Boys Town is a 1938 biographical drama film based on Father Edward J. Flanagan's work with a group of disadvantaged and delinquent boys in a home that he founded and named "Boys Town". It stars Spencer Tracy as Father Edward J. Flanagan, and Mickey Rooney, Henry Hull, Gene Reynolds, Edward Norris, and Addison Richards.
The film was written by Dore Schary, Eleanore Griffin and John Meehan, and was directed by Norman Taurog.
Legendary MGM Studio head Louis B. Mayer, who was a Ukrainian-American Jew, and known privately for his deep reservations regarding the Catholic Church, later called this his favorite film of his tenure at MGM.
In 1941, MGM made a sequel, Men of Boys Town (see below), with Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney reprising their roles from the earlier film.
Father Flanagan (Spencer Tracy) believes there is no such thing as a bad boy and spends his life attempting to prove it. He battles indifference, the legal system, and often the boys themselves, to build a sanctuary which he calls Boys Town. The boys have their own government, make their own rules, and dish out their own punishment. One boy, Whitey Marsh (Mickey Rooney) is as much as anyone can handle. His brother is