The Music Man


The Music Man

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 17


Audience Score

User Ratings: 30,524
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Movie Info

After nearly 900 performances on stage, the hit Broadway musical and play The Music Man comes to the big screen. Harold Hill (Robert Preston) is a traveling con man who lands in River City, Iowa in the year 1912. He alerts the town to the evils of the poolhall and the potential to corrupt the town's youth. The solution is to form a musical band and put musical instruments instead of pool cues in the hands of the moppets. He convinces the townsfolk to give him plenty of money to buy marching band uniforms and musical merchandise. He meets fellow con man Marcellus Washburn (Buddy Hackett) who aids in the scheme. Marian Paroo (Shirley Jones) is the local librarian suspicious of Harold's motives. Harold doesn't know a thing about music, but has a system where wishing will make it so. Hill is almost whisked off to jail when a fellow con man warns Marian of the possible scam. Hill also does nothing to endear himself to Mayor Shinn (Paul Ford) who happens to own the pool hall of such disrepute. The Music Man is a colorful slice of nostalgic Americana and the song and dance film was nominated for Best Picture. Ray Heindorf won an Oscar for his musical direction. Memorable songs from the production include the finale "76 Trombones", "Till There Was You" and "Gary, Indiana." In one of the most glaring omissions by the Motion Picture Academy, Preston was not even nominated for his brilliant, memorable performance. This role marked one of the many highlight of his long and distinguished career, and his name is synonymous with the film. The classic was produced and directed by Morton DaCosta, who performed in similar capacity on the stage play.

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Robert Preston
as Prof. Harold Hill
Shirley Jones
as Marian Paroo
Paul Ford
as Mayor Shinn
Buddy Hackett
as Marcellus Washburn
Hermione Gingold
as Eulalie Shinn
Pert Kelton
as Mrs. Paroo
Susan Luckey
as Zaneeta Shinn
Ron Howard
as Winthrop Paroo
Harry Hickox
as Charlie Cowell
Ewart Dunlop
as The Buffalo Bill
Oliver Hix
as The Buffalo Bill
Jacey Squires
as The Buffalo Bill
Olin Britt
as The Buffalo Bill
Charles Lane
as Constable Locke
Mary Wickes
as Mrs. Squires
The Buffalo Bills
as Jacey Squires; Olin Britt; Ewart Dunlo
Monique Vermont
as Amaryllis
Ronnie Dapo
as Norbert Smith
Jesslyn Fax
as Avis Grubb
Patty Lee Hilka
as Gracie Shinn
Delos Jewkes
as Harley MacCauley
Ray Kellogg
as Harry Joseph
William Fawcett
as Lester Lonnergan
Rance Howard
as Oscar Jackson
Roy Dean
as Gilbert Hawthorne
David Swain
as Chet Glanville
Arthur Mills
as Herbert Malthouse
Rand Barker
as Duncan Shyball
Jeannine Burnier
as Jessie Shyball
Shirley Claire
as Amy Dakin
Natalie Core
as Truthful Smith
Therese Lyon
as Dolly Higgins
Penelope Martin
as Lila O'Brink
Barbara Pepper
as Feril Hawkes
Anne Loos
as Stella Jackson
Peggy Wynne
as Ada Nutting
Hank Worden
as Undertaker
Natalie Masters
as Farmer's Wife
Percy Helton
as Conductor
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Critic Reviews for The Music Man

All Critics (17)

Audience Reviews for The Music Man

  • Apr 29, 2015
    A con man comes to a small town to form a Boys' Band, but he falls in love with the local librarian. They simply don't make films with this kind of energy any more, which is a good and bad thing. The Music Man, if written today, would more fully explore the ethical questions associated with protagonist Harold Hill's profession, which is appropriate, but Hill's charm in the person of Robert Preston is infectious and fun and makes all ethical quandaries seem like departures from the fun. All of the musical numbers are scat-style super, and the production design shows of the choreography and high-scale - a scale so high that we wonder where all these people come from. Overall, The Music Man defies logic and modern story-telling, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have its charm.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Jun 27, 2014
    While it's often associated with sub par high school and community theatre productions, "The Music Man" can work really well if it's done right and this film adaption is the best example of that. It's success is probably due to the fact that just about everyone who crafted the original Broadway productions worked on it. Although the most important element was keeping Robert Preston as the lead (like Brando in "A Streetcar Named Desire", its the perfect marriage between performer and role) because no one else could have and still hasn't played this part so well.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 13, 2014
    My favourite musical has the ever so delightful Robert Preston who seems to have been typecast into this role as the slippery Harold Hill. His emotions throughout the film are genuine however. It remains a treat that ages tremendously well thanks to the nostalgia card.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 19, 2010
    One of a kind film. It really showed what music can do to people.
    erika b Super Reviewer

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