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Freaks (1932)

8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 27,221 users  
Reviews: 238 user | 166 critic

A circus' beautiful trapeze artist agrees to marry the leader of side-show performers, but his deformed friends discover she is only marrying him for his inheritance.

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(suggested by story: "Spurs")
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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Wallace Ford ...
Phroso
...
Venus
...
Roscoe Ates ...
Roscoe (as Rosco Ates)
Henry Victor ...
Hercules
Harry Earles ...
Daisy Earles ...
Rose Dione ...
Madame Tetrallini
Daisy Hilton ...
Violet Hilton ...
Schlitze ...
Himself
Josephine Joseph ...
Half Woman-Half Man
Johnny Eck ...
Half Boy
Frances O'Connor ...
Armless Girl
Peter Robinson ...
Human Skeleton
Edit

Storyline

A circus trapeze artist, Cleopatra, takes an interest in Hans, a midget who works in the circus sideshow. Her interest however is in the money Hans will be inheriting and she is actually carrying on an affair with another circus performer, Hercules. Hans's fiancée does her best to convince him that he is being used but to no avail. At their wedding party, a drunken Cleopatra tells the sideshow freaks just what she thinks of them. Together, the freaks decide to make her one of their own. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Love Story of a SIREN, a GIANT, and a DWARF! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

20 February 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Forbidden Love  »

Box Office

Budget:

$310,607 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

During the 1920s and 1930s, photographer Edward J. Kelty took a succession of group photographs of members of the Barnum and Bailey freak show. What is interesting is how many cast members can be spotted in them (this film is the only movie credit for most of them). Familiar faces include Harry Earles (Hans), Daisy Earles (Frieda), Peter Robinson (human skeleton), Elvira Snow (pinhead), Jenny Lee Snow (pinhead), Elizabeth Green (bird girl) and Olga Roderick (bearded lady). See more »

Goofs

The shadow of the boom fall on Phroso's back when he and Venus are talking in the trailer, after her angry outburst at him. See more »

Quotes

Cleopatra: Well, holy jumping Christmas!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Final Destination 3 (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Round the Ring
(uncredited)
Music by Thomas S. Allen
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Don't Be Fooled
22 July 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Don't let people convince you that "Freaks" is a horror movie, because it isn't. It's actually a quite sad and sympathetic look at the way abnormalities were treated in the early part of the 20th century, and has direct parallels to the obsession with physical perfection causing eating disorders today. Tod Browning of course asks us to consider who are the bigger freaks: those with deformed bodies or those with deformed souls? The two "normal" people who are out to cheat and steal are monstrous, whereas the freaks are quite likable and charming. The ending is disturbing to be sure, but it's hard to condemn the freaks for acts that seem largely justified.

Is it a coincidence that in several shots showing Cleopatra reclining on a sofa, she appears to be deformed herself (in one shot it looks as if she has no legs). Has anybody else noticed this? "Freaks" was obviously way ahead of its time. There's a very interesting documentary on the DVD about its reception in 1932; it bombed and pretty much ruined Browning's career. Thank God that the general public is not allowed to be the final arbiter of a film's value. Think how many priceless films we would have lost by now if that were the case.

Grade: A


156 of 174 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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