Annie is a television film which first aired on ABC on November 7, 1999. Like both the original Broadway musical, which it is based on, and the 1982 theatrical film, also based on it, it is based on the cartoon Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray. The main idea is that the principal character, Annie, intends to find her parents who had left her with a note at the orphanage 11 years ago when she was a baby. It was the directing debut of Rob Marshall.
In 1933, during the Great Depression in New York City, 11-year-old orphan Annie Bennett (Alicia Morton) was left on her own at an all girls orphanage when she was a baby. The only two things that she received from her parents was half a silver heart-shaped locket with a key hole, and a note saying that they would come back for her. The orphanage is run by the tyrannical Agatha Hannigan (Kathy Bates), who starves the orphans, forces them to do slave labor, and even makes them suffer. In the middle of the night, after getting tired of waiting for her parents, Annie tries to escape to find them, but is caught by Miss Hannigan in the process. When Miss Hannigan gets distracted, Annie hides in the dirty laundry bin and she finally succeeds in running away. While out on her own, she befriends a dog, whom she names Sandy. But a policeman catches her and returns her to the orphanage. When billionaire Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks (Victor Garber) decides to take in an orphan for Christmas, his secretary, Grace Farrell (Audra McDonald), chooses Annie. She and Sandy are brought to his wealthy estate and bathe in a grand life.
Although at first uncomfortable with Annie, Daddy Warbucks is soon charmed by her. He desperately wants to adopt her, but she still wants to find her parents, so he announces on the radio a $50,000 reward for anybody who can prove they are her parents. The orphans accidentally tell Miss Hannigan, and her younger con artist brother, Rooster (Alan Cumming), and his dimwitted girlfriend, Lily St. Regis (Kristin Chenoweth), cook up a scheme to get the reward by posing as Ralph and Shirley Mudge (Annie's "so called" parents).
Lily is left with the orphans after Miss Hannigan and Rooster leave, but she accidentally tells them the secret. They make her tell them what is going on, and she realizes that Rooster could leave her hanging as he has done before in the past. She and the orphans come to Warbucks' mansion where she demands her part in the cut while the orphans reveal the scheme. While fleeing from the orphans, Miss Hannigan and Rooster are intercepted upon the arrival of President Franklin D. Roosevelt along with his Secret Service. He reads the papers that identifies Miss Hannigan, Rooster, and Lily. This enrages Miss Hannigan, who soon curses Annie for ruining her minions' chance to bring her back to the orphanage so she can punish her for escaping, only to be carted off to a psychiatric hospital for child abuse, followed by Rooster and Lily who are arrested and taken to jail.
President Roosevelt then presents the evidence to Annie that her parents are actually David and Margaret Bennett, and that they had died several years earlier which explains why they never returned for her. Although she is saddened by the fact, she is cheered up when Daddy Warbucks officially adopts her. President Roosevelt ensures a happy ending for all as he promises that each of the orphans will be adopted by a stable and happy family. Daddy Warbucks and Grace become engaged, and Annie lives happily with them and Sandy.
- Alicia Morton as Annie, the protagonist of the film. She is biologically the daughter of David and Margaret Bennett. This was her first film role ever. She also appeared as Molly in a school play of Annie when she was 6.
- Kathy Bates as Agatha Hannigan, the main antagonist of the film. She is the caretaker of the orphanage. She loves her job but hates children.
- Victor Garber as Oliver Warbucks, the deuteragonist of the film. He is the billionaire.
- Audra McDonald as Grace Farrell, Warbucks' personal secretary. McDonald was the first African-American actress to play that part.
- Alan Cumming as Rooster Hannigan, one of the secondary antagonists of the film. He is Miss Hannigan's brother.
- Kristin Chenoweth as Lily St. Regis, another secondary antagonist of the film. She is Rooster's girlfriend, named after a hotel.
- Ernie Sabella as Mr. Bundles, the laundry man who inadvertently rolls Annie out with the dirty laundry (unaware that she was hiding in it).
- Chester and Chip as Sandy, the tritagonist. He is a stray dog that befriends Annie.
- Sarah Hyland as Molly.
- Andrea McArdle as the Star-to-Be, a character in a Broadway show that Warbucks takes Annie and Grace to.
- Main article: Annie (soundtrack)
- Hard Knock Life
- Little Girls
- I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here
- Easy Street
- You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile
- Something Was Missing
- I Don't Need Anything But You
- Some of the songs that appeared in the original Broadway production that didn't appear in the 1982 film adaption appeared here.
- Andrea McArdle, who played the Star-to-Be in this film, played Annie in the original Broadway production.
- In the Broadway production and the 1982 film adaption, Miss Hannigan is a more sympathetic villain and an anti-heroine in the latter, while Rooster becomes the true antagonist. Instead of changing here, she is sent to a psychiatric hospital, however, Rooster and Lily are still arrested.
- This is the first and so far, the only adaption to have Grace Farrell portrayed by an African-American actress as she was white in all previous and later ones.
- In this adaption, Annie and Oliver Warbucks are both white, while Grace is African-American. In the 2014 adaption, it's vice-versa, and in the 1982 film adaptation, all three are white.
- "NYC", which had been in the original Broadway production, took over for "Let's Go to the Movies", which had not, but rather, appeared in the 1982 film adaption.
- Normally, Annie's hair is curly while in this version, it is straight, however, in one scene, it is curled.
- Kristen Chenoweth and Victor Garber would later appear in another musical's Disney TV film adaptation, The Music Man.
- Audra McDonald and Kristen Chenoweth were both Tony Award Winners for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a musical, for their respective roles in Carousel in 1994 and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown in 1999.
- Sarah Hyland (Molly) and Ernie Sabella (Mr. Bundles) both later appeared in supporting roles in The Lion Guard. Hyland voices Tiifu in the first season, while Sabella, as usual, voices Pumbaa.
- Marissa Rago (Pepper) and Erin Adams (Tessie) spoke in a 2013 interview on The Tiara Talk Show about their fun experiences working on the film.
- This adaptation's version of the song "Tomorrow", was used in Marvel film Deadpool 2, with Alicia Morton's singing voice through archive sound.