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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 7,563 users  
Reviews: 95 user | 28 critic

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

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 5 more credits »
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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:

 »
Edit

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

Rights to use of the title motto and the Ringling Bros.-Barnum & Bailey's facilities and performances were purchased for $250,000. Cecil B. DeMille advised the writers to view the German film Jealousy (1925) as a model for the type of story he wanted. DeMille toured the Midwest for two months with the circus, collecting anecdotes, slang, and behind-the-scenes ideas. Publicity resulting from his involvement drew sell-out crowds to the performances. See more »

Goofs

When Klaus is seen waving to stop the second section as the engine speeds towards him, the right Cylinder on the Locomotive are discharging steam. When Klaus' car is hit by the locomotive, there is no steam in sight. As a side note, the left Cylinder cock is not discharging steam, in fact both would very quickly alternate on and off. See more »

Quotes

Holly: [singing] When things go wrong, and life's no song, and you're flat on your back, that doesn't mean you have to lie there: be a jumping jack!
Buttons: [singing] Keep on the hop, and if you flop, and everything looks black, stand on your head and holler "hi there!" Be a jumping jack!
Holly: When things go up, they must come down, and also visa verse. If things look bad, don't fret and frown - they could be ten times worse!
Buttons: Your train of luck, it may get stuck if something's on the track; give a good jump and ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in 100 Years at the Movies (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Sing a Happy Song
By Henry Sullivan and John Murray Anderson
[Sung off camera]
See more »

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User Reviews

Great show and story
1 October 2002 | by (Sugar Land, Texas, USA) – See all my reviews

I know that some people are down on this movie, but I absolutely LOVE it. It has great ideals and good (not great) acting. It tells a story about the circus in a pseudo-documentary. The story has love, action, and humor. Three things that are missing from much of today's movie. I also love the color and the dramatic "feel" of the film for that era. It's a wonderful, wonderful, piece of 'Americana'.


22 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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