Newsies Information

Newsies (released as The News Boys in the United Kingdom) is a 1992 American musical drama film directed by choreographer Kenny Ortega in his directorial debut. It is loosely based on the New York City Newsboys Strike of 1899 and features twelve original songs from composers Alan Menken and J.A.C. Redford. It stars Christian Bale, David Moscow, Bill Pullman, Robert Duvall and Ann-Margret. The film was an initial box office flop, but later gained a cult following on home video.


In New York City during the 1890s, thousands of homeless and orphaned children are selling newspapers to support themselves and buy food. The "newsies" as they are called, live together in newsboys' lodging homes. Among them is 17-year old Manhattan newsboy Jack "Cowboy" Kelly, who is a regular newsboy selling newspapers for Joseph Pulitzer and his paper, the New York World. The newsboys wake up and get ready to sell papers ("Carrying the Banner"). Jack meets David Jacobs, who leaves school temporarily and joins the Newsies along with his little brother Les to help his family while his father is out of work with a broken arm. The injury was work-related, but because he lacked the protection of a union he was fired with no severance. Les looks up to Jack, who sees this as an opportunity to make money by using Les because he is younger and cute, proceeding to teach Les how to trick people into buying a paper by pretending to be sick and making up headlines.

The three of them duck into Irving Hall to escape being chased by a cop. Jack introduces Les and David to Medda "Swedish Meadowlark" Larkson, a vaudeville star who performs at Irving Hall ("Lovey Dovey Baby"). After they witness a violent part of the trolley strike, David invites Jack to meet his family including his sister Sarah. After declining to spend the night, Jack confesses his desire to escape to Santa Fe ("Santa Fe"). Soon, Jack and David became best friends. Shortly afterward, the price of newspapers for purchase by the newsboys is raised by ten cents, a decision made by the newspaper titans, Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst.

Feeling they will be unable to bear the added cost, Jack organizes a strike with the aid of David ("The World Will Know"/"Seize the Day"). Jack struggles with his past life at home as he forms an important friendship with David and his family. Between his dream of one day going to Santa Fe and currently wanting to help his friends, he faces many difficult decisions involving money and loyalty. Along the way, the boys are aided by newspaper reporter Bryan Denton and Medda, as well as being hindered by Snyder, warden of "The Refuge" juvenile detention facility. Jack and the Newsies gain the cooperation of a rival newsboy group from Brooklyn, headed by the notorious Irish leader Spot Conlon, to team up and strike against the big-shot newspapermen.

They eventually win their hard-fought demands after self-publishing and distributing a sympathetic newspaper flier ("Once and For All") and gaining the support of other non-union child workers around the city. Jack and David force Pulitzer to admit defeat, resulting with the Newsies winning the strike and Snyder being arrested. Denton tells Jack that Governor Theodore Roosevelt was grateful Jack brought the strike to his attention and Roosevelt is offering to give him a ride anywhere, and Jack requests to be taken to the train station to catch a train to Santa Fe. His friends are disappointed to see him leave, but Roosevelt convinces Jack to stay with his friends in New York City. Sarah catches up to Jack and the two kiss while the Newsies celebrate.


  • Christian Bale as Jack "Cowboy" Kelly / Francis Sullivan
  • David Moscow as David Jacobs
  • Bill Pullman as Bryan Denton
  • Robert Duvall as Joseph Pulitzer
  • Ann-Margret as Medda Larkson
  • Luke Edwards as Les Jacobs
  • Ele Keats as Sarah Jacobs
  • Aaron Lohr as Mush Meyers
  • Max Casella as Racetrack Higgins
  • Michael A. Goorjian as Skittery
  • Gabriel Damon as Spot Conlon
  • Marty Belafsky as Crutchy
  • Jeffrey DeMunn as Mayer Jacobs
  • Deborra-Lee Furness as Esther Jacobs
  • Kevin Tighe as Mister Snyder
  • Michael Lerner as Weasel/Weisel
  • Shon Greenblatt as Oscar Delancey
  • David Sheinkopf as Morris Delancey
  • Charles Cioffi as Don Seitz
  • William Boyett as Judge Monahan
  • Marc Lawrence as Mr. Kloppman
  • Arvie Lowe, Jr. as Boots Arbus
  • Dominic Lucero as Bumlets
  • Kevin Stea as Swifty
  • Dee Caspary as Snitch
  • Trey Parker as Kid Blink
  • Mathew Fields as Snipeshooter
  • Kevin Michaels as Ten-Pin
  • David James Alexander as Governor Theodore Roosevelt
  • Robert Feeney as Snoddy
  • Joseph Conrad as Jake
  • Ivan Dudynsky as Dutchy
  • Dominic Maldonado as Itey
  • Mark David as Specs
  • David Sidoni as Pie Eater



Newsies received mixed to negative reviews from critics and audiences and flopped at the U.S. box office, becoming a box office bomb.

Critical reception

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film's average score is 40% based on 35 reviews. Newsies has since gained a measurable cultural fan base. Bale has acknowledged that while it was not a commercial success, its fanbase is surprisingly large, saying, "You say something bad about Newsies and you have an awful lot of people to answer to."

Box office

The film grossed $2,819,485 domestically and ranks among the lowest-grossing live-action films produced by the Walt Disney Studios. Film critic and historian Leonard Maltin christened it Howard the Paperboy.

Home media

In 1992, the film was released on Walt Disney Home Video, a collector's edition was released on DVD in 2002. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released the film on Blu-ray, as a 20th Anniversary Edition, on June 19, 2012.

Stage adaptation

Main article: Newsies (musical)
Disney Theatrical Productions produced a stage musical based on the film that played at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey starting on September 25, 2011 through October 16. Starring Jeremy Jordan as Jack and Max Ehrich (Fenmore, The Young and the Restless) as an understudy for Jack. Newsies!: The Musical contains songs from the movie, as well as several new numbers. The songs "My Lovey Dovey Baby" and "High Times, Hard Times" were left out of the stage adaptation.

The Paper Mill Playhouse version included new songs "The News Is Getting Better" that was replaced on Broadway by "The Bottom Line" and Don't Come a-Knocking" that was replaced on Broadway with "That's Rich", and the "I Never Planned on You/Don't Come a-Knocking" Medley and "Then I See You Again" sung by Katherine and Jack was replaced with "Something to Believe In". "Fansies" was the term dubbed to fans of Newsies during the Papermill Playhouse run of the show during Newsies Fan Day, where cast members of the movie and the original musical cast met with fans before the show.

The musical opened to previews on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre for a limited engagement from March 15, 2012 to March 29, 2012 in previews and from March 30, 2012 to June 10, 2012 in its official engagement. This was later extended through August 19, 2012 after just the first weekend of previews and then extended again, this time to an open-ended run. On September 19, 2011 the cast, accompanied by composer Alan Menken, performed "Seize the Day" and "Santa Fe" on The View. They performed "King of New York" in the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Corey Cott is currently playing newsboy leader Jack Kelly on Broadway.

The show went on to earn eight Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, winning Best Choreography and Best Original Score.

Historical strike

The actual Newsboys Strike of 1899 lasted from July 20 to August 2. The leader of the strike was a one-eyed young man nicknamed "Kid Blink", who spoke with a heavy Brooklyn accent that was often phonetically transcribed when he was quoted by newspapers. Kid Blink is featured in the film as a minor supporting character, (Blink and another real life newsie, Maurice Cohen, were the inspiration for Jack Kelly) while the role of strike leader is given to the fictional Cowboy. The actual strike ended with a compromise: the World and Journal agreed to buy back all unsold copies of the newspapers. The history of the newsboys strike of 1899 is told in David Nasaw's book Children of the City: At Work and at Play (Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1985; Oxford University Press, 1986).

Award nominations

Award Category Name Outcome
14th Youth in Film Awards
Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture
Christian Bale, David Moscow, Luke Edwards, Max Casella, Marty Belafsky, Arvie Lowe, Jr., Aaron Lohr, Gabriel Damon, Shon Greenblatt and Ele Keats rowspan=7
15th Stinkers Bad Movie Awards Worst Picture
13th Golden Raspberry Awards
Worst Picture
Worst Director Kenny Ortega
Worst Supporting Actor Robert Duvall
Worst Supporting Actress Ann-Margret
Worst Original Song "High Times, Hard Times"

See also

  • Newsboys Strike of 1899
  • Union Organizer

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Newsies" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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