Horse Feathers (1932) - Rotten Tomatoes

Horse Feathers (1932)




Critic Consensus: Horse Feathers finds the Marx Brothers in fine madcap form, taking aim at an array of timely targets while serving up classic set pieces.

Movie Info

Horse Feathers is a classic Marx Brothers comedy, featuring all four of the original members of the comedy team. Groucho is the corrupt, scheming president of Huxley College, who plans to make the school's football team into winners by hiring Chico and Harpo to play on the team during the big game against Darwin U.


Groucho Marx
as Prof. Quincy Adams Wagstaff
Chico Marx
as Baravelli
Zeppo Marx
as Frank Wagstaff
Nat Pendleton
as MacHardie, Darwin Player
Thelma Todd
as Connie Bailey
David Landau
as Jennings
Florine McKinney
as Peggy Carrington
Jim Pierce
as Mullens
Reginald Barlow
as President of College
Robert Greig
as Prof. Hornsvogel
Robert Craig
as The Biology Professor
E.H. Calvert
as Professor in Wagstaff's Study
Edward J. Le Saint
as Profs. in Wagstaff's Study
View All

News & Interviews for Horse Feathers

Critic Reviews for Horse Feathers

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (4)

The madcap Marxes, in one of their maddest screen frolics.

October 18, 2008 | Full Review…

The Brothers have never been so chaotic or so aggressively funny.

February 9, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Some of the fun is even more reprehensible than the doings of these clowns in previous films, but there is no denying that their antics and their patter are helped along by originality and ready wit.

January 28, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

This 1932 release was the first Marx film to take on the Depression, and the brothers manage to satirize everything from education to prostitution and bootlegging.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Somehow, the boys manage to incorporate a horse-drawn vehicle into a football game.

October 29, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

The opening ten minutes of Horse Feathers have more laughs than most comedy features muster in their entirety. And there's more where that came from... [Blu-ray]

October 18, 2016 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Horse Feathers


If it's not broke, don't fix it. Groucho plays the guitar, Chico plays piano, and Harpo plays the harp. Zeppo was still an equal member of the family in 1932. And Thelma Todd handles them all quite admirably. This'll make you think about going to school again

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Incredibly funny! Although there are scenes that are a bit long or too silly, the ending in particular, the movie overall is fun and very very funny.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

This movie for me is the funniest of the Marx Brothers comedies. From the opening moments, when Groucho assumes control of Huxley College, and sings his new policy to the assembled professors, " Whatever it is, I'm against it", to the riotous football game at the end, this movie is a total delight. Chico does one of his funniest Italian con man roles, with Harpo doing some of his most inspired silent clowning, communicating by showing his tattoos, acting out in mime routines what he thinks, and blowing his usual horn. One of the most hilarious scenes has Groucho dropping in on a class ,and taking over from the professor. His attempt to deliver a lecture on anatomy is interrupted by Chico and Harpo, assaulting him with bean-shooters. When Groucho discovers the old time circus acrobat poster hung up in front of the blackboard, and demands to know who the culprit is, Harpo tearfully confesses, after Groucho has asked Chico if it's his picture, and Chico responds," I don't think so, it doesn't look like me." There's a surprisingly bawdy undercurrent of humor involving college president Groucho and his son Zeppo, vying for the attentions of the " college widow", Thelma Todd. Her gangster husband walks in, and demands to know what the various men are doing there. Chico quickly improvises, and declares that he's the music teacher, there to give Thelma a lesson. The suspicious husband makes Groucho stay to listen to the alleged singing lesson, which includes some truly delightful interplay between Thelma and Chico. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the movie is the vintage Prohibition humor, involving speakeasies and bootlegging. Prohibition was still in effect when this movie was new, and there's a whole sequence set in the local speakeasy, with Chico taking phone orders for booze, and filling differently labeled bottles of whiskey with the exact same hooch. The classic password sequence, with Chico minding the peephole, and denying Groucho admittance, is Marx Brothers zaniness at its best. As for the climactic football game...well, you just have to see it.

David Ladd
David Ladd

Super Reviewer

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