53 user 15 critic

Show Boat (1951)

Approved | | Drama, Family, Musical | 24 September 1951 (USA)
The daughter of a riverboat captain falls in love with a charming gambler, but their fairytale romance is threatened when his luck turns sour.



(screen play), (based on the immortal musical play "Show Boat" by) | 2 more credits »

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From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »


Complete credited cast:
Gower Champion ...
Pete (as Lief Erickson)
William Warfield ...


The "Cotton Blossom", owned by the Hawk family, is the show boat where everyone comes for great musical entertainment down south. Julie LaVerne and her husband are the stars of the show. After a snitch on board calls the local police that Julie (who's half- African-American) is married to a white man, they are forced to leave the show boat. The reason being, that down south interracial marriages are forbidden. Magnolia Hawk, Captain Andy Hawks' daughter, becomes the new show boat attraction and her leading man is Gaylord Ravenal, a gambler. The two instantly fall in love, and marry, without Parthy Hawks approval. Magnolia and Gaylord leave the "Cotton Blossom" for a whirl-wind honeymoon and to live in a Pl: fantasy world. Magnolia soon faces reality quickly, that gambling means more to Gaylord than anything else. Magnolia confronts Gaylord and after he gambles away their fortune he leaves her - not knowing she is pregnant. Magnolia is left penniless and pregnant, and is left to fend ... Written by Kelly

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Hundreds In The Cast! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 September 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Magnolia  »


Box Office


$2,295,429 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$5,293,000, 31 December 1951

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,621,000, 31 December 1951
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The body of water which doubled as the "Mississippi River" throughout nearly all the river scenes was actually the lake used for the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies made at M-G-M. This lake was also known as "The Lagoon" at MGM Studios because of its size. Several boats were moored there at the time of the big auction of studio properties, including the scaled replica of the "Bounty." The Lagoon was located on MGM's vast Backlot #3 at Overland and Jefferson Boulevards in Culver City, about one mile south of the studio's main lot. See more »


After Gaylord defends Julie with a single punch, he exits through a doorway. Julie asks the bartender for a drink. After downing the the drink, Julie modestly pulls up the short sleeves of her dress before following Gaylord. As the scene shift, Julie's sleeves are down; she then pulls up one sleeve. See more »


Magnolia: [to Gaylord Ravenal] I know there's no other woman... no flesh-and-blood woman. But I can't fight this Lady Luck of yours, this fancy queen in her green felt dress.
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Crazy Credits

Some prints of this film spell Leif Erickson's name the correct way in the opening credits; others spell it as "Lief Erickson". See more »


Referenced in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Angel (1997) See more »


(1927) (uncredited)
Music by Jerome Kern,
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and P.G. Wodehouse
Sung by Ava Gardner (dubbed by Annette Warren)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Where are they now?
18 February 2007 | by See all my reviews

Ava Gardner, Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel, Marge & Gower Champion all under the sure and competent direction of George Sidney where are they? In which sky are those stars shining now? Maybe only in our memories. This was the golden era of musicals where other giants such as Stanley Donen and Vincente Minnelli as directors and Fred Asteire, Ginger Rogers (a little before), Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse as performers distinguished themselves. This movie is a landmark in the history of musical movies by the beauty of its lyrics and music and dance numbers. And the sceneries of course. Just only to watch (and listen to the song) the sequence where that old tune "Old Man River" is sung is this movie worth to be seen. Usually in these musicals the story is the weakest part of the movie but here it has even enough dramatic depth to interest the viewer. A very good movie in conclusion.

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