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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:

The Heartbeat Story of Circus People, Filmed with the Cooperation of Ringling Bros. - Barnum and Bailey Circus! 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 only Best Picture Oscar nominee of the year to be also nominated for Best Story. See more »

Goofs

When Brad is checking the baby gorillas after learning they may have contracted the mumps, a crowd of onlookers is gathered right behind, plainly staring at the camera filming the scene. See more »

Quotes

Buttons' Mother: [just after giving gifts to circus spectators, Buttons secretly goes to his Mother and they whisper to each other] They've been around again, asking questions.
Buttons: [whispering] I know Mother. They'll never find me, behind this nose.
Buttons' Mother: [whispering] Be very careful, dear.
Buttons: [whispering] Now, how about a nice smile, that I can remember until next year?
Buttons' Mother: [whispering] God be with you my boy.
Buttons: [whispering] It's all right Mother.
[...]
See more »


Soundtracks

Sing a Happy Song
By Henry Sullivan and John Murray Anderson
[Sung off camera]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Greatest Circus Movie on Earth
9 April 2007 | by ozthegreatat42330See all my reviews

Epic director Cecil B. DeMille manages to direct the greatest filming of a circus movie in the history of motion pictures. This film, like so many others shows that he was not just another director but a craftsman as well. Charton Heston's third film and first major leading role gives a hint of the long and illustrious career to follow. You really get the impression that he knows, loves, lives and breathes the circus. Cornell Wilde, Betty Hutton and Dorthy Lamour live up to their roles as well, along with Gloria Graham, all of them were required to actually perform the stunts that their characters did in the film. Of course Jimmy Stewart helped make the picture memorable even though hidden beneath the clown make-up all the way through. But the real stars were the hundreds of people from the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus and their endless dedication to making it truly "The Greatest Show on Earth."


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