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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 30 October 2008
Unless you possess a very large TV indeed, you will not get the full potential of this great movie. Maybe 95%! Movies are made for the cinema, not for TV and are seen at their best on movie theatre screens, or at second best on large TV screens. However this is still terrific stuff. You'll not come across a better circus film than this one. Lots of big stars, Charlton Heston, Gloria Grahame, James Stewart Betty Hutton, Cornel Wilde et al (at a time early in their careers), and plenty of action. Anyone whoever fancied the circus life should take a looksee here to see what they might expect! Cecil B. de Mille is in the chair, holding the megaphone and directors of the big action movies don't come much better than this !
This movie was shot in the days when a travelling circus had wild animals to thrill the crowds and not the parrots and ponies that seem to be the limit these days. Here you can see real high-wire flyers when they were not controlled by the health and safety crowd.
The stunts, especially the train wreck, are very well done for the time, no chance of a second take for this scene; and not a hint of computer generated extravaganza. The film has transferred well to DVD and the audio too is good, although only 2 track mono.
Enjoy the movie, its a long one, and will hold your interest. Just the thing for a rainy Sunday afternoon!
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on 4 December 2012
The two stars of the circus competing against each other with death defying stunts on the flying trapeze, ( played by Cornel Wilde and Betty Hutton) have you sitting on the edge of your seat.
The film is very spectacular and colourful, and the Horses and Elephants are wonderful. A very realistic train crash, a love triangle and a mysterious clown who is hiding from the law,
altogether the best circus film ever. Well worth watching.
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on 19 May 2014
Rated this as 5 stars due to the "over the top" film making of Cecil B DeMille. He could always turn an ordinary story into an epic, and this one is no exception. Charlton Heston (as the Circus manager Brad Braden) is faced with having to close down due to falling receipts, bue he feels an affinity to the various circus acts. They are part of "the family".Having to remove his girl friend aerial artist Holly (Betty Hutton} from the centre ring to make way for a new aerial act - The Great Sebastian (Cornel Wilde) who is going to be the saviour of the circus by drawing in the crowds is only one of Brad's problems. When Sebastian is injured (and unable to perform again the problems begin to mount up.A train crash where animals escape and artists loose some of their equipment adds to Brad's problems. The big top is damaged so what can be done???

Great entertainment! Do purchase a copy ands ee for yourself!
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Possible spoilers

The Greatest Show on Earth brings to the fore the dramatic lives of trapeze artists, a clown, and an elephant trainer – there stories are told against a background of circus spectacle. This is a film centred on the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus. There is a spectacular collision of the circus' two trains, which was an impressing for the time. A train crash, which was based on a wreck in which the Hagenbeck-Wallace circus was involved in 1929. This is film has a complement of 1400 people, hundreds of animals, and myriad array of equipment and tents. The actors learned their relevant circus roles and participated in the acts. The film's storyline is buttressed by extravagant production values, and actual circus acts.

The main protagonist is one Brad Braden (Charlton Heston) who is the blunt general manager of what was at the time the world's largest railroad circus. He has a number of problems on his hands for the upcoming season, not least a love triangle. This is film, which really propelled Charlton Heston, on his epic career in film. Cecil B. DeMille initially had Kirk Douglas or Burt Lancaster for the lead role of Brad Braden; however, when he met Charlton Heston, who then just an up-and-coming young actor, who was working on his first film, he had found his lead.

Unfortunately, the film’s reputation is considerably poorer, these days; many see it as typically as over the top and at times is somewhat lampooned. So the film has detractors, so what is new on that front? This film tells its narrative well and has all the ingredients that make for good film. Some of the negativity, in part, is that film High Noon, lost out in the Oscars because of “political bias”- this may have been the case, but it is still good none the less. I like the film, when I first saw it, as child on BBC2 on a Saturday afternoon and I was glued to the TV set. I still like it today and believe it is well worthy of good five stars.

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on 18 February 2015
Right from the start as Charlton Heston walks quickly through the circus grounds, firing witty quips at each trainer you can tell this isn't going to be a film noted for it's dialogue. It's painfully cheesy.
Mr Heston then shows us a great display of over-acting, followed by Betty Hutton trying to out-do him. How can you start a film with over acting this strong? There's nowhere to go after that, nothing to build.
It's a passable documentary on the huge circuses that were around, but the narrative is so corny, you really have to be dedicated to watch this, especially as the picture quality revealed a poor transfer from the Technicolor film.
This is one film that hasn't aged very well at all, we managed about twenty uncomfortable minutes and switched to another film.
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on 10 January 2014
The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur I like. Charles Heston is not my favourite in them, but he does great acting. In this film however I like him very much. I don't know exactly why. It's a feeling. And it is a film only Cecil B. DeMille could make I think.
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on 26 March 2013
An Excellent film! I cannot understand why the TV stations do not show more of the classics! I am happy to have this film in my private collection,and will order more from Amazon,as you always have what I want! Many thanks to all at Amazon UK!!
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on 23 April 2013
They don't make movies like this anymore...and they don't do circuses like this either. Perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon, brought back memories of watching this as a kid, Chuck Heston is in great form trying to hold it all together in the face of various adversities and Jimmy Stewart is as always, one of the greatest actors ever.
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on 19 September 2013
Great film. I just love these old films you just can not beat them for a quite night in with your feet up. Good quality.
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on 20 March 2013
Bought this as a gift so have given it already and had no complaints back so can only assume it met with approval but for me Great in the fact that the item was available and the prompr response in receiving it was perfect too thanks
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