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Show Boat

Released May 17, 1936 1h 53m Musical List
100% Tomatometer 13 Reviews 73% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings
Based on Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's Broadway hit, this musical spans four decades in the lives of performers on a Mississippi river boat. Sheltered beauty Magnolia Hawks (Irene Dunne) takes over as the show's leading lady when mulatto Julie (Helen Morgan) and her white husband are forced out of town by a narrow-minded sheriff. Charismatic opportunist Gaylord Ravenal (Allan Jones) wins Magnolia's heart, but his gambling losses threaten to ruin their chances for a happy marriage. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (13) Critics Reviews
Keith Phipps The Dissolve [The director] recognizes he's making a film, not just a record of a stage production. The strong source material doesn't hurt [...] and neither do the [...] performances of actors who know their characters inside and out. Rated: 4/5 Mar 10, 2014 Full Review Sean Axmaker Stream on Demand It’s a superb film version of one of the classic American musicals. Jul 5, 2022 Full Review Rob Aldam Backseat Mafia Whale's film fares much better in its drama than it does its musical numbers. Sep 14, 2020 Full Review Matt Brunson Film Frenzy The high point, now and forever, is Paul Robeson singing his immortal rendition of "Ol' Man River." Rated: 3/4 Apr 26, 2020 Full Review Ann Ross Maclean's Magazine Thanks to Director James Whale, all these talented people move quite naturally within the story, and don't give you the feeling that they are merely specialty performers waiting to jump into their acts. Jul 23, 2019 Full Review Phil Hall IdentityTheory Represents the apex of Hollywood musical productions. Rated: 5/5 Dec 10, 2009 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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steve d A few good songs, nothing else. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review ashley h Show Boat is an amazing film. It is about the naive young daughter of a show boat captain is thrust into the limelight. Irene Dunne and Allan Jones give incredible performances. The screenplay is well written. James Whale did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the humor and drama. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Certainly, the superior version of this classic musical. However, Irene Dunne in blackface is not an appealing sight. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/16/23 Full Review Audience Member Best version of Showboat, hands-down. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/07/23 Full Review Audience Member The best musical romance movie ever made! With the best movie song ever sung: Ol' Man River! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/26/23 Full Review s r A good musical for the time. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Show Boat

My Rating

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Cast & Crew

Sweet Charity 82% 73% Sweet Charity Something to Sing About 83% 29% Something to Sing About Flying Down to Rio 83% 50% Flying Down to Rio Dancing Lady 80% 70% Dancing Lady Babes in Arms 90% 70% Babes in Arms Discover more movies and TV shows. View More

Movie Info

Synopsis Based on Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's Broadway hit, this musical spans four decades in the lives of performers on a Mississippi river boat. Sheltered beauty Magnolia Hawks (Irene Dunne) takes over as the show's leading lady when mulatto Julie (Helen Morgan) and her white husband are forced out of town by a narrow-minded sheriff. Charismatic opportunist Gaylord Ravenal (Allan Jones) wins Magnolia's heart, but his gambling losses threaten to ruin their chances for a happy marriage.
Director
James Whale
Producer
Carl Laemmle Jr.
Screenwriter
Edna Ferber, Oscar Hammerstein II
Distributor
Universal Pictures
Production Co
Universal Pictures
Genre
Musical
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
May 17, 1936, Original
Release Date (DVD)
Apr 29, 2014
Runtime
1h 53m