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It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)

Approved  |   |  Action, Adventure, Comedy  |  2 December 1963 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 27,886 users  
Reviews: 343 user | 60 critic

The dying words of a thief spark a madcap cross-country rush to find some treasure.



(story), (story), 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Blue ...
Biplane Pilot


After a long prison sentence Smiler Grogan is heading at high speed to a California park where he hid $350,000 from a job 15 years previously. He accidentally careens over a cliff in view of four cars whose occupants go down to help. The dying Grogan gives details of where the money is buried and when the witnesses fail to agree on sharing the cash, a crazy chase develops across the state. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


If ever this mad, mad, mad, mad world needed "It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world" it's now! (1970 re-release) See more »


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

2 December 1963 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

It's a Mad World  »

Box Office


$9,400,000 (estimated)


$46,300,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(edited) | (restored video) | (extended re-edit) (Laserdisc) | (original) | (roadshow) | (extended)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System) (35mm prints)| (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)


Aspect Ratio:

2.76 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


With the death of Mickey Rooney on April 6, 2014, there are no surviving members of the main cast left. Since the passing of Stan Freberg on April 7, 2015, Carl Reiner, Nicholas Georgiade, Barrie Chase, Marvin Kaplan, John Clarke, and Jerry Lewis are the only surviving members of the complete cast. See more »


At the beginning of the movie, where the Smiler is passing everyone on the road, Melville Crump's car keeps changing from a station wagon (which is what he was driving) to a four door sedan. See more »


Mrs. Marcus: Nobody's gonna get *me* up in the air!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are set against an animated background that interacts with the credit lettering. See more »


Referenced in Suhana Safar (1970) See more »


Thirty-one Flavors
(1963) (uncredited)
Music by Ernest Gold
Lyrics by Mack David
Played by The Four Mads
Sung by The Shirelles
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Greatest comedy of all time, period.
5 March 2005 | by (Minnesota) – See all my reviews

I never planned to write a review for this movie, until I took a stroll through the user comments, and was shocked at all the people who think it is.... God help us... overrated. No way. If anything, it is UNDERrated. I see people complaining about the endless shouting, the over the top slapstick, the brashness, the loudness, the length. I can only conclude that these people are a bunch of humorless dorks.

First of all, you can't just sit down to watch a three hour movie without knowing what you're in for. This is not your typical comedy--this is an EPIC comedy, the first of its kind, that inspired other such epics as "Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines" and "The Great Race" (which happens to be my favorite comedy--in fact, I'd like to say it's the better movie, but props go to this one for inventing the genre). And I can't speak for everyone else, but this movie leaves me laughing from start to finish.

Yes, it is very long, but it NEVER has a dull moment. Even if the amazing car stunts aren't particularly funny, you can't tell me they aren't wildly entertaining. I have yet to see an action movie with better car chases than these. And yes, the slapstick is ridiculously over the top, although I can't see how that's a problem (the gas station scene is one of the funniest in movie history, in my opinion). But underneath all the slapstick and shouting, holding the whole movie together, is that incredibly cynical message. It is a movie about kind, decent folks turning into law-breaking lunatics and ruining their lives for the sake of money. The subplot with Spencer Tracey realizing his entire life has been a waste, and then ruining what life he has left, is one of the most tragic story lines I have seen. But it's also pretty darn funny.

All the critics need to lighten up and see this for the absurd, delirious, hysterical farce it is.

10/10 stars.

206 of 252 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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