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The Paul Street Boys
First edition
Author Ferenc Molnár
Original title A Pál utcai fiúk
Country Hungary
Language Hungarian
Genre youth novel
Publication date

The Paul Street Boys (Hungarian: A Pál utcai fiúk) is a youth novel by the Hungarian writer Ferenc Molnár, first published in 1906.

Plot outline

The novel is about schoolboys in Józsefváros neighbourhood of Budapest and set in 1889. The Paul Street Boys spend their free time at the grund, an empty lot that they regard as their "Fatherland". The story has two main protagonists, János Boka (the honourable leader of the Paul Street Boys) and Ernő Nemecsek (the smallest member of the group).

When the "Redshirts"—another gang of boys, led by Feri Áts, who gather at the nearby botanical gardens—attempt to take over the grund, the Paul Street Boys are forced to defend themselves in military fashion.

Although the Paul Street Boys win the war, and little Nemecsek repeatedly demonstrates that his bravery and loyalty surpasses his size, the book ends in tragedy.

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations

  • A Pál utcai fiúksilent film (Hungary, 1917), directed by Béla Balogh — First version of the story by Hungarian director Béla Balogh.
  • A Pál utcai fiúksilent film (Hungary, 1924), directed by Béla Balogh, with György Faragó (Nemecsek), Ernő Verebes (Boka), Ferenc Szécsi (Geréb), István Barabás (Feri Áts), Frigyes Pártos (Csónakos). — Second version of the story by Hungarian director Béla Balogh.
  • No Greater Glory — film (USA, 1934), directed by Frank Borzage and released by Columbia Pictures, with George P. Breakston (Nemecsek), Jimmy Butler (Boka), Jackie Searl (Geréb), Frankie Darro (Feri Áts), Donald Haines (Csónakos).
  • I ragazzi della via Paal — film (Italy, 1935), directed by Alberto Mondadori and Mario Monicelli, with Giulio Tamagnini (Nemecsek), Alberto Vigevani (Boka), Giulio Macchi (Geréb), Bruno Aghion (Feri Áts), Carlo Cartigliani (Csónakos).
  • A Pál-utcai fiúk — film (Hungary-USA, 1969), directed by Zoltán Fábri, with Anthony Kemp (Nemecsek), William Burleigh (Boka), John Moulder-Brown (Geréb), Julien Holdaway (Feri Áts), Robert Efford (Csónakos). - The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
  • I ragazzi della via PalTV film (Italy-Austria-Germany-Hungary, 2003), directed by Maurizio Zaccaro, with Gáspár Mesés (Nemecsek), Gáspár Csaba (Boka), Gergely Mészáros (Geréb), Daniel Lugosi (Feri Áts), Péter Ványi (Csónakos).
  • A Pál-utcai fiúkTV film (Hungary, 2005), directed by Ferenc Török, with Balázs Bojtár (Nemecsek), Krisztián Fekete (Boka), Milán Király (Geréb), Csaba Csuhai Csinos (Feri Áts), Róbert Rostási (Csónakos).
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