6.7/10
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113 user 43 critic

The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)

Not Rated | | Drama, Family, Romance | May 1952 (USA)
The dramatic lives of trapeze artists, a clown, and an elephant trainer are told against a background of circus spectacle.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 4 more credits »
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From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Emmett Kelly
Cucciola ...
Cucciola
Antoinette Concello ...
Antoinette Concello
John Ringling North ...
John Ringling North
Tuffy Genders ...
Tuffy Genders
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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:

Love! Laughter! Thrills! Wonders! Suspense! Spectacle! Heart! 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:

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$36,000,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cecil B. DeMille was always demanding of his actors and actresses. He insisted that everyone truly learn to perform the circus stunts they were supposed to be performing. This meant that Betty Hutton really learned the trapeze and Gloria Grahame had to let an elephant rest its foot an inch from her face. Cornel Wilde probably had it the worst since he was portraying a high-wire artist. He was seriously afraid of heights in real life. See more »

Goofs

When Brad is checking the baby gorillas after learning they may have contracted the mumps, a crowd of onlookers is gathered right behind, plainly staring at the camera filming the scene. See more »

Quotes

[Holly and Sebastian are one-upping each other on the trapeze]
Buttons: How long do you think this can go on before something happens?
Brad Braden: It's circus, isn't it?
Buttons: Do you believe in prayer?
Brad Braden: And practice.
See more »


Soundtracks

An der schönen blauen Donau Walzer (The Blue Danube Waltz), Op. 314
(1867) (uncredited)
Music by Johann Strauss
Played during the sword swallowing demonstration
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User Reviews

 
Highly entertaining and informative

I've never been to the circus, so I think of this movie as my trip to the circus. Charlton Heston is great as Brad, the all business manager of the circus. But my favorite character is James Stewart as Buttons the Clown. It's a very different role for him, but it's great.

The Best Picture of 1952, "The Greatest Show on Earth" is wonderful, especially if you've never experienced it. I think this is one of Cecil B. De Mille's finest movies, and I recommend it to everyone. So I give it a 10 out of 10!


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