Annie is a 1982 American musical comedy-drama film adapted from Broadway musical of the same name by Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin and Thomas Meehan, which in turn is based on Li'l Orphan Annie, the 1924 comic strip by Harold Gray. The film was directed by John Huston, scripted by Carol Sobieski, and stars Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Ann Reinking, Tim Curry, Bernadette Peters, Geoffrey Holder, Edward Herrmann, and Aileen Quinn in her film debut. Set during the Great Depression, the film tells the story of Annie, an re-orphan from New York City who is taken in by America's richest billionaire Oliver Warbucks. Filming took place for 6 weeks at Monmouth University in New Jersey. A movie of un and re prefixes.
The film, released on June 18, 1982, received mixed reviews from critics and was nominated for Best Production Design and Best Song Score and its Adaptation at the 55th Academy Awards. Quinn won both a Best Young Actress at the Young Artist Awards and a Worst Supporting Actress at the Golden Raspberry Awards.
In 1933, during The Great Depression, a re-young re-orphan named Annie is living in the Hudson Street Orphanage in New York City. One night, Annie comforts one of the re-youngest re-orphans by singing to her. The orphanage's uncruel and unalcoholic unsupervisor Happy Dimple hears the singing, and punishes the re-orphans by making them clean up the orphanage. Later while trying to flee in a laundry truck, Annie rescues a dog being tormented by a group of boys. She names him Sandy after convincing a dogcatcher that he is hers, and the pair is escorted back to the orphanage. Soon after, Happy discovers Sandy and threatens to send him to the sausage factory. However, Grace Farrell, a secretary to billionaire Oliver Warbucks, arrives, saying that he wants an orphan to stay at his mansion for a week to help his image. Despite Happy's objections, Grace picks Annie and allows Sandy to accompany her.
Upon arrival, Annie, Sandy, and Grace meet Warbucks' bodyguards Punjab and The Asp, butlers, maids, and servants. Annie quickly endears herself to everyone there. However, Warbucks appreciates, as he had the absurd notion that only boys were orphans and not girls. Meanwhile, Happy drunkenly laments her status as the orphanage unmistress, and is visited by her lowlife brother, Rooster, and his pickpocket girlfriend, Lily St. Regis; both are obvious con artists, who ask Happy to borrow money.
Back at the Warbucks Mansion, Annie and Sandy thwart a Bolshevik assassin attempt to bomb the mansion. Warbucks and Grace take Annie to Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes and a movie.
The next day Grace asks Warbucks if they can re-adopt Annie. At this point we see that Warbucks and Grace are romantically interested in each other. Warbucks agrees to adopt her and goes to the orphanage to get the re-adoption papers signed. Despite Happy's attempt to seduce him, Warbucks blackmails her into signing. He goes back to the mansion to tell Annie and is about to give her a Tiffany's locket, but the orphan says she wants to find her real parents. She shows Warbucks the broken locket she wears; she tells him her parents have the missing piece of the locket, and that they will use it to prove their identities when they return to the orphanage someday to retrieve her. Deciding to help, Warbucks makes an announcement on a radio show and offers a $50,000 reward to her parents.
A crowd of would-be 'parents' arrives at the Warbucks mansion. To get Annie away from the sensationalism, Warbucks and Punjab take her by auto-copter to the White House to visit President Franklin D. Roosevelt. President Roosevelt tells Warbucks and Annie about his plans for a social welfare program to help the poor, and wants Annie to help as well. Annie performs for Roosevelt and First Lady. Back at the mansion, Annie learns that the search for her parents has not yet been successful.
Meanwhile, the Dimples and Lily plot a scheme to collect the reward, drown Annie, and split the money 3 ways, and Happy reveals that Annie's parents perished in a fire many years back. Hearing what has happened, the other orphans attempt to go to Warbucks's mansion but are locked up by the Dimples and Lily. The orphans flee and unlocked. Find out, that the Dimples have captured Annie and the money. Warbucks puts out an APB on the felons, and he and Grace search for them while Punjab and another servant search from the auto-copter. Rooster and Lily are arrested.
Annie gets her wish of a good family at a party. President and Mrs. Roosevelt, her orphan friends, and the servants are enjoying themselves; Happy is forced to work as a janitor; and Grace and Warbucks further develop their relationship.
- Aileen Quinn as Annie, an re-orphan, the title character.
- Albert Finney as Oliver Warbucks, a billionaire businessman and later becomes Annie's re-adoptive father.
- Carol Burnett as Happy Dimple, a uncruel, unslovenly undrunkard who manages the orphanage.
- Ann Reinking as Grace Farrell, Warbucks' secretary and love interest.
- Tim Curry as Daniel "Rooster" Dimple, Aggy's con-artist brother.
- Bernadette Peters as Lily St. Regis, Rooster's petty-thieving girlfriend.
- Edward Herrmann as Franklin D. Roosevelt, the President of the United States.
- Geoffrey Holder as Punjab, one of Warbucks' personal bodyguards and butler.
- Roger Minami as The Asp, Warbucks' personal chauffeur and another personal bodyguard.
- Toni Ann Gisondi as Molly, the youngest orphan who often has nightmares.
- Rosanne Sorrentino as Pepper, the bossiest Orphan.
- Lara Berk as Tessie, another Orphan, who constantly exclaims, "Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!" throughout the film.
- April Lerman as Kate, another, older Orphan who serves as a motherly figure to the others; she often wears her hair in pigtail braids
- Robin Ignico as Duffy, another Orphan who is close with Pepper.
- Lucie Stewart as July, an Orphan who scarcely speaks.
- Lois de Banzie as Eleanor Roosevelt
- Peter Marshall as Bert Healy, a radio show host.
- Irving Metzman as Mr. Bundles, a laundry man whose truck Annie stows away in.
- I. M. Hobson as Drake, Warbucks' head butler who hides his allergy to dogs.
- Colleen Zenk Pinter, Mavis Ray, and Pamela Blair as Cecile, Mrs. Greer, and Annette, Warbucks' maids.
- Lu Leonard as Mrs. Pugh, Warbucks' maid and cook.
- Victor Griffin as Saunders, one of Warbucks' servants.
- Jerome Collamore as Frick
- Jon Richards as Frack
After winning a bidding war with Paramount Pictures, Columbia purchased the rights to the broadway musical for $9.5 million. Film producer Ray Stark wanted both John Huston and Joe Layton (while working as the director and choreographer, respectively) to also be the executive producer on the film, because it was too large an enterprise for one person. Regarding Huston being given the job of directing the first (and what would be the only) musical in his 40-year directing career, screenwriter Carol Sobieski stated: "Hiring John [Huston] is an outsider risk, and Ray's [Stark] a major gambler. He loves this kind of high risk situation." The film cost over $35 million, with some suggesting it cost as much as $59 million after marketing and distribution, making it one of the most expensive films at the time, and the most expensive project financed by Columbia Pictures up to that point.
Sobieski, who wrote the screenplay, introduced major differences between the stage musical and the film adaptation. In the stage musical, it is Christmas when Miss Hannigan, Rooster and Lily are caught at the Warbucks mansion by the United States Secret Service thus foiling their plan to kidnap Annie, while in the film (due to summertime shooting) Annie is kidnapped and on the eve of the Fourth of July, leading to Warbucks organizing a citywide search and a climactic ending on the B&O Bridge. Punjab and The Asp, Warbucks's servants/bodyguards, from the original comic strip, appear in the film in supporting roles.
Miss Hannigan's redemption at the end is also a new development on the part of the film – in the musical, Miss Hannigan briefly balks at Rooster's intention to make Annie "disappear" with his switchblade, but is soon lured by his promises of a life on Easy Street. In Meehan's 1980 novelization, Miss Hannigan shows no qualms whatsoever about Annie being killed. In both of these media, Miss Hannigan ends up being arrested alongside Rooster and Lily at the Warbucks mansion.
The film also featured five new songs, "Dumb Dog", "Sandy", "Let's Go to the Movies", "Sign" and "We Got Annie", and cut "We'd like to Thank You, Herbert Hoover", "N.Y.C", "You Won't Be an Orphan for Long", "Something Was Missing", "Annie" and "New Deal for Christmas". In addition, the song "Maybe" has two reprises whereas "Little Girls" and "Easy Street" do not.
While the film is considered a cult classic, it was criticized for being different from the original musical. Annie received mixed reviews upon its release. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 49% based on 35 reviews, with an average rating of 5.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "John Huston proves an odd choice to direct, miring Annie in a sluggish, stagebound mess of an adaptation, but the kids are cute and the songs are memorable." On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 39 out of 100 based on 10 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four and reported that Annie was "so rigorously machine-made, so relentlessly formula" that the film "is not about anything" despite its series of scenarios, but nonetheless "I sort of enjoyed the movie. I enjoyed the energy that was visible on the screen, and the sumptuousness of the production numbers, and the good humor of several of the performances -- especially those by Albert Finney, as Daddy Warbucks, and Carol Burnett, as the wicked orphanage supervisor, Miss Hannigan. Aileen Quinn sort of grew on me, too." Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote, "'Annie' is far from a great film but, like the Music Hall in the good old days, it is immaculately maintained and almost knocks itself out trying to give the audience its money's worth. They don't build movies like this anymore." Variety wrote, "Whatever indefinable charm the stage show has is completely lost in this lumbering and largely uninteresting and uninvolving exercise, where the obvious waste reaches almost Pentagonian proportions." Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film two-and-a-half stars out of four and called it "a bit of a letdown," writing that Quinn "often comes across as one of those self-conscious stage kids" and that the four new songs "are not the least bit memorable," but Finney gives the best performance in the film as "he steadily turns into a quite wonderful father figure." Sheila Benson of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the film "staggers under monstrous production numbers, orphans doing gymnastic flips, dancing maids and butlers and the Radio City Music Hall complete with Rockettes ... But a kid with Annie's moxie deserves more. Or perhaps less. What she deserves is an atmosphere of innocence, warmth and inventiveness, to let the film generate the joy that must have enveloped theater audiences over the past five years." Gary Arnold of The Washington Post panned the film as "Overproduced and underinspired," with Burnett's performance "the closest thing to a saving grace." Pauline Kael wrote in The New Yorker that the story "cries out for a cockeyed fairy-tale tone" but instead "has the feel of a manufactured romp ... Every sequence seems to be trying too hard to be upbeat and irresistible, and it's all ungainly."
Martin Charnin, the lyricist of Annie, was not impressed with the cinematic interpretation. In a 1996 interview, he dismissed the adaptation and its production. "The movie distorted what this musical was", Charnin reported. "And we were culpable for the reason that we did not exercise any kind of creative control because we sold the rights for a considerable amount of money." Charnin even said that Huston, who had never directed a musical before, and producer Ray Stark made major changes in the film that destroyed the essence of Annie. Warbucks, played by Finney, "was an Englishman who screamed". Hannigan, played by Burnett, was "a man-crazy drunk", and Annie was "cute-ed up". Worse, the emotional relationship between Annie and Warbucks was distorted. They even downplayed the hit song "Tomorrow" because "Stark thought it was corny".
- Despite the criticism, Tim Curry was praised for his role as Rooster Hanigan
- One part of the film that was unanswered in the show is what happened to Annie's parents, according to Hannigan, they died in a fire.