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The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  10 July 1942 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 15,952 users  
Reviews: 102 user | 70 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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Title: The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) on IMDb 7.9/10

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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


Real life screened more daringly than it's ever been before! 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 scenes with the automobile ride with the snow were filmed in an abandoned icehouse instead of the RKO stage reserved for such shots. However, it took much longer than anticipated because the equipment kept having problems that were brought on by the cold (film jamming because of frozen condensation, lenses fogging up, etc.). Because of this everyone involved, except for Orson Welles, contracted a terrible head cold. See more »


Towards end of long tracking shot with George and Lucy in horse-drawn carriage, portion of rear end of camera car and some sort of filmmaking equipment briefly enters left side of frame. 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 Suburban Girl (2007) 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

A treasury of characters
18 January 1999 | by (Texas) – See all my reviews

If you think Citizen Kane is wonderful, then, if you haven't already seen it, find a copy of "Ambersons" as soon as you can. To me, "Ambersons" surpasses "Kane" in complexity and perhaps richness of characters. The story of the long-term results of love deferred, unrequited love, and long-suffering love, are even more interesting with Welles' direction using overlaid dialogue and odd camera angles. My favorite part is when old Major Amberson speaks to the camera and it becomes apparent he's lost his mind. Chilling. The Ambersons captures a time more than a century ago in America when passions were suppressed and civility masked a boiling interior. This film was edited severely, I've read. This is another mystery, because the remaining footage is superb. We can only wonder what the original "Ambersons" might have been.

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