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An American in Paris (1951)

Passed | | Drama, Musical, Romance | 11 November 1951 (USA)
3:36 | Trailer

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Three friends struggle to find work in Paris. Things become more complicated when two of them fall in love with the same woman.



(story by), (screen play by)
Won 6 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Henri Baurel (as Georges Guetary)
The American In Paris Ballet ...


Jerry Mulligan, a struggling American painter in Paris, is "discovered" by an influential heiress with an interest in more than Jerry's art. Jerry in turn falls for Lise, a young French girl already engaged to a cabaret singer. Jerry jokes, sings and dances with his best friend, an acerbic would-be concert pianist, while romantic complications abound. Written by Scott Renshaw <as.idc@forsythe.stanford.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

love | french | artist | pianist | art | See All (66) »


Adventures Of An Ex-GI In The City Of Romance. Art Students' Ball Biggest, Most Daring Ever Filmed. Screen's Most Spectacular Musical! See more »


Drama | Musical | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

11 November 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ein Amerikaner in Paris  »

Box Office


$2,723,903 (estimated)


$4,500,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Only Best Picture Oscar winner whose title begins with the word "An". See more »


We see Adam in his studio three times. When we first see him, alone, he is playing a black baby grand. The second time, he is playing a brown baby grand upon which Jerry dances. In the third Adam studio sequence he is alone, again, playing the black grand. Perhaps the brown piano was fashioned to accommodate and withstand Jerry's dancing on it. See more »


[first lines]
Jerry Mulligan: This is Paris, and I'm an American who lives here. My name is Jerry Mulligan, and I'm an ex G.I. In 1945 when the army told me to find my own job, I stayed on. And I'll tell you why: I'm a painter, and all my life that's all I've ever wanted to do.
See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Mouth 3 (2017) See more »


Fascinating Rhythm
(1924) (uncredited)
Music by George Gershwin
Played by Oscar Levant on Piano
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

"That's quite a dress you almost have on."
22 February 2008 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

There's no other way to say it: I am disappointed. After absolutely falling in love with 'Singin' in the Rain (1952)' – a film that singlehandedly ignited my newfound passion for musicals – I, perhaps unreasonably, expected to enjoy Vincente Minnelli's 'An American in Paris (1951)' just as much. Gene Kelly? Music by George Gershwin? Winner of six Oscars, including Best Picture? A clear home-run… or so I'd thought. For almost two hours I waited patiently for the film to hit its stride, but the moment never came, and I finished the film completely unsatisfied, feeling as though somehow it was my fault rather than the picture's. That there's merit in many of the film's musical numbers is undeniable, but, for some reason, all the pieces never quite came together for me, and the love story at the film's centre struck me as being rather generic and uninspired. Gene Kelly, of course, brings an incredible energy to his role as always, and his character exhibits a likable arrogance that gives way to unabashed exuberance once the music starts playing.

As is unfortunately the case in many musicals, the filmmakers seem to have dedicated all their efforts towards the extravagant musical sequences and forgotten that there is ultimately a story to be told. The romance between Jerry Mulligan and Lise Bouvier (Leslie Caron) is one that we've seen many times before, and its mundaneness is amplified by the fact that nineteen-year-old Lise is neither as beautiful nor as charming as the film's characters appear to find her {though, in Caron's defence, this was the French actress' debut performance, and she may be acting in a language with which she was uncomfortable}. The awkward three-way relationship between Jerry, Lise and the charming Frenchman Hank Baurel (Georges Guétary) could easily have been played for enormous laughs, but the opportunity is abandoned after just two brief chuckles {with Oscar Levant, the passive onlooker, clumsily spluttering drink all over his shirt}. Such contempt is apparently shown for the story that entire subplots are shamelessly disregarded at the film's end – does Jerry achieve success with his exhibition? Does Adam Cook ever achieve his dream of performing at a concert?

This brings us to the musical numbers, which are thankfully the film's saving grace. Though none of the sequences begin to approach the timelessness of "Singin' in the Rain," "Make 'Em Laugh" or "Good Morning," they are obviously well-written and performed with bravura by the film's stars. My favourite number was probably Kelly's catchy rendition of "Got Rhythm" with the French street kids, which had a good beat and was fun to sing. This film's most ambitious sequence is undoubtedly a wordless, seventeen-minute ballet set to Gershwin's "An American in Paris." Costing a staggering $500,000, the extended dance number is audacious, elaborate and extravagant, effectively earning my admiration despite my inclination towards singing over dance {I typically prefer being able to sing along when I'm watching musicals, which is impossible when they are performing a ballet}. Displaying Technicolor in all its flamboyant brilliance, it's no surprise that the film won Oscars for its cinematography, set decoration and costume design. Had it possessed a decent story, 'An American in Paris' might have been a terrific musical, but, as it stands, I'll continue to regard it as a disappointment.

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