The Greatest Show on Earth

The Heartbeat Story of Circus People, Filmed with the Cooperation of Ringling Bros. - Barnum and Bailey Circus!
21K ratings
Price: $6.40
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Format:  DVD
item number:  6G3AJ
Brand New

DVD Features:

  • Run Time: 2 hours, 32 minutes
  • Video: Color
  • Released: October 10, 2017
  • Originally Released: 1952
  • Label: Paramount
  • Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
  • Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
  • Audio:
    • Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono - English, French
    • Subtitles - English

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Starring , , , &
Performer: , , , , &
Directed by
Edited by
Screenplay by , &
Composition by
Art Direction by &
Story by , &
Produced by
Director of Photography:

Major Awards:

Academy Awards 1952 - Best Motion Picture Story: Fredric M. Frank & Theodore St. John
Academy Awards 1952 - Best Picture: Not Applicable

Entertainment Reviews:


Total Count: 29


User Ratings: 6,170
Cecil B. De Mille and Technicolor meet the Ringling Bros.-Barnum & Bailey Circus in the year's Oscar winner and slam-dunk box office champ...
USA Today
Apr 9, 2004
Rating: C -- Middling circus backstage drama. Full Review
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Jan 24, 2007
The movie's plot does not quite hold all this pageantry together, but De Mille's scripters and actors enter into the thing in the proper flamboyant spirit. Full Review
TIME Magazine
Feb 18, 2009
No merger in the theatrical world has ever come off more stunningly than this meeting of two giants of entertainment - the Ringling Bros.-Barnum & Bailey Circus and Cecil B. DeMille. Full Review
Hollywood Reporter
Jan 11, 2019
There is also a troupe of Hollyactors who act out an involved plot calculated to extend the long duration of the picture. Full Review
Associated Press
Feb 19, 2019
Characteristically elephantine Big Top epic from DeMille, thumped across with a winning brashness and garnering the veteran showman his first Best Picture Oscar. Full Review
Time Out
Jun 24, 2006
It's not hideous or unwatchable or anything. It's just not very good. Full Review
May 8, 2007

Product Description:

THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH is a dazzling, only-by-DeMille spectacle of life behind the scenes with Ringling Bros.-Barnum and Bailey Circus, the best three-ring circus in the land. The great showman Cecil B. DeMille produced and directed this splashy, colorful look at life under the big top. Charlton Heston stars as Brad Braden, the beloved circus manager who runs a tight ship with integrity and a big heart. In an effort to bring in enough money to guarantee a full tour, Brad hires the Great Sebastian (Cornel Wilde), a daredevil trapeze star, to replace his girlfriend, Holly (Betty Hutton), a beautiful and talented trapeze artist who had been promised the coveted center-ring spot. Sebastian, a suave ladies' man, instantly takes a liking to Holly despite their jealous rivalry. Holly and Sebastian carry on their feud high in the air, with an audience watching, performing a dangerous show of one-upmanship. While the two duel in the air, sparks fly on the ground, and Brad is too busy running the grand show to notice. This gutsy star-studded spectacle was produced in cooperation with Ringling Bros.-Barnum and Bailey circus and filmed in a semidocumentary style, with frequent cuts from the full-scale grandiose circus acts and larger-than-life costumes by the legendary Edith Head to real footage of the daily life on the road for the full-scale traveling operation. Jimmy Stewart costars in a gem of a role, as Buttons the clown, who is hiding from a mysterious past. This cavalcade of jaw-dropping visual splendor, complete with lions, elephants, and an action-packed train wreck of a finale, is DeMille at his grandiose best. Look for many small guest appearances from circus stars and celebrities, including Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.

Plot Synopsis:

This all-star cast, including Charlton Heston, Dorothy Lamour, and James Stewart, celebrates the extravagant three-ring circus and depicts the passionate scenes of love and jealousy behind the greatest show on Earth.


Production Notes:

  • Theatrical release: January 10, 1952.
  • Produced in cooperation with Ringling Bros.-Barnum and Bailey Circus. John Ringling North, the president of Ringling Bros., served as technical director, as well as appearing in the film and cowriting a song.
  • Cecil B. DeMille, a notorious stickler for detail and realism, forced his actors and actresses to learn the various circus stunts they performed.
  • The film includes cameo appearances by Bing Crosby and Bob Hope as audience spectators.
  • Legendary clown Emmett Kelley appears as himself.
  • Jimmy Stewart and Betty Hutton sing and jump (on a trampoline) to the musical number "Be a Jumpin' Jack!" written by Victor Young and Ned Washington.

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Product Info

  • Sales Rank: 1,004
  • UPC: 032429285157
  • Shipping Weight: 0.16/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item

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