Annie (1982)

annie poster 1982 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good looking, strong adult actors

Poor child actors

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Annie

Studio:  Columbia Pictures/Rastar

Genre(s):  Musical/Family

Release Date(s):  May 17, 1982 (Premiere)/May 21, 1982 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG

annie hard knock life aileen quinn

Well, you sure have time for choreography…can’t be that hard-knock

Annie (Aileen Quinn) is an orphan with big dreams.  Despite her hard-knock life at the orphanage with Ms. Hannigan (Carol Burnett), she still hopes that her parents will return.  Oliver Warbucks (Albert Finney) is a billionaire with an image problem and looking for a photo-op…leading Annie on an adventure of a lifetime.  Chosen by Warbucks’ assistant Grace (Ann Reinking) to stay with Warbucks for a week, Annie is trading in the orphanage for a mansion.  Oliver finds that Annie is winning his heart despite his gruff demeanor and Annie is having a time of her life.  From meeting the President to going to Radio City Musical Hall, Annie’s dreams might finally coming true!

Directed by John Huston, Annie is a family musical.  It is an adaptation of the 1977 stage musical which adapted the popular comic strip created by Harold Gray in 1924 (which takes its name from the 1885 poem by James Whitcomb Riley).  The movie was divisive to critics and didn’t fare well in the theaters.  The film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Art Direction—Set Decoration and Best Original Score but also received a Razzie nomination for Aileen Quinn for the starring role.  The movie was intentionally rated PG to try to skew to a larger audience (“goddamn” was uttered to get the harder rating) and the movie has gone on to be a popular family favorite.

annie orphans

How many of you think Annie ditches her poor orphan friends for cool rich friends?

I remember seeing Annie in the theaters (movies that my mom and sister could enjoy were probably pretty slim), and my mom had a tape of the soundtrack for her new tape player so I am pretty familiar with the film.  The movie does have its merits but also has some drawbacks.

The script for the movie is generally pretty faithful to the story of the comic with Annie leaving a life of poverty with her dog Sandy to a new life with an eccentric billionaire.  The movie does have some tricky aspects to deal with like the rather racist Asp and Punjab but despite not being very PC, it is handled ok.  The stage songs are strong and catchy and the new songs written for the movie also are easy for fans and kids to remember.  The end of the movie is a bit of a mess with the drawbridge scene, and it always cheesed me off that Ms. Hannigan is somehow forgiven just because she had doubts at the last minute…it runs a little long but the writing isn’t necessarily the problem.

annie easy street carol burnette tim curry bernadette peters

I’d watch a whole movie about these three

The problem with Annie is that it has to rely on kid actors for most of the scenes.  The search for Annie and much of the cast was a big deal, and Aileen Quinn won out over Kristin Chenoweth, Drew Barrymore, and Elizabeth Berkley among others.  She doesn’t quite have it (nor do most of the other children who feel like they are just reading lines).  The adult actors fair better against the young actors (and generally bring them up).  Albert Finney did shave his head for Daddy Warbucks (who was almost Jack Nicholson), and Ann Reinking’s background as a dancer and performer helped her as Grace Farrell.  Carol Burnette (who was almost Bette Midler), Tim Curry (who was almost Steve Martin), and Bernadette Peters kind of steal the show as the over-the-top villains, but they succeed by essentially doing stage acting for the movie.  There is also a small uncredited role by Ray Bolger as the sound man at the radio show and one of Bolger’s final roles.

annie i dont need anything but you ending albert finney aileen quinn

If your parents don’t throw birthdays like this for you, they don’t love you…

The movie does look quite good.  The musicals were dying at the time and this is one of the last big musicals to hit the screen until the revival with Chicago in 2002.  The movie has some great choreography and big numbers and this does help save it…Annie doesn’t look cheap (except the obvious Annie stand-in during the bridge scene).

Annie will be liked by kids and if you grew up with Annie, you can probably overlook some of the bad acting.  You could argue that the acting is stylized like the movie, but I think it probably was just acting a lot for the kids to carry the film.  The story of Annie and its music do stick and have worked their way into popular culture many times with remakes and samplings.  The film was followed by a TV sequel Annie:  A Royale Adventure! in 1995, and the musical was remade in 1999 for TV and a big screen remake in 2014.

Related Links:

Annie (2014)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response