Seven-year-old Joey lives in Brooklyn. When his mother goes to visit his sick grandmother, older brother Lennie is left to watch Joey. Babysitting ruins the 12-year-old’s plans for the day, so he enlists his friends to play a prank on Joey. They give him a (toy) gun to play with and when it goes off, Lennie plays dead. Thinking he’ll be arrested as a murderer, Joey takes off. With six dollars in his pocket, he heads for Coney Island, where he wanders the beach and goes on the rides … Using a 35mm camera strapped to his body, photographer Morris Engel documents the amusement park from the perspective of his young hero. As Joey rides the carousel, throws a baseball, eats cotton candy, and collects deposit bottles, the filmmakers use the opportunity to proffer up cinematic sketches of Americans at leisure – strolling, flirting, swimming, and sunbathing. As if captured with the wondering eyes of a seven-year-old, Little Fugitive casts an amused and anthropological eye over the people in the crowd in a masterpiece of black-and-white cinematography.
by Ray Ashley, Morris Engel, Ruth Orkin
with Richard Brewster, Winnifred Cushing, Jay Williams, Will Lee, Charley Moss, Tommy DeCanio, Richie Andrusco
USA 1953 English 75’ Black/White Rating R6

For the 2023 Retrospective, internationally renowned directors, actors, and screenwriters were asked to select their personal coming-of-age favourites.
Wes Anderson on his selection


  • Richard Brewster
  • Winnifred Cushing
  • Jay Williams
  • Will Lee
  • Charley Moss
  • Tommy DeCanio
  • Richie Andrusco


Directors Ray Ashley, Morris Engel, Ruth Orkin
Screenplay Ray Ashley, Morris Engel, Ruth Orkin
Cinematography Morris Engel
Editing Ruth Orkin, Lester Troob
Music Eddy Manson
Sound Lester Troob
Producers Ray Ashley, Morris Engel

Produced by

Little Fugitive Productions

Additional information

Print: The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Preserved by The Museum of Modern Art with support from The Film Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the Celeste Bartos Fund for Film Preservation.