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It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963)

A group of motorists hear about a crook's hidden stash of loot, and race against each other across the country to get to it.


Stanley Kramer


William Rose (story), Tania Rose (story) | 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Spencer Tracy ... Capt. T. G. Culpepper
Milton Berle ... J. Russell Finch
Sid Caesar ... Melville Crump
Buddy Hackett ... Benjy Benjamin
Ethel Merman ... Mrs. Marcus
Mickey Rooney ... Ding Bell
Dick Shawn ... Sylvester Marcus
Phil Silvers ... Otto Meyer
Terry-Thomas ... J. Algernon Hawthorne
Jonathan Winters ... Lennie Pike
Edie Adams ... Monica Crump
Dorothy Provine ... Emeline Marcus-Finch
Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson ... Second Cab Driver
Jim Backus ... Tyler Fitzgerald
Ben Blue ... Biplane Pilot


The story begins during a massive traffic jam, caused by reckless driver Smiler Grogan, who, before kicking the bucket, cryptically tells the assembled drivers that he's buried a fortune in stolen loot, under the Big W. All of the motorists set out to find the fortune. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It's the biggest entertainment ever to hit the Cinerama screen! (Poster). See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

3 December 1963 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World See more »


Box Office


$9,400,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Casey Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(edited) | (restored video) | (extended re-edit) (Laserdisc) | (original) | (roadshow) | (extended)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System) (35mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.76 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Sid Caesar got into a screaming battle with writer William Rose about re-writing his lines. Stanley Kramer defused the situation by bringing out Spencer Tracy and introducing him to the comic. See more »


When Hawthorne starts telling Finch what he thinks of American men, just as he says the words "coronary thrombosis" the mountains visible through the window behind them suddenly jump forward toward the car: obviously a rear-projection shot with the background film looped. See more »


[first lines]
J. Russell Finch: [as all the cars pull over one by one, the men quickly jump out in shock at having just witnessed Smiler Grogan pass them recklessly fast, careen off the side of the hilly road, and terribly crash down below] Whoa! Hey d-did ya see it, the way he went sailing right out there? D-d he just went *sailing* right out there.
Melville Crump: It was terrible, I m-a-mean just terrible. He musta been doin' over 80 ya know.
J. Russell Finch: An ambulance; we better, we oughta call an ambulance.
Ding Bell: Oh... oh look at that car.
J. Russell Finch: [...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

When the globe explodes and credits fall everywhere, the credits of the animators who worked on the title sequence can be seen. See more »

Alternate Versions

The following is a comparison of the general release cut (GRC) and the Criterion extended reconstruction (CER) (both available in the Criterion box set): The following scenes are extended on the CER. I'll post where exactly on the GRC the scene would have been placed. That's to say, where the scene ends, and what was extended before or after it. (The time includes the 11-second Criterion logo, the 10-second MGM lion, overture, the opening titles, part 1, intermission/entr'acte, part 2, and exit music) Part 1
  • 2:57 - opening credits include a reference to Cinerama; no time difference.
  • 0:14:22 - More of the 5 explaining to Norman Fell about how Smiley thought Melville Crump was his Aunt Belle. 13 seconds, after time.
  • 0:25:01 - Extra Culpepper line to cop car. Melville calls Durante a screwball. 8 seconds, after time.
  • 0:27:07 - Extended money talk between the eight, ending in a big argument. Extra police talk, when the officer returns Culpepper's flat hat. 55 seconds and 1 minute 37 seconds, after time.
  • 0:27:39 - Extra lines with Aloysius and Culpepper. Cut to the eight other leads ending their bickering. 20 seconds, after time.
  • 0:34:56 - Extra car chasing scenes, and Aloysius loses his bet to Culpepper. 45 seconds, after time.
  • 0:36:36 - Merman threatens to sue Pike for crashing into her car. Pike remembers that he has a bicycle in the back of his truck. 26 seconds, after time. Also, the scene where Melville brokers a deal with the owner of the plane before Dingy and Benjy could get to it (fifty-seven seconds) has been moved slightly earlier.
  • 0:37:21 - Benjy and Dingy pass up a stranded Russell, Mrs. Marcus, and Emmeline despite their calls for help. Emmeline presumes they are going to the police. Extra police talk, followed by a shot of Pike on his bike. Only exists in audio form with stills. 58 seconds, after time.
  • 0:40:30 - After the car drives away, Pike looks sad, and continues riding the girl's bike. The Crumps see the junk heap the guy calls a plane. 16 seconds and 43 seconds, after time.
  • 0:41:36- At the garage, Russell tells Hawthorne about the plan, and he's in. 23 seconds, after time. Also, the 50-second scene preceding it, in which Mrs. Marcus insists that Hawthorne only gets 10%, was moved to a later spot, which makes sense since they cut out the Russell/Hawthorne scene that followed it.
  • 0:43:14 - Extra footage of the Crumps' plane taking off. 5 seconds, after time.
  • 0:43:55 - A helicopter following the Crumps' plane. 21 seconds, after time.
  • 0:46:02 - Extended conversation between Aloysius and Culpepper about the latter's pensions. 29 seconds, after time.
  • 0:48:25 - A short scene where Meyer asks Ray why they didn't move their garage closer to the city. 5 seconds, before time.
  • 0:50:06 - After Meyer drives away and Pike is knocked unconscious, Irwin tells Ray to hit him again. 12 seconds, after time.
  • 0:54:48 - More garage fight, with the police commenting on it. Ray and Irwin getting the barbell before yelling "Charge!" 10 seconds, before time.
  • 0:56:12 - The cops check the garage, find Ray and Irwin still alive. 34 seconds, after time.
  • 0:57:50 - Russell saying they're wasting time, and Mrs. Marcus thinking he doesn't want Sylvester in on the money. 49 seconds, after time.
  • 1:01:50 - After Russell and Hawthorne up-end Mrs. Marcus to get the keys, the women are left behind and the men go. 27 seconds, after time.
  • 1:02:43 - While flying, there are a couple more problems. 10 seconds, after time.
  • 1:05:08 - After picking up the farmer, there's a conversation between Meyer and him, in which the farmer forces Meyer to drive on. 52 seconds, after time.
  • 1:05:53 - Upon finding Mrs. Marcus and Emmeline, Pike lets them in, after he gets assurance that Sylvester is in Santa Rosita. Russell and Hawthorne are at a gas station where an attendant talks to them about their wheels. 26 seconds and 12 seconds, after time.
  • 1:06:55 - A deleted bit of Sylvester and his girlfriend dancing, followed by a scene where Pike tells Emmeline he would have used the money to get something nice for Mrs. Jenkins. 20 seconds and 1 minute 4 seconds, after time.
  • 1:07:21 - Extra shot of Pike pulling out of the gas station. 4 seconds, after time.
  • 1:08:41 - Meyer can't drive back up the hill, followed by more plane trouble. 50 seconds, after time. The scene where Benjy and Dingy find Fitzgerald in the shower (57 seconds) is moved several minutes later into the film, and contains an extra line from Dingy after Fitzgerald is knocked out. Cut to Meyer stuck again. 16 seconds, after time.
  • 1:09:40 - Extra bit when kid gets in Meyer's car. 14 seconds, after time.
  • 1:10:40 - Extra shot of Hawthorne's car driving away. 6 seconds, after time.
  • 1:12:21 - Extended bit of the Crumps running into the hardware store. 4 seconds, before time.
  • 1:16:06 - Despite his best efforts, Mel can't break down the door ("Can't you do it, Melville?" Monica asks while fixing her skirt). 37 seconds, after time.
  • 1:17:58 - The Crumps find the dynamite they use in the beginning of Part 2. 35 seconds, after time. Moved earlier, but not cut, is the scene where the Crumps try the alarm, destroy it, and Mel gets electrocuted. This was combined with the scene above, where they find the dynamite. A few seconds of footage have been added to the scene, with Monica questioning Mel about the possibility of him paying for property damage. 1 minute, 52 seconds.
  • 1:20:39 - This part was cut at this time, Sylvester crying, thinking something horrible happened to Mrs. Marcus. 6 seconds, after time.
  • 1:20:58 - Extended footage of Mrs. Marcus complaining about Sylvester. Cut to Sylvester leaving his girlfriend to save his mother. It is revealed briefly that said girlfriend is cheating on her husband. Cut again to the hardware store, with Mel lamenting about his plight, and discovering a blowtorch. The footage exists only in audio form, with stills filling in for lost visuals. The hardware scene even has stills of director Stanley Kramer and other crew members on the set. 1 minute 27 seconds, after time.
  • 1:22:42 - After the Alarm/Electrocution scene mentioned, Monica checking Mel in the paint cans. 8 seconds, before time.
  • 1:24:06 - Benjy and Dingy's plane trouble, Dingy throws water on Benjy. 24 seconds, after time.
  • 1:26:27 - Schwartz telling Culpepper his daughter's on the phone. 2 seconds, before time.
  • 1:26:41 - More of Culpepper/Billie Sue dialogue. 30 seconds, after time.
  • 1:27:48 - Mrs. Marcus, Emmeline, and Pike get into an argument. 26 seconds, after time.
  • 1:29:00 - After Mel uses the blowtorch on the door and sets it down, inadvertently kicking it towards the stairs, there is this extended bit of the stairs actually catching fire. 10 seconds, after time.
  • 1:29:29 - Russell and Hawthorne get into a fistfight. Aloysius enters Culpepper's office to announce bad news. 23 seconds and 20 seconds, after time.
  • Part 1 has a combined 20 minutes 56 seconds added in the Criterion reconstruction.
  • 1:32:39 - Police radio calls, played during Intermission, expands on the whereabouts of the characters. 6 minutes, after time.
Part 2:
  • 1:40:40 - Air control spots Dingy and Benjy's plane near the landing base. 22 seconds, after time.
  • 1:43:29 - Police commenting on Culpepper wanting a sundae. 29 seconds, after time.
  • 1:43:40 - Dingy screaming in the plane. 7 seconds, after time.
  • 1:45:09 - Culpepper uses a pay phone to talk to Jimmy (Buster Keaton) about taking a trip to Mexico together. After hanging up, we find out that Culpepper is at a drug store eating a sundae. Only exists in audio form, with stills filling in for lost visuals. 1 minute 19 seconds, after time.
  • 1:48:44 - More Mrs. Marcus/Emmeline/Pike dialogue, Em wants to go to the cops, and something about a reward. 14 seconds, before time.
  • 1:54:01 - More Sylvester/Russell/Hawthorne fight, assurance for Sylvester the story is true, followed by them all relying on Pike and his stolen truck. A short scene where Dingy and Benjy's plane almost crashes in the tower. 1 minute 18 seconds and 14 seconds, after time.
  • 1:56:10 - The Colonel telling Dingy and Benjy to be patient, followed by getting tied up in the wires, and mentioning "Forget the Brakes!". 34 seconds, after time.
  • 2:03:08 - Extra line from Eddie "Rochester" Anderson during conversation with Peter Falk. 5 seconds, after time.
  • 2:06:27 - Monica decides to play a childish superstition to find the Big W. She spins around three times and walks straight ahead with her eyes closed. She instead trips into a park bench. Falk and Anderson witness the whole ordeal while spying on the others, as did Culpepper, who emerges from hiding after Mel and Monica leave. 1 minute 8 seconds, after time.
  • 2:17:58 - Extended conversation of Aloysius defending Culpepper to a judge on the phone. 22 seconds, after time.
  • 2:21:30 - Cab talk, Mel saying if they all stuck with the 25 share, and someone telling him to shut up. Cab talk in the other cab, Mrs. Marcus yelling followed by a "You're on my foot!". Culpepper fixes his flat hat again, then drives away. 13 seconds, 8 seconds, and 14 seconds, after time.
  • 2:29:46 - Radio call to arrest Culpepper, who hid in a taxi, then he runs into Mrs. Marcus the first time. 20 seconds, after time.
  • 2:33:07 - Mrs. Marcus yelling "Sylvester" then later "Don't push me!" when policemen try to move everyone away from the street. 5 seconds, after time.
  • 2:40:55 - Restoration credits appear during the early portion of the Exit Music. No time difference.
  • Part 2 had a combined 7 minutes 27 seconds added in the Criterion reconstruction.
See more »


Referenced in Stage Fright (1997) See more »


It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
(1963) (uncredited)
Music by Ernest Gold
Lyrics by Mack David
Sung by an offscreen chorus during the Overture
Variations in the score throughout the film
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A classic you'll never get tired of watching
24 January 2006 | by magnummike32See all my reviews

My parents took us when we were little kids and we saw It's a Mad Mad Mad World in 1964. I don't remember much about it because I was only 6 years old back then, but I do remember the audience in the movie theater laughing continuously.

I bought the DVD, which was remastered in DTS Surround Sound, a couple of months ago and it's definitely a good comedy classic to have. My parents came over and they watched it on my High Definition 52" DLP TV, with Surround Sound and they loved it. There's never a dull moment in it because it's good clean comedy that doesn't have to rely on vulgar language, nudity or violence to win the approval of crowds. They definitely don't make movies like that anymore, that's why I gave it a rating of 10.

Although most of the actors in it have passed on, I still love the comedy and acting styles of Milton Berle, Spencer Tracy, Ethel Merman, Buddy Hackett, Terry Thomas and others, plus there are cameo appearances in there with Jerry Lewis, Jack Benny and The Three Stooges.

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