The Front Page (1974)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  17 December 1974 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 8,487 users  
Reviews: 47 user | 33 critic

As a tabloid newspaper editor tries to prevent his top reporter from retiring, an escaped death row convict shows up at the office trying to convey his innocence.



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Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Schwartz (as Herbert Edelman)
The Mayor
Jon Korkes ...
Rudy Keppler
Lou Frizzell ...


Hildy Johnson is the top reporter on a Chicago newspaper during the 1920s. Tired of the whole game he's determined to quit his job to get married. His scheming editor, Walter Burns, has other plans though. It's the day before guilty (but insane) murderer, Earl Williams, is due to go to the gallows and Burns tempts Johnson to stay and write the story. Written by Col Needham <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's the hottest story since the Chicago Fire... And they're sitting on it.


Comedy | Drama | Romance


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 December 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Prima pagina  »

Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)


SEK 4,427,652 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Billy Wilder felt that Chicago was the most exciting newspaper town in the country and as a result, this incarnation of "The Front Page" was the first to mention the city by name and use actual Chicago newspapers. See more »


Hildy reminds Jenny, the cleaning woman, that he got her husband on "The Amateur Hour." Major Bowes' Amateur Hour premiered as a local show in New York in 1934 and on the NBC Network in 1935, six years after this movie was set. See more »


Walter Burns: Get yer head back in there, you God Damned turtle!
See more »


Referenced in Mr. Deeds (2002) See more »


Wedding Bells Are Breaking Up That Old Gang Of Mine
Lyrics by Irving Kahal, Willie Raskin
Music by Sammy Fain
Performed by Jack Lemmon, David Wayne, Allen Garfield, Charles Durning, Jon Korkes, Dick O'Neill and Herb Edelman
See more »

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User Reviews

The Unseen Power of the Press
31 December 2010 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

On 06 June 1929, in Chicago, the press is covering from the tribunal press room, the hanging of the anarchist Earl Williams (Austin Pendleton) that accidentally killed a cop and will happen on the next day. Hildy Johnson (Jack Lemmon), who is the best newspaperman of the Chicago Examiner, tells his boss Walter Burns (Walter Matthau) that he will marry the widow concert pianist Peggy Grant (Susan Sarandon) on the next day and quits his job, telling that he will move to Philadelphia and work in advertisement business. Walter unsuccessfully tries to use a scheme to force Hildy to stay in the Examiner and cover the execution on the gallows. Meanwhile, the corrupt Sheriff "Honest" Pete Hartman (Vincent Gardenia) interrogates Earl with the psychologist Dr. Eggelhofer (Martin Gabel) for the last check whether the prisoner is sane or not and the doctor proposes a simulation of the murder, but Earl shots Dr. Eggelhofer with the sheriff's revolver on the groin and escapes. Meanwhile, the governor's representative Plunkett (Paul Benedict) comes with a retreat on Earl, but the dirty Mayor (Harold Gould) and the Sheriff do not acknowledge the receipt of the document and send Plunkett to a brothel. When Hildy finds Earl hidden in the press room, his sense of journalist prevails and he calls Walter to protect Earl together with the unseen power of the press.

"The Front Page" is a witty comedy by Billy Wilder in one of his last works. I have never had the chance to see the original 1931 film, but this cynical remake is great, with top-notch performances of Walter Matthau in the role of a Machiavellian editor that has no ethics and presses his top journalist to stay in his newspaper. Jack Lemmon and Vincent Gardenia have also excellent performances. The ironic conclusion with the fate of each character is hilarious. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "A Primeira Página" ("The Front Page")

12 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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