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468 Ratings

Little Fugitive

United States, 1953
Drama, Family


When the seven-year-old Joey is cruelly tricked into believing he killed his older brother, he flees to New York’s nether wonderland: Coney Island. Upon and beneath the crowded boardwalk, Joey experiences a day and night filled with adventures and mysteries.

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Little Fugitive Directed by Morris Engel, Ray Ashley, Ruth Orkin

Awards & Festivals

Venice Film Festival

1953 | Winner: Silver Lion

Academy Awards

1954 | Nominee: Best Writing, Motion Picture Story

National Board of Review

1953 | Winner: Top Ten Films

Writers Guild of America

1954 | Nominee: Best Written American Drama (Screen)

At its core, this pioneering independent film is just an urban heart-warmer, but it has a fresh, gritty surface and a Grade A horror-comic hook… Morris Engel, the cinematographer, who shares the writing and directing credits with Ruth Orkin (his wife) and Ray Ashley, used a handheld camera to exploit all the wonders of Coney Island; the result is a lively essay on ball-toss games, pop bottles, pony rides, and human midsections of all varieties, as seen from a four-footer’s perspective.
August 23, 2017
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As much as for its sensitive handling of moments such as this, Little Fugitive is an enormously endearing movie because it does what Rockwell could not or would not do—it shows, without emphasis or affect, an everyday American scene in which people of all races and creeds are casually mixing, here in the relaxed social sphere of Coney.
May 01, 2014
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Little Fugitive remains one of the most elementally joyous and vital films about youth ever made distinctly because the film fully adopts Joey’s point of view, averting any sense of preachy, didactic moralizing by regulating all adults to bit parts.
April 18, 2013
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