The Band Wagon (1953)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Musical, Romance  |  7 August 1953 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 7,048 users  
Reviews: 94 user | 56 critic

A pretentiously artistic director is hired for a new Broadway musical and changes it beyond recognition.



(story), (story), 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Lester Marton
Lily Marton
Jack Buchanan ...
Jeffrey Cordova
Paul Byrd
Robert Gist ...


Tony Hunter, a famous singer/dancer movie star, is feeling washed up and old hat (old top hat, tie and tails to be exact). The reporters are out for Ava Gardner, not him. But his old friends Lily and Les Martin have an idea for a funny little Broadway show and he agrees to do it. But things begin to get out of hand, when bigshot "artistic" director/producer/star Jeffrey Cordova joins the production, proclaims it's a modernistic Faust and insists on hiring a prima ballerina, Gabrielle Gerard, to star opposite Tony, and it's hate at first sight. And her jealous choreographer isn't helping to ease the tension. The show is doomed by pretentiousness. But romance, a "let's put on a show" epiphany, and a triumphant opening are waiting in the wings. After all, this is a musical comedy! Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


M-G-M's Top Technicolor Musical! See more »


Passed | See all certifications »





Release Date:

7 August 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I Love Louisa  »

Box Office


$2,169,120 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(Turner library print) (copyright length)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The characters reflect real life. Fred Astaire was indeed considering retirement as his career was at a standstill, just like his character in the movie. The characters played by Nanette Fabray and Oscar Levant are based on the film's screenwriters, Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Jack Buchanan's character is based on José Ferrer, who at the time was producing four Broadway shows and starring in a fifth. See more »


Theater people never wish each other "Good Luck" (as Gaby and Tony do in the alley before opening night). They're superstitious that this will bring bad luck instead. That's why they always say "Break a leg". See more »


Stagehand: You got more scenery in this show than there is in Yellowstone National Park!
See more »


Featured in 42nd Street: River to River (2009) See more »


Dancing in the Dark
(1931) (uncredited)
Music by Arthur Schwartz
Danced by Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse
See more »

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User Reviews

Last of the great Hollywood musicals
22 December 1998 | by (kent, uk) – See all my reviews

Just saw this again, for the first time in 10 years. What a show! This is unquestionably the last of the great line of MGM – and, therefore, Hollywood – musicals . . . the last real flowering of Arthur Freed's genius at holding together a team of top production talents which had produced such a fine string of musicals. Not a dull spot in the entire movie and tremendous style in Minnelli's direction. Nice to see Jack Buchanan getting a last chance in the spotlight – his top hat routine with Astaire is one of the highlights of the movie. Astaire himself, playing the fading musical star which he was by 1953, has a magnificent opening with two contrasting numbers – the wistful By Myself and the exuberant Shine on your Shoes – tailored to set up his character perfectly. The Girl Hunt ballet is, of course, the dancing highlight of the movie and it is here that the utterly wonderful Cyd Charisse comes into her own. Apart from being arguably the best female dancer in Hollywood history, she was certainly the most beautiful: the scene in the ballet in which she appears on a bar stool and slips off her coat to reveal a dramatic red dress oozes with as much sex appeal as any movie moment I've ever seen.

42 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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