featurette about the real Boys Town (which still exists and has expanded beyond its original Nebraska location), as well as a 1939 radio program promoting the movie with Tracy and Rooney.

If you like this great movie, you may want to consider getting the excellent Classic Holiday Collection, which includes this film along with two other great classics, "Christmas In Connecticut" and "A Christmas Carol" (1938).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great picture!!!
Mickey was great. We lost a treasure. Spencer Tracy and all the great ones that are gone. The only problem that Mickey had was his looking for love, how many of us follow that... Read more
Published 3 days ago by james morris
5.0 out of 5 stars A family film with a great story and great acting!
Wonderful story and so well presented. The disc arrived well packaged and on a timely basis. The film is a treat and the acting is top notch. A must see for children and adults. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Henri Pelletier
3.0 out of 5 stars Boys Town DVD
I bought this dvd for my husband who requested it for Christmas. I didn't watch the movie, but apparently the quality is good.
Published 16 days ago by EllieCogs
5.0 out of 5 stars dvd
I absolutely love this movie. Saw it years ago and was excited to find it on amazon. I have watched it many times.
Published 1 month ago by kathy c
1.0 out of 5 stars Purchased DVD and "Boys Town NOT" ON IT!!!
purchased this in OCT for a Christmas gift ......and just recently found out that "Boys Town" is NOT on the DVD!!! and too late to return it,BEWARE
Published 2 months ago by anne marie hawley
1.0 out of 5 stars I was very dissatisfied.
Item was not what I ordered. I ordered "Boys Town". I received "Men of Boys Town" on both sides of the disc. I won't buy from this vender again. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jane M McNally
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie in an amazing DVD
I recently showed this movie to my 15-year old religion students and was astounded at how invested they were in the story. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Transcendental Thomist
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
This is a great movie. The acting is good and it is a great movie to view at Christmas time
Published 2 months ago by Miss Ann
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic!
What's not to like? This is a classic movie based on a true story - it's become an annual Christmas movie for our family.
Published 2 months ago by Kathleen P. Kennedy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great old tearjerker.
Great old movie, can't beat Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney. In black and white which adds to its appeal. I defy you to watch this movie and not shed a tear..
Published 3 months ago by Michael Scarry
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