Two sidewalk salesman enlist in the army in order to avoid jail, only to find that their drill instructor is the police officer who tried having them imprisoned.


Arthur Lubin


Arthur T. Horman (original screen play), John Grant (special material for Abbott and Costello)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Bud Abbott ... Slicker Smith
Lou Costello ... Herbie Brown
Lee Bowman ... Randolph Parker III
Jane Frazee ... Judy Gray
Alan Curtis ... Bob Martin
Nat Pendleton ... Sgt. Michael Collins
The Andrews Sisters ... The Andrews Sisters
Laverne Andrews ... Laverne Andrews
Maxene Andrews ... Maxene Andrews
Patty Andrews ... Patty Andrews
Samuel S. Hinds ... Major General Emerson
Harry Strang ... Sgt. Callahan
Nella Walker ... Mrs. Parker II
Leonard Elliott Leonard Elliott ... Henry
Shemp Howard ... Chef


Bud and Lou enlist in the army in order to escape being hauled off to jail, and soon find themselves in basic training. To their dismay, the company's drill instructor is none other than the cop who was all set to run them off to the hoosegow in the first place! The boys end up having a whale of a time getting under the skin of their humourless nemesis. Written by Alfred Jingle

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


...and 24 world-champion boogie-woogie boys and beauties! (original poster) See more »


Comedy | Musical | War


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Received Academy Award Nominations for Best Song ("Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy") and Best Score. See more »


Accustomed to performing for live audiences, Abbott & Costello "never did anything the same way twice," as editor Philip Cahn complained. "No two takes were exactly the same," said director Arthur Lubin. Continuity errors were almost inevitable. See more »


Slicker Smith: Throw your chest out! Go on! Throw your chest out!
Herbie Brown: I'm not through with it yet!
Slicker Smith: Quiet!
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Referenced in Psych: An Evening with Mr. Yang (2009) See more »


You're a Lucky Fellow, Mr. Smith
Lyrics by Don Raye
Music by Hugh Prince and Sonny Burke
Performed by The Andrews Sisters (uncredited)
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User Reviews

Bud & Lou's stars-making vehicle
28 February 2003 | by george.schmidtSee all my reviews

BUCK PRIVATES (1941) **** Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in their first starring film (their debut in "One Night in the Tropics" were supporting comic foils) catapulted them into the stratosphere of movie stardom as the premiere comedy team of the 1940s and this film was the lifesaver for their home studio Universal which was precariously close to bankruptcy until the release of this comic masterpiece with the boys in over their heads as unknowing volunteers in the US Army. Uproariously funny particularly their drill instruction scenes with Bud and Lou improvising ("What time is it?" "None of your business!") Look for frequent co-stars the musical singing siblings The Andrews Sisters (who sing the smash "The Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy") and also look for Shemp Howard, of The Three Stooges, in the mess sequence with Lou.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

31 January 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Buck Privates See more »


Box Office


$245,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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