Boys Town
Boys Town (1938)

This film focuses on Father Edward J. Flanagan, whose philosophy that no boy will grow up bad if given a chance in life culminates in his formation of Boys Town in Omaha, Nebraska. Unable to raise funds through "proper" channels,… More

Directed By:
Rated: G
Running Time:
Release Date: September 9, 1938
DVD Release Date: November 8, 2005
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Critic Score: 89% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Variety Staff

Tracy, showing necessary restraint, makes his portrayal of Flanagan sincere and human.

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Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid

There's only one Christmas scene, but the movie's sentimental mood makes for nice holiday viewing.

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Emanuel Levy

At the time, the real-life Flanagan complained that MGM made Boys Town look so neat, clean, and well managed that he had trouble raising money for the center

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Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

Mickey Rooney is a hard case, but eventually he cracks -- as will you, under the relentless, flat sentimentality of Norman Taurog's direction.

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Felix Vasquez Jr.
Film Threat

A dated but entertaining tale of friendship

Daniel Eagan
Film Journal International

Shameless but effective weepie about wayward orphans

TV Guide

One of the more overrated films of its era.

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Christopher Null

a watershed film that discusses an important societal development

Michael W. Phillips, Jr.
Goatdog's Movies

Tracy is always good -- was he ever bad in a film in his entire career?

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More reviews for Boys Town

Flixster Audience Score: 81% Flixster User Reviews
Aj V
A cute, sentimental movie, which you can't help but like. Tracy is fantastic as Father Flanagan, and that cute kid who plays pee-wee is priceless.… More
William Dunmyer
Continuing my study of the Oscar-nominated films of 1938, we move to "Boys Town," which I found engaging but not inspiring. The film is a depiction… More
Devon Bott
Spencer Tracy plays Father Flanagan, the creator of Boys Town, in this sentimental film from 1938. Flanagan believed in the motto "There's no such… More
Byron Brubaker
A message movie about a priest who provides direction to troubled boys without homes. Sentimental now. It seems unreal that this was a sort of snapshot of gang… More
Randy Tippy
An endearing and lovable film in spite of the fact that it practically drips sap. The sentimentality is so thick at times that it almost seems to parody… More
John Ballantine
A cute little film. I like early Mickey Rooney films and Spencer Tracy is a fabulous father figure. A nice diversion for a lazy Sunday afternoon.