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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 59,242 users  
Reviews: 229 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 #159 | 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) »


Together for the first time! 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?


[June 2008] Ranked #3 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Romantic Comedy". See more »


When Peter is making breakfast for Ellen, as the table is first set, there are six doughnuts on the plate in the lower left corner of the screen, but when they sit and begin eating and discussing what there is to eat, there are only two. See more »


Oscar Shapeley: One on the side Shapely, that's what they call me.
See more »


Featured in Precious Images (1986) See more »


Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)
(1850) (uncredited)
from "Lohengrin"
Written by Richard Wagner
Sung by an offscreen chorus during the wedding
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Romantic Comedy that sweeps the first year of the Oscars
15 March 2003 | by (New Orlelans) – See all my reviews

I have seen this movie a few times over the year and have just recently viewed it again twice on the DVD version. This is a highly recommended movie on several levels. First, it has to be seen because it won multiple academy awards during 1934. It has won at least best actor, best actress and best director. So it should be seen just for it's historical significance if you are into movies as an art form. However, if you are just looking for entertainment then it is simply a great classic romantic comedy. The set up is that Ellie (Claudette Colbert) is a rich, spoiled, independent woman who is running away from her father (in Florida) to join her husband (not quite a complete marriage) in New York City. She meets Peter (Clark Gable) on the bus who is a down & out reporter looking for a big story. They join forces in that he will help her to get to New York for an exclusive on her story. In essence it is the bratty socialite vs the hard nosed -know it all reporter - Can they achieve true love? Just watch the movie and figure it out for yourself.. There is the classical scene regarding the battle of the sexes which involves hitchhiking. There is some dated material because the movie was made in the 30's about the 30's. This may be both good and bad as a viewing experience. Gable is a bit too shallow as a desirable character. He lacks the sensitivity of a guy that would be in a modern romantic comedy. However, his portrayal of Peter is likely typical for the ideal man of the era in that he attempted to be competent and in charge at all times (the know it all guy). The character comes across as too simplistic by today's standards. However, when he gets the feedback on his rough edges from Ellie he shows his nice guy side. Claudette Colbert is great in this movie she had opportunities to display her acting craft as she responded to different situations. The scene in which she and Gable pretended to be basically 'white trash' was very funny. Her getting the best actress award is very evident even without having to see the performances of her rivalries for the Oscar in 1934. Overall this movie is rated a 9.0 and is highly recommended. A viewer may avoid older movies because they lack dept; however, hang in for this one. Once the screen chemistry starts between Colbert and Gable (their first scene together) the rest of the picture is just a joyride of entertainment in watching these two work their magic for the camera. Enjoy this movie it should be an awesome experience.

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