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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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From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

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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

When Mary Pickford presented the film's producer-director Cecil B. DeMille with the Oscar for Best Picture, not only was it the first time the Academy Awards ceremonies had ever been televised, it was also Pickford's very first television appearance. 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

Angel: Did he say you were like cognac? All fire in zee glass?
Holly: No, he said I was like champagne. I made his head spin.
Angel: Yeah, only you'll be the one who winds up with a hangover.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Futurama: The Thief of Baghead (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Jingle Bells
(1857) (uncredited)
Written by James Pierpont
Played during the parade around the rings and briefly sung
See more »

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User Reviews

 
magical movie
11 February 2000 | by er_nest_2000See all my reviews

Since this film was released in 1952, some scenes in the film will really be outdated (effects). But other than that, the film is a feast to the eyes and if you're sentimental, to the heart. With a seemingly thin plot, Cecil B. deMille made the film work with visuals and moments of suspense that is missing from a lot of big films nowadays. Mr. deMille is a master of epic films and this is one example. He made the circus one of the main characters in the film, that you will find yourself missing it at this day and age. A guilty pleasure? For me this is a magical pleasure.


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