IMDb > Show Boat (1951)
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   3,495 votes »
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Up 4% 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 »
(69 articles)
Show Boat Screens Saturday Morning at The Hi-Pointe
 (From 8 May 2016, 8:46 PM, PDT)

Become a Travel Show Host and 3 More Opportunities
 (From Backstage. 23 March 2016, 9:40 AM, PDT)

Sweet Adeline
 (From Trailers from Hell. 30 December 2015, 10:41 AM, PST)

User Reviews:
A Tough Musical To Film 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 (as Marge)
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 the novel by)

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 (film editor) (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 CompaniesDistributors

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 | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #15118)

Did You Know?

When viewing the rough cut, Arthur Freed, George Sidney, and Roger Edens came away feeling that the picture was too slow. In the rough cut, the scenes of Ravenal and Magnolia becoming rich, before suddenly going broke, lasted much longer. Roger Edens cut the "rich" scenes to a mere three minutes which showed a montage of quick scenes without dialogue, set to an orchestral accompaniment of "You Are Love". In the final print of the film, this is immediately followed by the scene in which Magnolia and Ravenal, still wealthy, sing "Why Do I Love You?", and this does contain dialogue. The scenes that followed, showing the couple in poverty, were also drastically tightened before the film's release, though they also contained dialogue.See more »
Factual errors: In some prints, Leif Erickson's name is misspelled (as Lief Erickson) in the opening credits.See more »
Julie:Pride is smaller than kindness.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Old Explorers (1990)See more »
Why Do I Love You?See more »


Is "Cotton Blossom", the opening chorus, sung the same way in this film as in the show?
What is the biggest difference between the original show and this film version of "Show Boat"?
How different, overall, is this 1951 film from the original show as well as the 1936 film?
See more »
14 out of 17 people found the following review useful.
A Tough Musical To Film, 3 February 2006
Author: dgz78 ( from United States

I've been a Showboat fan for a long time. I've seen it live on stage 5 times as well as the 1936 version and the PBS version. After watching the MGM version again on TCM, I decided that it is almost impossible to make a satisfying version of a Showboat movie.

Its strange to say, but I think "opening up" the stage version took away some of the intimacy a live version has. Showboat's greatness does not come from the standard boy meets girl - boy loses girl - boy gets girl storyline. It comes from the music and on stage a number can start with one guy on the docks lamenting the suffering endured along the Mississippi and end with a chorus of voices singing about Ol Man River. The numbers themselves "open up" to fill the stage. But no movie can do that to the same effect.

But my biggest problem with this version is the abbreviation of the story and the musical numbers. The songs Kern and Hammerstein wrote deserve to be fleshed out in all their operatic grandeur. The first act contains what I consider the best back to back to back musical numbers in Broadway history with Make Believe - Ol' Man River - Can't Help Lovin Dat Man and the movie rearranges them out of order and only River is fleshed out. Can't Help should be an 8 minute number with the chorus joining in at the end instead of the barely noticed number in the movie.

Because the music is among the best ever written, it is really hard to make a bad version of Showboat. I'll watch this movie whenever it is on TV but if you really love Showboat, get the EMI 3 CD recording with Frederica Von Stade and Jerry Hadley. And go see it live when you have the chance.

Was the above review useful to you?
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Ava Gardner's final scene bfp13108
Confused on something I thought I heard on TCM last night. lightkeeper-1
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