Barnum (1986) - Rotten Tomatoes

Barnum (1986)





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This made-for-television film chronicles the life of 19th-century American showman P. T. Barnum. Using flashbacks (and flash forwards) the earliest efforts of his career are shown, through the formation of the "Greatest Show on Earth" with his partner Bailey, with many interesting things in between. ~ Forest Ray, Rovi
Drama , Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Academy Entertainment

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Burt Lancaster
as Phineas T. Barnum
Hanna Schygulla
as Jenny Lind
John Roney
as Young Barnum
Laura Press
as Charity
Sandor Raski
as Young Tom Thumb
Patty Maloney
as Older Tom Thumb
Lorena Gale
as Joyce Heth
Bronwen Mantel
as Queen Victoria
Michael Higgins
as Phineas Taylor
Deborah Hancock
as Caroline
Andrew Bednarski
as Little Phineas
Joe Cazalet
as James Gordon Bennett
Rob Roy
as Horace Greeley
Sean Hewitt (II)
as Coley Draper
Philip Spensley
as Deacon Cox
John McCorkell
as Heckler Roberts
Harry Hill
as Mr. Fish
Rummy Bishop
as Bank Doorman
Tony Rabinow
as Matthew Scott
Michael Sinelnikoff
as Lord in Waiting
Joan Heney
as Mrs. Stratton
Sam Lemarquand
as Chauncey Jerome
Thick Wilson
as Museum Passerby
John Stanzil
as Tap Dancer
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Critic Reviews for Barnum

All Critics (1)

The 72-year-old former circus trapeze artist Burt Lancaster delightfully plays the title role.

Full Review… | September 2, 2008
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Barnum


Michael Crawford puts on a clinic with his performance in "Barnum". And we're not just talking about singing and acting - you have to include dancing, gymnastics, juggling, and tightrope walking. This show is filmed during a live performance and would not be the same any other way. The circus scenes are impressive because of the energy that fills the auditorium, and filming the circus stunts on a soundstage simply would not have the same effect. The show has a festive atmosphere as Barnum oftedn breaks the fourth wall and make the audience a part of the story, as if they were actually under the big tent watching the circus. The music is exciting at first but becomes monotonous after a while. Certain songs are heartfelt while some are too cheesy ("One brick at a time, one single solitary brick) and after 90 minutes, they all start to sound the same. The story culminates with a show-stopping ending that will make you want to join the circus. "Barnum" is far from my favorite musical but this rendition is the best portrayal that this musical will ever see. Michael Crawford. Wow.

Jonny Priano
Jonny Priano

[i]Barnum[/i] is my musical director's favorite musical, and after seeing the DVD of a theater performance starring the incredible Michael Crawford (AKA Cornelius Hackl and the Phantom), it's not hard to see why. The story of P.T. Barnum is a lot of fun, especially with so many acrobatics and a lot of great music. The sets and costumes also add a lot to the show, which whizzes by. The performances are solid all around, and it's just so much fun. It's a bit hard to track down, but if you can, do. A wonderful show.

Clayton Walter
Clayton Walter

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