Harold Hill poses as a boys' band leader to con naive Iowa townsfolk.


Morton DaCosta


Meredith Willson (based on: "The Music Man"), Franklin Lacey (written in collaboration with) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Preston ... Harold Hill
Shirley Jones ... Marian Paroo
Buddy Hackett ... Marcellus Washburn
Hermione Gingold ... Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn
Paul Ford ... Mayor George Shinn
Pert Kelton ... Mrs. Paroo
The Buffalo Bills The Buffalo Bills ... School Board
Vern Reed Vern Reed ... Jacey Squires (as The Buffalo Bills)
Ron Howard ... Winthrop Paroo (as Ronny Howard)
Al Shea Al Shea ... Ewart Dunlop (as The Buffalo Bills)
Bill Spangenberg Bill Spangenberg ... Olin Britt (as The Buffalo Bills)
Wayne Ward Wayne Ward ... Oliver Hix (as The Buffalo Bills)
Timmy Everett Timmy Everett ... Tommy Djilas
Susan Luckey ... Zaneeta Shinn
Harry Hickox ... Charlie Cowell


It's the early twentieth century American Midwest. A con man currently going by the assumed name Harold Hill has used several different schemes to bilk the unsuspecting, and now travels from town to town pretending to be a professor of music - from Gary (Indiana) Conservatory of Music, class of '05 - who solves all the respective towns' youth problems by forming boys' marching bands. He takes money from the townsfolk to buy instruments, music, instructional materials, and uniforms for their sons. However, in reality he has no degree and knows nothing about music, and after all the materials arrive and are distributed, he absconds with all the money, never to be seen again. Many of the traveling salesmen in the territory have been negatively impacted by him, as the townsfolk then become suspicious of any stranger trying to sell them something. For Harold's scheme to work, he must gain the trust of the local music teacher, usually by wooing her, regardless of her appearance. And if the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It's just a bang-beat, bell-ringin', big-haul, great-go, neck-or-nothin', rip-roarin', ever'-time-a bull's-eye movie! See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Meredith Wilson wrote the University of Iowa Fight Song. See more »


Chairs in front of the stage move around during the July 4th celebration in the auditorium. First there are three together with one chair a ways off to the left; then later, as one of the school board members prepares to sit down, the four chairs are in a group. See more »


Marcellus Washburn: Hey, what are you selling now? Last I heard about you, you was in steam automobiles.
Harold Hill: I was.
Marcellus Washburn: Well, what happened?
Harold Hill: Somebody actually invented one.
Marcellus Washburn: No!
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Crazy Credits

The letters in the film's title, in producer-director Morton DaCosta's name, and in Meredith Willson's name (the first time it appears onscreen) are formed by a miniaturized, stop-motion animated marching band, who also form themselves into musical instruments on which the rest of the opening credits appear. See more »


Lida Rose
(1957) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Meredith Willson
Performed by The Buffalo Bills and Shirley Jones
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User Reviews

A movie that works at many levels--and touches our hearts.
23 April 1999 | by EdKohSee all my reviews

I first learned of the Music Man when my brother's fifth grade class put it on. (My brother played Mayor Shinn.) Our entire family learned the train scene, all of the monologues (especially "Trouble"), and the Music Man became part of our lives. I still remember most of those monologues, and I still love to watch Robert Preston and Shirley Jones create their magic and make their music. Like "My Fair Lady," the players have refined their parts to high art, but have not burned out; the details delight again and again. The chorus is the best I've heard (Wells Fargo Wagon), the cast is just great. When my older son was two years old, The Music Man was his favorite video; he watched it over and over, laughing and gurgling. He "outgrew" it, and is now almost ten. Last night we watched it (again): I, my wife, and both of our sons. It touched me as much as the first time I saw it. ("I always think there's a band, kid.") I hear and read criticism of Robert Preston's acting, that as a performer he is a dilettante. But I feel this criticism misses the point. Harold Hill is the dilettante, trying to pass himself off as a music expert--until he gets his foot caught in the door. Preston is perfect as Hill. I love this film, and will watch it with my loved ones for a long, long time to come.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

19 June 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Meredith Willson's The Music Man See more »


Box Office


$4,240,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (RCA Sound Recording)| DTS | SDDS | Dolby


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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