Movies About Orphans


Films about orphans can be inspiring and emotionally satisfying entertainment, often culminating in a happy conclusion. At times, they may even keep you on the edge of your seat!

Everyone remembers where they were when Isabelle Fuhrman took off her makeup to reveal that she wasn’t really a demon child in Jaume Collet-Serra, David Leslie Johnson, and Alex Mace’s Orphan (2009).

Annie (1993)

Original production on Broadway began in 1977 and became a huge hit, breaking numerous records along the way. Based on Harold Gray’s 1924 comic strip Little Orphan Annie, it won seven Tony Awards out of twelve nominations – winning seven and being nominated for twelve more, including Best Picture! Over time, it has remained both influential and beloved work, inspiring numerous works of art – the 1999 TV film adaptation featuring Victor Garber as Miss Hannigan alongside newcomer Alicia Morton as Annie; Sony Classical then released its soundtrack on November 2, 1999 – release date being November 2, 1999!

This film is an inspiring and uplifting tale, perfect for families. Although its story centers on young Annie, its appeal extends equally to boys as Pauline Kael noted it features “a plucky little heroine who can hold her own in a tough world.” Annie is an energetic child unafraid of taking risks to achieve her goals while being aware of correct from wrong – all qualities necessary in an underdog story such as this.

One of the main themes explored by this movie is the disparity between rich and poor. Characters like Rooster and Lily, who kidnap Annie to collect her cash award, represent greed and meanness within human society, while Annie herself holds onto optimism while waiting. While this may appear unrealistic, optimism may exist as a survival mechanism in similar situations.

NETworks Tours organized a 30th anniversary touring production of the musical in 2005, featuring a revised book and music by Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin, and Thomas Meehan, directed by Peter Gennaro who had headed its initial national touring company back in 1981, featuring most of its original cast members but with Kristi Coombs taking her place as orphan Molly from Sarah Hyland as she turned eighteen during 2006.

Evan Almighty (1998)

Evan Baxter (Steve Carell), newly elected to Congress from Buffalo television news anchor Evan Baxter’s (Steve Carell), sets his sights on changing the world while spending more time with his family. Driving a Hummer and using 300-year-old Brazilian cherry wood for his kitchen cabinets shows that he may not care much about saving the rainforests. Soon enough, strange deliveries come his way: ancient tools, piles of wood, and visits from God (Morgan Freeman), who informs him to build an ark to prepare for floods. Animals start following him wherever he goes while his image-conscious wife Joan finds him completely bonkers.

Congressman Long (John Goodman) attempts to use Evan’s influence as a member of Congress to pass an environmental-destroying bill, prompting his staffers to leave him and Evan, becoming suspicious that he may be insane. Still, Evan continues building his ark while working his job as a member of Congress, encountering mishaps such as smashing his thumb with a hammer, falling off high stacks of wood, and getting hit in the head by tree branches while working.

In this comedic retelling of the Old Testament tale, Evan’s struggles to fulfill his duties as God’s representative may annoy some for political or theological reasons, yet still provide entertainment with Carell and animals enough to mask some of its flaws. While God often answers prayers in ways that seem complicated and frustrating, when you pray for patience and courage instead, He gives strength enough for any obstacle in your path to overcome them.

Homer Wells (1995)

Homer Wells, from John Irving’s book of the same name, serves as the protagonist in this harrowing Bildungsroman set in rural Maine apple orchards. Director Lasse Hallstrom made a film adaptation of this book called Homer in 1999, starring Tobey Maguire as Homer Wells.

Homer was raised at St. Cloud’s Orphanage under the supervision of Dr. Wilbur Larch, an ingenious medical practitioner with an addiction to ether. Larch accepted Homer as his apprentice and trained him in all areas of obstetrics (including abortions ) despite Homer’s disapproval of such practices.

Homer, an orphan himself, is an intelligent and sensitive youngster. At first, he is treated like royalty by reading books like Charles Dickens to the other children at his orphanage every night before saying good night to them: “Goodnight, you Princes of Maine and Kings of New England!” However, when Fuzzy Stone (a fetal alcohol syndrome patient who wets his bed each night) is adopted by an out-of-town couple instead of being adopted himself, Homer realizes he’s no longer seen as royalty at all – far from being anyone’s princely qualities at all!

Homer and Melony’s relationship is the centerpiece of the tale; however, there are several compelling subplots involving other orphans, such as Candy Kendall and Wally Worthington (who come for abortion services at the clinic). Homer and Candy develop an interesting romantic relationship, eventually having sexual encounters both outside in nature as well as at their family orchard indoors when Naked (indoor sex) occurs and breaks Homer out of his longstanding smug snake mentality. This scene breaks through it all to break his complacency while opening his mind up to new things, something he never expected or experienced before in his previous relationships!

Oliver Twist (1964)

Lionel Bart’s Tony and Olivier award-winning musical Oliver is an exquisite tribute to Charles Dickens’ beloved orphan. Set in Victorian London, it begins as half-starved orphan boys line up at a workhouse to receive their daily serving of gruel (“Food, Glorious Food”). When Oliver attempts to steal some food for himself, he’s quickly apprehended by parish beadle Mr. Bumble and Widow Corney; during his stay there, he suffers abuse by fellow inmates until eventually finding solace through friendship with street-smart Artful Dodger (Harry Eden).

Oliver escapes being sold into the employ of a mortician as an apprentice (“Boy for Sale”) by joining Fagin’s pickpocket gang; when Bill Sykes attempts to recruit Oliver into his network of criminal activity,, however, Oliver runs back home where Nancy shelters him (“Consider Yourself”).

Reed and his cast must have had something in mind when they signed on for this movie, as it certainly doesn’t reflect their best work and contains several moments that appear gratuitous; nevertheless, enough good material remains for fans of the novel to find this film worth their while.

Ben Kingsley earned an Oscar nomination for his powerful and menacing portrayal of Fagin; Ron Moody provided a viscerally disturbing depiction of Bill Sikes as Oliver is abducted. Leanne Rowe played Nancy, who became Sykes’ tragic young girlfriend. Her performance showed both sides of her character – her tough exterior as well as her soft insides.

The Diary of a Young Girl (2013)

Stories like those of Yousafzai and Beah remind us of real, individual children hidden behind these statistics, but there is also the risk that framing them as exceptions, idols to emulate, and role models may create unrealistic expectations of exceptional agency for those who may not escape or succeed as quickly. This may carry with it an implicit condemnation of those who do not run and grow.

Anne Frank’s journal chronicling her life in hiding from 1942 to 1944 with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during World War II has become one of the best-selling books ever published. However, one mother from Michigan recently called for this title to be banned from school libraries on the grounds that it contains “pornographic” passages; free speech advocates strongly objected to such calls, viewing it as an act against children.