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Chicago (2002)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Crime, Musical | 24 January 2003 (USA)
Murderesses Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart find themselves on death row together and fight for the fame that will keep them from the gallows in 1920s Chicago.

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(screenplay), (book) | 2 more credits »
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Won 6 Oscars. Another 52 wins & 127 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Cliff Saunders ...
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Roman Podhora ...
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Robert Smith ...
Newspaper Photographer (as Rob Smith)
Sean Wayne Doyle ...
Reporter
Steve Behal ...
Prison Clerk
Robbie Rox ...
Prison Guard
...
Nickie
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Storyline

Murderesses Velma Kelly (a chanteuse and tease who killed her husband and sister after finding them in bed together) and Roxie Hart (who killed her boyfriend when she discovered he wasn't going to make her a star) find themselves on death row together and fight for the fame that will keep them from the gallows in 1920s Chicago. Written by Debpp322

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

jazz age | fame | murder | jail | 1920s | See All (105) »

Taglines:

It's Just A Noisy Hall Where There's A Nightly Brawl...and All That Jazz See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Musical

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content and dialogue, violence and thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

24 January 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Chicago: The Musical  »

Box Office

Budget:

$45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£113,386 (UK) (27 December 2002)

Gross:

$170,684,505 (USA) (29 August 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

(mock newsreel)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the film rights were originally bought by producer Martin Richards in the 1970s, Bob Fosse was to be involved with the film project, and Goldie Hawn, Liza Minnelli and Frank Sinatra were announced as the stars; but Fosse's death in 1987 ended that attempt at a film version. See more »

Goofs

There are 50 stars on the US flag in the courtroom (should be 48). See more »

Quotes

Billy Flynn: I don't want ya to give a damn when people...
Amos: When people what?
Billy Flynn: Laugh.
Amos: Laugh? Why would they laugh?
Billy Flynn: 'Cause they can count. Can you count?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits are written in Broadway lights. See more »

Connections

Referenced in 101 Biggest Celebrity Oops (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag
(1996)
Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Performed by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renée Zellweger
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Charged, exhilarating, a treat and a surprise.
8 December 2002 | by (Venice, CA) – See all my reviews

I thoroughly enjoyed the current Broadway stage revival of Chicago -- the Kander and Ebb original, with Bob Fosse choreography, opened in 1975, starring Gwen Verdon (Roxie), Chita Rivera (Velma) and Jerry Orbach (Billy), all proven musical theatre talents. I saw the revival fairly early in its current run, starring Ann Reinking (Roxie), Bebe Neuwirth (Velma) and James Naughton (Billy), who are all proven in musical theatre as well.

The casting of this new film adaptation had me wondering -- Renee Zellwegger (Roxie), Catherine Zeta Jones (Velma) and Richard Gere (Billy)? Sure, they can act, but can they sing and dance?

Big time. The strength of their performances alone is almost enough to carry the film. Whether the stars come by these moves and voices easily, or were rehearsed within an inch of their lives, it's clear they come by them naturally -- they each perform their own songs, and the dance moves are both fluid and stylistically true to the Fosse choreography. Attention to choreographic integrity in this film is to be expected: director Rob Marshall is a choreographer by trade. The sizzling staging of Velma's and Roxie's "Finale" is practically a Fosse quotation from beginning to end, and is razzle-dazzling beyond the stage version, via the cinematography and editing techniques that only the film medium provides.

I was prepared for a watered-down Hollywood take on the wildly popular, 6 Tony Award-winning Broadway revival, but sans the stage talents that got it there. But I actually liked the film BETTER. The film's screenplay adaptation, by Bill Condon, fleshes out the narrative to allow an emotional connection to the characters in a way that I didn't experience in the theater. The film integrates the songs to the story by cutting between an electrifying staged rendition and the 1920's Chicago world of the narrative. This technique gives the characters space for an inner emotional life thus letting the audience better connect with them.

I did have a few quibbles. The song "Class", a personal favorite, was cut, likely to keep the momentum up as we rush toward Roxie's sensational jury trial, which delivers several musical treats of its own, and is the dramatic apogee of the story. And, while I found John C. Reilly a most pathetic but sympathetic Amos, I felt that Joel Grey evoked those qualities much more effectively in his Broadway rendition of "Mr. Cellophane."

The story, while providing an opportunity for some juicy songs and sharply funny characters, is more than just eye candy. Its portrayal of cynical manipulation of the criminal justice system by creating a celebrity-hungry media circus (the raison d'etre of Richard Gere's Billy Flynn) is more than apt today. But if there's any moralizing going on here, it's with a wink and a flash of leg. Chicago is a treat.


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