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Parents' Guide to

Little Fugitive

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Lovingly realistic coming-of-age story is a classic.

Movie NR 1953 80 minutes
Little Fugitive Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 7+

Little Fugitive - An Original Special

In 1953 this little independently made film surprisingly found its way onto commercial cinema screens across the land. Its big drawcard was remarkable cinematography by first-time moviemakers, Ray Ashley, Morris Engel, and Ruth Orkin. Sharing the writing, direction, photography, and editing this group of talented folk brought life to a raw but warm story of childhood that resonated with audiences the world over. A simple story of two brothers after one runs away following a practical joke that goes badly wrong - featuring non-professional cast members and using a 35mm camera that had been modified, allowing it to be used much like a steady-cam unit would be today. Its filmed mostly at Coney Island and around Brooklyn. So fresh and inventive was the outcome - in the years that followed, mainstream moviemakers the world over adopted the techniques into their works, starting several new trends in filmmaking. The image and sound remain effective to this day and the newly re-masted Kino Lobar DVD has breathed new life into this ground-breaking little picture. Beware of the disappointing color re-make.
age 17+

R: strong thematic elements and some sexy-related usges

This title has:

Too much sex

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This is one of the finest and most vivid coming-of-age movies ever made. Co-directed by photographer/cinematographer Morris Engel, his photographer wife Ruth Orkin, and writer Ray Ashley, LITTLE FUGITIVE is nothing less than a landmark in the history of American independent cinema. It takes its time, building toward a memorable conclusion. It captures a remarkably intense summer carnival atmosphere, with crowds, grit, litter, heat, and noise as well as the wonders that are there for young eyes to discover.

There are long stretches with no dialogue, featuring nothing but a haunting harmonica score (Lennie's prize possession is a harmonica, so the music ties the brothers together). The movie may be a bit rough for younger kids (as well as for protective parents), but it has a good heart, and most viewers will be on board by the end. Little Fugitive was nominated for a screenwriting Oscar and was inducted into the Library of Congress' National Film Registry in 1997.

Movie Details

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