Picnic (1955)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  16 February 1956 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 6,073 users  
Reviews: 113 user | 42 critic

Emotions are ignited amongst the complacent townsfolk when a handsome drifter arrives in a small Kansas community on the morning of the Labour Day picnic.



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Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Betty Field ...
Nick Adams ...
Christine Schoenwalder (as Elizabeth W. Wilson)


The morning of a small town Labor Day picnic, a drifter (Hal Carter) blows into town to visit an old fraternity buddy (Alan Benson) who also happens to be the son of the richest man in town. Hal is an egocentric braggart - all potential and no accomplishment. He meets up with Madge Owens, the town beauty queen and girlfriend of Alan Benson. Written by Erik L. Ellis <ele@eece.unm.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A never-to-be forgotten picture - from the Pulitzer Prize winning story by William Inge! See more »


Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 February 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Picknick  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?


Big screen debut of Reta Shaw. See more »


When drying off after swimming, a bad edit cut makes Hal's position lose continuity. See more »


Flo Owens: If she loses her chance when she's young, she might as well throw all her prettiness away.
Madge Owens: I'm only 19.
Flo Owens: And next summer you'll be 20, and then 21, and then 40.
Madge Owens: You don't have to be morbid.
See more »


Featured in From the Journals of Jean Seberg (1995) See more »


Ain't She Sweet?
Music by Milton Ager
Lyrics by Jack Yellen
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Excellent Flawed Flick to Love.
17 August 2004 | by (Las Vegas) – See all my reviews

Very Good movie, despite the flaws. A must for anyone into American mid-century drama. Beautifully filmed and written. Some excellent performances. The Good: Rosalind Russell, Arthur O'Connell, Betty Field, Susan Strasberg. The adequate: Kim Novak and Cliff Robertson. The not too great: William Holden. I'm not bothered by Novak's performance, she was often only as good as her director, and Joshua Logan was an entirely stagebound stylist. Holden on the other hand, is entirely miscast. Way too old for the character by at least 10 years. This is a meaty, sweaty, rebellious part suited to a young Paul Newman or James Dean, not a late '30's, already craggy faced William Holden (he was ideally suited for his Bridge on the River Kwai role). The reading of his lines is artificial and contrived, the pacing atrocious. It's really Logan's fault though. In every one of his films, characters, especially the supporting ones, end up performing like cartoon characters... (Betty Field in Bus Stop, Everyone in South Pacific and Fanny)... and in Picnic, Logan lets almost everyone go over the top with this kind of mannered, ill-paced stuff. However, I love this flick too... the story conquers the flaws, and it consistently pulls me in. Rosalind Russell (though she's allowed to go over the top too) and Arthur O'Connell have remarkable scenes together. Good Movie!

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