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A Star Is Born (1954)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Musical, Romance  |  16 October 1954 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 10,181 users  
Reviews: 120 user | 64 critic

A film star helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career on a downward spiral.



(screenplay), , 4 more credits »
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Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Danny McGuire (as Tom Noonan)
Lucy Marlow ...
Lola Lavery
Susan Ettinger
Irving Bacon ...
Hazel Shermet ...
Libby's Secretary
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Glenn Williams


Norman Maine, a movie star whose career is on the wane, meets showgirl Esther Blodgett when he drunkenly stumbles into her act one night. A friendship develops, then blossoms into romance before tensions increase as Esther's career takes off while Norman's continues to plummet. Written by Col Needham <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Destiny came at her with a leer! See more »


Drama | Musical | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 October 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nace una estrella  »

Box Office


$5,019,770 (estimated)


$4,355,968 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(premiere) | (restored) | (DVD) | (cut)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System) (magnetic prints)| (optical prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Studio executives viewed a rough-cut of everything that had been completed up to that point. George Cukor wasn't happy with the footage, but everyone else was delighted. See more »


At the recording session for "Here's What I'm Here For", Esther runs across the studio to Norman during the chorus break, whereby a sound man moves his boom mic over to them to pick up their conversation already in progress. However in the playback, their conversation begins at scratch, immediately after the beginning of the chorus break. See more »


Matt Libby: This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, with a whimper.
See more »


Featured in American Masters: Judy Garland: By Myself (2004) See more »


Trinidad Coconut Oil Shampoo
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Commercial jingle performed by Judy Garland
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Sing Melancholy Baby
18 January 2005 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Is it possible to watch this fictional story without digressing to thoughts about the real life story of Judy Garland? For me it isn't. Both are permanently intertwined. And it's not just the parallel between fiction and fact, but also the dark, brooding, melancholy mood they engender, like ghosts calling out to us from a Hollywood that no longer exists.

The film's storyline is well known. I won't belabor it here, except to say that it communicates an honest and introspective indictment of the entertainment industry as it once was. The story can be thought of as a kind of archetypal Hollywood memoir, expressed as a musical.

But musicals are supposed to be upbeat, lighthearted, fun. This one isn't. Moments of humor and joy are swept away in a cascade of emotional pain and tragedy. Fiction mimics real life. How appropriate that the film's signature song "The Man That Got Away" is one that is so uncompromisingly serious, poignant, and smoldering ... a perfect vehicle for Judy Garland.

Some say she had the greatest singing voice of any entertainer in the twentieth century. This film lends credence to that assertion. Every song she sings is performed with such consummate verve, such emotional commitment that she seems to be singing not just for her contemporaries, but also for generations to come. Indeed, she is. My personal favorite is the "Born In A Trunk" segment, all fifteen minutes of it. Surrounded by sets of true cinematic art, she belts out one tune after another, including, of course, the poignant "Melancholy Baby".

Judy's singing and the music itself are what make the movie so memorable. But she also demonstrates her considerable acting talent. And the acting of other cast members is fine, especially the performances of James Mason and Jack Carson. I do think that the film was, and still is, too long, the result of an overly ambitious screenplay.

That Judy Garland was denied the Best Actress Oscar is poignant. But her talent was so massive, her uniqueness was so special, maybe fate required a compensatory level of pain and tragedy, as a prerequisite of legend.

56 of 64 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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