6.7/10
10,453
118 user 46 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 »
Reviews
Popularity
4,989 ( 1,568)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Adventure | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A Victorian Englishman bets that with the new steamships and railways he can circumnavigate the globe in eighty days.

Directors: Michael Anderson, John Farrow
Stars: David Niven, Cantinflas, Shirley MacLaine
Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

At the turn of the century in a Welsh mining village, the Morgans, he stern, she gentle, raise coal-mining sons and hope their youngest will find a better life.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, Anna Lee
Oliver! (1968)
Drama | Family | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Young Oliver Twist runs away from an orphanage and meets a group of boys trained to be pickpockets by an elderly mentor.

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Mark Lester, Ron Moody, Shani Wallis
My Fair Lady (1964)
Drama | Family | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A misogynistic and snobbish phonetics professor agrees to a wager that he can take a flower girl and make her presentable in high society.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
FBI Agent Gregory
...
...
Mr. Henderson
...
Cucciola ...
Cucciola
Antoinette Concello ...
Antoinette Concello
John Ringling North ...
John Ringling North
Tuffy Genders ...
Tuffy Genders
...
Harry
...
Assistant Manager
Edit

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:

 »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$36,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Conspicuous mention is made of the circus tent's fireproof quality. This is because only a few years earlier, in 1944, 167 people were killed and hundreds more injured when a Ringling Brothers "big top" caught fire and burned to the ground in Hartford, CT. This movie is seen by some as an elaborate public relations gesture by Ringling Brothers. See more »

Goofs

When the view from the cab of the second section train is shown approaching the rear of the first section, the first section is parked on a right hand curve in the tracks. However, when the second section is shown colliding with the first section from the viewpoint of the middle of the first section as well as in some previous shots, it is obvious that the first section is parked on a left hand curve. 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 Boy Meets World: The Happiest Show on Earth (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Amusing and and entertaining film about circus world for children of all ages
24 June 2011 | by See all my reviews

Spectacular and overlong story of a traveling three circus combined show , plenty of diverse characters as a tough manager (Charlton Heston) , a swaggering ringmaster , and a mysterious clown (James Stewart ) with a dark secret who never takes off his disguise . Furthermore , it includes the aerialist acrobat girlfriend (Betty Hutton) , a French somersault artist rival (Cornel Wilde) , and an evil elephant trainer (Lyle Bettger) , among others .

Cecil B. DeMille is an expert in realization of high-budget films with glamour where the greatness does not lack even a moment , here gets to make a nice tribute to the circus world and its surroundings . This hugely agreeable film is a faithful reflection of the title . This is tone of the best Cecil B. De Mille, here in all his epic glory , he is the great director of the greatness. It has a fantastic scenario, great mass movement, and even spectacular scenes for the time, as a car driving toward a train on the railroad tracks and subsequently crash. The story is fine , wrought with romance , love stories , and impressive scenes with enormous pedigree. The film is a melodramatic and romantic tale with the classic triangular love story between Heston-Hutton-Wilde and meshing drama with events offstage along with some scenes in documentary style . The movie is wrought with romance and glamour but is a simple , and also contains an intriguing story about a doctor pursued by the justice . It packs some patently faked ones with players in front of obvious blue real projection. This colorful and dramatic flick packs amazing shows and exciting final . Extraordinary cast and good performances , especially from Charlton Heston and James Stewart as likable clown , both of whom are top notch under Cecil B De Mille's correct direction . Furthermore , some scenes the actors perform their own stunts . Some surprising guest-star cameos as Bob Hope , Bing Crosby watching their usual partenaire , Dorothy Lamour . Lavishly produced Henry Wilconson who plays a police , he's Cecil B. De Mille's usual . Unfortunately the circus at present time , in total downfall, is far from the magic in which they lived in that time. Here are united the Ringling Bros , Barnum and Bailey in combined shows and three-ring circus with colorful parades . The movie deservedly won two Oscars as Best Picture and Story , however the complaints of reviewers and moviegoers ever since , who don't believe it worthy of the honor . Although long-term, it becomes very entertaining and does not superfluous nor a minute. It's a fantastic and spectacular film that achieved big success at Box office . There are frames that children may never forget as the train wreck and an aerialist falling to the soil . Rating : Better than average . Worthwhile seeing .


6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 118 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Best of 2017: Our Favorite Movie and TV Stills

Take a look at our favorite movie and TV stills from the past year. Spot any of your faves?

Browse the Best of 2017