Royal Wedding (1951)

TOMATOMETER

——

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Vintage MGM musical stuff, characterized by Stanley Donen's fleet direction and some amazing dance performances from star Fred Astaire.

Royal Wedding Videos

Royal Wedding Photos

Movie Info

Two real-life events were incorporated into the plot of the 1951 MGM musical Royal Wedding. One, the marriage of Fred Astaire's sister Adele to a British nobleman had occurred years earlier; the other, the wedding of England's Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip was only four years in the past. MGM would probably have gotten Royal Wedding out closer to the Elizabeth-Philip nuptials, but the picture had leading-lady problems; every girl who was cast either became pregnant, ill, or otherwise unavailable. Finally, Jane Powell was cast as the sister and partner of American-entertainer Fred Astaire. The plot has Astaire and Powell heading to Merrie Olde England to perform at the palace. Once they've arrived, Powell breaks up the act when she falls in love with blueblooded Peter Lawford. Astaire himself finds romance in the form of Sarah Churchill (daughter of Sir Winston), and the four happy campers gleefully attend the titular Windsor Castle wedding. Also in the cast is Albert Sharpe, fresh from his Broadway triumph in Finian's Rainbow, and Keenan Wynn, hilarious as twin cousins. The plot is so light that it threatens to float away at times, but Royal Wedding sticks in the memory thanks to its first-rate musical numbers. The Astaire/Powell duets are entertaining enough; the real magic, however, occurs in Astaire's two solos: the hat-rack duet and the now-legendary tap-dance on the ceiling (even knowing how this cinematic legerdemain was accomplished does not detract from its brilliance and virtuosity). Because it has slipped into public domain, Royal Wedding is one of the most easily accessible of all the Fred Astaire musicals. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Rating:
PG
Genre:
Classics , Comedy , Musical & Performing Arts , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
MGM Home Entertainment

Watch it now

Cast

Albert Sharpe
as James Ashmond
Fred Astaire
as Tom Bowen
Keenan Wynn
as Irving Klinger/Edgar Klinger
Jane Powell
as Ellen Bowen
Mae Clarke
as Telephone Operator No. 1
Peter Lawford
as Lord John Brindale
Sarah Churchill
as Anne Ashmond
Leonard Mudie
as Singing Doorman
Phyllis Morris
as Singing Woman
Bess Flowers
as Woman Guest
David Thursby
as Singing Bobby
Wilson Wood
as Drinker
Alex Frazer
as Chester
Francis Bethencourt
as Charles Gordon
Albert Pollet
as Steward
Stanley Mann
as Cabdriver
Richard Lupino
as Singing Elevator Boy
Andre Charisse
as Steward
Kerry O'Day
as Linda
John Hedloe
as Billy
Jack Reilly
as Pete Cumberly
Viola Roache
as Sarah Ashmond
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Royal Wedding

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (4)

This is an engaging concoction of songs and dances in a standard musical framework, brightly dressed in color to show off its physical attributes.

Full Review… | August 5, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

A pleasant enough score by Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner, helped out by Donen's stylish direction.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

One swell number, three or four that are good, a laugh here, a laugh there; colored newsreels of the British royal wedding and so long pal. Mr. Astaire has fared better in his lifetime -- and he has also fared much worse.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

This is the one in which Fred Astaire dances on the ceiling, an impeccably executed bit of movie magic and a sublime expression of Donen's love for the medium.

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

It looks like a million bucks, and it's easy to like, and for [producer Arthur] Freed, that was what mattered.

Full Review… | July 4, 2014
Antagony & Ecstasy

When all is said and done, Stanley Donen's first solo directorial assignment, after his work with Gene Kelly, is a lovely bit of frou-frou.

Full Review… | April 4, 2012
TV Guide

Audience Reviews for Royal Wedding

½

If you love silly love stories with song and dance numbers and a happy ending, you'll like this movie, not love it, but like it. Personally I was bored with all the dancing, and the story didn't keep my interest, but it's not that bad.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

I wasnt crazy about Jane Powell's singing but hey! its fred Astaire. DANCING ON THE CIELING! nothing can go wrong. His girl is not that pretty though...

Morgan Salem
Morgan Salem

Super Reviewer

½

I think MGM musicals are delightful little jewels, no matter how formulaic they can get. And Stanley Donen is the king of all things singing and dancing. So naturally this was going to be good before I even saw it. The dancing is top notch and Jane Powell is so adorable even though I don't like her voice. And Fred Astaire is ageless, floats with a grace I've never seen on anyone else. It's definitely not the best musical I've ever seen but it's thoroughly enjoyable (even though the girl Astaire got with at the end is ugly...) escapsim!

Jennifer Xu
Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer

Royal Wedding Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Royal Wedding on our Movie forum!

News & Features