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The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)

The dramatic lives of trapeze artists, a clown, and an elephant trainer are told against a background of circus spectacle.

Director:

Cecil B. DeMille

Writers:

Fredric M. Frank (screenplay), Barré Lyndon (screenplay) | 4 more credits »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Betty Hutton ... Holly
Cornel Wilde ... The Great Sebastian
Charlton Heston ... Brad Braden
Dorothy Lamour ... Phyllis
Gloria Grahame ... Angel
Henry Wilcoxon ... FBI Agent Gregory
Lyle Bettger ... Klaus
Lawrence Tierney ... Mr. Henderson
Emmett Kelly ... Emmett Kelly
Cucciola Cucciola ... Cucciola
Antoinette Concello Antoinette Concello ... Antoinette Concello
John Ringling North John Ringling North ... John Ringling North
Tuffy Genders Tuffy Genders ... Tuffy Genders
John Kellogg ... Harry
John Ridgely ... Assistant Manager
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Storyline

To ensure a full profitable season, circus manager Brad Braden engages The Great Sebastian, though this moves his girlfriend Holly from her hard-won center trapeze spot. Holly and Sebastian begin a dangerous one-upmanship duel in the ring, while he pursues her on the ground. Subplots involve the secret past of Buttons the Clown and the efforts of racketeers to move in on the game concessions. Let the show begin! Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Incomparable! Incredible! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Family | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

May 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth See more »

Filming Locations:

Cedar City, Utah, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$36,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The deceased wife of Buttons the Clown is named Florence. Her name can be seen multiple times in the newspaper article that Holly reads. See more »

Goofs

When Mickey Mouse and other Walt Disney characters walk around the ring, the band plays the song "It's A Hap-Hap-Happy Day" from Gulliver's Travels, which was released by Paramount, not Disney. See more »

Quotes

[Phyllis is having her hair washed by Birdie as heart-throb Sebastian approaches;]
Phyllis: Why is it whenever he's around I'm all wet?
Birdie: In more ways than one.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Here's Lucy: Lucy and Carol Burnett (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Yankee Doodle
(ca. 1755) (uncredited)
Traditional music of English origin
Played as the crowd arrives at the last circus set-up
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I like this one
7 November 2006 | by wade1555See all my reviews

I have seen this film several times and each time I am more impressed. I don't look at a film to rate the acting, but rather I look at a film for its entertainment qualities. This film shows a behind-the-scenes look into circus life that most people would never have a chance to see. The circus acts shown are typical and entertaining, the characters have some qualities that are not always seen in a movie of this magnitude. I am always interested in special effects and how they are used in a film. The train wreck is obviously done with models but it is so well done, it rates mention. There are many considerations in making special effects seem real and all of those are carefully used in this film. Of course, the circus acts were NOT done with special effects and are very entertaining. If you have not seen this picture, please do so with an open mind and expect to be impressed.


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