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Adam's Rib (1949)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  18 November 1949 (USA)
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Reviews: 100 user | 40 critic

Domestic and professional tensions mount when a husband and wife work as opposing lawyers in a case involving a woman who shot her husband.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Hope Emerson ...
Eve March ...
Clarence Kolb ...
Judge Reiser
Emerson Treacy ...
Jules Frikke
Polly Moran ...
Mrs. McGrath
Judge Marcasson
Elizabeth Flournoy ...
Dr. Margaret Brodeigh


When a woman attempts to kill her uncaring husband, prosecutor Adam Bonner gets the case. Unfortunately for him his wife Amanda (who happens to be a lawyer too) decides to defend the woman in court. Amanda uses everything she can to win the case and Adam gets mad about it. As a result, their perfect marriage is disturbed by everyday quarrels... Written by Chris Makrozahopoulos <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Funniest Picture in 10 Years! See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 November 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Man and Wife  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Judy Holliday hoped to repeat her stage performance in Born Yesterday (1950), but the rights had been bought by Columbia Pictures, whose production chief, Harry Cohn, wanted no part of the woman he referred to as "that fat Jewish broad." He wouldn't even let her test for the role. When Garson Kanin complained about this to Katharine Hepburn, she suggested casting Holliday as Doris Attinger. When they offered her the role, however, she turned it down. Finally Hepburn got the real reason out of her. Sensitive about her weight, Holliday didn't want to be called "fatso" on screen. Hepburn assured her that the Kanin's would gladly rewrite the line: "They're writers. They know lots of words." Finally, Holliday agreed. Later she insisted that the word "fatso" be restored because it was the best way of playing the scene. See more »


When Adam slams the door as he exits their apartment after an argument, he slams the door and the wall shakes. As Amanda slams the door after him in anger, the door frame can be seen to be coming apart, revealing that it is a set, not a real apartment. See more »


Kip Lurie: Did I hear someone say "sing it again"?
Adam Bonner: No!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are little curtains that go up and down, on a stage in a performance hall. See more »


Referenced in A Woman of Substance: Katharine Hepburn Remembered (2003) See more »


Farewell, Amanda
Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
Played during the opening credits and often in the score
Sung by David Wayne (uncredited), accompanying himself on the piano
Reprised by the voice of Frank Sinatra (uncredited) on the radio
Whistled by Katharine Hepburn (uncredited)
Sung a cappella by Spencer Tracy (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

Sparring attorneys
20 March 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

"Adam's Rib", directed by George Cukor, and with a screenplay by Ruth Ford and Garson Kanin, was one of the happiest films the two stars did together. Mr. Cukor knew how to direct this couple, and it shows. There are no false moments in a movie.

The rivalry between Adam Bonner and Amanda, his wife, comes to a head as they both get involved in a criminal case. Adam, as an Assistant D.A. is assigned to it. Amanda, as a successful trial lawyer, decides to get involved in it because she believes Doris Attinger acted in a moment of madness.

This film was ahead of its time because Amanda questions the right of a woman to be judged the same way as a man, something the penal system seemed to ignore. Doris Attinger is a woman that has had enough with the philandering husband that appears to have fallen out of love with her. Warren Attinger doesn't care who he hurts, until Doris decides to take the matter into her own hands.

Katherine Hepburn shows an impeccable delivery as Amanda Bonner. She has an inner beauty that shines and make her glow. Ms. Hepburn was at the top of her career just about then and it shows. Spencer Tracy is Ms. Hepburn's match as the D.A. prosecuting the case. Mr. Tracy is delightful to watch in their scenes together. He has such a mischievous presence that endeared him to us in anything he played.

The revelation in this film was Judy Holliday. As Doris, the accused woman, she shows talent beyond imagination. In a way, it is sad to realize this amazing actress didn't live to make it even bigger in the movies. She was a natural and she is a joy to watch in the film. Lucky are we to be able to see her best work preserved for posterity.

In minor roles David Wayne plays Kip Lurie, a Broadway composer. He is an annoying neighbor who admires Amanda, much to Adam's chagrin. Kip has written a song that becomes popular, "Dear Amanda", that is heard throughout the movie. Also, in the cast Jean Hagen, Eve March, and Hope Emerson who are effective in their roles.

Thanks to George Cukor, Ruth Ford and Garson Kanin for bringing this enjoyable comedy to the screen. Above all, thanks to Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn for playing the Bonners.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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