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On the Town (1949)

Three sailors on a day of shore leave in New York City look for fun and romance before their twenty-four hours are up.


Adolph Green (screenplay), Betty Comden (screenplay) | 3 more credits »

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Gene Kelly ... Gabey
Frank Sinatra ... Chip
Betty Garrett ... Brunhilde Esterhazy
Ann Miller ... Claire Huddesen
Jules Munshin ... Ozzie
Vera-Ellen ... Ivy Smith
Florence Bates ... Mme. Dilyovska
Alice Pearce ... Lucy Shmeeler
George Meader George Meader ... Professor


Three sailors - Gabey, Chip and Ozzie - let loose on a 24-hour pass in New York and the Big Apple will never be the same! Gabey falls head over heels for "Miss Turnstiles of the Month" (he thinks she's a high society deb when she's really a 'cooch dancer at Coney Island); innocent Chip gets highjacked (literally) by a lady cab driver; and Ozzie becomes the object of interest of a gorgeous anthropologist who thinks he's the perfect example of a "prehistoric man". Wonderful music and terrific shots of New York at its best. Written by A.L.Beneteau <albl@inforamp.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Come On, Everybody, Let's Go On the Town! See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

30 December 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Un día en Nueva York See more »


Box Office


$2,111,250 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This was the first musical feature film to be shot on location. In a TCM interview, Ann Miller took the credit for pleading and persuading Louis B. Mayer to do the shoot on location as she had "never seen New York". See more »


When they are brought to a corner of the crowded night club, they are sitting at a round table. Next to them is a round table that has a burning candle stick. A girl is being swung around over them, blowing out the candle. When the 6 actors decide to get up and join them the candle which had previously been burned out is now lit and has a hurricane glass over it. See more »


Claire Huddesen: [singing] Some guys care a lot for me. But my excitement they can't fan. Because I still await my primitive mate. We have a date... since the world began, my prehistoric man...!
[dancing with Ozzie]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Before the actual credits the film opens with an embossed card on a silver dish, reading: "A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Silver Anniversary Picture." Most of the studio's 1949 releases opened with this. See more »


Featured in The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast: Frank Sinatra (1978) See more »


Prehistoric Man
Music by Roger Edens
Lyrics by Adolph Green and Betty Comden
Sung by Ann Miller
Danced by Ann Miller, Jules Munshin, Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Betty Garrett
See more »

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User Reviews

Even If You Hate Musicals, You'll Love This Movie
8 July 2010 | by PutzbergerSee all my reviews

because it's just a big, silly MGM confection with no (okay, very few) pretenses towards art. Three sailors on shore leave in New York meet three girls. That's the entire plot. However, two of those sailors are a couple of the 20th century's greatest entertainers, Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, so MGM builds an extravaganza around them complete with ballet sequences, love duets and then-current digs at popular culture (you might have to explain the dinosaur/Dinah Shore joke to younger children). Along for the ride are some venerable MGM contract players like Vera-Ellen and Ann Miller, not to mention a couple of future TV sitcom wacky neighbors, Alice Pearce (the paranoid Gladys Kravitz from "Bewitched") and Betty Garrett (the liberated Irene Lorenzo from "All in the Family"). How can you lose? It's easy to loathe Gene Kelly. He's smarmy and egotistical (those massive close-ups in "Singin' in the Rain" remain scorched onto my retinas) but he's also a great dancer and a brilliant choreographer, and here co-director Stanely Donen manages to keep his personality flaws in check. In "On the Town" he plays Gabey, an Iowa hick, and his unusual willingness to not be the smartest guy in the room makes him much more tolerable. Kelly spends a big chunk of his shore leave tracking down Vera-Ellen, whose image on a subway poster inspires a comic fantasy sequence. When he finally meets her, the rest of the cast spends a lot of time and money protecting him from the truth, which is that she's a two-bit hoofer and not a celebrity. Sinatra plays Gabey's buddy Chip, another wide-eyed yokel in the big city. Frankie doesn't create much of a character, but he looks pretty and sounds great so it doesn't really matter. Ol' Blue Eyes hooks up with Garrett, a lady cab driver (scandal!) with average looks but great comic timing. She's also blessed with a decent singing voice and a hysterically frumpy roommate played by Pearce. The third singing sailor is Jules Munshin as lovable big lug Ozzie, who provides adequate but unnecessary comic relief and is mightily upstaged by his romantic interest, the very funny, sexy, and graceful Ann Miller as manic rich girl Claire. Miller was such a mega-talent that she was impossible to classify -- she could sing, dance, act and tell jokes -- and that very versatility might have kept her from becoming a bigger star. But she's magnificent here, outshining her better-known co-stars with bits like the hysterical "Prehistoric Man" number ("Bearskin! Bearskin! I love bearskin!").

So that's the plot, which is, of course, tertiary to the song and dance. Leonard Bernstein composed the score, and some of the songs are magnificent -- here Sinatra takes on a "New York, New York" with a rousing chorus and silky verse that's far superior to the plodding nursery rhyme he would popularize in the 70s. Frankie's love duet with Garrett, "You're Awful," is a riot, and the title song is nice and lively. Kelly warbles a couple of dirges but they're blessedly short. The dancing, when it's integrated with the plot, is loads of fun but Kelly stops the action cold for a ballet sequence called "Three Sailors and a Girl," which is dull, but to its credit nowhere near as disruptive or self-indulgent as the "Broadway Melody" number from "Singin' in the Rain." (To its debit, it doesn't have Cyd Charisse and those six-foot legs of hers.) So pop this one in the DVD player and enjoy.

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