Adam's Rib


Adam's Rib (1949)


Critic Consensus: Matched by Garson Kanin's witty, sophisticated screenplay, George Cukor, Spencer Tracy, and Katherine Hepburn are all in top form in the classic comedy Adam's Rib.


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Movie Info

Written by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin, Adam's Rib is a peerless comedy predicated on the double standard. Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn play Adam and Amanda Bonner, a husband-and-wife attorney team, both drawn to a case of attempted murder. The defendant (Judy Holliday) had tearfully attempted to shoot her husband (Tom Ewell) and his mistress (Jean Hagen). Adam argues that the case is open and shut, but Amanda points out that, if the defendant were a man, he'd be set free on the basis of "the unwritten law." Thus it is that Adam works on behalf of the prosecution, while Amanda defends the accused woman. The trial turns into a media circus, while the Bonners' home life suffers. Adam's Rib represented the film debuts of New York-based actors Jean Hagen, Tom Ewell, and David Wayne (as Hepburn's erstwhile songwriting suitor), and the return to Hollywood of Judy Holliday after her Born Yesterday triumph. One of the best of the Tracy-Hepburn efforts, it inspired a brief 1973 TV series starring Ken Howard and Blythe Danner.

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Spencer Tracy
as Adam Bonner
Katharine Hepburn
as Amanda Bonner
Judy Holliday
as Doris Attinger
Tom Ewell
as Warren Attinger
David Wayne
as Kip Lurie
Jean Hagen
as Beryl Caighn
Hope Emerson
as Olympia La Pere
Eve March
as Grace
Clarence Kolb
as Judge Reiser
Emerson Treacy
as Jules Frikke
Polly Moran
as Mrs. McGrath
Will Wright
as Judge Marcasson
Elizabeth Flournoy
as Dr. Margaret Brodeigh
Janna Da Loos
as Mary, the Maid
Marvin Kaplan
as Court Stenographer
Gracille LaVinder
as Police Matron
William Self
as Benjamin Klausner
Tommy Noonan
as Reporter
John Maxwell
as Court Clerk
Ray Walker
as Photographer
Bill Self
as Benjamin Klausner
Sidney Dubin
as Amanda's Assistant
Madge Blake
as Mrs. Bonner
Marjorie Wood
as Mrs. Marcasson
Lester Luther
as Judge Poynter
De Forrest Lawrence
as Adam's Assistant
John Fell
as Adam's Assistant
Anna Q. Nilsson
as Mrs. Poynter
Rex Evans
as Fat Man
Louis Mason
as Elevator Operator
Charles Bastin
as Asst. District Attorney
E. Bradley Coleman
as Subway Rider
Glen B. Gallagher
as Criminal Attorney
Gil Patric
as Criminal Attorney
Harry Cody
as Criminal Attorney
George Magrill
as Subway Guard
Bert Davidson
as Subway Guard
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News & Interviews for Adam's Rib

Critic Reviews for Adam's Rib

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (5)

Katharine Hepburn conveys an extraordinary abundance of spirit.

Jan 14, 2013 | Full Review…

Adam's Rib is a bright comedy success, belting over a succession of sophisticated laughs.

Feb 3, 2009 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The film is a classic, and deservedly so: the conjunction of Tracy's sly listlessness and Hepburn's stridency defines 'chemistry' in the movies.

Oct 16, 2007 | Full Review…
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The performances (not least from Wayne and Hagen) are matchless.

Feb 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Of Adam's Rib we might say...that it isn't solid food but it certainly is meaty and juicy and comically nourishing.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Despite many improbabilities, this is a barbed and entertaining comedy thanks to some great casting and a very clever Kanin/Gordon script

Jul 30, 2013 | Rating: 81/100 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Adam's Rib

A husband and wife face off in an attempted murder trial that becomes a battle of the sexes. Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy deliver fine performances in this interesting but problematic film. The very simple facts of the case are that the accused is guilty. That's not a spoiler; that's the first scene. But Amanda's defense is that if a man is allowed to shoot his wife's lover, then a woman is allowed to shoot her husband's lover. This begs the question: is a man allowed to shoot his wife's lover? I didn't know that was an acceptable thing. Good to know. The fact that the film brings up common cultural double standards that persist is what makes the film interesting, and Tracy, I'm beginning to realize, made his career by taking roles that require his natural dignity. In the person of anyone else, Adam would seem weak and uninteresting, but Tracy's demeanor makes it difficult for any of his characters to be wholly emasculated. I'm also starting to like Judy Holliday; she plays ditzy roles that I would normally never be compelled by, but for some reason I find myself charmed. Overall, I liked the film, but it's not without its problems.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Review to come.

Jennifer D
Jennifer D

Super Reviewer


Hepburn wants to start women's liberation in 1949! She and her husband are lawyers on opposing sides of a case which involves a man and a woman, and they get into a battle of the sexes. It's funny at times, and too silly at other times. Overall, pretty good, but it could have been better.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

Great Classic movie. Kathrine and Specer and dynomite on screen together! I love watching them perform! ;) If you havent checked out this witty damadey you should!

Morgan Salem
Morgan Salem

Super Reviewer

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