7.9/10
37,246
260 user 204 critic

Freaks (1932)

A circus' beautiful trapeze artist agrees to marry the leader of side-show performers, but his deformed friends discover she is only marrying him for his inheritance.

Director:

Tod Browning

Writers:

Clarence Aaron 'Tod' Robbins (suggested by story: "Spurs") (as Tod Robbins), Willis Goldbeck (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
4,071 ( 1,160)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Dracula (1931)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina.

Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners
Frankenstein (1931)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An obsessed scientist assembles a living being from parts of exhumed corpses.

Director: James Whale
Stars: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.

Director: James Whale
Stars: Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive
Nosferatu (1922)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence and real estate agent Hutter's wife.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Max Schreck, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim
Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders.

Director: Robert Wiene
Stars: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher
King Kong (1933)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A film crew goes to a tropical island for an exotic location shoot and discovers a colossal ape who takes a shine to their female blonde star. He is then captured and brought back to New York City for public exhibition.

Directors: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack
Stars: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A surgeon causes an accident which leaves his daughter disfigured, and goes to extremes to give her a new face.

Director: Georges Franju
Stars: Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli, Juliette Mayniel
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A mad, disfigured composer seeks love with a lovely young opera singer.

Directors: Rupert Julian, Lon Chaney, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry
Vampyr (1932)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A drifter obsessed with the supernatural stumbles upon an inn where a severely ill adolescent girl is slowly becoming a vampire.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
Stars: Julian West, Maurice Schutz, Rena Mandel
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A scientist finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doing so, he becomes murderously insane.

Director: James Whale
Stars: Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, William Harrigan
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Wallace Ford ... Phroso
Leila Hyams ... Venus
Olga Baclanova ... Cleopatra
Roscoe Ates ... Roscoe (as Rosco Ates)
Henry Victor ... Hercules
Harry Earles ... Hans
Daisy Earles Daisy Earles ... Frieda
Rose Dione Rose Dione ... Madame Tetrallini
Daisy Hilton Daisy Hilton ... Siamese Twin
Violet Hilton Violet Hilton ... Siamese Twin
Schlitze Schlitze ... Himself
Josephine Joseph ... Half Woman-Half Man
Johnny Eck Johnny Eck ... Half Boy
Frances O'Connor Frances O'Connor ... Armless Girl
Peter Robinson ... Human Skeleton
Edit

Storyline

A circus trapeze artist, Cleopatra, takes an interest in Hans, a midget who works in the circus sideshow. Her interest however is in the money Hans will be inheriting and she is actually carrying on an affair with another circus performer, Hercules. Hans's fiancée does her best to convince him that he is being used but to no avail. At their wedding party, a drunken Cleopatra tells the sideshow freaks just what she thinks of them. Together, the freaks decide to make her one of their own. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Fury of the Freaks against a Woman who stole a Midget's Love! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | French

Release Date:

20 February 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Forbidden Love See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$310,607 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

During filming, director Tod Browning was plagued with dreams in which Johnny Eck and a pinhead would keep bringing a cow in backward through a doorway in the middle of shoots. See more »

Goofs

During the scene in which Hans' friends menace Cleopatra in the wagon, the flute soundtrack doesn't match the finger movements of the dwarf playing the flute. See more »

Quotes

Cleopatra: [Invites Hercules into her circus wagon for a meal. Picks up an egg] How many?
Hercules: Oh, I'm not very hungry. About six.
Cleopatra: [Hands on her hips, chest out] How do you like them?
Hercules: Not... bad.
[Grabs her]
Cleopatra: Oh, you are strong. You are squeezing me to death.
Hercules: And you'll like it!
Cleopatra: Oh, you are taking my breath away.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Reissue prints included a two-and-a-half minute written prologue about historical interpretations and contemporary studies of "misshapen misfits." These same prints remove the MGM Lion (the studio having disowned the film for many years). See more »

Connections

Featured in American Grindhouse (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Memphis the Majestic
(uncredited)
Music by Russell Alexander
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
"Living, Breathing Monstrosities.."
9 August 2004 | by Tom_Powers30See all my reviews

Those that have seen either 1930's gangster film, "The Public Enemy" or "Little Caesar" will be familiar with the opening scrawl of the amazing film, "Freaks." In the 1930's it seemed as though the filmmakers had to set up the audience or apologize, in a way, for what they were about to see. The opening, before the title card, explains how "freaks" or human oddities have been treated by society. It tells how such deformed people were shunned from society, but, how they have normal thoughts and feelings just like the rest of us. This truly is the power of this truly moving, funny, very strange, and ultimately frightening film from the "Dark Carnival" mind of director Tod Browning...

No reason to do a summary here, that ruins the experience for new audiences to discover on their own and the rest of the reviewers have all ready done a stellar job, I'm sure, of giving plot synopsis.

Let's say that the average viewer will be stunned at first by the fact that real deformed dwarfs, midgets,siamese twins, and other "oddities" were the actors in this film. And that, in itself, lends the film its mysterious power and casts its spell on the viewer as much now in 2004 as I'm sure it did in the 30's and upon its rediscovery in the 1960's.

The tone of this film varies throughout. At it's center really are several relationships: Hans and his fiancée; Hans and the "Big" Lady, Cleopatra; Frozo the Clown and Venus; Hercules the strong man and Cleopatra, and of course the "Freaks" vs. Hercules and Cleopatra and the special code of the Freaks.

There are several lame 1930's jokes an example: "I thinks she likes you, b-b-b-but h-he don't!" stutters a clown in the circus when the half male/female character walks by Hercules and stops to take a gander. It's a strange, perverse joke and an example of what you're in for with this movie.

The power of the film is within the freaks themselves. We are invited to gawk, stare, but, ultimately sympathize with them. We want to see anyone who threatens them get their comeuppance and boy do they ever get that!

The freak that will freak you out the most: The Living Torso, Radian.

You'll love Frozo and Venus and pull for them throughout.

You'll root for Hans and Frida.

You'll enjoy Rosco the clown's humorous performance.

You'll be truly disturbed by the classic; uber-horror scene of the freaks crawling with knives in the mud in the rain-storm revenge sequence toward the end. Some of the most classic images in all of film not just horror.

I love it when Hans calls other "big" people in the circus who make him angry : "Swine!" He rules.

When the title card: THE WEDDING FEAST comes up you too will be truly FREAKED out! I love this movie and it has quickly become one of my favorites of all time right along-side 1930's classics like Dracula, Frankenstein, etc.


61 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 260 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed