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The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964)

Approved | | Biography, Comedy, Musical | 11 June 1964 (USA)
3:04 | Trailer
A poor, uneducated mountain girl leaves her cabin in search of respect, a wealthy husband, and a better life in this fictionalized biopic of Margaret "Molly" Brown, who survived the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic.


Charles Walters


Helen Deutsch, Richard Morris (play)
Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Debbie Reynolds ... Molly Brown
Harve Presnell ... 'Leadville' Johnny J. Brown
Ed Begley ... Shamus Tobin
Jack Kruschen ... Christmas Morgan
Hermione Baddeley ... Buttercup Grogan
Vassili Lambrinos Vassili Lambrinos ... Prince Louis de Laniere
Fred Essler Fred Essler ... Baron Karl Ludwig von Ettenburg
Harvey Lembeck ... Polak
Lauren Gilbert Lauren Gilbert ... Mr. Fitzgerald
Kathryn Card ... Mrs. Wadlington
Hayden Rorke ... Malcolm Broderick
Harry Holcombe ... Mr. Wadlington
Amy Douglass Amy Douglass ... Mrs. Fitzgerald
George Mitchell ... Monsignor Ryan
Martita Hunt ... Grand Duchess Elise Lupavinova


Majestic mountains are in the background and a waterfall in the foreground. Is that a canoe on the river? No it's a cradle with a baby. The buoyant Molly Brown has survived the first crisis of her life -- a flood. Sixteen years later she sets out to make her way in the world. Can she sing and play the piano? She assures the Leadville saloon keeper that she can and learns quickly. Soon she is the bride of Johnny Brown, who in a few years will be able to replace the original cigar wrapper wedding ring with a replica in gold and gemstones. But it takes more than a few million dollars to be accepted by Denver society. The Browns head for Europe and bring a few crowned heads back to Denver for a party that turns into a ballroom brawl. Molly goes to Europe alone, returning on the Titanic. She didn't survive a flood as a baby for the story to end here. Written by Dale O'Connor <daleoc@interaccess.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Can a girl find happiness with $20,000,000? YOU BET! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Shirley MacLaine, the producers' original choice for the title role, later played a character based on Debbie Reynolds in Postcards from the Edge (1990). See more »


The Molly Brown House in Denver is actually quite small. Only one room had a smidgen of red wallpaper (she also thought too much red to be gauche). Her parties were well-attended (although the orchestra played from the balcony outdoors and serenaded the whole neighborhood), and she was accepted by her peers even before the Titanic. The larger house, which she named Avoca, was at the time outside of Denver. Both houses are restored and open to the public. See more »


[first lines]
Shamus Tobin: [and Murphy] Belly up, belly up to the bar, boys / Better loosen your belts...
See more »

Crazy Credits

introducing Harve Presnell See more »

Alternate Versions

In the past, TCM has shown a version with Overture and Exit Music that ran 135 minutes. It also had a slightly different aspect ratio. See more »


Referenced in The Facts of Life: Smile (1984) See more »


Colorado, My Home
Music and Lyrics by Meredith Willson; Performed by Harve Presnell
See more »

User Reviews

Rags to riches
8 May 2007 | by jotix100See all my reviews

"The Unsinkable Molly Brown" made its debut on Broadway in 1960. Tammy Grimes, as the Molly Brown of the title, received, perhaps, the best reviews of her acting career. When it was made into an MGM musical, Miss Grimes, lost her creation to Debbie Reynolds, who had a bigger name and was a favorite of the movie going public.

Meredith Wilson, the man behind another hit, "The Music Man", created a musical comedy that showcased a fictionalized account of the larger than life character of Molly, a woman who went from humble beginnings to bigger, and better things. As a matter of fact, she was truly "unsinkable" as proved by having survived the Titanic disaster.

Not having seen this film for quite some time, didn't quite make it for this viewer, on a second viewing, in spite of glowing comments from other IMDb contributors. However, it must be noted, our memory of having seen it before was more positive than the impression we got in watching it again. Part of the problem is the plot, which is silly, in the way the material is presented. Then again, this film has a dated feeling.

Debbie Reynolds threw herself into the role of Molly with gusto. It's one of her best achievements in the movies, and it should be recognized. Herve Presnell, who played Johnny Brown on Broadway, seemed destined for bigger and better things, as he shows here with his handsome looks and powerful singing voice. The cast includes several character actors that enhance the movie, notably, Ed Begley, Hermione Baddeley, Jack Krushen and Martita Hunt, among others.

The film could be seen as a curiosity, although it shows its age. The songs, with only a few exceptions don't have the quality of other Meredith Wilson's work. Only a couple of songs stay with the viewer after all is said and done. Charles Walters' direction was not too inspired and perhaps that seems to be the basic flaw with this "Molly".

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Release Date:

11 June 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Unsinkable Molly Brown See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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


Color | Black and White (some shots)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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