It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Reviews

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Super Reviewer
May 20, 2013
The movie version of one of those little clown cars that a hundred clowns get in and out of, it descends into pure over-the-top silliness with so many talents vying for the glory-hogging center stage, but nonetheless a landmark simply for the presence of so many talents. What's the best part of gumbo? Of beef stew? Its the combo that makes for sensation.
Super Reviewer
½ December 5, 2012
The best American comedy ever made. A true epic of humor, with full of great comedians and unforgettable scenes.
Super Reviewer
½ July 23, 2010
This is the perfect example of an epic comedy, one that spans time, venues, and types of comedy. Other films of this genre include The Blues Brothers and Blazing Saddles, though unlike those this is far more tame. This was in the days of family humor, and epics were per usual with movie going crowds. Still, the characters are larger than life, using a lot of physical comedy, and the exclusively sixties plot device of misunderstandings. The best aspect of having watched so many films is the fact that so many big names came together to do this film, and naming them off as you see them is extremely entertaining. The entire film concerns a milieu of improbable characters who find a dying crook who tells them where he has buried hidden money stolen and untraceable. The band of misfits at first all decide to distribute the wealth accordingly, but after a series of fights they all strike out on their own, some chartering planes, others hitchhiking, all to the amusement of the watching police department in Santa Rosita. This surveillance team is headed by recently retiring and angst ridden Chief Culpepper, played by Spencer Tracy. The two larger than life characters are played by Ethel Merman, a busybody mother-in-law with the loudest yell I've ever heard, and Jonathan Winters, who single handedly destroys an entire gas station through sheer force. Mickey Rooney and Buddy Hackett are the comic foils, oftentimes saying boneheaded phrases, and crashing into things. There's even a very brief yet memorable cameo by Don Knotts, who interacts with Phil Silvers, famous for portraying Sgt. Bilko. There are some great effects, and though it's long for a comedy the full fledged character development and longwinded comedy work with this vehicle. It's zany fun, it's certainly a mad world.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2010
Don't hesitate to see this movie just because it's extremely long, it's worth it. This movie is really hilarious, and it's got a great story. It has action and excitement, and an intermission! This movie is enjoyable, I really liked it, and I highly recommend it.
Super Reviewer
½ May 23, 2007
Call me narrow-minded, but never did I imagine that a movie this old, could be so wildly entertaining. And "wild" is no doubt one of the key words here, as it's one of the most suitable adjectives one can use you to describe the story. A wacky, adventurous and highly enjoyable treasure hunt, that paved the way for movies like Cannonball Run and Rat Race. Wonderful characters, superb directing and writing. An absolute gem and one of the best comedies of its time.
Super Reviewer
April 5, 2010
anybody who has ever been funny is in this movie! an oldie but a goodie!
Super Reviewer
June 6, 2007
A truly epic comedy. superb cast and cameos, insuperable hilarious premise, pure classic slap-stick.
Super Reviewer
May 26, 2007
a trifle long but the pace rarely falters. ethel merman definitely a highlight because she perfectly exemplifies the "mother-in-law". every time she comes on screen i grit my teeth and want to strangle her. literally. rat race is an updated version of this movie and i must say i like both of them for different reasons. however, what really really bugs me about this movie is that it is so incredibly sexist. every portrayal of a woman is negative, whether it shows her off as weak or useless or shrewish or annoying. all the women are completely dependent on men except for ethel merman's character, who deserves to fall in a snake pit. makes me mad!
Super Reviewer
February 16, 2007
This was a funny flick with a ton of actors that people should get to know. It was later remade.
Super Reviewer
½ September 25, 2006
Plenty of funniest scenes with car chases, accidents and flying.
Super Reviewer
May 23, 2007
All the comedic talent in this movie is unbeatable! Zany! So many celebrity cameos. Maybe too many, but I love it. It all starts with Jimmy Durante's character kicking the bucket after telling a crowd of curious passersby about a hidden stash of stolen cash. Spencer Tracy is police Captain Culpepper, who keeps tabs on the bunch of would-be thieves. Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Mickey Rooney, Dick Shawn, Milton Berle, Ethel Merman, Phil Silvers, Jonathan Winters, Edie Adams, Dorothy Provine, Terry-Thomas, Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, and Peter Falk unscrupulously race to claim the prize. Much better than the remake Rat Race. Amidst silly slapstick, insulting backstabbing, and absurd obstacles our competitive treasure hunters find out the price of avarice.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ June 8, 2012
Every time I think of this film, I keep thinking of that song "Mad World"; not the slow, depressing Michael Andrews and Gary Jules version that they did for "Donnie Darko" and everything else, the better, original, 1981 version by Tears for Fears that's well-played, yet still tonally uneven, because the lyrics were still mediocrely uneven and sad, if you could hear them over the aforementioned overly lively instrumental. I think that version fits this film a little bit better, even though this film is, as put best by its better original title, "Something a Little Less Serious", because it is still also rather noisy and messy. Man, this really is a mad, mad, mad, mad film; it's all over the place. Hey, I suppose that's what happens when you're nuts enough to do an epic comedy, as we eventually saw with "10,000 BC", the only epic comedy that's funnier than this film, partially because I find it hilarious that it's too short to be that much of an epic, though not short enough. Speaking of laughable anachronisms, does anyone else like how I keep referencing stuff that came out years after this film, even though I should be looking at it from its level, like a more credible critic? Hey, I think I am reading it on its level by being anachronistic, because humor like that is just crazy enough for this film, and, well, as put best by the consensus, that's exactly its charm. Still, make no mistake, the fact of the matter is that this messy production truly is a mad, mad, mad, mad film.

Amidst an era of slow comedies, even a film this frenetic and lengthy can't escape the occasional slow spot that especially leaves its length to glare, yet more often than not, it's the aforecited freneticism you have to worry about when it comes to comfortable story flow. Now, maybe I was going a little overboard earlier, when I said that this film is all over the place, because this film isn't a terribly explosive mess, yet make no bones about it, this film remains messy, bloating with excess material and repetition as it sloppily unravels, spilling out joke after joke, not all of which hit. At 160 minutes, or in the case of the original cut, wherever it went, three-and-a-half hours of unrelenting comedy, there are bound to be more than one sinkers, and while few, if any really crash and burn, there are still quite a few jokes that fall glaringly flat, whether it be because they're delivered obnoxiously (Eh, may she rest in peace and all, but shut up, Ethel Merman), or go on for too long, or go staged weakly, or simply just don't hit, and the moments in which that happen really do knock you out of the film for a second. Still, at the end of the day, the central problem with the film is that it's simply just so blasted long, and gratuitously so. Not that this is down to the level of Steven Spielberg's mediocre "1941", yet this is an earlier example of a film along those lines, in that it is also a bloated epic comedy that's simply not quite sweeping enough to consistently engage the audience or deliver as many good jokes as it wants to. Still, if any film is going to be an example of a bloated epic comedy that's done relatively well, I suppose this is the closest thing to the end-all-be-all. This film is still in no way a genuinely fine piece of cinema, yet for what it is, this film can bloat all it wants, because it's hard to be repelled once you fall in, partially because there are some aspects in which the film's broadness works to an actually engaging effect.

As sprawling as the film is, and often messily so, on the good couple of occasions in which it does settle down, or at least grow more comfortable in its broadness, the product becomes rewarding. Director Stanley Kramer may not be entirely consistent in his storytelling comfort, yet he really gives the film a sense of scope and adventure to soften the blow of the repetition and augment the entertainment value, and does so with the help of Ernest Laszlo's, at time, sweeping cinematography and Ernest Gold's lively score. Wow, Kramer must have really liked the first name Ernest, which is understandable, because earnest is a good way to describe this film, as there is much charm within its ambitions, which may not go delivered upon thoroughly enough for the film to really stand firm, yet remain respectable, partially because its ambitions of amusement go delivered fairly thoroughly upon, more often than not. Much of the humor isn't actually all that terribly original, yet it's still so very well-structured, with extreme Mel Brooks-like absurdity, married with a kind of down-to-earth tone that's surprisingly quite comfortably even and effective, resulting in many back-to-back chuckles, broken up by some hearty laughs, and that streak is much more consistent than the number of fall-flats. For this, credit not only goes out to Will and Tania Rose, but to the slew of classic comic talents that, as put best by the consensus, fill this film to the gills, and understandably so, because when you've a cast like this, you're gonna want to use it. From Milton Berle, Terry-Thomas, Dick Shawn and Buddy Hackett to the sea of worthwhile cameos, this film is packed with comedy classics who really show how they got be such legends, as each and every member of the colorful and mammoth cast is distinctive, memorable and bubbling with sparkling charisma that's all so very charming without the typically sharp comedic material, which makes that charm all the sharper. Again, there's too much bloating to the film for it to surface all that high, yet when it does lock you in, which is quite often, it's hard to shake loose, as if you would want to, because, at the end of the way, with all of its flaws and hold-backs, this is a good old fashion, entertaining piece of "something a little less serious", hence the name they probably should have stuck with.

At the end of the mad, mad, mad, mad day, outside of the occasional slow spot, the film lives up to the freneticism in its title, boasting quite a few overbearing moments, made worse by a few fall-flat jokes and the general gratuitous enlongation that leaves the film to sloppy to really hit home, yet more often than not, the film satisfied, manipulating its scope for a genuine sense of adventure to liven up the mostly razor-sharp script, though not as thoroughly as the memorable, colorful and sprawling cast of classic blazing charismas, with the comic presence and thorough charm needed to help in making "Something a Little Less Serio-I mean "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" (Should have stuck with the original title) a thoroughly entertaining comedy sweeper that's ultimately worth the long sit.

2.5/5 - Fair
Super Reviewer
½ August 26, 2010
The original Scavenger hunt movie. So many cameo's!
Super Reviewer
June 7, 2008
Didn't know anybody in it, and didn't laugh. It's watchable, but ALL the characters are unlikeable and they all SHOUT ALL THE TIME. I wasn't sad when it finished.
Super Reviewer
January 11, 2009
I didn't find this film as funny as most. overall I just thought it was okay.
Super Reviewer
½ March 3, 2009
"I...I cahn't see! I CAHN'T SEE!!!"

Talk about stargazing. Cost-prohibitive to make such a movie these days, and the only comedy I can readily think of that sustains its laughs for three hours! My favorite character has to be Phil Silvers. "You're a little boy. If you want to be a big boy, WHICH WAY TO THE ROAD?!?!?"
Super Reviewer
July 20, 2008
Stanley Kramer's epic comedy featured evey big comedy star of the day. When Smiler Grogan (Jimmy Durante) literally kicks the bucket, he tells a group of motorists about $350,000 buried in a state park "under a big W." This sets off a 300 mile race between groups of people to reach the money first. Along the way, they all pick up allies, either by accident or design, while not realizing they are under observation by the police, led by Spencer Tracy, who want the stolen money back. There are too many comedians in this movie to give credit to them all, but everyone is in great form. Stand outs include Jonathan Winters' destruction of a gas station, Dick Shawn's utterly clueless lifeguard whose convinced he's gotta save his momma, and Mickey Rooney and Buddy Hackett stuck in an airplane with an unconcious pilot. Epic in both length and laughs, you never feel lost as the cast continues to grow as the movie goes on. The characters are hilarious and dispicable at the same time. The movie is one long chase sequence, and you are easily carried along for the ride, not believing what these people are willing to do for easy money.
Super Reviewer
½ November 26, 2007
The comedy greats get together in an all out comic chase for a million dollars. One of my favourite movies. Look for a breif cameo from the Stooges as airport firemen.
½ April 18, 2016
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) ?? 1/2
Big, sprawling, unsubtle comedy. After a dying man tells a bunch of strangers where he hid $350,000 they scurry off in an incredible race involving short partnerships, harsh selfishness, and trickery, while also intercepting others they meet along the way. Energetic film with all-star international cast doesn't have much resonance emotion-wise, but is generally funny, occasionally exciting, with cameos and visually swanky chases galore. Plus a wild finish. But seriously, how could you say "No" to a film that includes Spencer Tracy, Jonathan Winters, Mickey Rooney, and Buddy Hackett? The Three Stooges even have a brief (if unnecessary) appearance; look fast for Jerry Lewis! Oscar Winner for Best Sound Effects Editing.
½ February 22, 2010
Outrageous fun! It should be considered a top all-time comedy classic if you ask me. This is one of the nuttiest things I've ever seen. My only gripe was that it was a little overlong. In any event it was a blast! (First and only viewing - 1/10/2016)
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