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Cheaper by the Dozen (1950)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Family | April 1950 (USA)
2:19 | Trailer
"Cheaper By the Dozen", based on the real-life story of the Gilbreth family, follows them from Providence, Rhode Island to Montclair, New Jersey, and details the amusing anecdotes found in ... See full summary »


Walter Lang


Lamar Trotti (screen play), Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. (based on the novel by) | 1 more credit »





Complete credited cast:
Clifton Webb ... Frank Bunker Gilbreth
Jeanne Crain ... Ann Gilbreth
Myrna Loy ... Mrs. Lillian Gilbreth
Betty Lynn ... Deborah Lancaster
Edgar Buchanan ... Dr. Burton
Barbara Bates ... Ernestine Gilbreth
Mildred Natwick ... Mrs. Mebane
Sara Allgood ... Mrs. Monahan


"Cheaper By the Dozen", based on the real-life story of the Gilbreth family, follows them from Providence, Rhode Island to Montclair, New Jersey, and details the amusing anecdotes found in large families. Frank Gilbreth, Sr., was a pioneer in the field of motion study, and often used his family as guinea pigs (with amusing and sometimes embarrassing results). He resisted popular culture,railing against his daughters' desires for bobbed hair and cosmetics. Written by Becki Bozart <beckeye@aone.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He's the New Father of His Country!


Comedy | Drama | Family


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The drawing of the galaxy in the beach house is M-51, The Whirlpool Galaxy. See more »


During the high school dance, the band plays "Lucky Lindy," a 1929 song describing Charles A. Lindbergh's solo trans-Atlantic flight in 1927. Frank Gilbreth died in 1924 - three year's before Lindbergh's flight and five years before the song became popular. See more »


Repairman: All those kids yours mister, or is this a picnic?
Frank Gilbreth: They're all mine and believe me, it's no picnic!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: This is the true story of an American family. See more »


Referenced in Diablo III: Reaper of Souls (2014) See more »


Love's Old Sweet Song (Just a Song at Twilight)
(1884) (uncredited)
Music by J.L. Molloy
Played by the children on various instruments
See more »

User Reviews

Twelve Kids and She Still Looks Like Myrna Loy
9 August 2012 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Amusing family drama, set in the 1920's, and immensely popular on first release. No wonder, since the movie presents an idealized family portrait that goes humorously beyond the usual two or three kids. Here, of course, it's a dozen. With that many offspring, all kinds of kid hi- jinks are possible to fill out the screenplay. Nonetheless, it's the prickly Webb at the height of his popularity who dominates, along with a bemused Loy looking on. There's really no plot, just a series of ordinary family episodes centering around Mom, Dad, and the two eldest girls (Crain & Bates).

Still, there is something of a socially conservative subtext behind the scattered goings-on. Importantly, it's one that doesn't harm the generally humorous results. Take the way the family-planning lady (Natwick) is gently mocked when Dad parades his army of offspring before her. This was, after all, back in the day when contestants on quiz shows with bigger families got bigger applause. Or take the prom scene where young Tom (Hill) pointedly affirms to teen-age Ann (Crain) what her dad has already explained to her—namely, that boys only marry "good girls". This scene, however, appears aimed specifically at the audience and is a bit awkward for such an otherwise smooth production.

Despite the one scene, this is not an in-your-face subtext, but it is present and quite consonant with the times. After all, idealized families were not unusual for either movies or TV of the 50's, unlike today's often ribald variety. However, I am curious how in such a sunny movie the unexpectedly dark development suddenly occurs near the end. I guess its inclusion was to maintain the facts of the real life family on which the movie is based. At the same time, the development prevents things from getting too sentimental, always a pitfall for movies like this. Nonetheless, it is understandably passed over quickly and at a distance.

All in all, the movie remains warmly amusing, thanks mainly to another of Webb's prickly but likable characters. Then too, the kids are cute without being cutesy; at the same time, the lovely Crain looks a little long in the tooth to be playing a teenager. However, I'm still wondering how Mom can bear all of twelve kids and still look like Myrna Loy. Oh well, just another of Hollywood's enduring mysteries.

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Release Date:

April 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cheaper by the Dozen See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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