Kansas City (1996)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Music  |  16 August 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 3,452 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 43 user | 31 critic | 23 from Metacritic.com

Robert Altman's jazz-scored film explores themes of love, crime, race, and politics in 1930s Kansas City. When Blondie O'Hara's husband, a petty thief, is captured by Seldom Seen and held ... See full summary »


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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Henry Stilton
Johnny O'Hara
Johnny Flynn
Babe Flynn
Nettie Bolt
Jeff Feringa ...
Addie Parker
A.C. Tony Smith ...
Sheepshan Red (as A.C. Smith)
Martin Martin ...
'Blue' Green
Albert J. Burnes ...
Ajia Mignon Johnson ...
Pearl Cummings
Rally Speaker
Tawanna Benbow ...


Robert Altman's jazz-scored film explores themes of love, crime, race, and politics in 1930s Kansas City. When Blondie O'Hara's husband, a petty thief, is captured by Seldom Seen and held at the Hey Hey Club, she launches a desperate plan to release him. She kidnaps the wife of a powerful local politician in an attempt to blackmail him into using his connections to free Johnny. Despite this being election time, he risks exposure by putting the political machine into action to free Johnny and thereby save his wife. Mrs. Stilton, meanwhile, has befriended Blondie and is impressed by her love and devotion to Johnny, especially in contrast to her own loveless marriage. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Kansas City, 1934. Anything could happen here. One night it did.


Crime | Drama | Music | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, and for some violence and drug use | See all certifications »


Official Sites:




Release Date:

16 August 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Канзас Сити  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$432,183 (USA) (16 August 1996)


AUD 61,051 (Australia) (1 November 1996)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The movie is partially based on a true incident. In 1933, Mary McElroy, the opium-addicted daughter of Henry McElroy, Kansas City's City Manager, was kidnapped from her home by a group of amateur kidnappers. After a $30,000 ransom was paid, Mary McElroy was released unharmed. Her four kidnappers were later caught and sentenced to life in prison. See more »


When Governor Guy Park is telephoned about the kidnapping, he suggests notifying the state police. Missouri has no state police (only Highway Patrol). See more »


Carolyn Stilton: [after being forced to reveal the pet names she and her husband use] What a terrible invasion of privacy!
Blondie O'Hara: Yeah, ain't it?
See more »


References Hold Your Man (1933) See more »

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User Reviews

One of Altman's best
6 October 1999 | by (Albany NY, USA) – See all my reviews

This film is so deceptively constructed that it took me a few

viewings to completely get it. Not the most inviting recommendation for a film, but even at first look, there is much

to enjoy. The music is superb, the performances outlandish and

entertaining, and the take on politics and race relations truly

incisive. For example, kidnapping really was a political tool in

1930's Kansas City; Blondie's (Jennifer Jason Leigh) real crime

is kidnapping a politician's wife for personal reasons. Though

his contempt for romanticism is truly bitter, this remains one

of Altman's best films.

27 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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