The Greatest Show on Earth

Watch The Greatest Show on Earth

"The Heartbeat Story of Circus People, Filmed with the Cooperation of Ringling Bros. - Barnum and Bailey Circus!"
  • Approved
  • 1952
  • 2 hr 32 min
  • 6.5  (16,036)
  • 76

The Greatest Show on Earth is a 1952 American drama film directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring James Stewart, Charlton Heston, and Betty Hutton. The story follows the behind-the-scenes drama of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, as it travels across America, and entertains crowds with extravagant performances. The film begins with Brad Braden (Charlton Heston), the circus manager, trying to keep the show running smoothly, with the help of his assistant, Buttons (Stewart). The two men are constantly bickering over the details of the show, and their disagreements only intensify when they both become interested in the same woman, Holly (Hutton), a trapeze artist with a troubled past.

As the circus travels from town to town, the audience is treated to a colorful array of performances, including acrobats, clowns, and animal acts. The film showcases a number of famous circus acts, including the Wallendas, who perform a daring high-wire act, and Emmett Kelly, who plays a sad-faced clown.

Intertwined with the circus performances are personal stories of the performers and staff. For example, Gloria (Dorothy Lamour), a trapeze artist, is torn between her love for her husband, who is also a performer, and her desire to be with another man. Meanwhile, Angel (Gloria Grahame), an elephant trainer, is secretly in love with one of the circus managers, and fears that her feelings will not be reciprocated.

As the circus arrives in a new town, it faces challenges from both the weather and the local authorities, who are skeptical of the safety of the performances. The film builds tension as the characters face a series of obstacles, including a train crash, a fire, and a storm, but ultimately, they pull through and deliver a spectacular show.

The Greatest Show on Earth is a celebration of the circus as an art form and an affirmation of the spirit of the American frontier. The film is full of energy, color, and spectacle, and is a testament to the skill and dedication of the performers and crew behind the greatest circus in the world.

Overall, The Greatest Show on Earth is a classic Hollywood drama that captures the magic and excitement of the circus. With a star-studded cast and dazzling performances, the film is a must-see for anyone who loves the big top.

The Greatest Show on Earth is a 1952 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 32 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.5 and a MetaScore of 76.

The Greatest Show on Earth
Where to Watch The Greatest Show on Earth
The Greatest Show on Earth is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Greatest Show on Earth for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 32 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.5  (16,036)
  • Metascore