6.6/10
159
4 user 1 critic
The amazing biography of legendary circus impresario and unparalleled showman, P.T. Barnum.

Director:

Writers:

(teleplay), (story) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Barnum! (TV Movie 1986)
Biography | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Barnum the musical traces Phineas Taylor Barnum's career from 1835 to 1881 when he joined James A. Bailey to form the circus which was called The Greatest Show on Earth. Barnum is a ... See full summary »

Directors: Peter Coe, Terry Hughes
Stars: Michael Crawford, Eileen Battye, Michael Heath
P.T. Barnum (TV Movie 1999)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The story of the great American showman and promoter.

Director: Simon Wincer
Stars: Beau Bridges, Jordan Bridges, Cynthia Dale
Biography | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The comic exploits of confidence trickster and showman P.T. Barnum from his early days through to the creation of The Greatest Show on Earth.

Director: Walter Lang
Stars: Wallace Beery, Adolphe Menjou, Virginia Bruce
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

Freddie owns a failing old hotel. To attract new business he spreads the rumor that there's pirate treasure hidden somewhere in the building.

Director: Del Lord
Stars: Glenn Tryon, Merna Kennedy, Otis Harlan
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The story of the hijacking of the Italian luxury liner Achille Lauro by four Palestinians.

Director: Alberto Negrin
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Eva Marie Saint, Renzo Montagnani
Separate But Equal (TV Mini-Series 1991)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A dramatization of the American court case that destroyed the legal validity of racial segregation.

Stars: Sidney Poitier, Burt Lancaster, Richard Kiley
Scandal Sheet (TV Movie 1985)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

The publisher of a celebrity gossip tabloid sets out to destroy an aging actor, whose career is foundering and who is also facing a battle with alcoholism.

Director: David Lowell Rich
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Lauren Hutton, Pamela Reed
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Fifteen strangers take part in an experiment to learn whether such a group can survive in a cramped disaster fallout shelter.

Director: Giuliano Montaldo
Stars: Ben Gazzara, Kate Nelligan, Kate Reid
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

P.T. Barnum's birthplace of Bethel, CT commissioned a lifesize statue for his 200th birthday even though many people in town had forgotten that he was even from there. Meet the people of ... See full summary »

Director: Corey Boutilier
Stars: Corey Boutilier, Ian Felice, James Felice
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Phineas Taylor 'P.T.' Barnum
...
Jenny Lind
John Roney ...
Young Barnum
Sandor Raski ...
Tom Thumb
Patty Maloney ...
Tom Thumb
Laura Press ...
Charity
...
Nancy
...
Phineas Taylor
...
Joyce Heth
Deborah Hancock ...
Caroline
Andrew Bednarski ...
Little Phineas
Joe Cazalet ...
James Gordon Bennett
Rob Roy ...
Horace Greeley
Bronwen Mantel ...
Queen Victoria
...
Coley Draper
Edit

Storyline

Phineas T. Barnum looks back at his life, starting when he is just a little boy. The movie shows how he muddled through his life and how he finally became a successful circus-master. But to get there he had to risk everything he had and show enormous courage. Written by R. Kessen <rhkessen@cs.vu.nl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

30 November 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Barnum cirkuskungen  »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
I Invented You, The Audience
14 August 2008 | by See all my reviews

The only problem I have with the movie Barnum is that this was a role Burt Lancaster could have and should have done 20 years earlier. Still we have to give credit to the Canadian makeup people who managed to youthen Lancaster so he could do more than narrate his film from the grave so to speak.

Other than Hannah Schygulla the German film star who played Jenny Lind, the supporting players were all Canadian and the film was shot mostly in and around Montreal. Two other actors Andrew Bednarski and John Roney played Phineas T. Barnum in his adolescence and as a young man. Laura Press played his first wife, a pious Yankee Congregationalist who never quite understood her mercurial husband.

Lancaster was 72 when he did Barnum and he's perfect in the part. The man was a master publicist in fact he set the standard for the job. As he put it, he never cheated anyone he sold them fantasy and entertainment.

The film is a fond nostalgic trip through the lighter side of the 19th century in America. Barnum before he became a circus owner had a museum that was similar to Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not. He exhibited a talented midget in General Tom Thumb to the crowned heads of Europe, a phrase he might have coined. One of my favorite scenes is of the little guy meeting Queen Victoria with a beaming Lancaster looking on. He brought and ballyhooed Jenny Lind, dubbed the Swedish Nightingale to America for an amazingly successful tour.

Another favorite scene of mine is the shrewd Ms. Lind negotiating with Barnum for the right deal. It reminded me of another great Scandinavian star of the next century, Sonia Henie and what a shrewd businesswoman she was reputed to be.

Barnum's name survives today because of the famous circus his name is still attached to. As Lancaster explains he did little, but use his well known talent for publicity to get the show started. It was partner Bailey who was the driving force behind the circus and we never even meet him. That probably is a film unto itself. After Barnum's death the show merged with the Ringling Brothers show to form what it is still known today as Ringling Brothers&Barnum&Bailey Circus. Which was forever immortalized by Cecil B. DeMille in The Greatest Show On Earth.

The film is a fine made for television product one of the best ever done.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 4 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page