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The Happiest Millionaire (1967)

G  |   |  Comedy, Family, Musical  |  7 December 1967 (Australia)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,217 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 8 critic

A happy and unbelievably lucky young Irish immigrant, John Lawless, lands a job as the butler of an unconventional millionaire, Biddle. His daughter, Cordelia Drexel Biddle, tires of the ... See full summary »



(play), (book), 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Aunt Mary
Mrs. Duke
Tommy Steele ...
John Lawless
Mrs. Worth
Eddie Hodges ...
Sean McClory ...
Police Sgt.
Lt. Powell
William Wellman Jr. ...
Lt. Grayson
Aron Kincaid ...
Walter Blakely


A happy and unbelievably lucky young Irish immigrant, John Lawless, lands a job as the butler of an unconventional millionaire, Biddle. His daughter, Cordelia Drexel Biddle, tires of the unusual antics of her father--especially since the nice young men around town all fear him. Wouldn't you fear a father-in-law that keeps alligators for pets and teaches boxing at his daily Bible classes? Cordelia decides to run off to boarding school and promptly finds the man of her dreams. Unfortunately, his family doesn't approve of Biddle's outrageous antics, either. A Disney musical punctuated by snappy songs and an energetic debut by Tommy Steele. This is reportedly one of the last live- action films Walt Disney personally oversaw. Written by Tim Kretschmann <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's the happiest musical of the year! See more »


G | See all certifications »




Release Date:

7 December 1967 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

A legboldogabb milliomos  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (re-release) | (original)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Adapted from a non-musical Broadway play. The stage version starred Walter Pidgeon, opened November 20, 1956 at the Lyceum Theatre in New York and ran for 271 performances. See more »


The story is set between September, 1916 and June, 1917. Duke University archives show Angie and Cordie's oldest child, Angier Biddle Duke, was born in November, 1915. The younger Angie was a career diplomat and state department chief of protocol when the movie was made. See more »


[first lines]
John Lawless: [singing] Well now, ain't this an elegant neighborhood, all the residents dressed so fine! One day off the boat am I, with a job that's nearly mine! 'Tis a job with an elegant millionaire, and his elegant family! Today I move from immigrant - to high society!
See more »


Featured in The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story (2009) See more »


For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
See more »

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User Reviews

''Let's Have A Drink On It!''
4 May 2006 | by See all my reviews

Yes, "The Happiest Millionaire" was Walt Disney's last film. Yes, it was obviously made to top "Mary Poppins" and yes, like many late-sixties musicals, it flopped at the box office. But the fact remains that it is a glowing, beautifully made musical (with songs by the Sherman Brothers who were responsible for "Poppins") and it never got the recognition it truly deserved. The cast, headed by Disney Stalwart Fred MacMurray and legendary star Greer Garson (in her last film appearance) is excellent. The musical numbers are fun and engaging and the players do them well. Both Lesley Ann Warren and John Davidson were introduced in this film and proved an ideal pair of romantic leads. Warren, who became an overnight star courtesy of her delightful performance as Cinderella in the 1965 Rodgers and Hammerstein television musical, literally shines as Cordelia Drexel Biddle. Many scenes are stolen by Geraldine Page playing Davidson's haughty mother, and Tommy Steele can sing and dance with the best of them. There is also a grand performance from Gladys Cooper as the family matriarch. And, for "Poppins" fans, Hermione Baddely appears as the Irish housekeeper. There is also a brief bit by Joan Marshall, the star of William Castle's "Homicidal" (billed as Jean Arless) as a maid. The fact that this story is (loosely) based on the prominent Biddle family of Philadelphia, adds to the fun. Because the film was released after Disney's death and exhibitors complained about its long running time, it was drastically edited, shortening and removing several scenes, as well as one musical number ("It Won't Be Long Till Christmas"), and here is where the controversy comes in. Garson was originally cast as Mrs. Duke, after the part was turned down by several actresses, including Geraldine Page. Just before filming began however, Page changed her mind, and Greer ended up as Mrs. Biddle. (a part she was not anxious to play). She agreed to the switch when she heard the score--especially "It Won't Be Long Till Christmas" which was her one musical number. Indeed she COULD sing, and she did so in a few of her '40's films. Because her song was subsequently cut from the film (after it's Hollywood world premiere) she declined to attend any further premieres, though she had been at the Hollywood opening. Thanks to the newly restored roadshow edition, the song has been restored, and Garson and MacMurray perform it to perfection, truly the highlight of a warm and wonderful story that makes for perfect holiday viewing.

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