160 user 109 critic

Sullivan's Travels (1941)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Comedy, Drama | 6 February 1942 (USA)
1:51 | Trailer
A Hollywood director, John L Sullivan, sets out to experience life as a poor, homeless person in order to gain relevant life experience for his next movie.


Preston Sturges


Preston Sturges
2 wins. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Joel McCrea ... John L. Sullivan
Veronica Lake ... The Girl
Robert Warwick ... Mr. LeBrand
William Demarest ... Mr. Jones
Franklin Pangborn ... Mr. Casalsis
Porter Hall ... Mr. Hadrian
Byron Foulger ... Mr. Valdelle
Margaret Hayes ... Secretary
Robert Greig ... Sullivan's Butler
Eric Blore ... Sullivan's Valet
Torben Meyer ... The Doctor
Victor Potel ... Cameraman
Richard Webb ... Radio Man
Charles R. Moore ... Colored Chef (as Charles Moore)
Almira Sessions ... Ursula


Sullivan is a successful, spoiled, and naive director of fluff films, with a heart-o-gold, who decides he wants to make a film about the troubles of the downtrodden poor. Much to the chagrin of his producers, he sets off in tramp's clothing with a single dime in his pocket to experience poverty first-hand, and gets some reality shock. Written by Bob Doolittle <Bob.Doolittle@east.sun.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Happy-Go Lucky Hitch-Hiker on the Highway to happiness! He wanted to see the world . . . but wound up in Lover's Lane! See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. Its earliest documented telecast took place in Milwaukee Thursday 9 April 1959 on WITI (Channel 6), followed by Seattle 24 April 1959 on KIRO (Channel 7), by Phoenix 24 May 1959 on KVAR (Channel 12), by Pittsburgh 11 September 1959 on KDKA (Channel 2), by Detroit 6 December 1959 on WJBK (Channel 2), by Indianapolis 19 July 1960 on WFBM (Channel 6), and, finally, by New York City 25 August 1960 on WCBS (Channel 2). It was released on DVD 21 August 2001 and again 6 March 2012 as part of the Criterion Collection and also 21 November 2006 as one of seven titles in Universal's Preston Sturges: The Filmmaker Collection and . Since that time, it's also enjoyed frequent cable TV airings on Turner Classic Movies. See more »


When the supposedly unconscious Sullivan is being pulled by the bum who hit him into an empty boxcar, you can see Joel McCrea push himself along with his foot, apparently because the other man is not strong enough to drag him. See more »


John L. Sullivan: It's a funny thing how everything keeps shoving me back to Hollywood or Beverly Hills, or this monstrosity we're riding in. Almost like, like gravity as if some force were saying, 'Get back where you belong. You don't belong out here in real life, you phony you.!'... Maybe there's a universal law that says, 'Stay put. As you are, so shall you remain.' Maybe that's why tramps are always in trouble. They don't vote. They don't pay taxes. They violate the law of nature... But nothing is gonna stop...
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Crazy Credits

The Paramount logo appears as a seal on a package.

The package is opened to reveal a book with the film title on it and the opening credits appear on pages in the book. See more »


Featured in Hollywood Mavericks (1990) See more »


Light Cavalry Overture
Written by Franz von Suppé (uncredited)
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User Reviews

Outstanding Film
9 May 2006 | by IncalculacableSee all my reviews

"I want this to be a picture of dignity... a true canvas of the suffering of humanity... but with a little sex in it!" Sullivan's Travels is a delightful, intelligent, satirical witty comedy mocking Hollywood. It is about a big time Hollywood director (played by Joel McCrea) who is absolutely sick and tired of making the hum-drum, silly comedies: "Hey-Hey in the Hay" and "Ants in Your Pants of 1938". Instead, he wants to make something different...an important, relevant, socially relevant drama about poverty. When he realizes he knows nothing about THAT sort of life, he sets out with 10 cents in his pocket and finds out what it's really like. Along the way, he meets Veronica Lake - who plays "The Girl". She is a discouraged aspiring actress getting no where and on the verge of leaving town. Despite her own bad luck, she takes pity on the hobo Sullivan and buys him breakfast. When she eventually finds out his true identity, she insists on accompanying him on the road due to his inexperience at such a lifestyle. Lake does a great job of the dry co-star. She's not the greatest actress but she does justice to the part and offers a bit of eye candy for the viewers in contrast. She is a joy to watch on screen, that's for sure! I want to see more of her movies.

Sullivan's Travels is a very funny film with the appeal of Lake, witty comedy and a true underlying message. It is all this whilst still perfectly "taking the mickey" out of Hollywood's (often lame) attempts at making a movie with a message. A movie which can be watched by all - essential for those lovers of classic cinema.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

6 February 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sullivan's Travels See more »


Box Office


$689,665 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


| (TV premiere)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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