Directed by Kenny Ortega
Produced by Michael Finnell
Written by Bob Tzudiker, Noni White
Starring Christian Bale, David Moscow, Bill Pullman, Robert Duvall, Ann-Margret
Music by Score: Alan Menken, Underscore: J. A. C. Redford, Songs & Lyrics: Jack Feldman
Cinematography Andrew Laszlo
Editing by William Reynolds
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date April 10, 1992
Running time 121 min.
Country United States
Budget $15 million (est.)
Gross revenue $2,819,485
Info & Plot
Newsies is based on the true story of the Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City. Thousands of homeless children are living in Newsboys lodging houses, including Manhattan newsboy Jack “Cowboy” Kelly (Christian Bale), who is a regular newsboy selling newspapers for Joseph Pulitzer (Robert Duvall) and his paper, the New York World. The newsboys wake up and get ready to sell papers (“Carrying the Banner”). Jack meets David Jacobs (David Moscow) who leaves school temporarily and joins the newsies along with his little brother Les (Luke Edwards) to help his family while his father is out of work with a broken arm. Though the injury was work-related, he lacked the protection of a union; he was deemed useless and fired with no severance. Les looks up to the older Jack. Jack, seeing this as an opportunity to make money by using Les because he is younger and cute, teaches 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 (Ann-Margret), a vaudeville star who performs at Irving Hall (“Lovey Dovey Baby”). After they witness a violent part of the trolley strike and Les begins to fall asleep, David invites Jack back to his house to meet his family and sister Sarah. After declining to spend the night Jack confesses his desire to escape to Santa Fe (“Santa Fe”). Soon, Jack and David become good friends, Shortly afterward, the price of newspapers for purchase by the newsboys is raised 1/10 of a cent, decided by joint decision of 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” and “Seize the Day”). As the protagonist, Jack struggles with his past 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 (Bill Pullman) and Medda, as well as being hindered by Snyder (Kevin Tighe), warden of “The Refuge” juvenile detention facility. Jack and the newsies gain the cooperation of rival newsboy groups from New York and Brooklyn 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.