Critics Consensus

Aye-yip-aye-yo-ee-ay! The critics are sayin' you're doin' fine, Oklahoma! Oklahoma, O.K.!



Total Count: 25


Audience Score

User Ratings: 31,803
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Oklahoma! Photos

Movie Info

Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1943 Broadway musical was considered revolutionary for a multitude of reasons, not least of which were the play's intricate integration of song and storyline, and the simplicity and austerity of its production design. The 1955 film version of Oklahoma! retains the songs (except for Lonely Room and It's a Scandal!, which are usually cut from most stage presentations anyway) and the story, but the simplicity is sacrificed to the spectacle of Technicolor, Todd-AO, and Stereophonic Sound. The story can be boiled down to a single sentence: a girl must decide between the two suitors who want to take her to a social. In her movie debut, 19-year-old Shirley Jones plays Laurie, an Oklahoma farm gal who is courted by boisterous cowboy Curley (Gordon MacRae) and by menacing, obsessive farm hand Jud Frye (Rod Steiger). Fearing that Jud will do something terrible to Curley, Laurie accepts Jud's invitation to the box social. But it's Curley who rescues Laurie from Jud's unwanted advances, and in so doing wins her hand. On the eve of their wedding, Laurie and Curley are menaced by the drunken Jud. During a fight with Curley, Jud falls on his own knife and is killed (this sudden-death motif was curiously commonplace in the Rodgers and Hammerstein ouevre). The local deputy insists that Curley be arrested and stand trial, but he is outvoted by Curley's friends, and the newlyweds are permitted to ride off on their honeymoon. Counterpointing the serious elements of the story is a comic subplot involving innocently promiscuous Ado Annie (Gloria Grahame), her erstwhile sweetheart Will Parker (Gene Nelson) and lascivious travelling salesman Ali Hakim (Eddie Albert). None of the Broadway cast of Oklahoma! was engaged for the film version, though Charlotte Greenwood is finally able to essay the role of Auntie Eller that had been written for her but she'd been unable to play back in 1943. The evergreen songs include Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin', Surrey with the Fringe on Top, People Will Say We're In Love, I Cain't Say No, and the rousing title song. Two versions of Oklahoma! currently exist: the Todd-AO version, filmed on 65-millimeter stock, and the simultaneously shot CinemaScope version, shipped out to the theaters not equipped for the wider-screen Todd-AO process. Both versions have been issued in "letterbox" form on laser disc, and the subtle differences in performance style and camera angles in each and every scene are quite fascinating. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Gloria Grahame
as Ado Annie
Gene Nelson
as Will Parker
Eddie Albert
as Ali Hakim
Rod Steiger
as Jud Fry
Roy Barcroft
as Marshal
James Mitchell
as Dream Curly
Bambi Linn
as Dream Laurey
Marc Platt
as Dancer
Ben Johnson
as Cowboy at Train Depot
Rory Mallinson
as Young cowboy at box lunch auction
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Critic Reviews for Oklahoma!

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (8)

Audience Reviews for Oklahoma!

  • Sep 05, 2010
    The classic western musical. First of all I don't like westerns and second I'm not a big fan of musicals (I only like certain ones). So, I didn't enjoy this movie. It's not a bad movie, I think it's good that they mixed the genres (it's also a romantic comedy), I just didn't care for it.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Mar 19, 2010
    One of the best films of its time. It shows how love should be.
    erika b Super Reviewer
  • Jan 21, 2009
    Not as bad as you'd think. Fred Zinnemann has a great sense of size and scope and his decision to film the majority of the movie outdoors captures the natural beauty of the landscape. The fantasy dream ballet sequence is extremely well done and at moments is very beautiful. But at the end of the day its an adaptation of Oklahoma, a musical that has not transcended its time. The horrific sexism is bad even by 1950s standards.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 07, 2009
    Pure escapism. My favorite Rodgers & Hammerstein musical.
    Randy T Super Reviewer

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