IMDb > The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
The Magnificent Ambersons
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The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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Director:
Writers:
Booth Tarkington (from the novel by)
Orson Welles (script writer)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Magnificent Ambersons on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
10 July 1942 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
From the Man who Made "The Best Picture of 1941" See more »
Plot:
The spoiled young heir to the decaying Amberson fortune comes between his widowed mother and the man she has always loved. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Welles' slicing look at the downfall of a careless family parallels the film's treatment in 1942... See more (96 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Joseph Cotten ... Eugene
Dolores Costello ... Isabel

Anne Baxter ... Lucy

Tim Holt ... George

Agnes Moorehead ... Fanny

Ray Collins ... Jack
Erskine Sanford ... Roger Bronson
Richard Bennett ... Major Amberson

Orson Welles ... Narrator (voice)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Edwin August ... Citizen (uncredited)
Georgia Backus ... Matron (uncredited)
Harry A. Bailey ... Citizen (uncredited)
Olive Ball ... Mary - Maid (uncredited)
Jack Baxley ... Reverend Smith (uncredited)
William Blees ... Young Man at Accident (uncredited)
Lyle Clement ... Citizen (uncredited)
Bobby Cooper ... George Minafer as a Boy (uncredited)
Don Dillaway ... Wilbur Minafer (uncredited)
Heenan Elliott ... Workman (uncredited)
John Elliott ... Guest (uncredited)
William Elmer ... Servant (uncredited)
James Fawcett ... Citizen (uncredited)
Mel Ford ... Fred Kinney (uncredited)
Nancy Gates ... Girl (uncredited)
Nina Guilbert ... Guest (uncredited)
Maynard Holmes ... Citizen (uncredited)
Edward Howard ... Chauffeur (uncredited)
Harry Humphrey ... Citizen (uncredited)
Elmer Jerome ... Attendee at Funeral (uncredited)
J. Louis Johnson ... Sam - Butler (uncredited)
Lew Kelly ... Citizen (uncredited)
Del Lawrence ... Citizen (uncredited)
Bert LeBaron ... Citizen (uncredited)
John Maguire ... Young Man (uncredited)
Philip Morris ... Policeman (uncredited)
Anne O'Neal ... Mrs. Foster (uncredited)
Gil Perkins ... Citizen (uncredited)
Charles R. Phipps ... Uncle John (uncredited)
Hilda Plowright ... Nurse (uncredited)
Drew Roddy ... Elijah (uncredited)
Henry Roquemore ... Hardware Man (uncredited)
Jack Santoro ... Barber (uncredited)
Gus Schilling ... Drug Clerk (uncredited)
Kathryn Sheldon ... Matron (uncredited)
Sada Simmons ... Wife (uncredited)
Dorothy Vaughan ... Mrs. Johnson (uncredited)
James Westerfield ... Policeman at Accident (uncredited)
Joe Whitehead ... Citizen (uncredited)
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Directed by
Orson Welles 
Fred Fleck (additional sequences) (uncredited)
Robert Wise (additional sequences) (uncredited)
 
Writing credits
Booth Tarkington (from the novel by)

Orson Welles (script writer)

Joseph Cotten  additional scenes (uncredited)
Jack Moss  additional scenes (uncredited)

Produced by
Jack Moss .... associate producer (uncredited)
George Schaefer .... executive producer (uncredited)
Orson Welles .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Bernard Herrmann (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Stanley Cortez (photographer)
Jack MacKenzie (uncredited)
Orson Welles (uncredited)
 
Film Editing by
Robert Wise (film editor)
Jack Moss (uncredited)
Mark Robson (uncredited)
 
Production Design by
Albert S. D'Agostino (uncredited)
 
Art Direction by
Albert S. D'Agostino (uncredited)
 
Set Decoration by
Darrell Silvera (uncredited)
 
Makeup Department
Mel Berns .... makeup department head (uncredited)
Robert J. Schiffer .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Maurice Seiderman .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Fred Fleck .... assistant director (as Freddie Fleck)
Harry Mancke .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
A. Roland Fields .... set dresser (as Al Fields)
Mark-Lee Kirk .... set designer
Chesley Bonestell .... background paintings (uncredited)
Charles Sayers .... props (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Bailey Fesler .... sound recordist
James G. Stewart .... sound recordist
Terry Kellum .... sound (uncredited)
Earl B. Mounce .... sound (uncredited)
James Thompson .... boom operator (uncredited)
John E. Tribby .... sound (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Vernon L. Walker .... special effects
 
Visual Effects by
Clifford Stine .... process photography (uncredited)
 
Stunts
David Sharpe .... stunt double: Tim Holt (uncredited)
Helen Thurston .... stunt double: Anne Baxter (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Russell A. Cully .... photographer: additional scenes (uncredited)
William Eglinton .... camera department head (uncredited)
Eddie Garvin .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Ralph Hoge .... grip (uncredited)
Alexander Kahle .... still photographer (uncredited)
Bill McLellan .... gaffer (uncredited)
Russell Metty .... additional photographer (uncredited)
Russell Metty .... photographer: additional scenes (uncredited)
Earl Miller .... electrician (uncredited)
Nicholas Musuraca .... photographer: additional scenes (uncredited)
Howard Schwartz .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Bert Shipman .... camera operator (uncredited)
Harry J. Wild .... photographer: additional scenes (uncredited)
 
Casting Department
Rufus Le Maire .... casting: Hollywood (uncredited)
Robert Palmer .... casting: Hollywood (uncredited)
Arthur Willy .... casting: New York (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Edward Stevenson .... designer: ladies' wardrobe
Claire Cramer .... wardrobe department head (uncredited)
Earl Leas .... wardrobe: men (uncredited)
Margaret Van Horn .... wardrobe: women (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Mark Robson .... assistant editor (uncredited)
I.J. Wilkinson .... negative cutter (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Dave Dreyer .... music department head (uncredited)
Bernard Herrmann .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Roy Webb .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
 
Transportation Department
Elroy G. Cline .... transportation captain (uncredited)
 
Other crew
William Alland .... assistant: Mr. Welles (uncredited)
John Barada .... ranch manager (uncredited)
Leda Bauer .... script reader: New York (uncredited)
Howard Benedict .... unit publicist (uncredited)
Herbert Drake .... publicist (uncredited)
H. Emolieff .... film export manager (uncredited)
Fred Fleck .... unit business manager (uncredited)
Winifred Hablam .... production notes (uncredited)
John Hamilton .... first aid (uncredited)
Ross Hastings .... production attorney (uncredited)
G.B. Hobe .... production treasurer (uncredited)
Amalia Kent .... script supervisor (uncredited)
J.B. McDonough .... business manager (uncredited)
Elizabeth McGaffey .... research department head (uncredited)
Ivy R. McLean .... public relations (uncredited)
L. Messenger .... script reader: Hollywood (uncredited)
Howard Nelson .... maintenance (uncredited)
J.J. Nolan .... office manager (uncredited)
Roy S. Otto .... dailies projectionist (uncredited)
Sid Rogell .... backlot manager (uncredited)
Ann Rogers .... secretary: Mr. Welles (uncredited)
Louis Shapiro .... location manager (uncredited)
Richard Wilson .... assistant: Orson Welles (uncredited)
H. Winnicar .... studio teacher (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
88 min | 148 min (original cut) | 131 min (preview)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
A print of Welles' rough cut was allegedly sent to the director on location in Brazil. It has yet to be found.See more »
Goofs:
Crew or equipment visible: 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 »
Quotes:
[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...
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Hollywood Mavericks (1990)See more »
Soundtrack:
The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte CarloSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
84 out of 89 people found the following review useful.
Welles' slicing look at the downfall of a careless family parallels the film's treatment in 1942..., 20 May 1999
Author: Donald J. Lamb from Philadelphia, PA

People may initially be thrown by the title MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS. Some may consider it a stuffy period piece before seeing it if they know only of the novel. Don't make this mistake if you have not witnessed this cinematic milestone. The title, of course, is caustic and refers to the 19th century family sarcastically. Who else but the great Orson Welles could follow up a masterwork like CITIZEN KANE with such a cynical and important drama. The "magnificence of the Ambersons" is neither grand, nor respectable. It is tragic and doomed, epitomized by young "Georgie" (played by Tim Holt), whose main ambition in life is to be a yachtsmen. He is buried under the lore of his family name and he is headed towards his well-deserved "comeuppance".

The film itself, like many of Welles' great pictures, was absolutely butchered by the studio (RKO Pictures) and destroyed the credibility of the young auteur. In many ways, the mess surrounding the film's release, the tragedy and loss of the Ambersons, and the theme of modern technology "taking over" all come together to leave all parties disappointed. Disapproving moviegoers miscalculated the message, led the studio to make the cuts behind Welles' back, and placed a lot of artists in some bad situations. (For an excellent account of this truly remarkable story behind the film, read Joseph McBride's bio "Orson Welles") 50 minutes of film were burned, however, the 88 minutes left for us to see contain some incredible, even revolutionary moments.

Joseph Cotten plays his consummate "2nd place" character, a man unable to have his real true love. (See THE THIRD MAN, NIAGARA) He is in love with an "Amberson" (probably the only righteous family member played by Dolores Costello) but loses out to a more "respectable" man. The essential themes of industrialism and change that will ruin the Amberson family stem from Cotten's position as an inventor. He has created the horseless carriage, or automobile, however primitive, which is continuously trashed by the hateful "Georgie". Cotten's invention is part of the growth and change that many families of the late 19th century may have ignored, only to have their lives passed over and fortunes lost. Plot elements aside, this central theme is the powerful backbone that leads to the inevitable destruction of the narrow-minded Tim Holt.

The latter aspects come across on screen so memorably because of Orson Welles' continued experimentation with film. Incredible b & w photography, at first a hazy glow depicting the early prime years of the Ambersons, then a stark, dark force portraying shame and sadness, is amazing to see. Overlapping dialogue is used even better here than in KANE and Welles' narration is so omniscient and on the mark, relaying the town's thoughts on this once grand family. Long tracking shots throughout the constantly changing town go unnoticed unless seen a couple of times. When you realize the passage of time through these devices, you will be in awe.

Again, there is tragedy in both the film itself and its shoddy release and treatment in 1942. If only Welles stayed in America at the time and protected THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS from the long arm of the near-sighted studio system, he may have had #'s 1 and 2 on the AFI's list of 100 Greatest American films.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Director's cut of 'Magnificent Ambersons' found! andrewbanks
Original Booth Tarkington novel-reactions of critics mlraymond
This is the worst movie I've seen in many years. HomerDPoe
Did Welles' version follow the book? djxb-1
Why did Joseph Cotten and Agnes Moorehead sell Welles out? Shelter417
An overrated movie SusanJL
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