Due to his insistence that he has an invisible six foot-tall rabbit for a best friend, a whimsical middle-aged man is thought by his family to be insane - but he may be wiser than anyone knows.

Director:

Henry Koster

Writers:

Mary Chase (from the Pulitzer Prize Play by), Mary Chase (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Wallace Ford ... Ellis Logfren, The Taxi Driver
William H. Lynn ... Judge Omar Gaffney (as William Lynn)
Victoria Horne ... Myrtle Mae Simmons
Jesse White ... Martin Wilson
Cecil Kellaway ... Dr. William Chumley
Charles Drake ... Dr. Raymond Sanderson
Peggy Dow ... Miss Kelly
Josephine Hull ... Veta Louise Dowd Simmons
James Stewart ... Elwood P. Dowd
Nana Bryant ... Mrs. Hazel Chumley
Grayce Mills ... Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet (as Grace Mills)
Clem Bevans ... Mr. Herman Shimelplatzer
Harvey ... Harvey
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gino Corrado ... Eccentric Man (scenes deleted)
Jack Curtis ... Undetermined Secondary Role (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

The classic stage hit gets the Hollywood treatment in the story of Elwood P. Dowd who makes friends with a spirit taking the form of a human-sized rabbit named Harvey that only he sees (and a few privileged others on occasion also.) After his sister tries to commit him to a mental institution, a comedy of errors ensues. Elwood and Harvey become the catalysts for a family mending its wounds and for romance blossoming in unexpected places. Written by Dale Roloff

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Wonderful Pulitzer Prize Play... becomes one of the Great Motion Pictures of our Time!

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although Josephine Hull played James Stewart's sister in the film, she was 31 years his senior in real life. See more »

Goofs

After Wilson has a scuffle with patrons in Charlie's they return to the booth and there were four drinks on the table. Stewart's character had ordered and the bar keep had brought only three. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mailman: Is this 348?
Elwood P. Dowd: Yes, it is.
Mailman: I gotta special delivery here.
Elwood P. Dowd: Oh, that sounds interesting.
Mailman: It's for Dowd.
Elwood P. Dowd: Dowd. Dowd's my name. Elwood P. Let me give you one of my cards.
Mailman: That won't be necessary sir. Just, eh, sign right here. Beautiful day.
Elwood P. Dowd: Oh, every day's a beautiful day.
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Crazy Credits

At the very end Harvey opens a door and the words at the bottom of the screen say "Harvey as Himself." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz No. 1 in D-Flat Major, Op. 64, Minute Waltz
(uncredited)
Music by Frédéric Chopin
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User Reviews

 
The importance of kindness
13 December 2017 | by gbill-74877See all my reviews

"In this world, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." So says Elwood P. Dowd (Jimmy Stewart), a character who combines the gentle temperament of the Dalai Lama with the martini intake of Frank Sinatra. He also seems a bit crazy, seeing as his pal is an invisible 6'3½" rabbit named Harvey, and happily introduces him to everyone he meets. While he seems harmless, his sister (Josephine Hull) wants to commit him to a sanitarium, and in a comedy of errors, gets locked up herself. From there it's a series of screwball moments, with the hospital staff trying to track down Elwood, and him oblivious to it all.

The film is a little bit of indictment of the mental health industry, with one doctor (Lyman Sanderson) jumping to harebrained conclusions and an orderly (Jesse White) aggressively putting his hands on people. He alludes to having had to take the corset off of Hull's character while stripping her, a fact that intrigues her daughter (Victoria Horne), in one creepy and awkward scene. Horne at 39 was far too old for the role (Jimmy Stewart, playing her uncle, was 42), and scenes with her and White are the low points of the film.

If it seems like just another goofball comedy in the first half, stay with it and let Elwood Dowd's benevolence sink in. He engages everyone he meets in real conversation, cares about them, and almost always invites them over to his house for dinner or for drinks. He does that not out of politeness, but actually wants and expects them to show up. The character is quite endearing, and Stewart's performance is nuanced and brilliant. In this screwball comedy, there is a real message of the importance of simple kindness, and it's delivered in a subtle way.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish | Latin

Release Date:

21 December 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Harvey See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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