Up 40,542 this week

Steamboat Round the Bend (1935)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  6 September 1935 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 619 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 12 critic

A Louisiana con man enters his steamboat into a winner-take-all race with a rival while trying to find a witness to free his nephew, about to be hung for murder.



(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Fall TV: 15 Returning TV Shows Worth Binge Watching

Which returning shows do we recommend binging on? We've picked out 15 great options for you. Read this and more lists in our Fall TV section.

Read our list

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 42 titles
created 19 Oct 2010
a list of 8387 titles
created 13 Aug 2011
list image
a list of 145 titles
created 28 Nov 2011
a list of 2000 titles
created 24 Aug 2013
a list of 459 titles
created 9 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Steamboat Round the Bend (1935)

Steamboat Round the Bend (1935) on IMDb 7.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Steamboat Round the Bend.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Judge Priest (1934)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Judge Priest, a proud Confederate veteran, uses common sense and considerable humanity to dispense justice in a small town in the Post-Bellum Kentucky.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Will Rogers, Tom Brown, Anita Louise
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The story of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was imprisoned after innocently treating President Lincoln's assassin in 1865.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Warner Baxter, Gloria Stuart, Claude Gillingwater
Doctor Bull (1933)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Doc Bull, a no-nonsense country doctor who has served his community for decades, fights small-town prejudice and provincialism in several crises.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Will Rogers, Marian Nixon, Vera Allen
Certificate: Passed Adventure | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A dozen British soldiers, lost in a Mesopotamian desert during world war I, are menaced by unseen Arab enemies.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Victor McLaglen, Boris Karloff, Wallace Ford
Pilgrimage (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Director: John Ford
Stars: Henrietta Crosman, Heather Angel, Norman Foster
Tobacco Road (1941)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Shiftless Jeeter Lester and his family of hillbilly stereotypes live in a rural backwater where their ancestors were once wealthy planters. Their slapstick existence is threatened by a ... See full summary »

Director: John Ford
Stars: Charley Grapewin, Gene Tierney, Marjorie Rambeau
Arrowsmith (1931)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Based on Sinclair Lewis's novel "Arrowsmith". A medical researcher is sent to a plague outbreak, where he has to decide priorities for the use of a vaccine.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Ronald Colman, Helen Hayes, Richard Bennett
Comedy | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

John Ford weaves three "Judge Priest" stories together to form a good- natured exploration of honour and small-town politics in the South around the turn of the century. Judge William ... See full summary »

Director: John Ford
Stars: Charles Winninger, Arleen Whelan, John Russell
Up the River (1930)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

When paroled trustee Steve and former inmate Judy who try to put their criminal lives behind them are blackmailed, two career criminals come to their rescue.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Claire Luce, Warren Hymer
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A meek milquetoast of a clerk is mistaken for Public Enemy #1, and the notorious killer takes advantage of the situation.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Jean Arthur, Arthur Hohl
The Informer (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In 1922, an Irish rebel informs on his friend, then feels doom closing in.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Victor McLaglen, Heather Angel, Preston Foster
3 Bad Men (1926)
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Three outlaws come to the aid of a young girl after her father is killed.

Director: John Ford
Stars: George O'Brien, Olive Borden, Lou Tellegen


Complete credited cast:
Fleety Belle
Irvin S. Cobb ...
Captain Eli
Sheriff Rufe Jeffers
John McGuire ...
New Moses
Francis Ford ...
Roger Imhof ...
Raymond Hatton ...
Matt Abel
Hobart Bosworth ...
Stepin Fetchit ...


Dr. John Pearly is an affable, turn-of-the-century con man who sells a patent medicine whose primary ingredient is whiskey. He resurrects a broken down steamboat with a makeshift crew and challenges the respectable but arrogant Captain Eli to a winner-take-all river race. Pearly hopes his nephew Duke will serve as pilot, but the young man stands accused of murdering a 'swamp rat' who threatened the honor of 'swamp girl' Fleety Belle. After Duke is arrested, Pearly tries to raise money for a lawyer by charging admission to a wax museum aboard his ship. Ultimately he gambles it all in the river race to Baton Rouge, where he hopes to find a witness whose testimony will free Duke. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

6 September 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Steamboat 'Round the Bend  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(FMC Library Print) | (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Rogers' boat, "Claremore Queen," was named after his home town of Claremore, Oklahoma. See more »


Sheriff Rufe Jeffers: [performing wedding ceremony in jail] Friends, we're gathered here in the eyes of God and one another for the purpose of joining together this here man and this here woman in holy matrimony. Can't nobody rightly say nothin' agin marriage, 'cause I reckon God intended everybody to live that-a-way. 'Cause every living human on this earth has got to find his mate sometime or other. And when God put Noah in the ark, he told him to take two of everything. 'Cause God knowed that was right, and I guess...
See more »


Featured in 20th Century-Fox: The First 50 Years (1997) See more »


Steamboat Round the Bend
(1935) (uncredited)
Music by Oscar Levant
Lyrics by Sidney Clare
Sung by an unidentified chorus during opening sequence and played during closing credits
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Will Rogers' swan song is Americana with a Dixie flavor
13 April 2002 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

This movie was shown recently as part of a major comedy retrospective at Film Forum in New York, but it seemed somewhat out of place alongside the likes of the Marx Brothers and Mae West. Steamboat Round the Bend is an interesting and unusual film with occasional comic touches, but it's primarily a serious tale with elements of melodrama. The story is set in the 1890s, and rich period atmosphere is one of the film's strongest assets. Although it's not based on a Mark Twain story director John Ford captures that Old Times on the Mississippi flavor better than a lot of movies based on Twain's books. Ultimately, this is a rich slice of Americana with a distinct Southern bias. That's all well and good if you have an interest in American history as depicted in Hollywood films of this period, but viewers expecting non-stop laughs will be disappointed. Those of us who grew up watching TV in the '60s might find that Steamboat Round the Bend is reminiscent of The Andy Griffith Show: it has the same relaxed tempo, presents a similarly benign view of Southern life (with the stark exception of one sequence, which I'll discuss in a moment), and has as its leading man a very low-key guy.

Here, as in his other talkies, Will Rogers ambles through the proceedings in a seemingly casual fashion. He was unlike any other star of his time -- or since, really -- and viewers who've never seen one of his movies might find him a little odd at first. Like his friend W.C. Fields, Rogers refused to rehearse his scenes and insisted on doing a minimal number of takes, even if he fluffed his lines, which he often did. His acting is so offhand, and so unlike the polished Hollywood performance style of his day, a first-time viewer might mistake him for an amateur who somehow wandered onto the set. Once you adjust to his naturalistic style, however, Rogers' special talent becomes obvious, and it's the other actors who start looking theatrical and phony. Aside from the lead the most memorable performances in this film are given by the growly-voiced Eugene Palette, who gets most of the laughs, and bright-eyed Anne Shirley, who holds her own with Rogers in their scenes together.

Steamboat Round the Bend is probably best remembered as Will Rogers' swan song, the last project he finished before his death in a plane crash, but like much of his work it never had a legitimate video release in the VHS era, most likely because of the presence of the notorious African-American comedian Stepin Fetchit. When several Rogers movies were released on video a few years back the ones featuring Fetchit were skipped, probably because modern day audiences are uncomfortable with the his "comedy relief," and for good reason: watching Stepin Fetchit can be very discomfiting. Anyone who seeks proof of Hollywood racism need look no further than films of the '30s in which he was featured. For those who haven't seen him, it might help to explain that despite the sound of his name and what it implies, Stepin Fetchit was Hollywood's favorite lazy simpleton, a woozy scamp with a slow-as-molasses delivery that's difficult to decipher. He comes off as heavily sedated, or even mentally retarded. Who could laugh at this sort of thing today? In recent years a few film critics and historians (including some African-American ones) have taken a more sympathetic view of Fetchit's career, and have made positive assertions about what he was able to accomplish within the confines of the demeaning roles he was given. Well, whatever. Where this movie is concerned I'll note simply that Fetchit's screen time is mercifully limited, and that the film has only a minimal amount of racial humor. In fact, about halfway through there is a remarkable sequence in which attitudes of the Old South are satirized in a surprising fashion.

To set the scene: Rogers (playing Dr. John), with the help of Anne Shirley (Fleety Belle) is attempting to raise money to pay legal fees to save his nephew from the gallows. They are sailing up and down the Mississippi in his old steamboat with a small crew (including Fetchit as Jonah), carrying what's left of the dummies from a defunct wax museum, charging riverfront locals to come look at the statues. When they reach one particular backwoods village, a mob of men advance carrying torches, pitchforks, axes, and a vat of tar, determined to destroy the boat and punish the wicked theater folk who have brought sinful playacting to their community. Dr. John is slow to recognize the danger, so much so that our credulity is strained, but it's striking to note that Jonah appreciates the danger instantly: he knows a lynch mob when he sees one. Dr. John is eventually able to pacify the mob when he invites the men onto his boat, and convinces them that the wax figures are "educational." This impressive word plus the sight of the dummies in their tatty costumes reduces the locals to a state of slack-jawed submission. The punchline comes when Dr. John gives the signal to raise a curtain, revealing a moth-eaten statue of Robert E. Lee astride his horse. At another command, the figure salutes stiffly, and the now-awed rednecks salute in return. For the finale, Jonah, sitting at the calliope, plays "Dixie" and sings along raggedly in a screechy, off-key voice as the scene fades out. It's a startling sequence, bitingly satirical in a way we don't expect, and perhaps not in the way the filmmakers intended. At any rate, this film is well worth a look for viewers who are historically-minded, curious about Will Rogers, or interested in the mass media's presentation of race relations.

P.S. Summer 2006: I'm pleased to add that this film is now available on DVD, in a box-set with three other movies Will Rogers made during the last year of his life.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Steamboat Round the Bend....Still Available? ramanship
Rope stunts done by Rogers himself? emcauliffe-2
Duke TheOtherFallenAngel
Discuss Steamboat Round the Bend (1935) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: