The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  10 July 1942 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 16,143 users  
Reviews: 102 user | 71 critic

The spoiled young heir to the decaying Amberson fortune comes between his widowed mother and the man she has always loved.


, (uncredited) , 1 more credit »


(from the novel by), (script writer), 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Erskine Sanford ...
Roger Bronson
Richard Bennett ...
Narrator (voice)


The young, handsome, but somewhat wild Eugene Morgan wants to marry Isabel Amberson, daughter of a rich upper-class family, but she instead marries dull and steady Wilbur Minafer. Their only child, George, grows up a spoiled brat. Years later, Eugene comes back, now a mature widower and a successful automobile maker. After Wilbur dies, Eugene again asks Isabel to marry him, and she is receptive. But George resents the attentions paid to his mother, and he and his whacko aunt Fanny manage to sabotage the romance. A series of disasters befall the Ambersons and George, and he gets his come-uppance in the end. Written by John Oswalt <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Orson Welles' Mercury Production of Booth Tarkington's Great Novel See more »


Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 July 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Soberbia  »

Box Office


$850,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (original cut) | (preview)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The preview of the movie occurred a short time after Pearl Harbor. Because of this, most of the audience review cards stated that they didn't want to see a depressing movie, and that it should have more laughs and a happy ending. With Orson Welles out of the country, the production team had to make the cuts and changes without his input. See more »


In scene where Lucy and George say goodbye while walking down the street, Lucy's hair is pulled behind her neck. In closeup, as she watches George leave, her hair is in ringlets hanging in front of shoulders, then reverts to original hairdo when she goes into pharmacy. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: The magnificence of the Ambersons began in 1873. Their splendor lasted throughout all the years that saw their midland town spread and darken into a city. In that town, in those days, all the women who wore silk or velvet knew all the other women who wore silk or velvet, and everybody knew everybody else's family horse and carriage. The only public conveyance was the streetcar. A lady could whistle to it from an upstairs window, and the car would halt at once and wait for her, ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

All of the credits except the RKO logo, the film's title and the copyright notice are recited orally (by Orson Welles) at the end of the film, not written out onscreen. As Welles recites the names of the production crew, we see such items as a motion picture camera when he says "Director of Photography", a pair of hands turning knobs as he says the words "Sound Recording By", etc. See more »


Referenced in Gossip Girl: The Magnificent Archibalds (2008) See more »


String Quintet In E, Op. 13 No. 5: Minuet
Music by Luigi Boccherini
Played at the Ball
See more »

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User Reviews

What might have been...
19 April 1999 | by (warren michigan) – See all my reviews

The fate of this almost magnificent film must rank as one of the greatest tragedies in the history of the cinema. viewing it in its present state is like looking at the Venus Di Milo, or at a beautiful Greek vase that has been shattered. One can only admire the fragments...and what gorgeous fragments they are: Major Ambersons heartbreaking meditation by the fireplace,the quarrel between Eugene Morgan and Georgie about the Automobile, Isabel's death, Agnes Moorehead's magnificent performance, the splendor of the Amberson mansion, and the ballroom scene. Perhaps someday, some powerful computer might be able to reconstruct the missing footage from stills and from Welles script...perhaps. Until that almost impossible moment, one can only envy the handful of men and women who were able to see it whole, and to understand what they were seeing.

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This is the worst movie I've seen in many years. HomerDPoe
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