Role in the film
Miss Hannigan is first only spoken of by Annie, who tells the squabbling girls that if the former wakes up, she'll get sore. She isn't seen until Annie is about to sneak out of the orphanage (just to find her parents). She tells her to be thankful that she isn't letting her out. She asks her what they say, and she mutters the answer, "I love you, Miss Hannigan." She asks to hear it, and she shouts the answer, only to be called "Rotten orphan". Annie reminds her of the note saying that they'll be coming back for her, but Miss Hannigan reminds her that that was 1922 and this is 1933; thus she is an orphan.
Miss Hannigan wakes up the other orphans and has them scrub the floors and strip the beds for Mr. Bundles. As soon as she gets back, she finds Molly hidden in the laundry basket. As soon as Mr. Bundles enters with clean sheets, he asks to take her out for an ice cream soda, but she refuses because she is saving up for Oliver Warbucks. She sends him out with the dirty laundry. She is not aware that he had (inadvertently) taken Annie out with it until she takes roll call, with each orphan answering, "I love you, Miss Hannigan." It is then that Kate tells her where Annie is. This infuriates her, and she runs off after Mr. Bundles' truck and gets bitten by a dog.
When Annie gets returned to the orphanage Miss Hannigan is about to have her scrub the floors with a toothbrush when a woman named Grace Farrell enters the room and says that she's the personal secretary to Oliver and that he has offered to let an orphan spend Christmas with him at his mansion and she suggests Annie but Miss Hannigan refuses to let her go until Grace reveals that she'll let the Board of Orphans know about it and Miss Hannigan lets her go. Later on in the film when Oliver decides to adopt Annie Miss Hannigan becomes jealous because Annie is now going to have everything.
When Miss Hannigan's brother, Rooster, and his girlfriend, Lily St. Regis, show up at the orphanage they decide that something should be done about Annie and that they'll be on "Easy Street". When Miss Hannigan learns that Oliver is offering a reward for $50,000 for the couple who can prove that their Annie's parents Miss Hannigan, Rooster, and Lily come with a plan to get the money and Annie and once they do they will kill her and run off with the money on "Easy Street". Miss Hannigan and Rooster act as Annie's parents under the names Ralph and Shirley Mudge and come up with a fake story that they left her at the orphanage because they were poor and got a job on a farm in Canada which didn't allow babies and now they had enough money to raise her, went looking for her, and that Miss Hannigan told them where she is. They also manage to use fake IDs from Lily and half of a heart-shaped locket and match it to Annie's along with her birth certificate. Oliver also tells them about the reward for $50,000 to which they at first deny it but then soon change saying that they could use it to help raise Annie and Oliver asks if she could spend Christmas with him and they agree and leave unaware of their true identities.
The next day they leave Lily with the orphans while they go and pick up Annie and when they arrive they manage to get her and the check but just as they're about to leave, Lily and the orphans show up and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who Oliver invited for Christmas, reveals Miss Hannigan, Rooster, and Lily's true identities. As Rooster and Lily are being arrested Miss Hannigan tries to say that Rooster made her do the evil scheme and asks Annie to tell the people how much she always loved her, but she reveals to Miss Hannigan that the one thing that she taught her was "Never tell a lie", much to Miss Hannigan's wrath, and the latter is sent to an asylum.
- In this version, Miss Hannigan is totally unscrupulous, while in the musical, the 1982 film, and the 2014 film, she is somewhat sympathetic.