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On the Town (1949)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Musical, Romance  |  30 December 1949 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 11,376 users  
Reviews: 90 user | 42 critic

Three sailors on a day of shore leave in New York City look for fun and romance before their twenty-four hours are up.


(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Jules Munshin ...
Florence Bates ...
George Meader ...


Three sailors - Gabey, Chip and Ozzie - let loose on a 24-hour pass in New York and the Big Apple will never be the same! Gabey falls head over heels for "Miss Turnstiles of the Month" (he thinks she's a high society deb when she's really a 'cooch dancer at Coney Island); innocent Chip gets highjacked (literally) by a lady cab driver; and Ozzie becomes the object of interest of a gorgeous anthropologist who thinks he's the perfect example of a "prehistoric man". Wonderful music and terrific shots of New York at its best. Written by A.L.Beneteau <albl@inforamp.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


M-G-M's Big Color By Technicolor Musical ! See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

30 December 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un día en Nueva York  »

Box Office


$2,111,250 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The only musical numbers retained from the original musical were "New York, New York", "Come Up To My Place", "Miss Turnstiles" and "A Day In New York". Roger Edens composed six new songs for the film to replace the following songs: "I Can Cook, Too", "Some Other Time", "Lucky To Be Me", "Lonely Town", "Carried Away", "I Understand", "Carnegie Hall (Do-Do-Re-Do)", "So Long Baby", "I'm Blue" and "Ya Got Me". See more »


None of the sailors salute the flag as they board/leave the ship. See more »


Chip: Gee, Gabey, why d'ya wanna chase girls all the time?
Gabey: I'll tell ya when your voice changes, junior.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Before the actual credits the film opens with an embossed card on a silver dish, reading: "A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Silver Anniversary Picture." Most of the studio's 1949 releases opened with this. See more »


On the Town
Music by Roger Edens
Lyrics by Adolph Green and Betty Comden
Sung and danced by Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin, Ann Miller, Betty Garrett, and Vera-Ellen
See more »

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User Reviews

"Gotta See The Whole Town, From Yonkers On Down To The Bay ... In Just One Day"
26 January 1999 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

The Bronx is up and the Battery's down, and Kelly and Sinatra are back in sailor suits, in this effervescent MGM musical. The three matelots (our two heroes are joined by Jules Munshin for this caper) have a 24-hour shore leave in which to savour New York City. "What can happen to ya in one day?" asks a shipyard worker, and the guys answer the question by picking up girls, destroying a dinosaur and getting chased to Coney Island by the cops... in just one day.

Leonard Bernstein composed the tunes, and the writers of the stage show (Green & Comden) provided the lyrics, supplemented by Bernstein himself and the associate producer, Roger Edens. Of the songs, "On The Town" and "You Can Count On Me" are nerve-tingling showstoppers. "Prehistoric Man" is much weaker, but saved by crisp, playful choreography. The two expressionist ballets, "Miss Turnstiles" and "A Day In New York" bear the hallmark of Kelly's directorial style, which first reached its maturity in this picture. Kelly's slide on his knees towards the 'Miss Turnstiles' poster is a piece of cinema magic.

Kelly plays Gabey, a supposedly worldly-wise lady's man who turns out to be a Mid-Western innocent in the big city, and who falls in love with a struggling hoofer(Vera-Ellen), a girl he takes to be a celebrity. Sinatra is the serious-minded Chip, the enthusiastic sightseer who gets snapped up by Hildie Esterhazy (Betty Garrett), a knowing cabbie who has one aim - to get Chip alone in her apartment. Ann Miller sings and dances impeccably as Claire Huddesen, the bluestocking who gets turned on by Ozzie's primitive quality.

"On The Town" has a daffy story, as musicals often do, but it fizzes with flirtatious youthful energy. Each of the three couples has its own song and/or dance, and these are sensitively tailored to suit the individuals' personalities. The Empire State Building observation platform set is a knockout, and the film's sense of fun even extends to a sly Ava Gardner joke at Sinatra's expense. Notional time runs from 6am at the start of the boys' leave ('boys', or 'kids' as they are twice described, is not quite accurate - Kelly was 37 and the other two 34 at the time of filming) until 6am the following morning, as it ends. Three new sailors come charging down the gangway to start their 24 hours in the Big Apple, reminding us that love and youth are eternal, and New York's a wonderful town.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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