Annie (1982)

Genres - Musical, Children's/Family, Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Musical Comedy, Period Film  |   Release Date - May 17, 1982 (USA)  |   Run Time - 128 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Andrea LeVasseur

John Huston's Annie is a contemporary classic that embodies a timeless quality that few films of the 1980s have been able to accomplish. The dream casting may be its best asset, especially with Albert Finney throwing his weight around as Daddy Warbucks. Comedienne Carol Burnett is a perfect choice for the skinny, shaky Miss Hannigan, offering a complementary combination of drunken pratfalls and spinster cynicism. Even in the smaller roles that don't show up until Act III, Tim Curry's Rooster and Bernadette Peters' Lily St. Regis are dastardly comic villains. They bring a fun-filled badness into the picture when it looks like things are getting a little too sentimental. The climactic scene is a cinematic feast, employing a vertical train-bridge set piece complete with Punjab's (Geoffrey Holder) philosophical helicopter rescue. The Oscar-nominated art direction effectively re-creates Depression-era New York, of which a rascally orphan with immeasurable faith is an excellent symbol. Especially entertaining is the Bert Healy (Peter Marshall) radio show program and the orphans' gymnastic make-believe emulation of the broadcast. The wish-fulfillment theme culminates in the glorious trip to Radio City Music Hall with the actual Rockettes opening number "Let's Go to the Movies." Throughout the film, the songs are ridiculously catchy, danceable, and soaring with emotion, making Annie a well-rounded musical and ageless family favorite.