Around the World in 80 Days

1956

Around the World in 80 Days

Critics Consensus

It's undeniably shallow, but its cheerful lack of pretense -- as well as its grand scale and star-stuffed cast -- help make Around the World in 80 Days charmingly light-hearted entertainment.

71%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 38

57%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 33,413
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Around the World in 80 Days Photos

Movie Info

Razzle-dazzle showman Michael Todd hocked everything he had to make this spectacular presentation of Jules Verne's 1872 novel Around the World in 80 Days, the second film to be lensed in the wide-screen Todd-AO production. Nearly as fascinating as the finished product are the many in-production anecdotes concerning Todd's efforts to pull the wool over the eyes of local authorities in order to cadge the film's round-the-world location shots--not to mention the wheeling and dealing to convince over forty top celebrities to appear in cameo roles. David Niven heads the huge cast as ultra-precise, supremely punctual Phileas Fogg, who places a 20,000-pound wager with several fellow members of London Reform Club, insisting that he can go around the world in eighty days (this, remember, is 1872). Together with his resourceful valet Passepartout (Cantinflas), Fogg sets out on his world-girdling journey from Paris via balloon. Meanwhile, suspicion grows that Fogg has stolen his 20,000 pounds from Bank of England. Diligent Inspector Fix (Robert Newton) is sent out by the bank's president (Robert Morley) to bring Fogg to justice. Hopscotching around the globe, Fogg pauses in Spain, where Passepartout engages in a comic bullfight (a specialty of Cantinflas). In India, Fogg and Passepartout rescue young widow Princess Aouda (Shirley MacLaine, in her third film) from being forced into committing suicide so that she may join her late husband. The threesome visit Hong Kong, Japan, San Francisco, and the Wild West. Only hours short of winning his wager, Fogg is arrested by the diligent Inspector Fixx. Though exonerated of the bank robbery charges, he has lost everything--except the love of the winsome Aouda. But salvation is at hand when Passepartout discovers that, by crossing the International Date Line, there's still time to reach the Reform Club. Will they make it? See for yourself. Among the film's 46 guest stars, the most memorable include Marlene Dietrich, Charles Boyer, Jose Greco, Frank Sinatra, Peter Lorre, Red Skelton, Buster Keaton, John Mills, and Beatrice Lillie. All were paid in barter--Ronald Colman did his brief bit for a new car. Newscaster Edward R. Murrow provides opening narration, and there's a tantalizing clip from Georges Méliès' A Trip to the Moon (1902). Offering a little something for everyone, Around the World in 80 Days is nothing less than an extravaganza, and it won 5 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Cinematography.

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Cast

David Niven
as Phileas Fogg
Cantinflas
as Passepartout
Shirley MacLaine
as Princess Aouda
Robert Newton
as Insp. Fix
Charles Boyer
as Monsieur Casse
Joe E. Brown
as Station Master
John Carradine
as Col. Proctor Stamp
Ronald Colman
as Railway Official
Noel Coward
as Hesketh-Baggott
Finlay Currie
as Whist Partner
Reginald Denny
as Police Chief
Andy Devine
as First Mate
Fernandel
as Coachman
Hermione Gingold
as Sporting Lady
Jose Greco
as Dancer
Cedric Hardwicke
as Sir Francis Gromarty
Trevor Howard
as Falletin
Glynis Johns
as Companion
Buster Keaton
as Conductor
Beatrice Lillie
as Revivalist
Peter Lorre
as Steward
Edmund Lowe
as Engineer
Tim Mccoy
as Commander
Mike Mazurki
as Character
Jack Oakie
as Captain of S.S. Henrietta
George Raft
as Bouncer at Barbary Coast Saloon
Gilbert Roland
as Achmed Abdullah
Cesar Romero
as Henchman
Frank Sinatra
as Saloon Pianist
Ronald Squire
as Club Member
A.E. Matthews
as Club Member
Basil Sydney
as Club Member
Ava Gardner
as Spectator
Edward R. Murrow
as Narrator, the prologue narrator
Dick Wessel
as Train fireman
Max Reid
as (uncredited) extra
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Critic Reviews for Around the World in 80 Days

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (8)

  • With its lazy, somnambulant pace and endless stream of cameos, Around the World in 80 Days seems to be unfolding in real time.

    Oct 2, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The wonder is that this Polyphemus of productions does not simply collapse of its own overweight; but, thanks principally to Showman Todd, the picture skips along with an amazing lightness.

    Feb 18, 2009 | Full Review…
  • With a smash lineup of stars in major and minor parts, Todd has turned out a surefire hit.

    Jan 28, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Proof that you can buy an Academy Award.

    Dec 12, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Is the whole thing too exhausting? It's a question of how much you can take. We not only took it but found it most amusing.

    Mar 25, 2006 | Full Review…
  • An interminable travelogue interspersed with sketches in which star-spotting affords some relief.

    Feb 9, 2006

    Tom Milne

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Around the World in 80 Days

  • Aug 20, 2014
    Before "Logan's Run", Michael Anderson presented us "Fogg's Run"! This guy might can take only 80 days to make it around the world, but it takes a couple more than that to watch him do so. No, it takes "way" more days than that, because the total time taken up by the Edward R. Murrow-hosted prologue that has the audacity to show footage from [u]another movie[/u] ("A Trip to the Moon", if anyone's vaguely interested), and the animated credits sequence at the end, runs about 80 days, or at least it probably felt like it did at a time when they didn't even have ending credits sequences. Yeah, if you're going to be ambitious enough to employ Saul Bass to make some cartoon for you, even if you just use him at the end of your movie, he's going to need to have his time to shine, so maybe it's a good thing that this film is ultimately over two-and-a-half hours long. There better be something to justify that length, because although this film is plenty adventurous, it isn't exactly the most dramatically sweeping epic to take home Best Picture. I don't know how much depth you can get out of a film that is based on a Jules Verne novel... or features an extensive cartoon sequence by the guy whose other major globe design was for AT&T. Well, at least the film a whole lot of fun, even if it does take its time to work its way down a path that isn't even especially original. The film has refreshing touches, but they just shine a light on the conventional aspects which render the final product predictable, and to make matters all the more aggravating, a lot of the tropes are taken from cheesy formulas. The film is not as corny as I feared it would be, thanks to all of the wit, which can still do only so much to dance around the cornball bits, even within characterization that, even in the context of this fluffy pseudo-fantasy flick, can be a little hard to buy into, limiting engagement value which is further shaken by questionable structuring. As I said, this film is simply too long, with momentum being all but completely lost once the film finds itself running into moments of sheer filler, if not overtly extensive observations of the lavish settings which force a sense of immersion, and dilute a sense of progression, though perhaps not as much as the overdrawn dedication toward each segment of this episodic adventure. I reckon the episodicity is more excusable than the many moments of playing Cantinflas' conceptually secondary lead Passepartout character over David Niven's Phileas Fogg lead, but it's still detrimental to focal consistency in this epic which thrives on its episodic shenanigans, seeing as how it doesn't have much conflict to focus on. This film is plenty well-done, despite the aforementioned issues, so the final product could have rewarded if it wasn't so superficial, even in concept, following an ultimately inconsequential story that doesn't have much value beyond the entertainment sort. It's ultimately natural shortcomings which hold the film back, but they certainly make, say, the lengthiness all the more problematic, driving the underwhelming final product as about as challenging as it is lively. Still, the point is that the film is a lot of fun, even with its superficiality, offering scope, charm and even aesthetic value. Victor Young's Oscar-winning score is far from original, but it's closer to outstanding, with a beautiful whimsy and sweep, not unlike cinematography by Lionel Lindon which is lush and grand in scope, capturing the diverse environments of this adventurous opus beautifully. To be fair, the locations of this film are beautiful by on their own to begin with, as this film explores distinguished culture after distinguished culture, immersing you with its tastes, especially when it enhances the sets with pieces from James W. Sullivan art direction that further capture a sense of dynamicity. Really, the narrative itself is dynamic, not having enough depth or consistency to its layers for an often aimless runtime of around two hours and three quarters to feel justified, but still establishing a lot of potential for range as a cosmopolitan adventure epic. At the very least, there's a potential for entertainment value that is done about as much justice as anything, with director Michael Anderson keeping style and scene structuring tight enough to keep a sense of pacing a whole lot sleeker than the plotting's momentum. Anderson also has a knack for getting across-the-board decent performances, as this cast is full of colorful performances, the most colorful of which being by the leads, with David Niven being charismatic as a visionary and somewhat obsessive adventurer, while Cantinflas, despite having some issues with molding his Mexican accent into a French one, - ...especially during the scenes in which he speaks Spanish - is almost iconically charming as a good-hearted and colorful second-hand adventurer who particularly falls victim to shenanigans. It helps that these leads have plenty of delightful material to work with, because even though James Poe's, John Farrow's and S. J. Perelman's script gets a little excessive and formulaic to be working with such superficial subject matter, it delivers on sharp humor that often rings with moments of hilarity that stand true today, and mark heights in a cleverness that is more recurrently applied to the crafting of dynamic, colorful and altogether memorable set pieces. I've said it time and again, and I once again say that this film is a lot of fun, trying your patience, sure, and not having that much meat to begin with, but still keeping you entertained enough throughout its sprawling course to at least border on rewarding. When the trip is done, among the many tropes in this film is cheesy occasions, while excessiveness leads to unevenness to the episodic telling of a story that isn't even all that meaty to begin with, having enough superficiality to drive the final product shy of rewarding, but not enough to prevent grand scoring and cinematography, immersive locations and art direction, colorful direction and performances, and a thoroughly clever script from securing Michael Anderson's "Around the World in 80 Days" as a thoroughly fun, if somewhat superficial epic. 2.75/5 - Decent
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Sep 19, 2013
    'Around the World in Eighty Days' is a curious disaster. Its lavish production design, expensive sets and celebrity cameos are used to disguise its shallowness, unevenness and dated British humor, but they don't. Maybe in 1956 they did, but not today. It works in small bits, but not as whole. As a side note, one of the most peculiar things about it is how Cantinflas won the Best Actor - Comedy/Musical award at the Golden Globes while the film itself won the Best Motion Picture - Drama award. No one ever brings that up and it just doesn't make a lick of sense.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Nov 14, 2011
    How this won Best Picture (beating out Giant, Friendly Persuasion, The Ten Commandments, and The King and I, and The Searchers (which wasn't even nominated) is beyond me. This is a big, epic adaptation of the classic Jules Verne story of an archetypical Englishman who makes a bet he can travel across the entire world in only 80 days. As an event, sure, yeah, this was probably quite a fun spectacle to see back in 1956. Today though, this is just an overlong, kinda boring cameo fest with rather blah acting, and little sense of real adventure and excitement. I guess for people who at the time weren't used to seeing exotic places were wowed by what this film offers, but today it's just an unspectacular and dated travelogue. Don't get me wrong, there are some things I liked. The music is decent, if a little repetitive, the end title credit sequence by Saul Bass is really cool, some of the cameos are fun (SInatra, Carradine, Keaton, Dietrich), and Cantinflas is admittedly an absolute scene stealing joyt to watch, but Niven didn't stand out for me as a wonderful lead, and Shirely MacLaine ,though I like her and understood that she did this film near the beginning of her career, really feels out of place. The cinematography is quite excellent though, and the locations do look nice (though idealized), but overall, this is just another one of those Best Picture winners that really didn't deserve it.
    Chris W Super Reviewer
  • Dec 05, 2010
    Around the World in 80 Days is a 1956 adventure film based on the Jules Verne novel. The film won multiple Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Around 1872, an English gentleman Phileas Fogg (David Niven) claims he can circumnavigate the world in eighty days. He makes a £20,000 wager (equal to £1,324,289 today) with several skeptical fellow members of the Reform Club, that he can arrive back within 80 days before exactly 8:45 pm. Very funny, with a lot of special appearances, like Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich and Buster Keaton.
    Andre T Super Reviewer

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