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Show Boat
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Show Boat (1951) More at IMDbPro »

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Show Boat -- It's an Oscar-nominated musical look at the lives and loves of a show boat theater troupe aboard an old-fashioned Mississippi riverboat.


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7.0/10   3,559 votes »
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Up 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
John Lee Mahin (screen play)
Jerome Kern (based on the immortal musical play "Show Boat" by) ...
View company contact information for Show Boat on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
24 September 1951 (USA) See more »
It's NEW! See more »
The daughter of a riverboat captain falls in love with a charming gambler, but their fairytale romance is threatened when his luck turns sour. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A Great Show See more (46 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Kathryn Grayson ... Magnolia Hawks

Ava Gardner ... Julie LaVerne

Howard Keel ... Gaylord Ravenal

Joe E. Brown ... Cap'n Andy Hawks

Marge Champion ... Ellie May Shipley
Gower Champion ... Frank Schultz

Robert Sterling ... Steven Baker

Agnes Moorehead ... Parthy Hawks

Leif Erickson ... Pete (as Lief Erickson)
William Warfield ... Joe
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Boyd Ackerman ... Chorus Boy (uncredited)
Bette Arlen ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Mary Bezemes ... Minor Role (uncredited)

Chet Brandenburg ... Man at New Years Celebration (uncredited)
Carol Brewster ... Girl (uncredited)
Peter Camlin ... Croupier (uncredited)
Sue Casey ... New Year's Eve Cutie (uncredited)

Chick Chandler ... Trocadero Stage Assistant (uncredited)

Linda Christian ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Sheila Clark ... Kim Ravenal - Age 4 (uncredited)

John Crawford ... Hotel Clerk (uncredited)
Frank Dae ... Doctor (uncredited)
Nova Dale ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Roy Damron ... Chorus Boy (uncredited)
Anne Dore ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Michael Dugan ... Chorus Boy (uncredited)
Marietta Elliott ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)

Lisa Ferraday ... Renee (uncredited)
Bess Flowers ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
George Ford ... Chorus Boy (uncredited)
Robert Fortier ... Chorus Boy (uncredited)
Dan Foster ... Deckhand (uncredited)
Mary Jane French ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)

William Hall ... Bouncer (uncredited)
Len Hendry ... Minor Role (uncredited)

Earle Hodgins ... Riverboat Bartender (uncredited)
Shep Houghton ... Specialty Dancer (uncredited)
Tom Irish ... Bellboy (uncredited)
Claude Jaeger ... Chorus Boy (uncredited)

Joyce Jameson ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Michael Jeffers ... Poker Player (uncredited)

Adele Jergens ... Cameo McQueen (uncredited)
Edward Keane ... Hotel Manager (uncredited)
Helen Kimbell ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Marilyn Kinsley ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)

Fuzzy Knight ... Trocadero Piano Player (uncredited)
Judy Landon ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)

John Phillip Law ... Extra (uncredited)

Norman Leavitt ... George the Calliope Player (uncredited)
Meredith Leeds ... New Year's Eve Cutie (uncredited)

George Lynn ... Blackjack Dealer (uncredited)

Ian MacDonald ... Drunken Sport (uncredited)
Alice Markham ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Maurice Marks ... Dancer (uncredited)
Alphonse Martell ... Headwaiter (uncredited)
Owen McGiveney ... Windy McClain (uncredited)
Louis Mercier ... Dabney - Poker Player (uncredited)
Ida Moore ... Little Old Lady (uncredited)

Anna Q. Nilsson ... Seamstress (uncredited)

Emory Parnell ... Jake Green (uncredited)
Gil Perkins ... Player (uncredited)
James Pierce ... Doorman (uncredited)

Tao Porchon ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Allan Ray ... Elevator Operator (uncredited)
Charles Regan ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Al Rhein ... Minor Role (uncredited)

Mitchell Rhein ... Show Spectator (uncredited)
Suzanne Ridgway ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)

Bert Roach ... Drunk (uncredited)
Joseph Roach ... Chorus Boy (uncredited)
Robert Robinson ... Man at New Years Celebration (uncredited)
Jean Romaine ... New Year's Eve Cutie (uncredited)
Harry Seymour ... Riverboat Piano Player (uncredited)
George Sherwood ... Trainer (uncredited)

Carl Sklover ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Bob Stebbins ... Bellhop (uncredited)
William Tannen ... Man with Julie (uncredited)

Regis Toomey ... Sheriff Ike Vallon (uncredited)
Dee Turnell ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Mitzie Uehlien ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Annette Warren ... Julie LaVerne (uncredited) (singing voice)

Frank Wilcox ... Gambler Mark Hallson (uncredited)
Lyn Wilde ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Frances E. Williams ... Queenie (uncredited)
Marjorie Wood ... Landlady (uncredited)

Directed by
George Sidney 
Writing credits
John Lee Mahin (screen play)

Jerome Kern (based on the immortal musical play "Show Boat" by) and
Oscar Hammerstein II (based on the immortal musical play "Show Boat" by)

Edna Ferber (from novel)

Produced by
Ben Feiner Jr. .... associate producer
Arthur Freed .... producer
Roger Edens .... associate producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Adolph Deutsch (uncredited)
Conrad Salinger (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Charles Rosher (director of photography)
Film Editing by
John D. Dunning  (as John Dunning)
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
Jack Martin Smith 
Set Decoration by
Edwin B. Willis (set decorations)
Costume Design by
Walter Plunkett (costumes)
Makeup Department
Sydney Guilaroff .... hair styles designer
William Tuttle .... makeup creator
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Roger Edens .... director (sequence "Ol' Man River") (uncredited)
George Rhein .... assistant director (uncredited)
Carl 'Major' Roup .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Richard Pefferle .... associate set decorator (as Richard A. Pefferle)
Matty Azzarone .... construction (uncredited)
Donald P. Desmond .... set construction (uncredited)
Frank Wesselhoff .... painter (uncredited)
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording supervisor
Special Effects by
Warren Newcombe .... special effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Man Ray .... still photographer (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Joan Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
Music Department
Alexander Courage .... additional orchestrator
Adolph Deutsch .... musical director
Conrad Salinger .... orchestrator
Robert Tucker .... vocal arrangements
Alexander Courage .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Robert Franklyn .... additional orchestrator (uncredited)
Paul Marquardt .... additional orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Robert Alton .... dances
Peter Ballbusch .... montage sequences
James Gooch .... technicolor color consultant
Henri Jaffa .... technicolor color consultant
Miriam Goldina .... ballet dancer (uncredited)
Alex Romero .... assistant choreographer (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
108 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Argentina:Atp | Australia:G | Finland:S | Netherlands:18 (original rating) (1951) | Netherlands:AL (re-rating) (1951) (passed with cuts) | Sweden:Btl | UK:U (passed with cuts) | USA:Approved (MPAA rating: certificate #15118) | USA:Passed (The National Board of Review)

Did You Know?

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on February 11, 1952 with Ava Gardner, Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel, Marge Champion, Gower Champion and William Warfield reprising their film roles.See more »
Revealing mistakes: When the Cotton Blossom is pulling away from the dock, at the end of the movie, you can see big clouds of blue smoke pouring out the right side of the ship (near the rear). These are definitely exhaust gases from either a gas or diesel engine that is installed in the ship, and most likely used to power the paddle wheel.See more »
Drunken sport:[on hearing Magnolia try to sing at the Trocadero] Take her back to the river... hee, hee, hee!See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Mask (1994)See more »
Make BelieveSee more »


Is "Cotton Blossom", the opening chorus, sung the same way in this film as in the show?
What was so controversial about the opening number in the original stage version?
How much of this film was really shot in Mississippi?
See more »
4 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
A Great Show, 14 May 2012
Author: jjnxn-1 from United States

Beautifully wrought version of the Edna Ferber novel may not hew as closely as the earlier Irene Dunne take on the story but is a sublime pleasure nonetheless.

The music by Kern and Hammerstein is some of the best either ever composed sung by extremely talented performers Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel. Both do excellent work both musically and dramatically even if early in the film its a bit of a stretch for Kathryn to be believable as the teenage Magnolia.

Taking full advantage of being shot in Technicolor the film is a feast for the eyes brimming with vibrant purples, reds and greens as well as being loaded with talent. And what talent, Marge & Gower Champion contribute several fine numbers full of bounce and zest, Joe E. Brown is a memorable Cap'n Andy funny and touching in turn, Agnes Moorehead delightful as the vinegary Parthy and William Warfield provides a soaring and haunting Ol' Man River.

The real standout however is Ava Gardner as the tragic, wounded Julie. Originally intended for Judy Garland until her meltdown and firing and while she would have made a memorable Julie full of jittery vulnerability Ava nails the part with a haunted sadness. A shame they felt the need to dub her vocals since they do appear on the cast album and are both very good and have the right feeling for the songs. Her final scene is a star making moment as surely intended by Metro.

Across the board this is a five star winner of a movie musical, one of the best the dream factory ever turned out.

Was the above review useful to you?
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Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Marge and Gower Champion shalmayan-1
Ava Gardner's final scene bfp13108
Confused on something I thought I heard on TCM last night. lightkeeper-1
The most underrated musical sequence in the film kathyselden
Howard Keel Forever Doctor_Mabuse
Kim ken479
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