113 user 47 critic

Adam's Rib (1949)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 18 November 1949 (USA)
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 <makzax@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Funniest Picture in 10 Years! See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Ranked #7 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Romantic Comedy" in June 2008. See more »


Midway through the trial, Kip uses the Bonner's piano to play an early version of a new song he's writing that is in such rough shape, it doesn't have complete lyrics. Yet shortly afterward - and long before the trial is over - the song has already been recorded, played on the radio and is reportedly a big hit. See more »


Kip Lurie: [to Adam] What have you been eating, raspberry jam or Amanda's face?
See more »

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 »


You Are My Lucky Star
(1935) (uncredited)
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Whistled by Tom Ewell
See more »

User Reviews

Not as dramatic, engaging or funny as has been suggested but the lead pair make it well worth seeing
29 May 2005 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Adam and Amanda Bonner are happily married, despite the sparky nature of their relationship. Lawyers each, both are interested in a newspaper report of a woman who shot (but not killed) her husband when she discovered him in the arms of another woman. The Bonner's take differing views of the case and it is no surprise that Adam ends up prosecuting while Amanda is Doris Attinger's defence counsel. With the gloves off in the courtroom with a legal battle of sexual equality, it is no surprise that the conflict and disagreements don't end at the front door and soon it is all kicking off.

The issue of sexual equality may have moved on from where it was in the middle of the last century but this film occasionally hits an interesting point, even if the majority of it is fairly shallow and a bit unconvincing in terms of legal argument. Without really engaging me, the film still held my interest as the story developed and it was fairly enjoyable even if it couldn't settle on whether or not it is a comedy or a courtroom "issue" drama; as it was I didn't think it did either brilliantly but did both well enough to make it work. I did expect more laughs because I thought it was going to be one of the screwball genre, but once I realised that it was more amusing than funny then I was able to settle into it.

One of the main reasons that the film has continued to last down the years is the chemistry between Tracy and Hepburn. Both are convincing as a couple in terms of romance, attrition, chemistry and other aspects of their relationship on screen. Tracy is tetchy and enjoyable but Hepburn is more than a match for him and she does it with style and real humour. Support is good from Holliday as well as Wayne's annoying neighbour. Mainly though it is Tracy and Hepburn's movie and they more than carry it between them.

Overall though this is not quite the classic that I had hoped it would be but it still did enough to make it work today. The courtroom stuff is not as dramatic or as relevant as it may have once been and the comedy is more of the sharp variety than the laugh-out-loud sort; however the chemistry between the lead two keeps it going and makes it worth seeing still.

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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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