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Film / Annie (1982)

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Annie is a 1982 film adaptation of the musical Annie. Directed by John Huston, it made a goodly number of changes to the stage version: comic strip characters Punjab and the Asp are supporting players, Sandy gets more screentime, songs are added and dropped, and the climax is peril-filled. Annie was played by Aileen Quinn, heading up an All-Star Cast of adult players.

It was followed by Annie: A Royal Adventure!, a loose Made-for-TV sequel, in 1995. The 1982 adaptation also served as an inspiration for the 1993 Hindi-language comedy-drama King Uncle. The sequel was later followed by three additional adaptations of the musical. Disney and Columbia Pictures produced a second film adaptation for TV in 1999. Columbia Pictures released a third film adaptation in 2014. A fourth adaptation, entitled Annie Live!, was performed in 2021 on NBC.

  • If you would like to read the novelization by Leonore Fleischer, press this link.
  • For the movie storybook, press this link.
  • For the Marvel comic adaptation, press this link.
  • For the August 1980 draft of the script press this link.

This film contains examples of:

  • Actionized Adaptation: In the stage version, the attempt to abduct Annie near the end fails almost immediately, with the villains being exposed and captured before they've even left the Warbucks mansion. The film, not having to worry about set changes, adds a chase sequence that culminates in a Climbing Climax and a helicopter rescue.
  • Adapted Out: Inverted. Punjab and the Asp, Warbucks's loyal bodyguards from the comic strips, were left out of the stage musical, but are major supporting characters in the film. Punjab even gets his own Big Damn Heroes moment during the climax.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Grace is blonde in the stage version: Rooster calls her "blondie" both of the two times they meet. Here, she has Ann Reinkin's natural brown hair.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the bridge scene, Annie is able to be rescued due in part to two separate heroic acts not in the original musical.
    • The first is by the other orphans. After Molly overhears Rooster talking about his plan, they try to get out and warn Annie, but are caught and are locked in a closet. With no other choice, they pull off a daring escape through a roof hatch and walk all the way to Warbucks's house in order to raise the alarm. While they don't manage to arrive in time to prevent Annie from being taken, their warning is the reason Punjab is looking for her and therefore able to execute his nick-of-time rescue.
    • Miss Hannigan, of all people, gets the other one. When it hits her that Rooster will kill Annie, she realizes she can't let him do it and intervenes to stop him. He quickly overpowers her, but the delay buys Annie just enough time for the rescue to arrive. The novelization even goes on to explain that she is currently dating Punjab and living in a furnished room somewhere in the Warbucks Mansion, drinking less gin and waiting to find a job that wouldn’t require her to work with girls anymore.
  • Adaptational Name Change:
    • In the stage version and later screen remakes, Miss Hannigan's first name is Agatha. In this version, her first name is never mentioned, but the novelization gives it as Loretta Louise Mary Margaret.
    • The toothpaste that sponsors the Hour of Smiles radio show has its name changed from Oxydent to Iodent.
    • The novelization (though not the film itself) changes the name of the Hour of Smiles' singing triplets from the Boylan Sisters to the Moylan Sisters, and gives them the first names Milly, Tilly and Agnes, when in the stage version their names are Ronnie, Connie and Bonnie.
  • Adaptational Nationality: In the stage version, Warbucks was born in the gritty NYC neighborhood of Hell's Kitchen. The film changes his birthplace to Liverpool, England to accommodate Albert Finney's British accent.
  • Age Lift:
    • Annie is 11 years old in the stage version, but 10 in this film. Her birthday and birth year (October 28, 1922) stay the same though: she just hasn't had her 11th birthday yet in the film because it takes place in the summer while the stage version takes place at Christmas.
    • In the stage script, Duffy and July are the two oldest of Annie's orphan friends (both 13 years old), followed by Pepper (12), Tessie (10) and Kate (7). Here, Pepper is the oldest, followed by Kate, Duffy, July and Tessie (their actresses were 13, 12, 11, 10 and 9, respectively). Only little Molly is the same age (6) in both versions. Though to be fair, stage productions have never been strict about adhering to the ages the script gives the orphans either.
  • The Alcoholic: Miss Hannigan hates her job, and spends most of the time Drowning My Sorrows. She's not evil, per se, but resentful. This is shown when she refuses to have one of the children killed.
  • All There in the Manual: The novelization expands on many details, notably Miss Hannigan’s gin problems, and Annie’s dreams about her parents (she starts out imagining her father with curly red hair like her own, but as she bonds with Warbucks, she starts to picture him bald instead).
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • Throughout the film, the New York skyline is the skyline of the 1980s, not the 1930s. Of course, being made before CGI, the filmmakers really couldn't do much more than hoping no one would notice.
    • Annie, Warbucks and Grace go to see the Greta Garbo classic Camille... which wasn't released until 1936.
    • Also in the Camille sequence, the MGM logo at the beginning is the still-current one featuring Leo the Lion... which was filmed in 1957. The lion featured in the original release of Camille was actually Jackie, who opened all of MGM's black-and-white films at the time.
    • The song "Let's Go to the Movies" also mentions "Fred and Ginger": their first film together, Flying Down to Rio, premiered in 1933, but not until December, when this film takes place in the summer. The original stage version's mention of "Fred and Adele" in another song (referring to Fred's sister Adele Astaire, his main dancing partner before Ginger) is more accurate.
  • And Starring: Aileen Quinn gets the "and introducing" treatment in the opening credits. Unfortunately, her contract to star in potential sequels to the film (that were never completed) disallowed her from taking other roles, leaving this as her only notable performance.
  • Ascended Extra: The orphans. They pull off a daring escape after being captured by the bad guys and travel all the way to Warbucks's house in order to warn him about Annie being kidnapped.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: On top of the title character being put into a perilous situation, a sequence of animal cruelty and Annie subsequently beating up fellow child urchins in defense of a stray dog, the word "damn" was uttered a few times, earning it a PG.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Warbucks on the radio show. His delivery is deliberately stiff, and he keeps reading the stage directions aloud.
  • Banister Slide: Miss Hannigan, Rooster and Lily do this near the end of "Easy Street", sliding down the railing facing forwards.
  • Being Good Sucks: Upon learning all Annie wants is to be reunited with her parents, Warbucks does everything possible to make it happen, despite wanting to adopt her himself.
  • Berserk Button: After Annie tears up the check, Rooster loses it and chases her with the intention of killing her.
  • Big Bad: Rooster is the main antagonist of the film.
  • Bizarre Beverage Use: Miss Hannigan is seen pouring gin into her bath, perhaps because she was already drunk on it. It's likely a case of the creators doing their research, as Hannigan is making what is famously known as "bathtub gin," a common (though exaggerated) distillation method during Prohibition, when the film takes place.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • When Miss Hannigan tries to come up with a reason that Grace shouldn't want to take Annie all she can come up with is "She's a drunk."
    • The chorus at Radio City Music Hall promises not once but twice, "Only happy endings." Camille (the movie they end up watching) ends with a Downer Ending.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Warbucks says "Leapin' lizards!" when he finds out Annie's "parents" are con-artists.
  • Breakfast in Bed: When orphaned Annie is sent to live with Daddy Warbucks, the servants sing about their jobs. One explains that Drake will be assigned to serve Annie breakfast in bed, while Mrs. Pew takes away the tray.
  • British Stuffiness: Warbucks is initially stuffy in every version, but only in this version is he played by the British Albert Finney. The film attempts to explain it by saying that he was born in Liverpool, though his accent is no more Liverpudlian than it is American.
  • The Cameo: President Roosevelt is played by Edward Herrmann, who had previously gotten Emmy nominations for playing FDR in a pair of '70s made-for-TV biopics.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Warbucks, again. He continues a phone call even while someone's trying to assassinate him.
  • Catchphrase: Annie's iconic "Leapin' lizards!", along with Tessie's "Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!"
  • Character as Himself: The opening credits has Bingo, an otterhound playing the role of Annie's Canine Companion, credited as "Sandy as himself".
  • The Comically Serious: Warbucks.
  • Cool Car: A batch of 1920s and 1930s-era cars were used, obviously, but some of the standout rides were the 1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Dual Cowl Phaeton, which Warbucks himself drove in the film's climax, and a Du Pont Model G Town Car in which Annie and Grace were chauffeured in.
  • Copycat Mockery: Miss Hannigan tends to insult the orphans by copying them in a high voice.
  • Crying a River: Discussed in the song "It's a Hard Knock Life" which has the lyric "From the crying here you'd think this place would sink!".
  • Cultural Translation: The Spanish (Spain) version made a lot of changes to the script to downtone references to U.S. pop culture.
    • In the song "It's a Hard Knock Life", Molly tells the orphans to clean the orphanage until it shines "like the Statue of Liberty". In the original, it was the Chrysler building.
    • In the song "I Think I'm Gonna Like it Here", Grace Farrell calls Don Budge the "Champion of Wimbledon".
    • In "Let's Go To The Movies", Grace Farrell references Charlot and Jaimito instead of Charlie Chaplin and Mickey Mouse.
    • In "We Got Annie", Mrs. Pugh's verse references Annie's positive charms instead of mentioning the likes of Benny Goodman, Bing Crosby, Mutt and Jeff, and Franklin Roosevelt.
    • In "Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile", mentions of Main Street and Saville Row became London and Paris.
    • When Ms. Farrell talks to Ms. Hannigan about borrowing Annie for the weekend, Annie talks about the Capital of France (Paris) and 12 squared being 144 instead of spelling out Mississippi.
  • Dark Reprise: Annie and Daddy Warbucks sing one of "Maybe" as she leaves the mansion.
  • Debating Names: When the girls are trying to think of a name for Annie's new dog (unaware that she's already named him Sandy), one of them suggests Champion, but another girl rudely states that he's "anything but". Then, another girl suggests Tiger, but the other girls turn it down as they think he's too timid. Then, they suggest Rover, to which Annie reveals she's already named him.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen:
    • Gender inverted with Warbucks. He wasn't happy to have a girl instead of a boy, and he's quickly exasperated by following antics. By his own admission, he was a ruthless businessman focused only on making money before he connected with Annie.
    • Miss Hannigan also counts as an example, though her defrosting is much faster. When she realizes that Rooster has been enraged enough to outright kill Annie, she realizes he's gone too far and tries to stop him—"Rooster, she's a BABY!" The act helps her become a nicer, kinder person.
  • Digital Destruction: The first printing of the original DVD had a few overly cropped scenes.
  • Dirty Communists: The Bolsheviks, who try to have Warbucks killed for being "living proof that the American system really works". Because if the richest man in the world were assassinated, everyone would forget about him in a week. However, it's far more likely Warbucks is an Unreliable Narrator, because he was an arms dealer during World War One and the Bolsheviks have a far less abstract reason to want to extract revenge.
  • The Diss Track: Annie sings to Sandy about how he's a dumb dog and shouldn't follow her. She likes him really, but thinks it's the only way to get him not to follow.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Though he offers to do the dirty work for Miss Hannigan, Rooster proves himself to be a bigger threat to Annie, and is much more willing to kill her. At the end of the day, he is the real mastermind behind the kidnapping plot.
  • Driving a Desk: Back projection was still in vogue in 1982 and didn't look any more realistic than it did in the '30s.
  • Easily Forgiven: Miss Hannigan has spent years abusing the orphans (which Warbucks states he is aware of in "Sign") and orchestrates the kidnap of Annie. But her protests over Rooster killing her was apparently enough to redeem her, as in the final scene she's one of the circus performers at Annie's party rather than in prison. Let's hope she finds more satisfaction in her new career.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Played straight, then subverted at the end. Miss Hannigan and Rooster seem to have a loving relationship...until she tries to stop him from killing Annie, and he loses all caring for her.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Miss Hannigan's Mama Bear reaction when her brother declares his intent to kill Annie.
    "She may be a rotten little orphan, but I'm not gonna let you kill her!
  • Fireman's Safety Net: After rescuing Annie, Punjab kicks Rooster off the B&O Bridge onto the NYPD's safety trampoline.
  • Fireworks of Victory: The film ends on the Fourth of July, with Daddy Warbucks hosting a giant fireworks party after defeating Rooster and Lily and officially adopting Annie. The fireworks even spell out Annie's name before continuing to go off during the credits.
  • Freudian Excuse: When his younger brother died of pneumonia because their parents couldn't afford medicine, Warbucks devoted his life to becoming rich.
  • Gender Flip: Fred McCracken, the ventriloquist who appears on Bert Healey's show, is portrayed here as a woman named Mrs. McKracky.
  • Genre Savvy: Warbucks, in placing his radio ad trying to locate Annie's parents, deliberately leaves out any mention of her broken locket, knowing that the reward he's offering will have people coming out in droves, and only her real parents would know to bring their piece of the locket with them. Sure enough, the Warbucks mansion is besieged by dozens upon dozens of couples claiming to be Annie's parents, all of them frauds.
  • Happy Dance:
    • "We Got Annie". Grace has already seen how mean Miss Hannigan is, so after she sends Warbucks off to seal the adoption deal, knowing that it's a lock, she and the staff celebrate.
    • "Easy Street" has the Big Bad Triumvirate celebrating they have the other half of Annie's locket, complete with Miss Hannigan crowing like a rooster.
  • Heel–Face Turn: At the end of the film, Miss Hannigan reforms for her misdeeds to the point where she tries stopping Rooster from killing Annie.
  • I'll Kill You!: Multiple:
    Annie: (as she tears up the check) Mr. Warbucks will eat your livers!
    Rooster: I'll kill you! I'll kill you, you little brat, I'll kill you!
    • From earlier on:
      Miss Hannigan: ...and this room had better be regulation before lunch, my little pig droppings, or KILL, KILL, KILL!
  • Implied Death Threat: Downplayed.
    Annie: Cut it out! I mean it! Do you want Miss Hannigan to come in here?! Go back to bed! (turns to Pepper) Now! Or you'll have me to deal with!
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Pepper, she's mean to Molly and threatens her on a few occasions, but when all the orphans are locked in a closet by Miss Hannigan, she's the one who helps them find a way out.
  • Job Song: Downplayed for "I Think I'm Gonna Like it Here", which is about the inner workings of the Warbucks household in general, including the servants' jobs.
  • Judo Chop: Punjab inflicts it twice on a PA at Bert Healy's radio show when he tries to shush Annie, and then (having learned nothing) Warbucks himself.
  • The Killjoy: Miss Hannigan is the matron of a girls' orphanage in depression-era New York. The children often entertain themselves by singing with each other and with the radio programs they listen to but scramble to hide when they hear Miss Hannigan coming. One of her signature lines is "Do I hear happiness?" and her standout song is "Little Girls" where she complains about all things most people like about raising little girls. She makes her wards walk punitive laps while reciting lines about how much it sucks to be an orphan and actively works to keep the title character from being adopted by a wealthy billionaire.
  • Large Ham: Rooster, Miss Hannigan and Warbucks.
  • Let's Duet: Annie and Daddy Warbucks end the movie by singing, "I Don't Need Anything But You" together.
  • Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: The baddies do this to the orphans who find out about their plot; they manage to escape via a window at the top of the storeroom.
  • Magical Negro: Punjab, played by Geoffrey Holder, seems to perform actual magic.
  • Malaproper:
    Lily: I don't stoop to what you're incinerating.
  • Miming the Cues: When Grace is inquiring about adopting an orphan, an eavesdropping Annie silently puts herself forward as the best choice by nudging Grace towards the age of ten and red hair in her would-be adoption prospect.
  • Movie Bonus Song: Four of them: "Dumb Dog", "Let's Go to the Movies", "Sign" and "We Got Annie". The latter two were included in Annie Live!.
  • Not in Front of the Kid: Warbucks apologises to Annie upon saying "Damn!" when the girl admits to not understanding what her soon-to-be-adoptive father was trying to point out:
    Oliver: It has occurred to me that no matter how many houses I have, how many Rembrandts, how many Duesenbergs, unless I have someone to share it with, I might as well be back in Liverpool broke. Annie, do you understand what I'm trying to say?
    Annie: Sure... Kind of.
    Oliver: Kind of?
    Annie: I guess not.
    Oliver: Damn! Oh, excuse me.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: An adult stunt double was used in place of Aileen during the scene where her character is climbing a bridge in order to escape from Rooster and Hannigan. Justified for fairly obvious reasons.
  • Official Cosplay Gear: Costumes and dresses inspired by the film and franchise were made for those who'd like to dress up as their favourite ginger orphan.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Warbucks when he realizes that Annie's "parents" are actually con-artists.
    • Hannigan visibly panics when she realizes that Rooster's about to kill Annie on the B&O Bridge.
  • One-Word Title: Multiple:
  • Orphanage of Fear: Miss Hannigan's Home for Girls, naturally.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: In some ways both the trope codifier and an inversion. Annie has half of a locket left with her by her parents at the orphanage (along with a note explaining they would return for her when they could afford to keep her). The subversions come in when firstly it turns out the locket is an incredibly common and cheap mass-produced item, useless for tracking down anyone with, and then that in any case, Miss Hannigan has the parents' half of the locket and they died in a fire years ago.
  • Pair the Spares: In the final party scene, Punjab and a newly-reformed Miss Hannigan exchange a lingering romantic look, hinting that they're interested in one another.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The original musical was set during Christmastime, but the movie is set around the Fourth Of July because that was when filming took place and the producers didn't find it worth the time and money to produce fake snow for such a small plot point.
  • Product Placement: Parodied; when Warbucks goes on the radio, his message has had an advertisement put into it by the studio. He reads it without thinking about it, catches on, and snaps.
    "DID I JUST DO A COMMERCIAL?!? Let's get out of here! I've never endorsed a product in all my career!"
  • Promoted to Love Interest: In the stage version, Warbucks and Grace's Ship Tease is left unresolved, though they finally become a couple at the end of the sequel, Annie Warbucks. Here they do share a quick romantic kiss in the final scene.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Daddy Warbucks sent his secretary out to literally shop for orphans. Sure, that's perfectly okay. Though maybe the fact that it's not okay is part of of the point, since he only wants to host an orphan as a Publicity Stunt, but then learns to really care thanks to Annie.
  • Protagonist Title: First Name One-Word Title style.
  • Publicity Stunt: Warbucks only adopts Annie for a week to improve his public image.
  • Put on a Prison Bus: As in the stage version, Rooster and Lily are arrested by the NYPD at the end of the film.
  • The Quiet One: The "We Got Annie" number, fairly late in the film, is the first time we hear the voices of Punjab and the Asp. In the latter's case, it's the only time he speaks.
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Warbucks does this on the radio.
  • Running Gag: Miss Hannigan getting her foot stepped on by one of the orphans. It eventually turns into Chekhov's Gag when Annie uses this tactic to escape Hannigan after she, Rooster and Lily kidnap her.
  • Secret Pet Plot: When Annie is brought back to the orphanage, Sandy, the dog she saved from harassment while she was out, follows her back. She and the other orphans attempt to hide Sandy from Miss Hannigan, but it doesn't work for long. However, Annie being in trouble for harboring Sandy is what leads to Annie convincing Grace Farrell to pick her to stay at Oliver Warbucks' mansion.
  • Self-Made Man: Warbucks relates his past to Annie, such as how he was born dirt poor in Liverpool, started working as a cabin boy at age 12, and became a multi-millionaire in his twenties.
  • Shipper on Deck: Pepper mocks Ms. Hannigan with this when the police officer escorts Annie back to the orphanage.
    Pepper: Kissy kissy kissy!
    Hannigan: Kill! KILL!
  • Show Within a Show: When Annie, Warbucks and Grace go to the movies, we get to see a few minutes of the 1936 version of Camille (even though the film is supposedly set in 1933).
  • Stuffed into a Trashcan: "All right, who's next?"
  • Terrible Trio: Miss Hannigan, Rooster Hannigan and Lily St. Regis.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: "Let's Go to the Movies" (which replaces "N.Y.C." from the musical).
  • Tragic Keepsake: Annie refuses a replacement locket because her broken one came from her parents, and she's been holding out hope they will eventually come back for her.
  • Troubled Toybreaker: When Miss Hannigan, the owner of an Orphanage of Fear, sings her song about how she hates little girls, she vents her frustrations by squashing and decapitating a baby doll.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: As Punjab, the Asp and Sandy foil an assassination attempt, Warbucks continues on with his business like nothing is happening. Apparently, this happens a lot.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Miss Hannigan ends up being this all along, as Rooster and Lily didn't tell her they were really intending to kill Annie.
  • Vanilla Edition: Sony created quite a conundrum for fans who wanted to own a DVD, as the version that contains both widescreen and Pan and Scan versions has fewer worthwhile extra features than the Pan and Scan-only re-release.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After Annie continues to interfere with his Evil Plan, Rooster gradually loses all sense of gentlemanly demeanor he'd shown throughout the film.
  • Villain Song: "Little Girls", which expresses Miss Hannigan's loathing for the orphans, and, to a much larger extent, "Easy Street".
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: That huge ensemble of orphans from "It's a Hard Knock Life" stop appearing after the first half hour. From this point, the focus is narrowed down to the six main orphans (Pepper, Molly, Tessie, Kate, Duffy and July).



The girls argue over what to name Annie's dog.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

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