400 user 73 critic

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963)

3:27 | Trailer
A group of motorists hear about a crook's hidden stash of loot, and race against each other across the country to get to it.


Stanley Kramer


William Rose (story), Tania Rose (story) | 2 more credits »
3,976 ( 237)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Spencer Tracy ... Capt. T. G. Culpepper
Milton Berle ... J. Russell Finch
Sid Caesar ... Melville Crump
Buddy Hackett ... Benjy Benjamin
Ethel Merman ... Mrs. Marcus
Mickey Rooney ... Ding Bell
Dick Shawn ... Sylvester Marcus
Phil Silvers ... Otto Meyer
Terry-Thomas ... J. Algernon Hawthorne
Jonathan Winters ... Lennie Pike
Edie Adams ... Monica Crump
Dorothy Provine ... Emeline Marcus-Finch
Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson ... Second Cab Driver
Jim Backus ... Tyler Fitzgerald
Ben Blue ... Biplane Pilot


The story begins during a massive traffic jam, caused by reckless driver Smiler Grogan, who, before kicking the bucket, cryptically tells the assembled drivers that he's buried a fortune in stolen loot, under the Big W. All of the motorists set out to find the fortune. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It's the biggest entertainment ever to hit the Cinerama screen! (Poster). See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The film was originally titled "Where, But In America?", then later changed to "One Damn Thing After Another", and then finally became "It's a Mad World". Writer William Rose and director Stanley Kramer added additional "Mad"s to the title as time progressed. Kramer had considered adding a fifth "Mad" to the title before deciding that it would be too much, but later regretted not doing so. See more »


At the beginning of the movie when Smiler is passing everyone on the road, Melville Crump's car keeps changing from the station wagon he's driving to a four-door sedan. See more »


[first lines]
J. Russell Finch: [as all the cars pull over one by one, the men quickly jump out in shock at having just witnessed Smiler Grogan pass them recklessly fast, careen off the side of the hilly road, and terribly crash down below] Whoa! Hey d-did ya see it, the way he went sailing right out there? D-d he just went *sailing* right out there.
Melville Crump: It was terrible, I m-a-mean just terrible. He musta been doin' over 80 ya know.
J. Russell Finch: An ambulance; we better, we oughta call an ambulance.
Ding Bell: Oh... oh look at that car.
J. Russell Finch: [...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are a sequence of gags all related to a globe of the world. See more »

Alternate Versions

The original 70mm roadshow version ran 192 minutes (excluding overture and entr'acte music). This 70mm version was then re-edited to 162 minutes, and in the subsequent 35mm general and worldwide release it was cut further to 154 minutes. The original video version was mastered off the 35mm negative and also ran 154 minutes. In the early 1990s, 20 minutes of additional 70mm footage was found in the form of an old theatrical print in an old film warehouse slated for demolition and was transferred to video which was then combined with the 35mm footage video transfer to create the new "video restoration" The original 192-minute, 65mm camera negative print has not been restored and it would appear that the missing original negative segments and the additional scenes, which include a musical dance number, Culpepper and Jimmy's phone conversation, plus a few more scenes involving a TV news anchorman detailing news about the race for the buried money, have been irretrievably lost. The new "video restoration" runs approximately 186 minutes which includes both parts, as well as the overture and entr'acte music, as well as the intermission and closing music. See more »


Featured in Cinemassacre's Top 10 Car Chases (2008) See more »


Thirty-one Flavors
(1963) (uncredited)
Music by Ernest Gold
Lyrics by Mack David
Played by The Four Mads
Sung by The Shirelles
See more »

User Reviews

funny even when you know it by heart
29 January 2001 | by albertomallofres-pantojaSee all my reviews

I saw this film for the first time when I was seven or eight -I don´t remember it exactly. What I do remember is that it made me spend one of the funniest whiles in my life. At that time I didn´t know very much about the actors: except for Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney and possibly Peter Falk (who had already come into my heart as Lt. Columbo), I didn´t associate their faces with their names. Now I have a much better information about each and every one of them: Berle, Caesar, Hackett, Merman, Shawn, Thomas, Winters and all the rest. What I´ve always regretted is that I´ve never got to see the unabridged version of the movie: it lasts more than three hours and the prints that I´ve always watched last only two and a half hours. Nevertheless, I think this is one of the most amusing films I´ve ever seen. It seems obvious that the traces left by the greatest comedians of the silent period or the early talkies -Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers or Buster Keaton (who makes a cameo appearance in the film)- are present here in this picture. From the moment you see the amazing credits created by Saul Bass and hear Ernest Gold´s tremendous score, you know there´s something great coming in. Everything is perfection into the genre it belongs to: all that happens with the cars, the destruction of the service station by Winters (who looks like a raging bull in an antique dealer shop), the plight of Caesar and Adams in the basement of the hardware store, the scene of the pilot-less plane, Shawn´s attack against Berle´s and Thomas´s rented car...and oh, yes, the pursuit of Tracy! Well, in short, this film goes to show that in this mad, mad, mad, mad world there are many people who would do ANYTHING for money. I hope that someday I can see the integral version of this movie: I´ve seen it a hundred times in video, I know it by heart and I never get tired. The big W stands for WONDERFUL!

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

3 December 1963 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World See more »


Box Office


$9,400,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Casey Productions See more »
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Technical Specs


| (edited) | (restored video) | (extended re-edit) (Laserdisc) | (premiere) | (roadshow) | (extended)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System) (35mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.76 : 1
See full technical specs »

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