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The Benny Goodman Story (1956)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, Music | 3 January 1956 (Japan)
Bio of swing band leader 'Benny Goodman' from age 10 (1919) to his landmark Carnegie Hall band concert in 1938. Not exactly historically accurate, but great music. Also, guest appearances ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Berta Gersten ...
Mama Goodman
Barry Truex ...
Benny Goodman (at 16)
John Hammond Jr.
Papa Dave Goodman
Hy Averback ...
Willard Alexander
Fletcher Henderson
Gil Rodin
Shepard Menken ...
Murph Podolsky
John Hammond Sr.
Fred Essler ...
Prof. Schoepp
David Kasday ...
Benny Goodman (at 10)
John Erman ...
Harry Goodman (at 16) (as John M. Erman)


Bio of swing band leader 'Benny Goodman' from age 10 (1919) to his landmark Carnegie Hall band concert in 1938. Not exactly historically accurate, but great music. Also, guest appearances by many great musicians of the time. Written by Don Femia <donfemia@csn.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama | Music


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

3 January 1956 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

La historia de Benny Goodman  »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In later interviews about the film, Steve Allen admitted that the real Benny Goodman (who he had met during the making of the film) was not nearly as pleasant an individual as Allen had portrayed him in the movie. See more »


At the end of the movie, Benny plays "Memories of You" to Alice Hammond seated at the Carnegie Hall concert. "Memories of You" was never played at the event. See more »


Harry Goodman: Benny, you oughta change your name.
Benny Goodman: Why?
Harry Goodman: Who's gonna remember a name like Benny Goodman.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Benny Goodman's theme song is played over the appearance of the "Universal International" globe. See more »


Let's Dance
Lyrics by Fanny Baldridge
Music by Josef Bonime and Gregory Stone
Based on "Invitation to the Dance"
Music by Carl Maria von Weber
See more »

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User Reviews

Brilliant, touching, entertaining!
26 December 2004 | by See all my reviews

I may have seen this film more than 20 times, unfortunately it has been unavailable in the UK for 10 years and not on TV all that time so I'm missing it right now. It is such a good film whether you enjoy Benny Goodman's music or jazz for that matter or not. Benny Goodman's life was pretty interesting anyway and it's portrayal in this movie is fairly accurate. The music score covers all the best from Benny Goodman and his Orchestra and is a tribute to one of the earlier band leaders in Jazz. There were not too many bands with both black and white members at that time but this was such a band. What was great for the Benny Goodman Orchestra was the fact that many of the members were such well known and respected performers themselves. There was such talent in that group of musicians and how fortunate it was that they should all come together at that time to create and play some brilliant music.

With regard to the film it is based on the life of Benny Goodman and if you know about him the presence of spoilers here would not ruin things. In short though this film shows Benny Goodman from a young boy through to after he has made a success of himself. His challenges, disappointments, love interests are all a part of the story through the film.

I couldn't fault anything in this film, direction, acting, all of it is just right and it makes for a film you can enjoy over and over again.

They certainly don't make movies like this anymore.

9 out of 10. (I reserved 10 out of 10 for my very best 3 or 4 films, this is a top 10 of mine still).

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