Harvey (1950) - Rotten Tomatoes

Harvey (1950)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This whimsical fantasy about a local drunk's 6' 3 1/2" imaginary rabbit pal was a smash hit (and a Pulitzer Prize winner) on Broadway and was then adapted into this likeable farce that's also an allegory about tolerance. James Stewart stars as Elwood P. Dowd, a wealthy tippler whose sunny philosophy and inebriated antics are tolerated by most of the citizenry. That is, until Elwood begins claiming that he sees a "pooka" (a mischievous Irish spirit), which has taken the form of a man-sized bunny named Harvey. Although everyone is certain that Elwood has finally lost his mind, Harvey's presence begins to have magically positive effects on the townsfolk, with the exception of Elwood's own sister Veta (Josephine Hull), who, ironically, can also occasionally see Harvey. A snooty socialite, Veta is determined to marry off her daughter, Myrtle (Victoria Horne), to somebody equally respectable, and Elwood's lunacy is interfering. When Veta attempts to have Elwood committed to an insane asylum, however, the result is that she is accidentally admitted instead of her brother. Then the institution's director, Dr. Chumley (Cecil Kellaway), begins seeing Harvey, too. Hull, who reprised her part from the stage production, won an Oscar and a Golden Globe.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Classics, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Mary Chase, Oscar Brodney, Mary Chase
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 6, 2001
MCA Universal Home Video


James Stewart
as Elwood P. Dowd
Josephine Hull
as Veta Louise Simmons
Charles Drake
as Dr. Sanderson
William Lynn
as Judge Gaffney
Cecil Kellaway
as Dr. Chumley
Peggy Dow
as Miss Kelly
Victoria Horne
as Myrtle Mae
Wallace Ford
as Lofgren
Nana Bryant
as Mrs. Chumley
Grace Mills
as Mrs. Chauvenet
Ida Moore
as Mrs. McGiff
Dick Wessel
as Cracker
Pat Flaherty
as Policeman
Norman Leavitt
as Cab Driver
Edwin Max
as Salesman
Minerva Urecal
as Nurse Dunphy
Almira Sessions
as Mrs. Halsey
Sally Corner
as Mrs. Cummings
Sam Wolfe
as Minninger
Polly Bailey
as Mrs. Krausmeyer
Grayce Hampton
as Mrs. Strickleberger
Ruthelma Stevens
as Miss LaFay
Eula Guy
as Mrs. Johnson
William Val
as Chauffeur
Gino Corrado
as Eccentric Man
Don Brodie
as Mailman
Harry Hines
as Meegels
Aileen Carlyle
as Mrs. Tewksbury
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Harvey

Critic Reviews for Harvey

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (4)

Unhappily, what the film also borrows from the play, and somehow makes more conspicuous, is a tendency to drag its feet for long stretches, especially during the virtually actionless last third of the story.

Full Review… | March 29, 2011
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Harvey, Mary Chase's Pulitzer Prize play, loses little of its whimsical comedy charm in the screen translation.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

If you're for warm and gentle whimsey, for a charmingly fanciful farce and for a little touch of pathos anent the fateful evanescence of man's dreams, then the movie version of Harvey is definitely for you.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Charming, lightweight stuff (from a play by Mary Chase), so long as you can take Stewart's ingenuousness, but it does wear thin.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Elwood may be a drunk (or not -- does he ever actually take a drink?), and he may be delusional, but he is also happier, less neurotic, and more content than the so-called normal people who surround him and claim to be looking out for his best interests.

Full Review… | December 26, 2014

Stewart's Elwood P. Dowd is a soft-spoken philosopher and a friend to all -- he's quite disarming, and so is this movie.

Full Review… | September 13, 2012
Creative Loafing

Audience Reviews for Harvey


A sweet movie that is adorable like James Stewart's character, who charms us distributing business cards and being nice to everyone that he meets, while Josephine Hull deserved the Oscar she won for her hilarious, on-the-edge-of-hysteria performance.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer


Jimmy Stewart is brilliant as Elwood P. Dowd in this great moral tale that will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer


An infectiously nice/insane main character played brilliantly by James Stewart, a great skeptical reflection of the audience portrayed by Josephine Hull, and a great story make this movie one of a kind. It is funny, nice and has a wonderful moral.

Sanjay Rema
Sanjay Rema

Super Reviewer

Harvey Quotes

Elwood P. Dowd: Thank you Harvey, I prefer you too.
– Submitted by Julio C (3 years ago)
Elwood P. Dowd: Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, 'In this world, Elwood, you must be' - she always called me Elwood - 'In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.' Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.
– Submitted by Laura M (4 years ago)
Elwood P. Dowd: In this world Ellwood, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant, well for years I was smart... I recommend pleasant, and you may quote me.
– Submitted by Denise J (4 years ago)
Elwood P. Dowd: There are two ways to live well, you can be smart or pleasant. I've been smart for years, and I recommend pleasant.
– Submitted by Andrew O (4 years ago)

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