There's No Business Like Show Business (1954)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Musical  |  16 December 1954 (USA)
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Molly and Terry Donahue, plus their three children, are The Five Donahues. Son Tim meets hat-check girl Vicky and the family act begins to fall apart.



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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Johnnie Ray ...
Richard Eastham ...
Charles Gibbs
Eddie Dugan, Vicky's Agent
Father Dineen
Lee Patrick ...
Eve Miller ...
Helen - Hatcheck Girl
Robin Raymond ...
Lillian Sawyer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ed Oliver ...
Bandleader (as Eddie Oliver)


Molly and Terry Donahue, plus their three children, are The Five Donahues. Son Tim meets hat-check girl Vicky and the family act begins to fall apart. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 December 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Irving Berlin's There's No Business Like Show Business  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(optical prints)| (Western Electric Recording) (magnetic prints)


Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Marilyn Monroe was promised the lead role in The Seven Year Itch (1955) if she appeared in this film to boost its box-office potential. The role of Vicky was written especially for this purpose, and songs such as "Heatwave", originally intended for Ethel Merman, were assigned to her. See more »


When Tim's father shows up at the hospital while the big show opens, Tim is wearing a gold ring on his left ring finger. See more »


Molly Donahue: You've gotta stop 'em, Terry!
Terence Donahue: ME ?
Molly Donahue: Certainly! You run this act.
Terence Donahue: Ha, all of a sudden, when something goes wrong, I run the act!
Molly Donahue: Don't raise your voice to me!
Terence Donahue: Who do you think YOU are... Whispering Jack Smith?
See more »


Referenced in Matzav Ha'Uma: Episode #7.11 (2014) See more »


Written by Irving Berlin
Performed by Marilyn Monroe, Mitzi Gaynor and Donald O'Connor
See more »

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User Reviews

Pushing the Limits
16 June 2001 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Two scenes surprise, both with Marilyn Monroe: her singing of the "After You Get What You Want..." number in a ultra-tight, combination flesh-colored/white gown. It's obvious that the image portrayed is that she could be nude, with the frilly white covering her talents. The second is the famous "Heat Wave" number, in a skimpy outfit, with her navel appropriately covered, yet below is a flesh-colored "window" for more erotic symbolism. In 1954 nudity could NOT be shown, but those scenes probably BARELY squeaked by the censors. The film depicts the traveling, singing/dancing Donahue Family, headed by brassy Ethel Merman and Dan Dailey, with sons Donald O'Connor, Johnnie Ray (who wants to be a priest), and daughter Mitzi Gaynor. It's obvious the Monroe character was an afterthought to boost the film's success; the actress really didn't want to do the part, the studio allegedly counteracted by upping her salary and promising her the lead in "The Seven Year Itch" (1955). Nevertheless, Monroe looks great and is unforgettable, comedically, dramatically and musically. O'Connor is great fun and Gaynor is a knockout dancer. Between some slow stages, musical numbers are expertly staged, with magnificent sets and superb color schemes all throughout. The finale is surprisingly touching with a rousing title tune reprise by all; only way to watch this is on the pristine-restored widescreem (2:55 to 1) DVD.

20 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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