Domestic and professional tensions mount when a husband and wife work as opposing lawyers in a case involving a woman who shot her husband.


George Cukor


Ruth Gordon (screen play), Garson Kanin (screen play)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Spencer Tracy ... Adam Bonner
Katharine Hepburn ... Amanda Bonner
Judy Holliday ... Doris Attinger
Tom Ewell ... Warren Attinger
David Wayne ... Kip Lurie
Jean Hagen ... Beryl Caighn
Hope Emerson ... Olympia La Pere
Eve March ... Grace
Clarence Kolb ... Judge Reiser
Emerson Treacy ... Jules Frikke
Polly Moran ... Mrs. McGrath
Will Wright ... Judge Marcasson
Elizabeth Flournoy Elizabeth Flournoy ... Dr. Margaret Brodeigh


When a woman attempts to kill her uncaring husband, prosecutor Adam Bonner gets the case. Unfortunately for him his wife Amanda (who happens to be a lawyer too) decides to defend the woman in court. Amanda uses everything she can to win the case and Adam gets mad about it. As a result, their perfect marriage is disturbed by everyday quarrels... Written by Chris Makrozahopoulos <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It's The Hilarious Answer To Who Wears The Pants! See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »


When Adam is "lifted" in the courtroom by the circus woman, the wires that actually lift him are plainly visible, even on a TV screen. They continue to be visible as he is lowered down. See more »


Adam Bonner: I'm right and you're wrong.
Amanda Bonner: Worthless, corrupt, mean, rotten, dirty, contemptible, little, petty, gruesome, contemptible...
Adam Bonner: You said all that before.
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits are little curtains that go up and down, on a stage in a performance hall. See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »


Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Comedy Movies: 1940s (2014) See more »


Farewell, Amanda
Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
Played during the opening credits and often in the score
Sung by David Wayne (uncredited), accompanying himself on the piano
Reprised by the voice of Frank Sinatra (uncredited) on the radio
Whistled by Katharine Hepburn (uncredited)
Sung a cappella by Spencer Tracy (uncredited)
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User Reviews

Hepburn and Tracy at their best - which is saying a lot
6 April 2019 | by proud_ludditeSee all my reviews

Adam and Amanda Bonner (Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn) are married New York lawyers (prosecuting and defense respectively) who end up opposing each other in an attempted murder case: Doris Attinger (Judy Holliday) attempted to kill her husband (Tom Ewell) and his mistress (Jean Hagen), injuring her husband in the process. Amanda believes there is a double standard in adultery cases like this one where cases are most often dismissed when men do what Doris did.

There are many ways this film seems ahead of its time. The screenplay by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin openly challenges sexist attitudes at a time when, presumably, such attitudes were unquestionably part of the collective DNA. The ridiculous antics of media during the court sequences is also a reflection of what would be to come - or perhaps media circuses were already a sadly regular part of life seven decades ago.

The otherwise sharp script gets too out of hand in scenes where Amanda's courtroom shenanigans are over the top. While she is right to challenge double standards, her stand seems to be that two wrongs make a right. It also seems that the screenplay leans toward this viewpoint which shows weakness.

But director George Cukor keeps things lively with his superb cast especially the two leads who are brilliant individually and as a pair. Hepburn is at her energetic best, firing out words a mile a minute while still being fully articulate. (Many of today's mumbling actors should take note.) And Tracy more than holds his own against the fireball. Even if the story doesn't fully support his character, he makes his point clear and then some.

This is mostly a comedy and a very successful one at that. One of the lighter moments include a dinner party in which the Bonners show a home-movie of their farm home in Connecticut. During this sequence, David Wayne is quite funny as an annoying neighbour who has the hots for Amanda. And Holliday is quite funny during an interview scene with her defense lawyer, Amanda. - dbamateurcritic

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS: Acting by Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

18 November 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Man and Wife See more »

Filming Locations:

Newtown, Connecticut, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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