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Trapeze (1956)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 30 May 1956 (USA)
A crippled circus acrobat is torn emotionally between two ambitious young trapeze artists, one a talented young American and a less-gifted but beautiful Italian.


Carol Reed


Max Catto (novel), Liam O'Brien (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Burt Lancaster ... Mike Ribble
Tony Curtis ... Tino Orsini
Gina Lollobrigida ... Lola
Katy Jurado ... Rosa O'Flynn
Thomas Gomez ... Bouglione
Johnny Puleo Johnny Puleo ... Max (as John Puleo)
Minor Watson ... John Ringling North
Gérard Landry ... Chikki (as Gerard Landry)
Jean-Pierre Kérien Jean-Pierre Kérien ... Otto (as Jean-Pierre Kerien)
Sidney James ... Snake Charmer
Gimma Boys Gimma Boys ... Circus Family Children
Los Arriolas Los Arriolas ... Specialty Act
Gamil Ratib ... Stefan
Pierre Tabard Pierre Tabard ... Paul
Edward Hagopian Edward Hagopian ... 3rd partner of Lola


Mike Ribble was once a great trapeze artist - and the only the sixth to have completed a triple somersault - before his accident. Tino joins the circus, and manages to convince Mike to teach him the 'triple'. Meanwhile Lola, a tumbler, wants to get in on the act. Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The wonder show of the world! See more »


Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Johnny Puleo does play a little harmonica. Sadly it is portrayed as being a nuisance. At one point he is mimicking that he is playing harp as the sound track plays harp. Again portrayed as a nuisance as they throw something at him. See more »


Mike Ribble: You'll never throw a triple! You know why? 'Cause ya' drink too much!
[grabs Tino's beer and drinks it]
See more »


Featured in One Hundred and One Nights (1995) See more »


The Washington Post
Music by John Philip Sousa
Played during the parade
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User Reviews

Thrilling high flying
29 August 2008 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis and Gina Lollabrigida star in "Trapeze," a 1956 film directed by Carol Reed and also starring Katy Jurado, Thomas Gomez and Johnny Puleo. Lancaster plays a former trapeze artist turned rigger, Mike Ribble, working in a Paris circus. A once great artist, he is grounded due to a permanent injury while doing his famous triple. He is approached by Tino Orsini (Tony Curtis), a talented aerialist who wants to learn the triple. Ribble sees the man's talent immediately, takes him on, and agrees to be his "grabber," the man who catches him mid-air. Problem arise when the beautiful, seductive user Lola (Gina Lollabrigida) who plays both men in order to be part of the act.

Director Reed gives the viewer the vivid experience of working in the circus and the resulting pressure cooker of relationships. The trapeze work is glorious, and there is plenty of it.

Lancaster has the major role, and he gives an excellent performance as a man with no illusions who, through Tino, dares to dream again. His muscular build is shown to great advantage as well. Curtis is excellent as the young, ambitious Tino who falls hard for Lola. Lollabrigida is gorgeous and sexy as the alluring Lola - she does a good job, but really, all she has to do is stand there and she IS the role. The supporting cast is solid, including Katy Jurado as an ex-girlfriend of Mike's and Thomas Gomez as the owner of the circus.

I don't have any figures, but I suspect this film was a big hit. It led to another Lancaster-Curtis collaboration, Sweet Smell of Success, so for that reason alone, it would be worth it. However, Trapeze flies on its own merits.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | Italian

Release Date:

30 May 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Trapeze See more »


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording) (optical prints)| 4-Track Stereo (Western Electric Recording) (magnetic prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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