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The Philadelphia Story (1940)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 8.7/10
Reviews Counted: 49
Fresh: 49 | Rotten: 0

Offering a wonderfully witty script, spotless direction from George Cukor, and typically excellent lead performances, The Philadelphia Story is an unqualified classic.

100

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 0

Offering a wonderfully witty script, spotless direction from George Cukor, and typically excellent lead performances, The Philadelphia Story is an unqualified classic.

audience

93

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 45,805

My Rating

Movie Info

We open on Philadelphia socialite C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) as he's being tossed out of his palatial home by his wife, Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn). Adding insult to injury, Tracy breaks one of C.K.'s precious golf clubs. He gallantly responds by knocking her down on her million-dollar keester. A couple of years after the breakup, Tracy is about to marry George Kittridge (John Howard), a wealthy stuffed shirt whose principal recommendation is that he's not a Philadelphia "mainliner," as

Unrated,

Romance, Classics, Comedy

Donald Ogden Stewart

Sep 10, 1997

MGM

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on The Philadelphia Story

June 22, 2007:
AFI Announces Top 100 Movies of All Time ... Again
Ten years ago the AFI gave us a list of the Top 100 American Films Ever Made -- and when that was...

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All Critics (49) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (49) | Rotten (0) | DVD (24)

The film is a Hepburn triumph, and moviegoers who resent the theatre's habit of requisitioning their stars may feel that Miss Hepburn's time on the stage has not been spent in vain and that she simply prepared herself for this achievement.

December 16, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In short, The Philadelphia Story lifts the daily drudge into a charming never-never land, with complete footnotes excusing its existence. And besides, it's a good, entertaining show.

April 23, 2009 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Every time Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart connect in a scene, we hear the happy ding! of quality champagne crystal.

March 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Film.com
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The smarties are going to relish Philadelphia Story a lot more than the two-bit trade...

July 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

George Cukor gives it the royal treatment with a splendid supporting cast...

July 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Cukor and Donald Ogden Stewart's evergreen version of Philip Barry's romantic farce, centreing on a socialite wedding threatened by scandal, is a delight from start to finish, with everyone involved working on peak form.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Cukor's direction flawlessly picks up on defining character traits, and all the intricate detail makes watching this movie feel like you're an invisible gatecrasher at the Lords' party.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Just sit back and enjoy romantic comedy at its most sublime.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Spoofs and plays sly homage to Clifford Odets' earnest socialist dramas

August 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinemania

How well all is pulled together and comes off, is more glaring when 'The Philadelphia Story' is compared to its fluffy but fangless 1956 musical adaptation, 'High Society.'

August 9, 2012 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Screwball romance is lots of fun for older kids.

January 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Romantic comedies are rarely this fabulous.

April 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4

With such a stellar cast, a fine director working in the type of picture he did best, and some genuinely witty dialogue, this film has all the ingredients for a great comedy.

July 2, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Is The Philadelphia Story about cutting Katharine Hepburn down to size?

June 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Approaching it as fairytale with moral--Hepburn meets her prince but gums it up and need to rediscover her own humanity--Cukor directs with stylish elegance that serves the play perfectly; it's one of his masterpieces.

October 5, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

O charme do trio principal e a inteligência dos diálogos permitiram que o filme envelhecesse maravilhosamente bem.

May 8, 2006
Cinema em Cena

I don't think anyone really cares about the fact that this was intended to be a cunning class satire with a capital C, but it's got big stars, they say cool things, they look good, it's funny, and the right guy gets the right girl in amusing fashion.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Excellent casting, a great storyline and a shrp script mean that this remains a classic of the genre and one of Katherine Hepburn's best roles.

June 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

[Relies] less on physical comedy and more on immaculately delivered zingers.

March 18, 2005 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Everyone and everything about the film is mostly perfect, and what the movie ultimately says about the nature of love is still prescient.

March 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Audience Reviews for The Philadelphia Story

A witty romantic comedy with a refined, intelligent dialogue and sharp performances, especially Hepburn and Stewart, although I feel reluctant to accept the sexist way that it correlates a woman's strong character with her being a prig, as if humbling and taming were the same.
May 5, 2014
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

It's Katharine Hepburn's picture, but with as fetching a lineup of the talent as is to be found, she's got to fight every clever line of dialog all of the way to hold her lead. Pushing hard is little Virginia Weidler, the kid sister, who has as twinkly any eye with a fast quip as a blinker light. Ruth Hassey is another from whom director George Cukor has milked maximum results to get a neat blend of sympathy-winning softness under a python-tongued smartaleckness. As for Cary Grant, James Stewart and Roland Young, there's little to be said that their reputation hasn't established. John Howard, John Halliday and Mary Nash, in lesser roles, more than adequately fill in what Philip Barry must have dreamt of when he wrote the 1939 play.
The perfect conception of all flighty but characterful Main Line socialite gals rolled into one, Hepburn has just the right amount of beauty, just the right amount of disarray in wearing clothes, just the right amount of culture in her voice - it's no one but Hepburn.
When the acid tongues are turned on at beginning and end of the film, it's a laugh-provoker from way down. When the discussion gets deep and serious, however, on the extent of Hepburn's stone-like character, the verbiage is necessarily highly abstract and the film slows to a toddle.
May 22, 2011
deano
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

James Stuwart and Katharine Hepburn were magnifient to see on screen, their performance and the great screenplay made the whole movie, while Cary Grant and Ruth Hussey were amazing, too.
November 30, 2010
emilebond007

Super Reviewer

Generous helpings of drama, witty banter, and that powerful shade of romance that can only be explored in a time when innocence was key, and you had to work with hwat you had.
October 14, 2010
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

    1. Tracy Lord: I'm going crazy. I'm standing here solidly on my own two hands and I'm going crazy.
    – Submitted by Sarah K (8 months ago)
    1. Macauley Connor: Kittredge appreciates Kittredge!
    – Submitted by Sarah K (8 months ago)
    1. C.K. Dexter Haven: The moon is also a goddess, chaste and virginal.
    2. Tracy Lord: Oh, stop using those foul words.
    – Submitted by Sarah K (8 months ago)
    1. Macauley Connor: Are you still in love with her? Or perhaps you consider that to be a very personal question. Liz thinks you are! Liz thinks you are. All though of course women like to roman..romanticize things a bit.
    2. C.K. Dexter Haven: Yes they do, don't they.
    3. Macauley Connor: Yes they do, don't they.
    – Submitted by Sarah K (8 months ago)
    1. Dinah Lord: I did. I did it all!
    – Submitted by Christopher B (16 months ago)
    1. Macauley Connor: Doggone it, C.K. Dexter Haven! Either I'm gonna sock you or you're gonna sock me.
    2. C.K. Dexter Haven: Shall we toss a coin?
    – Submitted by Christopher B (16 months ago)
View all quotes (16)

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Foreign Titles

  • Die Nacht vor der Hochzeit (DE)
  • The Philadelphia Story (1940) (CA)
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