A musical based on the New York City newsboy strike of 1899. When young newspaper sellers are exploited beyond reason by their bosses they set out to enact change and are meet by the ruthlessness of big business.
Release Year: 1992
Rating: 6.3/10 (9,797 voted)
Critic's Score: 46/100
Stars: Christian Bale, Bill Pullman, Robert Duvall
July, 1899: When Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise the distribution price one-tenth of a cent per paper, ten cents per hundred, the newsboys, poor enough already, are outraged. Inspired by the strike put on by the trolley workers, Jack "Cowboy" Kelly (Christian Bale) organizes a newsboys' strike. With David Jacobs (David Moscow) as the brains of the new union, and Jack as the voice, the weak and oppressed found the strength to band together and challenge the powerful.
Writers: Bob Tzudiker, Noni White
Arvie Lowe Jr.
(as Matthew Fields)
A Thousand Voices. A Single Dream.
Release Date: 10 April 1992
Filming Locations: Burbank, California, USA
Box Office Details
Did You Know?
Most of the cast trained in dance and martial arts for ten weeks before filming commenced.
When Jack is negotiating with David, Dutchy and Swifty are standing in the background of the group behind David. In the next shot, they are coming down the stairs to join the group.
Extry, extry, read all about it! Ellis Island in flames!
Hey, where's that story?
Page nine. Thousands Flee in Panic!
"Trash Fire Next To Immigration Building Terrifies Seagulls"?
Terrified Flight from Inferno!
Lots of Fun, and Tuneful Too!
Waaaaaaaaaaaay back in the early 1990's, when Jeffrey Katzenberg was
top exec at Disney, he had one of his less successful ideas — to bring
the break-into-song musical. So, as the story goes, he selected three
scripts that were about to go into production and gave them to Disney
Maestro Alan Menken and asked him which of the scripts could be turned
And that's how NEWSIES was born.
It's a great story, too, being a fictionalized account of the newsboy
in New York at the turn of the century. It follows the exploits of a
band of teenage boys, including Cowboy (Christian Bale), who dreams of
becoming a ranch hand in Santa Fe, and David & Les (David Moscow & Luke
Edwards), brothers who take up selling newspapers when their father is
injured on the job.
Conflict arises when Joseph Pulitzer (Robert Duval) gets greedy and
the price of his newspapers to the newsboys, but not to the public. The
outraged "newsies" decide to go on strike, which eventually galvanizes
the working children in the city to stand up for themselves.
It's a fun film, with Duval playing his villain to the hilt, but
is wasted in her role as a showgirl (both of her musical numbers are
edited down to just snippets of song). Bale is the real wonder here,
though, singing and dancing with surprising aplomb. The songs overall
quite good, but a couple of them are hard to distinguish from each other.
My favorites are the opening number, "Carrying the Banner," and the
"The World Will Know." It seems odd, though, that Duval doesn't get a
musical number of his own, considering in Disney's animated musicals the
villains usually get the best songs ("Poor Unfortunate Souls" or "Be
It's a shame that the film didn't do better financially, since as a
of its dismal box office Disney declined to ever make another like it.
First time director Kenny Ortega, who also choreographed (he was known
his choreography of DIRTY DANCING), directed one more feature after this,
the underrated Bette Midler flick HOCUS POCUS; since that film also
to find an audience, he hasn't directed a movie since. And that's a
he has a very distinctive kinetic style that served both films
Seek out a copy of NEWSIES, and go for the widescreen version. You won't