14 user 7 critic

Anything Goes (1936)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Musical | 24 January 1936 (USA)
A young man falls in love with a beautiful blonde. When he sees her being forced onto a luxury liner, he decides to follow and rescue her. However, he discovers that she is an English ... See full summary »


Lewis Milestone


Guy Bolton (play), P.G. Wodehouse (play)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Bing Crosby ... Billy Crocker
Ethel Merman ... Reno Sweeney
Charles Ruggles ... Moonface Martin
Ida Lupino ... Hope Harcourt
Grace Bradley ... Bonnie LeTour
Arthur Treacher ... Sir Evelyn Oakleigh
Robert McWade ... Elisha J. Whitney
Richard Carle ... Bishop Dobson
Margaret Dumont ... Mrs. Wentworth
Jerry Tucker ... Junior
Matt Moore ... Capt. McPhail
Edward Gargan ... Detective
Matt McHugh Matt McHugh ... Detective
Budd Fine Budd Fine ... Pug-Ugly
The Avalon Boys The Avalon Boys ... Quartet


A young man falls in love with a beautiful blonde. When he sees her being forced onto a luxury liner, he decides to follow and rescue her. However, he discovers that she is an English heiress who ran away from home and is now being returned to England. He also discovers that his boss is on the ship. To avoid discovery, he disguises himself as the gangster accomplice of a minister, who is actually a gangster on the run from the law. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's The Top! See more »


Comedy | Musical


Not Rated






Release Date:

24 January 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tops Is the Limit See more »


Box Office


$1,100,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The original Broadway stage production of "Anything Goes" opened at the Alvin Theater in New York City on November 21, 1934 starring Ethel Merman and ran for 420 performances. See more »


During "Sailor Beware," there is a shot of deckhands strumming guitars at a much faster tempo than the song itself, suggesting that it's stock footage from another film. See more »


[first lines]
Reno Sweeney: [singing] In olden days a glimpse of stocking / Was looked on as something shocking, / Now, Heaven knows, / Anything goes!
[as she sings the words "anything goes", the title of the film appears onscreen]
See more »


Referenced in De-Lovely (2004) See more »


"There'll Always Be A Lady Fair
by Cole Porter
Sung by the Avalon Boys Quartet
See more »

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User Reviews

Has a few disappointing elements, but also very enjoyable
18 September 2016 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

'Anything Goes' has always been one of my favourite Cole Porter musicals. The songs are some of his most memorable and catchy and the lyrics some of his cleverest.

This screen adaptation is slightly disappointing but also with plenty to enjoy. It is not among the best screen adaptations of his work (i.e. 'Kiss Me Kate') but not one of the weakest either (i.e. 'Can-Can'). The story is very lightweight and even more flimsy, and the grand production finale is a little overblown, the more lavish production values not quite meshing with the slightly less cinematic look where some lacking-in-finesse editing can be seen.

Porter's songs are simply wonderful and brilliantly sung by Ethel Merman and Bing Crosby, but did deserve better treatment. There are some glaring omissions and lyric changes to accommodate the censors meaning that the risqué naughtiness that made Porter's lyrics so clever is swapped for tamer and safer writing and, as much as one tries to judge on its own feet, it just doesn't feel the same.

However, apart from the editing it is a good-looking film, not lavish but nicely photographed in black and white and attractive enough costumes and sets. The music is wonderful, even with the changes and not quite feeling like Porter, and the choreography is never cluttered or leaden. The script is clever and witty, with some pleasing humour, and it's all solidly directed.

Nothing to fault with the performances. It is very easy to see why Merman was a triumph in her role here on Broadway, belting out powerfully in the title song (one of Porter's most famous classics for very good reason), "You're the Top" and particularly "I Get a Kick Out of You", the latter being the highlight of the film. Crosby looks relaxed and is charming, while Ida Lupino radiates in beauty and charisma and Charles Ruggles enjoys himself enormously.

To conclude, so much to enjoy but full potential is not quite met. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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