Father of the Bride (1950)



Critic Consensus: With a terrific script, great performances from Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor, and assured direction from Vincent Minnelli, Father of the Bride endures as a sparkling comedy of its era.

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Movie Info

Spencer Tracy received an Oscar nomination for his performance in this classic comedy. Stanley T. Banks (Tracy) is a securely middle-class lawyer whose daughter Kay (Elizabeth Taylor) announces that she's going to marry her beau Buckley Dunstan (Don Taylor). From that point on, everything in Stanley's life is turned upside down. His wife Ellie (Joan Bennett) wants Kay to have the kind of formal wedding that she and Stanley never had, and between meeting his soon-to-be in-laws, the socially prominent Herbert and Doris Dunstan (Moroni Olsen and Billie Burke), his man-to-man talk with the groom, hosting the engagement party, financing the increasingly lavish wedding, and wondering if Kay and Buckley will resolve their differences before arriving at the altar, Stanley barely has time to deal with his own considerable anxieties about his advancing age and how his "little girl" became a grown woman. Director Vincente Minnelli reunited with the principal cast a year later for a sequel, Father's Little Dividend; and the movie was remade in 1991 with Steve Martin and Diane Keaton. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
G (adult situations/language)
Classics , Comedy , Drama
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Written By:
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Spencer Tracy
as Stanley T. Banks
Elizabeth Taylor
as Kay Banks
Joan Bennett
as Ellie Banks
Don Taylor
as Buckley Dunstan
Billie Burke
as Doris Dunstan
Leo G Carroll
as Massoula
Moroni Olsen
as Herbert Dunstan
Russ Tamblyn
as Tommy Banks
Paul Harvey
as Rev. Galsworthy
Tom Irish
as Ben Banks
Marietta Canty
as Delilah
Fay Baker
as Miss Bellamy
Frank Hyers
as Duffy
Chris Drake
as Usher
Peter Thompson
as Usher/Young Man
Brad Hatton
as Florist
Lucille Barnes
as Bridesmaid
Erin Selwyn
as Bridesmaid
Janet Fay
as Bridesmaid
Wendy Waldron
as Bridesmaid
Douglas Spencer
as Organist
William E. Green
as Sad-faced Man
Frank Cady
as Timid Guest
Ella Ethridge
as Bits in Dream Sequence
William Norton Bailey
as Bits in Dream Sequence
Dorothy Phillips
as Bits in Dream Sequence
Stuart Holmes
as Bits in Dream Sequence
Anne Kunde
as Bits in Dream Sequence
Peggy Leon
as Guest
Lillian Bronson
as Schoolteacher
Mickey Golden
as Barman
Gene Coogan
as Barman
Lee Phelps
as Motor Cop
Patricia Miller
as Wispy Girl
Paul Maxey
as Heavy Set Man
Frank Richards
as Truck Driver
William Haade
as Policeman
Jeff York
as Policeman
Dick Wessel
as Mover
Jim Hayward
as Mover
Gil Perkins
as Mover
John Welsh
as Western Union Boy
William 'Bill' Phillips
as Foreman of Movers
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Critic Reviews for Father of the Bride

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (5)

Under Vincente Minelli's crisp direction, the fun rarely lets up.

Full Review… | March 23, 2011
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

This ostensibly lighthearted film about Spencer Tracy's Kafkaesque attempts to bring off his daughter's wedding is one of the bleakest films of a bleak decade.

Full Review… | March 23, 2011
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

On the critical side: Minnelli could have timed many of the scenes so that laughs would not have stepped on dialog tag lines.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

Thoroughly enchanting comedy about the trials and tribulations a middle-aged family man faces when the daughter he dotes on decides to get married.

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A honey of a picture of American family life.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

What makes the movie, and particularly Spencer Tracy's performance (arguably his finest), so exceptional is the manner in which it gently brings up the unavoidable heartbreak in this most enduring and celebrated of traditions.

Full Review… | May 21, 2016
Creative Loafing

Audience Reviews for Father of the Bride

Elizabeth Taylor is classy as the original Kay Banks, though the 1950s twenty-something-who-lives-at-home-before-she-gets-hitched can't afford to be as multi-faceted a woman as the '90s redux. The black and white classic is an endearing production to be sure, but the film is a bit stuffy with no transition music or familial humor.

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer


A middle-class attorney has difficulty affording his daughter's wedding. Comparing this film to the Steve Martin remake yields some interesting conclusions. In the Martin version, everybody else, led by the Martin Short character, is nuts or at least a bit unreasonable. In the Tracy version, the father's penuriousness is put on the fore, and while his daughter makes demands, in today's context, nothing seems unreasonable. This adjustment puts the onus on Tracy's performance, He must somehow continue to garner the audience's sympathy without appearing to be too miserly to love his daughter. The only time when Tracy falters is when he's made to attempt to bribe his daughter into elopement. For the rest of the time, we'd follow Tracy anywhere. Overall, this is a strong version of a common story, propelled by the fine work of Spencer Tracy.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Spencer Tracy, as the grumpy, titular father, puts this film on his back and carries it. Incredibly dated, but still a loveable film, and one that features a very young Elizabeth Taylor. Interestingly skewers wedding conventions and the wedding industry in a way that I wish more films did. Sure, all can't help but work out in the end, but the journey is blackly funny and enjoyable.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

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