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The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)

 -  Drama | Family | Romance  -  May 1952 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 7,624 users  
Reviews: 95 user | 28 critic

The dramatic lives of trapeze artists, a clown, and an elephant trainer against a background of circus spectacle.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 5 more credits »
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Title: The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)

The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Himself
Cucciola ...
Himself
Antoinette Concello ...
Herself
John Ringling North ...
Himself
Tuffy Genders ...
Himself
John Kellogg ...
John Ridgely ...
Assistant Manager
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Storyline

To ensure a full profitable season, circus manager Brad Braden engages The Great Sebastian, though this moves his girlfriend Holly from her hard-won center trapeze spot. Holly and Sebastian begin a dangerous one-upmanship duel in the ring, while he pursues her on the ground. Subplots involve the secret past of Buttons the Clown and the efforts of racketeers to move in on the game concessions. Let the show begin! Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Heartbeat Story of Circus People, Filmed with the Cooperation of Ringling Bros. - Barnum and Bailey Circus! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Family | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

May 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$36,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie is often cited as the least deserved Best Picture winner ever. It is widely believed the film only won because many members of the Academy were reluctant to vote for the anti-Joseph McCarthy western High Noon (1952), whose screenwriter Carl Foreman had just been blacklisted from Hollywood. See more »

Goofs

When the circus train is leaving to start the season, as it passes the priest performing the blessing, we see the car carrying Holly (clearly visible in the open door) pass twice - two nearly identical shots, one right after the other. See more »

Quotes

Angel: Did he say you were like cognac? All fire in zee glass?
Holly: No, he said I was like champagne. I made his head spin.
Angel: Yeah, only you'll be the one who winds up with a hangover.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sweater Girls (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)
(ca 1743) (uncredited)
Music attributed to John Reading (16??)
Played during the parade around the rings
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Betty Hutton and Cornel Wilde are superb in their 'flyer' roles!
8 August 2001 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw this film in a theatre when it first came out and, had forgotten a great deal of it, until I saw it again last evening.

Much of the film is actual footage of the REAL Barnum and Bailey Circus, setting up, tearing down and loading up for the trip to the next venue.

I had also forgotten how superb both Betty Hutton and Cornel Wilde are doing a great deal of their own 'flying'! While you realize that they have a net just under the view of the camera, they both perform physically demanding stunts with the camers right in their faces! I can't stand on my head on the floor much less on a swinging trapeze!!

Wilde's front summersault from one swinging bar to another swinging bar is breathtaking!!

Some of the action is quite dated and the trainwreck is...well, DeMille's rendition of a massive trainwreck. The plot creaks a bit here and there, but the many performers do their bits with conviction.

Hutton and Wilde steal the show from Heston and Stewart. I recommend this film to Circus lovers everywhere and to people who appreaciate actors placing themselves in Harms Way to create illusions (be they VERY dangerous illusions) of the REAL thing! I give it an 8.


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