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It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (7-Nov-1963)

Director: Stanley Kramer

Writers: William Rose; Tania Rose

Music by: Ernest Gold

Producer: Stanley Kramer

Keywords: Comedy, Treasure Hunt

Old time bank robber Smiler Grogan is a prison escape who, in his dying words after an automobile accident, reveals the location of $350,000 in loot from a bank robbery years ago: under the big "W" in Santa Rosita Beach, California. Immediately, the chase is on. All of the greatest comedians alive at the time are represented... plus Ethel Merman. Long films are rarely this funny.

[watch trailer]

NameOccupationBirthDeathKnown for
Edie Adams
16-Apr-1925 15-Oct-2008 Lover Come Back
Eddie Anderson
18-Sep-1905 28-Feb-1977 Rochester on The Jack Benny Show
Jim Backus
25-Feb-1913 3-Jul-1989 Mr. Howell on Gilligan's Island
Milton Berle
12-Jul-1908 27-Mar-2002 Mr. Television
Ben Blue
12-Sep-1901 7-Mar-1975 The Big Broadcast of 1938
Joe E. Brown
28-Jul-1892 6-Jul-1973 Some Like It Hot
Sid Caesar
8-Sep-1922 12-Feb-2014 Your Show of Shows
Alan Carney
22-Dec-1909 2-May-1973 Comedy duo, Brown & Carney
Barrie Chase
20-Oct-1933   Danced with Fred Astaire
Lloyd Corrigan
16-Oct-1900 5-Nov-1969 Arthur Manleder in Boston Blackie films
William Demarest
27-Feb-1892 28-Dec-1983 The Great McGinty
Andy Devine
7-Oct-1905 18-Feb-1977 Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok
Selma Diamond
5-Aug-1920 13-May-1985 Selma Hacker on Night Court
Jimmy Durante
10-Feb-1893 20-Jan-1980 Everybody wants ta get inta da act
Peter Falk
16-Sep-1927 23-Jun-2011 Detective Columbo
Norman Fell
24-Mar-1924 14-Dec-1998 Mr. Roper on Three's Company
Paul Ford
2-Nov-1901 12-Apr-1976 The Phil Silvers Show
Stan Freberg
7-Aug-1926 7-Apr-2015 Radio's The Stan Freberg Show
Leo Gorcey
3-Jun-1917 2-Jun-1969 Bowery Boy
Buddy Hackett
31-Aug-1924 30-Jun-2003 Abrasive old school comic
Sterling Holloway
4-Jan-1905 22-Nov-1992 Voice of Winnie the Pooh
Edward Everett Horton
18-Mar-1886 29-Sep-1970 Prolific 1930s comedic actor
Marvin Kaplan
24-Jan-1927 25-Aug-2016 Henry on Alice
Buster Keaton
4-Oct-1895 1-Feb-1966 The General
Don Knotts
21-Jul-1924 24-Feb-2006 Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show
Charles Lane
26-Jan-1905 9-Jul-2007 Grumpy character actor
Mike Mazurki
25-Dec-1907 9-Dec-1990 Murder, My Sweet
Charles McGraw
10-May-1914 30-Jul-1980 Armored Car Robbery
Ethel Merman
16-Jan-1908 15-Feb-1984 There's No Business Like Show Business
Zazu Pitts
3-Jan-1894 7-Jun-1963 The Wedding March
Dorothy Provine
20-Jan-1937 25-Apr-2010 The Roaring 20's
Carl Reiner
20-Mar-1922   Your Show of Shows
Madlyn Rhue
3-Oct-1935 16-Dec-2003 Marjorie Grant on Bracken's World
Mickey Rooney
23-Sep-1920 6-Apr-2014 Actor in Andy Hardy comedies, musicals
Dick Shawn
1-Dec-1923 17-Apr-1987 Inventor of the "high five"
Phil Silvers
11-May-1911 1-Nov-1985 You're in the Army Now
Arnold Stang
28-Sep-1918 20-Dec-2009 Bespectacled character actor
14-Jul-1911 8-Jan-1990 Private's Progress
Spencer Tracy
5-Apr-1900 10-Jun-1967 Two consecutive Best Actor Oscars
Jesse White
3-Jan-1917 9-Jan-1997 The Maytag Repairman, 1967-88
Jonathan Winters
11-Nov-1925 11-Apr-2013 Mearth, son of Mork


Spencer Tracy   ...   Capt. C. G. Culpeper
Milton Berle   ...   J. Russell Finch
Sid Caesar   ...   Melville Crump
Buddy Hackett   ...   Benjy Benjamin
Ethel Merman   ...   Mrs. Marcus
Mickey Rooney   ...   Dingy Bell
Dick Shawn   ...   Sylvester Marcus
Phil Silvers   ...   Otto Meyer
Terry-Thomas   ...   Lt. Col. J. Algernon Hawthorne
Jonathan Winters   ...   Lennie Pike
Edie Adams   ...   Monica Crump
Dorothy Provine   ...   Emeline Marcus-Finch
Eddie Anderson   ...   Cab Driver
Jim Backus   ...   Tyler Fitzgerald
Ben Blue   ...   Pilot of Biplane
Joe E. Brown   ...   Union Official
Alan Carney   ...   Police Sgt.
Chick Chandler   ...   Detective
Barrie Chase   ...   Sylvester's Girlfriend
Lloyd Corrigan   ...   Mayor
William Demarest   ...   Police Chief Aloysius
Andy Devine   ...   Sheriff
Selma Diamond   ...   Ginger Culpeper (voice)
Peter Falk   ...   Cab Driver
Norman Fell   ...   Detective
Paul Ford   ...   Col. Wilberforce
Stan Freberg   ...   Deputy
Louise Glenn   ...   Billie Sue Culpeper (voice)
Leo Gorcey   ...   Cab Driver
Sterling Holloway   ...   Fire Chief
Edward Everett Horton   ...   Mr. Dinckler
Marvin Kaplan   ...   Irwin
Buster Keaton   ...   Jimmy (boat man)
Don Knotts   ...   Nervous Man
Charles Lane   ...   Airport Manager
Mike Mazurki   ...   Miner
Charles McGraw   ...   Lt. Matthews
Cliff Norton   ...   Reporter
Zazu Pitts   ...   Gertie (switchboard)
Carl Reiner   ...   Air Traffic Control
Madlyn Rhue   ...   Secretary Schwartz
Roy Roberts   ...   Policeman
Arnold Stang   ...   Ray
Nick Stewart   ...   Truck Driver
Joe DeRita   ...   Fireman (Stooge)
Larry Fine   ...   Fireman (Stooge)
Moe Howard   ...   Fireman (Stooge)
Sammee Tong   ...   Chinese Laundryman
Jesse White   ...   Air Traffic Control
Jimmy Durante   ...   Smiler Grogan


Review by Mark Ellis (posted on 10-Jun-2007)

I first saw this wonderful film when I was three. My brother was baby sitting me and did not want to stay home so off we went to the movies. Now, a three year old would not enjoy a movie like this and I was not different. To be honest, my brother said I fell asleep. It was 12 years later I saw the film again and have been hooked ever since. Stanley Kramer, not known for producing comedy, masterfully put together one of the all time best slapstick comedies. I have played this movie for friends and they would either "get it" or would not. The ones that "got it" have been hooked ever since. Stanley Kramer assembled one of the largest well known cast in Hollywood. In fact, some were stand up comedians getting some of their first film work. Word spread quickly in Hollywood and everyone wanted to be in the project. Ethel Merman, Milton Berle, Sid Ceasar, Edie Adams, Mickey Rooney and Buddy Hacket (just to name a few) all give top notch performances with their own individual comedy styles. But for me, it was Phil Silvers. This movie was made for Phil Silvers and rumor has it that most of his lines were changed at the last moment...by Mr. Silvers. Phil Silvers was always in it for the gag. Like the scene where he drives his convertible into the river. He was offered a stunt double but stated that could take away from the effect so he did the stunt himself and almost drowned because he could not swim! For those who have never seen the film, take 2-3 hours and watch this gem. One of the few movies you can actually watch as a family. Believe me, if you "get it"...you will be hooked for life.

Review by anonymous (posted on 20-Jul-2006)

It's a Mad (x4) World was, for lack of a better word, an extravagana. The credits at the beginning (the sawing away of the globe) were a good depiction of what the viewer was in for. I remember hearing the movie was coming out--I must have been about 13 years old at the time--and then waiting for months for it finally to come to my local theater in Youngstown, Ohio. It was well worth the wait. I guess it can best be described as a madcap adventure. The film made sense, in a crazy kind of way . . . there was a beginning, a middle, and an end. The wild car chases--I was and still am kind of a car nut--mesmerized me. But it was the marvelous acting I remember best. The performances were brilliant. Which actor stole the show? It would be hard to say. Naturally some were better than others, but then maybe that's because they had more to do. But one thing is for sure . . . the actors who stood out were very, very good, and those who didn't stand out were . . . well, I guess you could say they just very good. There were no mediocre performances. I'd venture to say you couldn't make that movie today . . . there just aren't that many funny people--people who can conviningly throw themselves into a character and make you laugh in the process--around anymore. I don't know how many times I've seen the movie, but I never pass up a chance to see it as it makes the rounds of cable channels.

Review by anonymous (posted on 16-Apr-2006)

I was 16 when this movie came out and living on the island of Guam where my father had taken a job as a school teacher the year before and moved us from Texas. We were living on the North end of the island and my brother and I would hitchhike 5 miles to NCS (Naval Communications Station) almost every evening and sneak in the back gate to see the latest free movies shown to the servicemen stationed there. The gate guard got to know us and thought we were dependants, so he never asked questions. At that time the NCS theater was open to the elements. Hard, bench seats with a small tin awning over the rear. And, as it always rains on Guam… most people always carried a little sheet of plastic to unroll when the brief sprinkles would appear. However, that night it rained hard. Surprisingly, the movie was so wonderful that hardly anybody got up and left. That in itself is a great tribute to this excellent film. Not to mention that my brother and I had to walk the five miles home in the rain and arrived about 2:00 a.m. We were, of course, put on “restriction” for a week. No matter.. the film was worth it! Since the advent of the VCR I and my family have watched this film every Christmas without fail. My children who are grown now all love it and they too show it to their children. Why? Because it is probably the funniest film ever produced. And, one can tell that the comedians and other actors in this film also enjoyed making it. They loved their jobs so-to-speak, and it comes through in wonderfully funny scene after scene. This film took several years to produce and there were many technological “first’s” in making it. Although most of the actors have now passed, I salute them all including the producer, the screen writers, the unsung animators, make-up artists, and all the others who worked so tirelessly to make this film truly a comedy classic. This film has brought much happiness to me, my family, and friends and will continue to do so. I know it has brought laughter and happiness to millions the world over who have seen it. When I was in the Ukraine a few years ago, I even saw it with a Russian translation! It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World proves that great comedy can be done without foul language and gratuitous sex scenes. A film to be proud of… when Hollywood was at it’s best.

Review by anonymous (posted on 4-Feb-2007)

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Morld is a cinematic icon for what once was and sadly is probably forever lost. A very funny comedy, with a plot. One of the movie's strongest attribute is that it is devoid of sex, killing, smutty humor and all else that Hollywood has opted for in recent years. Clean comedy is probably one of the most difficult undertakings in screenplay writing, yet the writers for this movie do it very successfully and maintain it for what is a longer than average amount of time. Couple this with a cast of Hollywood personalities, the caliber of which would probably not be possible to match in this day and age and we get something Stanley Kramer was probably very proud of, as was no doubt, everybody else who contributed to this movie. I love it. Spencer Tracy gets top billing on the list of movie stars but the real star of the show was Ethyl Merman. I can't think of too many movies where an audience (at least this was so for me) loves the antagonist more than any of the other characters in the movie. Another outstanding features of this comedy is that it resorts to a lot of slapstick humor and makes it work brilliantly. Jonathon Winters destroying the garage in the desert is one example. Who can watch that without laughing? And if all this isn't enough, (for men only I suppose) Edie Adams is "drop dead" sexy and gorgeous in this film. I own the DVD and watch it whenever I want a good laugh, or to just go back to a nicer, slower, kinder place in American History.

Review by Doug Andersen (posted on 6-Apr-2005)

My father rarely took time away from work to do anything with us kids. The glaring exception was one Friday nite we drove the 3 hrs. or so to Omaha, spent the night at his sisters home then saw the Saturday matinee at this new Cinarama theatre. He had seen It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World the week before and wanted to share this with us kids. This was a first and a last for us, and it proved to be a lifetime memory that a 12 year old boy never forgets. Of course the screen size was a real stunner for a bunch of small town kids, but what they put up there on it was amazing. These were very funny people. It's difficult to get into one's "favorite" parts or characters, but if forced to, I would have to say that Phil Silvers stoled the show. When he is down in that hole digging for the the 350 G's and making fun of Terry Thomas' accent, I lose it every time. Terry was also a hoot in that Jeep and then the fight with Milton on the roadside. Dick Shawn was never better with his "I'm coming to get you Mama" and "Oooh, I'm gonna nail you man." Of course Buddy Hackett and Mickey Rooney in the plane... Micky -- "Are you trying to scare me?" Buddy -- "No!" Micky -- "Well you did!" In print that is not funny, on the screen, it's a roll on the floor. Sid Caesar's battle with the basement door is a classic. That is the problem with doing a review of this film. There are simply too many classic moments. It's simply got to be seen many times to truly appreciate the comic genious of these people. Most of these actors were not actors at all, they were stand up comics. This was a special moment in time for all of them. I hope they get a special place in heaven for leaving us this masterpiece of comedy.

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