Circus World (1964)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Western  |  25 June 1964 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 1,586 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 5 critic

In the early years of the 20th century, Matt Masters takes his rambling Wild West Show to Europe. His decision is prompted by his desire to find Lili Alfredo, who disappeared fourteen years... See full summary »



(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Julian Halevy) , 4 more credits »
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Matt Masters
Toni Alfredo
Lili Alfredo
Cap Carson
Aldo Alfredo
John Smith ...
Steve McCabe
Katharyna ...
Katherine Kath ...
Wanda Rotha ...
Mrs. Schuman
Margaret MacGrath ...
Anna (as Maggie Macgrath)
Miles Malleson ...
Billy Hennigan
José María Caffarel ...
Barcelona's Mayor (as Jose Maria Cafarell)
Kay Walsh ...
Flo Hunt
Francois Calepides ...
Ringmaster (as François Calepides)
Robert Cunningham ...


In the early years of the 20th century, Matt Masters takes his rambling Wild West Show to Europe. His decision is prompted by his desire to find Lili Alfredo, who disappeared fourteen years earlier following the death of her husband, The Flying Alfredo. At the time it was believed that Alfredo dove to his death deliberately when he realized his wife loved Matt and not him. Toni, a beautiful trapeze performer, raised by Matt is actually Lili's daughter, and she is in love with Steve McCabe, one of the stars on Matt's show. Doing their first show in Barcelona, aboard a ship, the ship keels over and Matt loses his show. Now broke, he leaves for Paris with Toni, Steve and his long-time friend, Cap Carson, to seek a job with Colonel Purdy's Wild West Show. But a year later, Matt has rebuilt his own show. First to be signed is a remarkable 12-year-old wire-walker named Giovana, and her guardian, Tojo the Clown, whose real named is Aldo Alfredo, formerly of the Flying Alfredos. Continuing ... Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


All WAYNE...And a World Wide... See more »


Drama | Western


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

25 June 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Samuel Bronston's Circus World  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$9,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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



Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


While filming a scene where the main tent catches fire, John Wayne was almost killed when the set collapsed. As he was "fighting" the fire, Wayne was to be cued by the assistant director when to leave before the set was to collapse in flames. Either Wayne didn't hear the cue, or the a.d. mistimed it (it was never determined which), but the flaming set began to collapse before Wayne got out. He escaped with just a few seconds to spare before the entire set would have fallen down on top of him. See more »


While the film is taking place in 1901, there are several mistakes with the European flags. One example is the Finnish flag that is seen in the movie. Finland didn't achieved independence (and the flag) until 1918. See more »


Featured in Special Collector's Edition: 55 días en Pekín (2011) See more »


Kingdom Coming
Music by Henry Clay Work
Arranged by Dimitri Tiomkin
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User Reviews

It's a movie, folks!
23 June 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I watched this, for the first time since it was in theatres when I was 10, on YouTube in HD720 letterboxed at 2.20:1 on my internet-capable Blu-Ray player - the picture quality was outstanding. It was a different kind of role for Duke and, despite the obvious fact that it's not one of his or Hathaway's best, I found it enjoyable for a variety of reasons. Besides Wayne, there's Claudia Cardinale, John Smith whom I remembered from "Laramie" and one of my favorites, Lloyd Nolan. Not to mention Rita Hayworth. I enjoyed Jack Hildyard's beautiful photography and wish more films had been photographed in Technirama - it was such a versatile format, very high quality like VistaVision. I didn't let the picture's script shortcomings bother me - for my money (none!), they just didn't matter - or the probable fact that, if all it took to capsize a ship at the dock was a bunch of people rushing over to the side rail, it never would've survived an ocean crossing. Heck, it's make-believe, and it has ample verisimilitude to satisfy me. Just kick back and enjoy it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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