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Film / Annie (1982)

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In 1982, John Huston directed a film version of Annie, which 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.


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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.
  • Actor Allusion: Kind of an unusual example. 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.
    • Herrmann also voiced FDR in Ken Burns's documentary about the Roosevelt family shortly before his death.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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    • Ms. Hannigan, of all people, gets the other one. When it hits her that Rooster is legitimately going to 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.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Annie getting kidnapped by two criminals and her abusive caretaker (who plan to kill her once they drive all the way to Atlantic City) can be very unsettling to some parents. It's made even worse when she escapes their clutches and climbs to the top of the B&O Bridge while a murderous Rooster climbs after her. He surely would've thrown Annie to her death had it not been for Punjab.
    • The orphans getting stuffed into the closet by the bad guys. They manage to escape, but they end up running off into the city in the dead of the night by themselves in order to find Warbucks' mansion.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • That helicopter is quite advanced for 1933. Considering Warbucks calls it an "auto-copter" and describes it as though it's a new invention, it's possibly meant to be some kind of Diesel Punk device.note  Perhaps his car phonenote  is a similar deal. One wonders what World War II will look like in the Annieverse.
    • Throughout the movie, the New York skyline is the skyline of the 1980s, not the 1930s. Of course, the movie was made before CGI, so they really couldn't do much more than hoping no one would notice.
    • Annie, Warbucks and Grace go to see the classic Greta Garbo movie 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 "Lets Go to the Movies" also mentions "Fred and Ginger": their first film together, Flying Down to Rio, did premiere in 1933, but not until December, when this film takes place in the summer.
  • 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 in the film, 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 the "Easy Street" number, 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.
  • 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 ends with a Downer Ending.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Warbucks says "Leapin' lizards!" when he finds out Annie's "parents" are con-artists.
  • British Stuffiness: Warbucks is initially stuffy in every version, but only in this version is he played 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.
  • 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 for the film has Bingo, an otterhound playing the role of Annie's Canine Companion, credited as "Sandy as himself".
  • 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!".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 is not in jail, but one of the circus performers at Annie's party. Let's hope she finds more satisfaction in her new career.
  • 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!
  • Freudian Excuse: When his younger brother died of pneumonia because their parents couldn't afford medicine, Warbucks devoted his life to becoming rich.
  • 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 decides to reform for her misdeeds.
  • 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 in the movie:
    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 "You're 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.
  • 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.
  • Malaproper:
    Lily: I don't stoop to what you're incinerating.
  • Movie Bonus Song: Four of them: "Dumb Dog", "Let's Go to the Movies", "Sign", and "We Got Annie". None of them are included in the 1999 or the 2014 versions.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The original musical was set during Christmas Time, but the movie is set around the Fourth Of July because that was when the movie was being filmed and the producers didn't think it was worth the 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!
  • Protagonist Title: First Name One-Word Title style.
  • Publicity Stunt: Warbucks only adopts Annie for a week to improve his public image.
  • 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.
  • Remake Cameo: Roseanne Sorrentino played Annie in the play's third national tour. She was too old to play Annie this time, so she ended up playing Pepper.
  • 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.
  • 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 brings 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.
  • 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 the movie on 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.
  • Villain Song: "Easy Street."
  • 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.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: That huge ensemble of orphans from "It's a Hard Knock Life" stop appearing after the first thirty minutes of the film. From this point, the focus is narrowed down to the six main orphans (Pepper, Molly, Tessie, Kate, Duffy, and July).
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Annie.
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • One of the boys whom Annie saves Sandy from attempts to punch her, but misses.
    • Rooster knocks Miss Hannigan - his own sister - out cold when she tries to stop him from going after Annie.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Rooster chases Annie up the B&O Bridge in an attempt to harm her when she escapes from him and rips up the check.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Miss Hannigan, on the other hand, may threaten the lives of her orphans, but it's all talk, she would never really harm them despite her hatred of them, and Rooster actually trying to kill Annie is taking things much too far for her.

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