Annie is first seen sitting by the window in the bedroom of the orphanage, where she sleeps instead of a bed like the other orphans do. After hearing them fighting, she scolds them, warning them that waking up Miss Hannigan will make her angry. She comforts Molly (the youngest orphan) over a nightmare about her parents. She reads a note to Molly (with the other orphans joining in), and sings the first part of "Maybe" to Molly, in order to lull her to sleep. She finishes as she is making sure the other girls sleep well. She sets off to find her parents, only to be stopped by Miss Hannigan. She asks her if she's going to beat her, but admits that she never hit any of the girls... but tells her that threatening to do it is worse. After asked what she says, she gives the wanted, usual response, "I love you, Miss Hannigan!". As she is brought back to the bedroom, Miss Hannigan has all seven girls scrub the floors and strip the beds for Mr. Bundles ("It's the Hard-Knock Life"). At one point, Annie scrubs the windows too.
As she is out in the snow, Annie goes over to a stand where a merchant sells hot roasted corn for a nickel. She takes a piece and makes off with it. Before she can even eat it, a stray dog takes it away from her, much to her dismay. He sadly gives it back but is comforted ("Tomorrow"). She and the dog are seen by a policeman. She tells him the dog is hers and calls him Sandy due to his fur color. The policeman encourages her to call him by his name. She does it repeatedly until he comes over. The policeman then tells her to get a license and warns her to get home before she gets pneumonia (go to juviy, but she isn't bothered by it). As she is heading home, she is seen again by the policeman, asking for her license, but they run off separately. The policeman runs after her until she is caught and reported to Miss Hannigan. As she is taken in, Miss Hannigan yells at her and makes her stay in her office while the former cooks up her punishment. For having run off, she tells her to scrub the floors with a dirty toothbrush. When Miss Hannigan asks her if she's glad she's back, Annie unenthusiastically answers, "Yes, Miss Hannigan," and is about to grab the toothbrush, but the former yanks it away, accusing her of lying, and interrogatively reminds her of the one thing she always taught her: never tell a lie.
Much later, Grace Farrell, who works as the secretary to Oliver Warbucks, comes to pick up an orphan to spend a week at the Warbucks mansion for Christmas. It is Annie who is taken along. After a tour ("I Think I'm Gonna Like it Here") of the White House, Annie meets Warbucks in person. Later, she is out sightseeing with Oliver and Grace for ice cream, and later to watch a Broadway show. They are then going home in a horse and buggy. During their ride, they find Sandy and keep him as a pet.
Later, Annie has given Warbucks the other half of the heart and letter so he can give to the FBI in order to find her real parents, but the locket was bought by so many people that they could not trace it.
Soon, Annie is heard with Bert Healy on the radio, as he announces $50,000 dollars to the couple who can prove themselves to be Annie's real parents. On Christmas Eve, after hearing that she is a Mudge, she is so disappointed that she runs up to her room, crying. The next morning, as Sandy can tell that the "Mudges" are not her real parents, he barks, but Annie, not knowing what he thinks is true, scolds him for being "rude". Later, as Rooster Hannigan (who had been pretending to be Ralph Mudge) and his girlfriend, Lily St. Regis, are arrested, Miss Hannigan (who had been pretending to be Shirley Mudge) tells her to tell the others how good she had been to her. Annie tells her she would, but she had always taught her never to tell a lie, much to the annoyance of Miss Hannigan herself, who calls her a rotten gold digger and accuses her of bringing her to this. Much to Annie's pleasure, and that of the other girls, Miss Hannigan is sent to a psychiatric hospital forever.
F.D.R. has important news for Annie, but Warbucks explains that the FBI finally traced her real parents, David and Margaret Bennett, who died long ago. She finally realizes that she is an orphan, but is glad she is not a Mudge. So, she accepts Warbucks as a father, and Grace eventually becomes her mother by getting engaged to him.
- Usually, Annie's hair is curly. This Annie's hair is straight, although, in one scene, it is curled.
- All three original actresses' first names begin with an "A", just like the character's. Originally, on Broadway, she was played by Andrea McArdle (who later appears in the Disney version as the Star-to-Be), while in the 1982 film, Aileen Quinn played her, and in this, Alicia Morton played her. That went for Ashley Johnson, who played her in the 1995 (1996 internationally) sequel to the 1982 film, Annie: A Royal Adventure! The 2014 version, however, is the first film adaption where the actress' name does not begin with an "A" as Quvenzhanè Wallis played her.