The descendent of a ghost imprisoned for cowardice hopes to free the spirit by displaying courage when under duress.


Jules Dassin, Norman Z. McLeod (uncredited)


Oscar Wilde (story "The Canterville Ghost"), Edwin Blum (screenplay) (as Edwin Harvey Blum)
1 win. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Laughton ... Sir Simon de Canterville / The Ghost
Robert Young ... Cuffy Williams
Margaret O'Brien ... Lady Jessica de Canterville
William Gargan ... Sergeant Benson
Reginald Owen ... Lord Canterville
Rags Ragland ... Big Harry (as 'Rags' Ragland)
Una O'Connor ... Mrs. Umney
Donald Stuart ... Sir Valentine Williams
Elisabeth Risdon ... Mrs. Polverdine
Frank Faylen ... Lieutenant Kane
Lumsden Hare ... Mr. Potts
Mike Mazurki ... Metropolus
William Moss William Moss ... Hector
Bobby Readick Bobby Readick ... Eddie
Marc Cramer ... Bugsy McDougle


In the 1600s, cowardly Sir Simon of Canterville flees a duel and seeks solace in the family castle. His ashamed father seals him in the room where he is hiding and dooms him to life as a ghost until one of his descendants performs a brave deed. Simon believes he may be saved when he meets Cuffy Williams, an American kinsman stationed with a troop of soldiers at the castle in 1943. Will this blood relative save the family honor, or will his blood be as yellow as the rest of the Cantervilles? Written by Daniel Bubbeo <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The New Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Hit! See more »


Comedy | Fantasy


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The bomb that Cuffy and the ghost want to dispose of was known as a "blockbuster". So-called because it was so powerful it could demolish more than a dozen buildings i.e. a city block. See more »


The Canterville mark on Cuffy's (Robert Young) neck appears and disappears throughout the movie. See more »


Sir Simon de Canterville: I have roamed these halls for three centuries and I am so tired. If only I could rest...
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Version of Spöket på Canterville (1962) See more »


Bless 'em All
Written by Fred Godfrey (1917)
Revised lyrics by Jimmy Hughes and Frank Lake (1940)
Additional lyrics by Al Stillman (1941)
Sung a cappella by the soldiers
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User Reviews

An Entertaining Ghost Story
26 March 2007 | by sddavis63See all my reviews

The veteran Charles Laughton and a very young Robert Young team up in this entertaining fantasy about the ghost of Simon de Canterville - condemned to haunt the halls of his family's castle until a descendant performs an act of bravery on his behalf. What's the catch? Simon was condemned by his own father for being a coward, and the Canterville line ever since has been a long line of cowards. (The greatest irony of the movie is that Simon has developed a reputation as the most fearsome ghost in all of England!) Finding a hero among this family won't be easy. Then along comes Cuffy Williams (Young), an American soldier whose platoon is billeted in the castle during the lead-up to D-Day. It turns out that Williams is a very distant descendant of the Cantervilles, and D-Day, of course, will provide the ultimate opportunity to show his bravery and to release Simon from his torment. The question is whether he'll be able to work up the courage to do it!

Laughton and Young offer excellent performances, and the very young Margaret O'Brien (who would have been about 7 when this was made) is convincing as Lady Jessica de Canterville. Some of the scenes as the American soldiers try to chase down the ghost to get a picture of him to prove that he exists to their commanding officer are also quite funny. 8/10

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

August 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Canterville Ghost See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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