The Children of Time Square (1986)

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Early work of Curtis Hanson and Robert Elswit

Cheesy, predictable cautionary tale

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Children of Time Square

Studio:  Fries Entertainment

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  March 3, 1986

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


One night in NYC and the kid does drugs and hooks up with pedophiles…good going, kid

Eric Roberts (Brandon Douglas) finds himself in a home with a new stepfather (David Ackroyd), a baby half-brother, and his mother (Joanna Cassidy) but feeling left out and unloved.  Running away from home he finds himself hooked up with the Leopards and working Time Square to sell drugs.  As his mother Sue searches for him, Eric learns about life on the street and is joined by another new recruit named Luis Sotavento (Danny Nucci) who wants better for his mother and sisters.

Written and directed by Curtis Hanson, The Children of Time Square was a TV movie.  The film original aired on March 3, 1986.

We had to watch The Children of Time Square in school.  It was one of those kind of edgy movies that took up two periods so you were kind of happy to see it.  Rewatching it now, it is pretty obvious propaganda, but it is a better made TV movie than a lot of TV movies at the time.


Of course the preppy kid doesn’t die a horrible death…

The movie is a cautionary tale (which is why we had to watch it).  It is meant to show the dangers of the city and essentially scare kids into being good and not running away.  Apparently, as soon as you run away, you get selected for male prostitution and then join a drug ring…plus, New York is dirty and nasty and everyone is evil.

The cast is decent.  Howard E. Rollins Jr. plays the modern day Fagin as leader of the Leopards and Joanna Cassidy plays the scared mother.  Larry B. Scott of Revenge of the Nerds fame plays Skater (the street smart punk).  Danny Nucci is the sacrificial good kid and Brandon Douglas plays the suburb kid that realizes there are worse things than home.


Girls can’t sell drugs…they can only be prostitutes

The movie actually looks quite good (despite an ’80s soundtrack).  The cinematographer is Oscar winner Robert Elswit who has done tons and tons of quality (and great looking films).  It is interesting to go back and see his earlier films to see where he comes from…this is also true for Hanson who is also a major director now.

The Children of Time Square is a very “TV Movie” TV movie.  It has the overblown clichés and moments that you’d expect from a film of its type and what you generally expect to happen, happens.  It is more interesting as an example of early work of some big names.  Don’t expect much, but enjoy what you get.

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.

One Comment on "The Children of Time Square (1986)"

  1. Ebony Rush,Harrington December 26, 2015 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    Great movie/good casting

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