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

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Comedy | 2 December 1963 (UK)
The dying words of a thief spark a madcap cross-country rush to find some treasure.

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(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

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

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

Taglines:

It's the biggest entertainment ever to hit the Cinerama screen! (Poster). See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 December 1963 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

It's a Mad World  »

Box Office

Budget:

$9,400,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$46,300,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.76 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The main part of the film was shot during summer 1962 because many cast members were on hiatus from television series they were working on. See more »

Goofs

When Lenny Pike is sitting in the convertible and explains the story of the "BIG W", the passenger's door of the car is open and it remains open while he gets out of the car and walks around to dispose of the bicycle. When Meyer pulls away, the door is closed, although Meyer never leans over to close the door and no slam is heard (which would have happened if the door closed on its own with the motion of the car) See more »

Quotes

Lennie Pike: [furious] So! So someone will "stumble over the little girl's bicycle in the dark", huh? Well when I'm finished with *you*, they'll be stumbling over *YOU* in the *dark*!
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Crazy Credits

The animators who animated the opening title sequence were technically uncredited on film, but they did get their names in during the shot where the giant globe "explodes" and there is a shower of name credits strewn over the screen. Freeze-frame reveals the names of all the animators. This is the same animation team who did A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Special Collector's Edition: The Ring (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Thirty-one Flavors
(1963) (uncredited)
Music by Ernest Gold
Lyrics by Mack David
Played by The Four Mads
Sung by The Shirelles
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A King With a Hundred Jesters
2 December 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World has to be the funniest film ever made because no one, but Stanley Kramer ever got so many funny people together in one film. With a cast headed by his favorite dramatic player to boot.

Four out of Spencer Tracy's last five films were made for Stanley Kramer. The others, Inherit the Wind, Judgment at Nuremberg, and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner dealt with weighty issues like, free speech, genocide, and interracial marriage. What It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World deals with is greed, simple normal human greed. If something looks too good to be true, chances are it is.

Jimmy Durante an old time crook crashes off a highway and down a steep cliff. He's on the way to digging up the loot from a $350,000.00 robbery from years ago. His dying words tell those people went to aid him where in Santa Rosita Park the loot is buried. Off the group of them go, every man and woman for themselves, with some alliances of family and convenience. A few more treasure seekers get picked up along the way.

That barebones plot description doesn't begin to tell you about some of the funny sequences that follow, Buddy Hackett and Mickey Rooney in a private plane with a drunken pilot Jim Backus passed out, Edie Adams and Sid Caesar trapped in a hardware store desperately trying to get out, Jonathan Winters as the lunkhead truck driver generally running amuck wherever he goes, and Milton Berle the henpecked husband of all time married to the beautiful Dorothy Provine, her braindead brother Dick Shawn and Ethel Merman the mother-in-law from hell. Berle has a package deal and when you watch the film, you'll see what I mean.

Along the way, the treasure hunters pick up Terry-Thomas, Phil Silvers, Peter Falk and Eddie Anderson. And they leave a whole lot of some of the best character actors and comedians who each in their own way contributes a certain specialty they're famous for.

There are two unbilled appearances by Jack Benny and Jerry Lewis each in situations that show off their peculiar style of comedy.

Watching it all is Spencer Tracy as the Captain of Detectives of the Santa Rosita, Police Department both before the camera and between takes. I remember seeing a quotation by Stanley Kramer that with all these comedians on the set, Tracy was like a king with a hundred jesters, each looking to amuse him. Tracy besides keeping track of this freak show has some domestic problems of his own which are told in telephone conversations with the city pension bureau, his wife, and his daughter. Tracy's expressions are priceless.

My favorite in this film has always been Ethel Merman. Mainly because I know someone back in Brooklyn named Gladys who's exactly like Ethel is here right down to the flaming red hair. I haven't lived in Brooklyn for nine years now, but reports I get say she hasn't changed. I can't watch this film and see Merman without thinking of dear Gladys and the schlump that married her.

It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World is about greed, yet greed has never been presented with such rip roaring humor as it is in this film. For those who need a good laugh and who in this world doesn't.


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