MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 3,078 this week

The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Family, Romance  |  May 1952 (USA)
6.7
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.7/10 from 8,628 users  
Reviews: 99 user | 43 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 »
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

IMDb Picks: August

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in August.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 44 titles
created 20 Mar 2011
 
a list of 29 titles
created 21 Jun 2011
 
a list of 30 titles
created 14 Sep 2012
 
a list of 23 titles
created 25 Feb 2013
 
a list of 48 titles
created 11 Feb 2014
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)

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

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Greatest Show on Earth.

User Polls

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

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

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

Adaptation of Jules Verne's novel about a Victorian Englishman who bets that with the new steamships and railways he can do what the title says.

Directors: Michael Anderson, John Farrow
Stars: David Niven, Cantinflas, Finlay Currie
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  

Musical adaptation about an orphan who runs away from an orphanage and hooks up with a group of boys trained to be pickpockets by an elderly mentor.

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Mark Lester, Ron Moody, Shani Wallis
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Mr. Hobbs wants to spend a quiet holiday at the beach, but his wife has invited all their family to stay with them.

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: James Stewart, Maureen O'Hara, Fabian
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
Biography | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A woman leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the children of a Naval officer widower.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker
Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

At a big city Catholic school, Father O'Malley and Sister Benedict indulge in friendly rivalry, and succeed in extending the school through the gift of a building.

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Bing Crosby, Ingrid Bergman, Henry Travers
Drama | Family | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A jaded former jockey helps a young girl prepare a wild but gifted horse for England's Grand National Sweepstakes.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Mickey Rooney, Elizabeth Taylor, Donald Crisp
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The story of the life and career of the famed baseball player, Lou Gehrig.

Director: Sam Wood
Stars: Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, Babe Ruth
Biography | Family | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The opening scene of the movie describes it best: "Once upon a time there lived in Denmark a great storyteller named Hans Christian Andersen. This is not the story of his life, but a fairy tale about the great spinner of fairy tales."

Director: Charles Vidor
Stars: Danny Kaye, Farley Granger, Zizi Jeanmaire
Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In the year before the 1904 St Louis World's Fair, the four Smith daughters learn lessons of life and love, even as they prepare for a reluctant move to New York.

Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, Mary Astor
Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Stars: Jack Palance, Stuart Erwin, Michael Consoldane
Edit

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
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:

Mightiest of Motion Pictures! 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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

James Stewart, as "Buttons, a clown", plays the entire movie in his clown makeup. See more »

Goofs

In one scene Buttons the clown is wrapping cloth tape around Holly's trapeze bar. He wraps it for about a third of its length then lays it down. When he lays it down it is clear that there is almost no tape left on the roll. When he picks it back up a short time later the bar is wrapped almost three quarters of the way and the roll of tape is much bigger. See more »

Quotes

Klaus: Your legs are too thin, your hair is too red, you have lips like a cat. You're no good. You give me too much trouble.
Angel: Flattery rolls right off me.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Madrid (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Die Schoene Galathea: Ouverture (The Beautiful Galathea Overture)
(1849) (uncredited)
Music by Franz von Suppé
Played during the royal parade
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A colourful, light hearted and entertaining epic
13 September 2000 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

It would validate this film best if I state outright at this point that I am a great fan of the movie SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, also released in 1952 and generally ignored by the Academy, seemingly due to the shower of accolades handed out to AN AMERICAN IN PARIS. THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH did not win many Oscars beyond the coveted best picture award, but even this fact has poisoned my viewpoint of the justification of the Academy's decision, and that this in itself displays the incomprehensible factor that the statuette ended up at Paramount, not MGM.

However, my eventual purpose of viewing this film was threefold: to see Jimmy Stewart, Dorothy Lamour and one of the final best pictures of the 1950s, which I had not seen. All my SINGIN' IN THE RAIN prejudices aside, I was very pleasantly surprised.

Cecil B. DeMille's opinions of the circus as a ‘human machine made up of many parts' is interesting as it evokes the assemblage of any motion picture, and certainly, an enormous production such as this one. The script, generally convincing in its theme, can deliver on its expectations and bring to life a drama-comedy-epic-action-romance-musical that actually works, all elements and sub-plots played alongside. Even if these aspects make for melodramatic story lines, I have assumed that the purpose of the film is generally basic entertainment. And the basic story…the dramatic lives of circus performers culminating and reaching their peak underneath the glamour and colour of the big top isn't too bad either. DeMille's well-handled direction is intriguing and always expectantly, a job well done.

There are many good examples of an all-star ensemble cast, but this one ranks close to the top…Betty Hutton, Cornel Wilde, Charlton Heston, Jimmy Stewart, Dottie Lamour, Gloria Grahame…each may bear no resemblance to their character's personalities, but play their parts interestingly well. Generally, I found Stewart's portrayal as Buttons the clown, masked behind a multiple personality, to be the best performance in the film. It is difficult also not to mention the many great and entertaining real-life circus performers that truly made up the spirit of THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH, and continue to do so in their differed entertaining medium today, so it is really quite a nice tribute to their dedication.

To satisfy the varied genres of the film, each character is where they are to fuel the particular element. Angel (Grahame) enhances the comedy with her natural talents, and Phyllis (Lamour) and Holly (Hutton) to fill out the musical aspects with an extensive musical program, including `Jumpin' Jack' and the title song. Romance is demonstrated in a series of different love triangles involving five of the six lead characters. Drama is seen with the integration of all these aspects, involving Buttons (Stewart), tension between Sebastian (Wilde) and Brad (Heston), and the case of post ANNIE GET YOUR GUN competitive one-upmanship between Holly and Sebastian on the trapezes. Finally, in the case of action, the sensationalism of the train scene brings all these emotions to a halt…to create one of the biggest epics of 1950s Hollywood, and to destroy some of the colourful and glamourous illusions of circus life.

Despite the fact the film definitely exceeded my original expectations of it and the fact that it filled its three-hour plus running time certainly impressed me. However, I would like to continue to retain my position on the unfair juxtaposition of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, and it is doubtful my opinion will swing to favour THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH any time soon.

Rating: 8/10




14 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
No African-American faces in crowd scenes? sshistory
Retroactively give Best Picture to Singin' in the Rain for 1952 nielw
NOT the worst best picture winner MIchiganJFrogg
*WHY* it's the worst Best Picture ever jeremy_shops
Bette Hutton + Gloria Grahame safari41
The 'pornography' of the movie jonjax71
Discuss The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?