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Ball of Fire (1941)



Average Rating: 8.3/10
Reviews Counted: 24
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 0

A splendidly funny twist on the story of Snow White, Ball of Fire boasts a pair of perfect leads in Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck.


Average Rating: 7.6/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 0

A splendidly funny twist on the story of Snow White, Ball of Fire boasts a pair of perfect leads in Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck.



liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 3,140

My Rating

Movie Info

Ball of Fire is a delightful retelling (by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett) of the "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" legend -- though strictly for grownups. Gary Cooper is the youngest of eight bookish professors authoring an encyclopedia. They find a perfect "research associate" in the curvaceous form of stripteaser Barbara Stanwyck, who (chastely) hides on the professors' domicile to escape her gangster boyfriend (Dana Andrews). As Stanwyck interprets various slang expression, she and the


Drama, Comedy

May 22, 2007


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All Critics (24) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (0) | DVD (7)

Actor Cooper plays his Mr. Deeds role with the authority of long familiarity, and Miss Stanwyck (once Ruby Stevens, of Brooklyn) is equally at home in hers.

February 4, 2009 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Casting is meticulously perfect to make every character a caricature of itself.

August 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A delight.

August 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Pure joy.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mr. Cooper may be a little loose-tooth in spots, but he gives a homespun performance such as only he can give. Miss Stanwyck is plenty yum-yum (meaning scorchy) in her worldly temptress role.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

'I've gone goofy, completely goofy,' Cooper says, as the chaos of slang overwhelms his orderly vocabulary: 'Bim-buggy, slap-happy.' Watching 'Ball of Fire,' you feel similarly liberated.

February 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

One of the best screwball comedies.

July 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Classic Film and Television
Classic Film and Television

As the timid professor and burlesque stripper, Cooper and Stanwyck are at the top of their form in Hawks' delectable screwball comedy, based on a witty script from Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett.

June 24, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

After the rush of His Girl Friday, Ball of Fire is a more sedate ride, full of such marvelous passages as the conga line Stanwyck's delectable Sugarpuss teaches the professors.

May 24, 2007 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Does a fine job subverting the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs children's story.

January 31, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

What a team: Stanwyck was rarely sexier, Cooper never more endearing. A jewel of a comedy.

August 4, 2003
Kalamazoo Gazette

Co-escrito por Billy Wilder e Charles Brackett, o filme tem um ótimo senso de humor, performances hilárias de todo o elenco e direção enérgica de Hawks.

July 30, 2003
Cinema em Cena

Cooper and Stanwyck make an attractive pairing in Hawks' consistently funny romantic comedy.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

A great screwball comedy, with Stanwyck in one of her sexiest roles.

January 30, 2003
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

Cooper also worked with Hawks on Sergeant York, which garnered a lot more attention at the time, but doesn't hold up nearly as well as this delightful treasure.

September 17, 2002 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Not as good as legend has it, but pretty funny

August 26, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

One of the wittiest scripts ever -- an underrated treasure.

August 1, 2002
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies

Terrific, crackling dialogue, especially in the slangy, machine-gun mouth of La Stanwyck.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for Ball of Fire

A grammarian who is toiling away at an encyclopedia meets a nightclub singer who teaches him slang.
In the Hollywood's mind, making a film often involved merely pairing the two right movie stars, actors who would look good together and whose respective markets would overlap. To a large extent, that's even true now (e.g. You've Got Mail and Runaway Bride are re-hashes of couples that worked well in the past). It's like multimillion-dollar I suspect that's the thinking that went into Ball of Fire. The story is trite and cliche. It's re-telling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs [sic] -- how cliched can you get? But Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck are delightful, rapping their dialogue in a staccato that often makes classics classic.
Overall, it's a fun diversion and easy to predict, but there's a lot to like about Ball of Fire.
January 16, 2012
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Not only is this movie hilarious, unique, and witty, but you learn a lot about slang words too. This movie is really fun, great cast and story and everything, I loved it, and I highly recommend it.
October 3, 2010

Super Reviewer

Ah. A dilemma every English dork struggles with. Kinda reminded me of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs but modern. Very cute and funny. Gary Cooper kinda surprised me in this, the only other movie I had seen before this was High Noon, but his refined nature in this was well played. And I loved Barbara Stanwyck, loved her carefree nature in this.
May 29, 2010
Jennifer D

Super Reviewer

Written by Billy Wilder and Directed by Howard Hawks.

How can you go wrong?
September 15, 2008

Super Reviewer

    1. Sugarpuss O'Shea: Red as the Daily Worker and just as sore.
    – Submitted by John L (13 months ago)
    1. Sugarpuss O'Shea: I love him because he's the kind of guy who gets drunk on a glass of buttermilk, and I love the way he blushes right up over his ears. I love him because he doesn't know how to kiss, the jerk!
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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Foreign Titles

  • Die merkwürdige Zähmung der Gangsterbraut Sugarpuss (DE)
  • Ball of Fire (1941) (UK)
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