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Freaks (1932)

Not Rated | | Drama, Horror | 20 February 1932 (USA)
1:09 | Trailer
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.


Tod Browning


Clarence Aaron 'Tod' Robbins (suggested by story: "Spurs") (as Tod Robbins), Willis Goldbeck (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1,592 ( 1,742)
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »





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 ... Frieda
Rose Dione ... Madame Tetrallini
Daisy Hilton Daisy Hilton ... Siamese Twin
Violet Hilton Violet Hilton ... Siamese Twin
Schlitze ... Pin Head
Josephine Joseph ... Half Woman-Half Man
Johnny Eck Johnny Eck ... Half Boy
Frances O'Connor Frances O'Connor ... Armless Girl
Peter Robinson Peter Robinson ... Human Skeleton


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


The Strangest... The Most Startling Human Story Ever Screened... Are You Afraid To Believe What Your Eyes See? See more »


Drama | Horror


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


According to Johnny Eck, the sideshow performers started "going Hollywood" during filming. Several of them began wearing sunglasses in public, and some demanded special treatment on the set. They also argued over who was most important to the film. See more »


At 43:40 when Cleo tosses the wine at the freak, she is standing in front of him, but the wine she throws comes from the far right side of the frame. See more »


Madame Tetrallini: When I get the chance, I like to take them out into the sunlight and let them play like children. That's what most of them are, children.
Rollo Brother: [Sneers at Prince Randian and the Half Boy] Children, eh?
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Alternate Versions

Although most prints end with the revelation of what happened to Cleopatra, Turner Classic Movies shows a version which follows that scene with a happy-ending epilogue in which Hans and Frieda are reunited. This epilogue itself exists in two different versions, one with dialogue, one without. All three alternate endings are included on the Warner DVD. See more »


The Lion Chase
Music by Charles Koelling
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User Reviews

I finally found out where Joey got his inspiration...
23 December 2005 | by Twins65See all my reviews

D-U-M-B! Everyone's accusin' me!

I've been listening to The Ramones' music off and on for almost 30 years now, and despite reading and viewing tons of stuff about the band and its origins, I'd never run across how they came up with the whole "pinhead" theme.

Well, I've finally seen FREAKS, often listed as one of the great cult flicks of all time. And wouldn't you know it, the "pinheads", including "Schlitze", the inspiration for The Ramones' mascot who always came out to join the band during their live shows at the end of the Pinhead song, were in FREAKS.

The Ramones also slightly modified the "freak chant" from the wedding scene, changing "Gooble-Gobble" to "Gabba-Gabba". I guess Jeffrey Hyman (Joey Ramone) must have viewed himself as somewhat "freakish" (he did have an incredible look), and really related to the group of circus curiosities assembled for this film.

After being shelved for about three decades, FREAKS started playing again at art-house theaters in the mid-60's, and that's where Joey had to have come across it.

As far as my film review, this movie needs to be viewed. Look past the stilted acting, and soak up the message. It will stay with you for a long, long time.

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English | German | French

Release Date:

20 February 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Forbidden Love See more »


Box Office


$310,607 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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