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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 27,464 users  
Reviews: 342 user | 59 critic

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



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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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The money that fluttered away in the original 1963 film was counterfeit - "a red herring" - and the real treasure is still buried but down deeper in the ground. The sons, daughters and ... See full summary »



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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

california | race | desert | money | chase | See All (169) »


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 »


Approved | See all certifications »

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?


The statue of Lincoln, that the cab driver lands in the arms of, was made entirely out of foam rubber. It was on outdoor display as part of the Universal Studios tour until it deteriorated from the weather late in 1966. See more »


While Ding is talking to the control tower, the headphones are hanging behind him, then over his ears, and then back behind him. See more »


Capt. T.G. Culpeper: You know what I believe I'd like? A chocolate fudge sundae with whipped cream and a cherry on top.
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Capt. T.G. Culpeper: No calls. No calls. No more calls.
Lt. Matthews: Something's wrong.
Police sergeant: Why? Does something gotta be wrong? He feels like a chocolate fudge sundae. So what? He has a chocolate fudge sundae.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After Spencer Tracy's credit has been shown, the words "and in alphabetical order" appear, and the next group of credits is assembled below them by animated hands: Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Dick Shawn, Phil Silvers, Terry-Thomas, and Jonathan Winters. But after a moment, the hands reappear to pull out Silvers' credit and move it to the top, then Winters', then Caesar's, and so on until everyone has had had a turn at top billing in the group. The hands then quickly shuffle the credits several more times for good measure, all the time with the "and in alphabetical order" label still in place. The final order is Silvers, Rooney, Berle, Winters, Merman, Hackett, Terry-Thomas, Caesar, Shawn. See more »


Referenced in Who Is Cletis Tout? (2001) See more »


It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
(1963) (uncredited)
Music by Ernest Gold
Lyrics by Mack David
Sung by an offscreen chorus during the Overture
Variations in the score throughout the film
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Classic epic comedy with too much editing
23 May 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Having been born in 1965, it's safe to say that the first time I ever saw "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" was on network television. Every other user comment already reveals enough about the movie, so I'll just stick with my own experiences regarding the film.

If you must know, yes I do believe this film is a well-deserved comedy classic, but it's also loaded with breathtaking scenery (natural and contemporary) that's often overlooked by most critics. Many a fan wants to know where that mountain road is. Since I'm also a fan of big cars of the post-WW2 era I can easily spot every one. Mickey Rooney's Volkswagen must be worth a fortune if it's still around. And I don't care if this movie is over 3 hours long. As one commenter put it it has been edited to pieces. I envy those who saw the original 1963 version of this movie, but even they didn't see everything. The versions I've seen include the original television edit, the director's cut on 2 VHS tapes which contain some "lost scenes" and people I never even knew were in the movie, the DVD, and even a version on TV where some scenes were shown out of order. The director's cut VHS tapes is the best, partially because of those scenes such as additional police observations, as well as having the sense to keep the original overture, entr'acte, and exit music title cards. Unfortunately, the DVD removes those lost scenes and mixes them with a section of other deleted scenes, like a louder version of Buddy Hackett's "17 ways of figuring it" speech, and some riskier ordeals in Santa Rosita Park.

I've come to the conclusion that there's only one solution to this problem -- unless all footage is found and re-installed into the original version, the screenplay must be released into a book and sold to the public.

51 of 71 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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