Boys Town, 1938

Spencer Tracy is Father Flanagan in the movie which tells the story of the Boys Town organization. The movie is engaging and emotional. And Boys Town is a real place. The people at Boys Town contacted me on Twitter after I tweeted that my son enjoyed the movie.

Mickey Rooney was awesome as the cocky little bad boy who challenged Flanagan’s patience. I love that one of the quotes used to express Father Flannigan’s heart for the boys is “There is no such thing as a bad boy, just bad behavior.” He was a believer in rehabilitation, rather than punishment. Another Flanagan quote is “A man is never as tall as when he stoops to help a child.”

Spencer Tracy won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his work in this film. Tracy shared the Oscar he earned with Boys Town for the boys to see and touch. (A second statuette was made so both Tracy and the boys could keep one.) If you visit the Boys Town Hall of History, you’ll be able to see that it’s still there.  

Other than Spencer Tracy’s Oscar and the one which was awarded to Eleanore Griffin and Dore Schary for Best Writing, Original Story, there were three other Oscar nominations for this film. The writing was very well done. One of the best scenes in the movie was when something unexpected happened to change a boy’s perspective. Unexpected love usually changes our perspective.

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