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It Happened One Night (1934)

Unrated  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  23 February 1934 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 59,377 users  
Reviews: 230 user | 112 critic

A spoiled heiress, running away from her family, is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story.



(screen play), (based on the short story by)
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Top Rated Movies #160 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Arthur Hoyt ...
Blanche Friderici ...
Zeke's Wife
Charles C. Wilson ...


Ellie Andrews has just tied the knot with society aviator King Westley when she is whisked away to her father's yacht and out of King's clutches. Ellie jumps ship and eventually winds up on a bus headed back to her husband. Reluctantly she must accept the help of out-of- work reporter Peter Warne. Actually, Warne doesn't give her any choice: either she sticks with him until he gets her back to her husband, or he'll blow the whistle on Ellie to her father. Either way, Peter gets what (he thinks!) he wants .... a really juicy newspaper story. Written by A.L.Beneteau <albl@inforamp.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bus | love | reporter | money | detective | See All (189) »


Two great lovers of the screen in the grandest of romantic comedies ! See more »


Comedy | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

23 February 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Night Bus  »

Box Office


$325,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut TV)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Robert Montgomery turned down the male lead, saying the script was the worst thing he had ever read. Fredric March also refused the part. See more »


When Ellen asks the autocamp owner to use the telephone, she is refused permission and directed to the sheriff's office. However, a newspaper reporter later says that she telephoned her father from an autocamp. See more »


Peter Warne: I want to see what love looks like when it's triumphant. I haven't had a good laugh in a week.
See more »


Featured in Joan of Arcadia: Spring Cleaning (2005) See more »


Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf
Written by Frank Churchill and Ann Ronell
Sung a cappella by Clark Gable
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

It happened one night...I fell in love with this film!
11 March 2005 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

IHON rightly earns it's place as one of the greatest romantic comedies in film history. A pioneer of the screwball comedy genre, it holds up very well 71 years after it was made.

It's a classic tale of the battle of sexes- something that is still so relevant today. We follow the story of spoiled heiress Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert), who jumps ship from her father's yacht (literally!) in Florida after an argument with said father (played by Walter Connolly) over her marrying wealthy playboy King Westley (Jameson Thomas) without her father's consent. Ellie is on a mission- to get to New York to King Westley. But how will she do it? That's how Peter Warne (played by a delightfully handsome Clark Gable) comes into the story. Recently fired from his newspaper job, Peter meets Ellie on the Night Bus to New York, and, realizing who she is (Her story is all over the news, after all!), offers to help her get to NY and Westley if she gives him an exclusive story- to win him back his job. And so the fun begins. Colbert and Gable have great chemistry as the mismatched couple thrown together after a series of unusual circumstances. The trip isn't a smooth one- and we are taken on a wild ride with Peter and Ellie, which gives us great scenes such as the doughnut-dunking lesson, Walls Of Jericho and the now-classic hitchhiking scene. The humour is still fresh and fast-paced over 70 years later. Oops, I almost forgot the classic 'no undershirt scene' where Gable sexily gives Colbert a lesson in how a man undresses, to reveal (shock horror!) no undershirt, but a bare chest! This had a bad effect on the sales of men's undershirts, which dropped dramatically after the film's release (One of the first examples of product placement in film). Great supporting characters, particularly the scene-stealing Oscar Shapeley (Roscoe Karns). Of course it has it's faults- all early talkies do. But any faults are outweighed by the great story. Technically, it was well-made for it's time.

IHON won 5 Oscars- Best Picture, Best Director (Frank Capra), Best Actress and Best Actor for Colbert and Gable and Best Adaptation. It deserved all of them. Funnily enough, both Colbert and Gable didn&#8217;t want any part in the film at first- I bet they changed their viewpoint after the surprise success and the prestigious Academy Awards they gained for it. It's been said that a number of Disney characters like Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam and Pepe LePew were inspired by characters in this film. A classic, a must-see, a great movie.

38 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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