42nd Street (1933) - Rotten Tomatoes

42nd Street1933

42nd Street (1933)



Critic Consensus: Bubsy Berkeley does it again in 42nd Street, a brilliant depression-era romp with stellar musical numbers and impeccable choreography.

42nd Street Photos

Movie Info

Julian Marsh, a successful Broadway director, produces a new show, in spite of his poor health. The money comes from a rich older man, who is in love with the star of the show, Dorothy Brock. But Dorothy doesn't respond to his love, because she's still in love with her old partner. On the night before the premiere, Dorothy breaks her ankle, and Peggy Sawyer, one of the chorus girls, tries to take over Dorothy's part.

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Warner Baxter
as Julian Marsh
Bebe Daniels
as Dorothy Brock
George Brent
as Pat Denning
Ruby Keeler
as Peggy Sawyer
Dick Powell
as Billy Lawler
Guy Kibbee
as Abner Dillon
Una Merkel
as Lorraine Fleming
Ginger Rogers
as Ann Lowell
Harry Warren
as Songwriter
Al Dubin
as Songwriter
Robert McWade
as Al Jones
Ned Sparks
as Thomas Barry
Eddie Nugent
as Terry Neil
Allen Jenkins
as Mac Elory
Clarence Nordstrom
as `Shuffle Off to Buffalo' Groom
Toby Wing
as `Young and Healthy' Girl
Pat Wing
as Chorus Girl
Tom Kennedy
as Slim Murphy
Wallis Clark
as Dr. Chadwick
Alexis Dubin
as Songwriter
Dave O'Brien
as Chorus Boy
Patricia Ellis
as Secretary
George Irving
as House Doctor
Charles Lane
as An Author
Rolfe Sedan
as Stage Aide
Gertrude Keeler
as Chorus Girl
Helen Keeler
as Chorus Girl
Joan Barclay
as Chorus Girl
Ann Hovey
as Chorus Girl
Renee Whitney
as Chorus Girl
Barbara Rogers
as Chorus Girl
June Glory
as Chorus Girl
Jayne Shadduck
as Chorus Girl
Milton Kibbee
as News Spreader
Adele Lacey
as Chorus Girl
Loretta Andrews
as Chorus Girl
Anne Hovey
as Chorus Girl
Margaret La Marr
as Chorus Girl
Mary Jane Halsey
as Chorus Girl
Ruth Eddings
as Chorus Girl
Edna Callaghan
as Chorus Girl
Patricia Farnum
as Chorus Girl
Maxine Cantway
as Chorus Girl
Lynn Browning
as Chorus Girl
Donna Mae Roberts
as Chorus Girl
Lorena Layson
as Chorus Girl
Alice Jans
as Chorus Girl
Eve Marcy
as Chorus Girl
Evelyn Joice
as Chorus Girl
Agnes Ray
as Chorus Girl
Grace Tobin
as Chorus Girl
Kermit Maynard
as Dancer Who Catches Girl
Lyle Talbot
as Geoffrey Waring
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Critic Reviews for 42nd Street

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (7)

Modern musicals start here, and Busby Berkeley's genius bursts into full flower.

April 14, 2020 | Full Review…

This 1933 film is the best known of the Warner Brothers Depression-era musicals, though it doesn't compare in dash and extravagance to later entries in the cycle.

October 16, 2007 | Full Review…

The liveliest and one of the most tuneful screen musical comedies that has come out of Hollywood.

August 8, 2006 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

Berkeley choreographs chorines and camera with mischievous dexterity.

January 26, 2006 | Full Review…

The result is an absolute spectacular. Not to be missed.

April 21, 2003 | Rating: 5/5

[Features] great Busby Berkeley production numbers.

March 10, 2003 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for 42nd Street


With jokes that are dated for today's standards and a silly, unconvincing plot that basically invented the backstage clichés, this musical is worth it only for Busby Berkeley's spectacular choreography and astonishing production numbers that could never take place on a theater stage.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Released the same year as "Gold Diggers of 1933", "42nd Street" also features many of the same cast (Ginger Rogers, Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler) and the same choreographer (Busby Berkeley, famous for his overhead shots of geometrically arranged chorus dancers). The plot too, is sort of similar. In it, we see the trials and tribulations of producing a broadway musical, from funding and casting to the opening night, and all the hair-pulling frustration that comes with it. Peggy Sawyer (Ruby Keeler) is the greener than green wannabe actress who shows up for the audition and is tricked into walking in on Billy's (Dick Powell) dressing room (also, Billy plays what is called "the juvenile lead", whatever that is). While it's a dirty trick, it winds up paying off for Peggy as she soon makes friends with Billy and the rest of the stars of the production. The closing number is pretty great, and the rest of the movie is too, with it's self-deprecating humor and depression era sensibilities. It's funny, but Ruby Keeler has the mannerisms of someone's grandma, but you gotta figure even grandmas were young once upon a time, back in the days when grandpas got excited at a peak at a pretty girl's knee.

Devon Bott
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

Spicey for the Depression era 30's, this gorgeously made musical is like none other ever performed. Use of forward thinking cinematography, an uncensored storyline, and musical numbers that inspire choreographers to this day, made this a very unique musical among the stereotyped genre. An amazing performance by the docile and demure Ruby Keeler, whose singing is so-so, but dancing is off the charts amazing. A web of romantic entanglements and decidely backwards Broadway politics leads to comedy. love, and pure entertainment.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

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