A Star Is Born (1937)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  27 April 1937 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 5,114 users  
Reviews: 44 user | 28 critic

A young woman comes to Hollywood with dreams of stardom, but achieves them only with the help of an alcoholic leading man whose best days are behind him.


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(screen play), (screen play), 9 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Casey Burke - Director
Miss Phillips - Central Casting Clerk
Elizabeth Jenns ...
Anita Regis
Edgar Kennedy ...
Pop Randall - Landlord
J.C. Nugent ...
Mr. Blodgett
Posture Coach (as Guinn Williams)


Esther Blodgett is just another starry-eyed farm kid trying to break into the movies. Waitressing at a Hollywood party, she catches the eye of alcoholic star Norman Maine, is given a test, and is caught up in the Hollywood glamor machine (ruthlessly satirized). She and her idol Norman marry; but his career abruptly dwindles to nothing Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Is the price of stardom a broken heart? See more »




Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

27 April 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nace una estrella  »

Box Office


$1,173,639 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System Noiseless Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »


In the night court scene, the judge refers to the "commonwealth" but the movie is set in California which isn't one of the states to have commonwealth status. The judge should have referred to the "state" instead. See more »


Grandmother Lettie: Esther, everyone in this world who has ever dreamed about better things has been laughed at, don't you know that? But there's a difference between dreaming and doing. The dreamers just sit around and moon about how wonderful it would be if only things were different. And the years roll on and by and by they grow and they forget everything, even about their dreams. Oh yes, you want to be somebody, but you want it to be easy. Oh you modern girls give me a pain!
See more »


Featured in Hidden Values: The Movies of the Fifties (2001) See more »


Bye Bye Baby
Music by Lou Handman
(played by the orchestra at the Academy Awards Party)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Swimming with sharks
19 May 2004 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Having seen the two later versions of this tale, it was a surprise to find the original one, even if it doesn't compare with the 50s remake with Judy Garland. This one is worth a look because of the great cinematography and the use of color for a film made in the early years of its invention. William Wellman deserves credit for his direction of a Hollywood story about itself.

The mere idea of young and very naive, Esther Blodgett making it big in Hollywood, is stretching the imagination big time. This girl from the heart of the country yearns to be somebody in the pictures that are her escape from the dreary life she leads. To even think that she would have a chance in becoming a bit player, is a stretch of the imagination, but to have her become a star in her own right with her unsophisticated looks, is even harder to believe. Hollywood of those years was a factory of dreams where many went to be part of it, but for one Esther Blodgett, there were thousands who were rejected.

We watch as Esther is transformed into Vicki Lester, a star larger than life, who captures the public's imagination and goes to eclipse bigger stars such as Norman Maine, her discoverer, and the man she falls in love with. Norman's decline is very fast, while Vicki's ascent into glory is even faster. His drinking habit will get the best of him at a time when help agencies such as A.A. didn't exist. Unfortunately for Vicki, she ultimately has to pay for her own meteoric success.

The cast is superb. Not being a fan of Janet Gaynor, I have to confess that she strikes the right note with her Esther/Vicki role. She is totally believable even though we never even see her take an acting class, much less see her waiting tables to help herself. Frederick March brings an intensity to Norman, the self destructive star, that makes us pity him.

Adolphe Menjou is the studio head who sees a winner in the young, aspiring actress, and gives her the chance. Most surprising of all is the star performance of Lionel Standing as Matt Libby, the studio publicist who is behind the creation of the new star. Andy Devine, May Robson, and the rest are equally satisfying.

This film was a happy surprise in many aspects and will not disappoint.

17 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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