Little Fugitive (The Coney Island Kid ) (1953) - Rotten Tomatoes

Little Fugitive (The Coney Island Kid ) (1953)

Little Fugitive (The Coney Island Kid )




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Little Fugitive (The Coney Island Kid ) Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

A lyrical serio-comedy from the writing/directing team of Ray Ashley, Morris Engel and Ruth Orkin, The Little Fugitive stars young Richie Andrusco as Joey Norton, a seven-year-old Brooklynite left in the care of his 12-year-old brother Lennie (Ricky Brewster). Finding the boy to be a constant annoyance, Lennie and his friends devise a plan to make Joey mistakenly believe that he has killed his brother; the prank is successful, and a frightened Joey flees for the fantasy-world refuge of Coney Island. A lost classic waiting to be rediscovered, The Little Fugitive was highly acclaimed upon its initial release, scoring an Oscar nomination for "Best Screenplay" as well as sharing a Silver Lion award at the 1953 Venice Film Festival alongside such legendary fare as Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu Monogatari. Shot on an extremely low budget, the film's innovative use of hand-held cameras and staccato editing techniques establish a rough-and-tumble, documentary-like edge perfectly attuned to its incisive, realistic treatment of childhood wonderment and fear.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Classics
Directed By: , ,
Written By: Morris Engel, Ray Ashley, Ruth Orkin
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 12, 1999
Box Office: $21.5k
Joseph Burstyn Incorporated


Winifred Cushing
as The Mother
Jay Williams
as Pony Ride Man
Will Lee
as Photographer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Little Fugitive (The Coney Island Kid )

Critic Reviews for Little Fugitive (The Coney Island Kid )

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (5)

At its core, this pioneering independent film, from 1953, is just an urban heart-warmer, but it has a fresh, gritty surface and a Grade A horror-comic hook ...

Full Review… | October 6, 2014
New Yorker
Top Critic

That the filmmakers were able to make "Little Fugitive" at all is kind of miraculous, but the miraculousness has its limits.

Full Review… | March 5, 2013
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Like childhood itself, it's over before you're ready to let it go.

Full Review… | January 29, 2013
Time Out
Top Critic

An underseen indie-film landmark and an invaluable artifact of local history to boot.

Full Review… | April 19, 2005
Village Voice
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

[VIDEO ESSAY] Made in 1953 by three confident filmmakers, "Little Fugitive" is as much an invaluable filmic document of post World War II New York as it is an enchanting incipient work of independent cinema.

Full Review… | October 28, 2014

Audience Reviews for Little Fugitive (The Coney Island Kid )

Somewhere between The 400 Blows and a Kookla, Fran and Ollie flick, this pioneering 1953 film was a watershed for being an American independent and for its early handheld camera work. A warmhearted kid story with great New York scenery to boot.

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer


As twilight descends on coney island, you can almost taste the salt water air and feel the cool ocean breeze on your cheek. The movie is less a character study and more a day in the life of a boy at a very specific time and place. Rather than a plot taking us along to it's pre-determined destination, things merely happen, and we bear silent witness to it. It's a simple story of two brothers, maybe aged 6 and 11, and the older brother tricks the younger into thinking he's killed him, thus sending the younger brother on the run. He goes to Coney island, and spends a couple of days on the beach and on the boardwalk, drowning his sorrow in junk food and pony rides. Directed by Morris Engel and Ray Ashley, the film has all the quality of an artistic (not artsy-fartsy) documentary, there's very little in the way of script of plot, it's basically an exercise in film and subject matter. And yet, somewhere in the midst of all this artistic vision, a tender story comes out and forms a touching image. It's almost impossible not to see this as a real life story, and it's also almost impossible not to fall in love with the little boy. The charm of this document and it's by-gone era lies with the people it photographs, and as a snapshot of Coney Island and New York, it's almost a love letter.

Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer


the very first american indie. remarkably natural performance from the kid. a low budget documentary style snapshot of a more innocent time and a big influence on truffaut's 400 blows

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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