Finian's Rainbow (1968)



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Finian's Rainbow is the first major film directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The musical comedy concerns the efforts of Irish immigrant Finian (Fred Astaire), who has stolen a pot of gold from a leprechaun. Along with his daughter Sharon (Petula Clark), the couple moves to the United States to the mythical town of Rainbow Valley. The two are soon pursued by Og the leprechaun (Tommy Steele) who seeks to take back the gold from Finian. Finian believes if he buries the gold in the ground, it will grow like an plant and multiply. Sharon befriends Woody (Don Francks), who is being driven off his farm by orders of a bigoted judge (Keenan Wynn). Comedy ensues when Og grants a series of wishes, one of them that turns the Judge into a black man. He experiences firsthand the indignities of racial prejudice in this song filled comedy. Choreographer Hermes Pan was hired at the assistance of Astaire, his longtime friend who had previously worked with Astaire. Pan was fired by Coppola, who referred to the dance scenes as "abysmal." Pan referred to Coppola as "a real pain." Studio executives were impressed with the fact Coppola completed the feature in seven weeks for under 4 million dollars. He would later hit his stride with The Godfather and would become one of the best directors in the last half of the 20th century.
G (adult situations)
Classics , Comedy , Kids & Family , Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Home Video

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Fred Astaire
as Finian McLonergan
Petula Clark
as Sharon McLonergan
Tommy Steele
as Og, the Leprechaun
Don Francks
as Woody Mahoney
Keenan Wynn
as Judge Rawkins
Barbara Hancock
as Susan The Silent
Ronald Colby
as Buzz Collins
Dolph Sweet
as Sheriff
Wright King
as District Attorney
Louis Silas
as Henry
Avon Long
as Passion Pilgrim Gospeleer
Roy E. Glenn Sr.
as Passion Pilgrim Gospeleer
Jester Hairston
as Passion Pilgrim Gospeleer
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Critic Reviews for Finian's Rainbow

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (5)

A light, pastoral fantasy with civil rights angles, underscored by comedy values.

Full Review… | December 11, 2007
Top Critic

An underrated musical.

February 10, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic


Full Review… | May 8, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

A marvelous evening right up to its last shot of Astaire walking away down a country road.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

It's Fred Astaire's last musical and a sorry farewell.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Francis Ford Coppola, whose previous film was the bouncing You're a Big Boy Now, again directs like a bulldozer with a sense of humour.

Full Review… | April 25, 2016
The Spectator

Audience Reviews for Finian's Rainbow


"Finian's Rainbow" was already out of date when it was made. It doesn't feel like a throwback, it feels like a big Hollywood musical film made just as they were going out style, and after most people put much care into making or wanting to see this kind of movie. Francis Ford Coppola was hired to direct, and I think his approach didn't really work. He wanted to go more realistic, but the material didn't call for that AT ALL, and so he landed somewhere in the middle, which makes this feel like a very middle of the road humdrum experience. The music is not only mostly bad, but almost every song goes on far too long. Coppola's earlier films from the 60s are weird, and it wasn't until he made "The Godfather" in which he showed what a skilled filmmaker he could be.

Ken Scheck
Ken Scheck

Finian's Rainbow was nowhere near as good as I thought it would be. The songs in particular were mostly mediocre, but I did enjoy Tommy Steele as Og the Leprechaun! (First and only viewing - 9/3/2013)

Adam R
Adam R

Politically incorrect for the 21st century? Absolutely. But this movie is a delight if watched through a wider historical perspective. Al Freeman Jr.'s parody of how a servant should serve is painfully funny; Ogg the leprechaun gets some of the best songs in the show. It's a window into the past, but also some good entertainment. Certainly a keeper in my library.

Christopher DeSantis
Christopher DeSantis

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