It Happened One Night Overview:

It Happened One Night (1934) was a Comedy - Romance Film directed by Frank Capra and produced by Frank Capra and Harry Cohn.

The film was based on the short story Night Bus written by Samuel Hopkins Adams published in Cosmopolitan Magazine in August 1933.


Spoiled Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) escapes from her millionaire father (Walter Connolly) who wants to annul her recent marriage to worthless playboy and fortune hunter King Westley (Jameson Thomas). With virtually no money in her pocket, Ellie boards a bus headed for New York City to re-unite with husband Westley, but en route, she gets involved with a recently-fired newspaper man, Peter Warne (Clark Gable), who gives her an ultimatum: either give him her exclusive story or he'll turn her over to her father. When their bus breaks down, the bickering couple set off on a madcap hitch-hiking expedition. Complications fly when the runaway heiress and brash reporter fall in love.

It Happened One Night was released on February 3, 1934 to moderate-to-indifferent reviews. But audiences across the country adored the film and made it the sleeper hit of the year. The first screwball comedy, it went on to sweep the Academy Awards, winning all five major Oscars: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Screenplay.


Production of the $325,000 project began on November 13, 1933. Although Gable was initially reluctant to work on the film, he soon warmed up to Capra, and gave a charming performance, one that would forever cement his screen image as a breezy, good-natured man of the world (Capra would later say that Gable was merely playing himself). Colbert, however, was another story. Although she too gave a winning performance (and found her niche as a sophisticated screen comedienne), she did not want to make the film and continued to give Capra a difficult time throughout production. (When Capra asked her to expose her legs for the hitch-hicking scene, Colbert refused; it was only after Capra hired a body double for the close-up that she changed her mind -- "Get her out of here! I'll do it. That's not my leg.") After her scenes were completed, Colbert went on vacation to Sun Valley, where she told friends, "I've just finished the worst picture in the world." But it was Claudette Colbert who acknowledged exactly who was responsible for the film when, after accepting her Oscar for Best Actress, graciously told the Academy, "I owe Frank Capra for this."


It Happened One Night was inducted into the National Film Registry in 1993.

Academy Awards 1934 --- Ceremony Number 7 (source: AMPAS)

Best ActorClark GableWon
Best ActressClaudette ColbertWon
Best DirectorFrank CapraWon
Best PictureColumbiaWon
Best WritingRobert RiskinWon

BlogHub Articles:

Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in Frank Capra’s “It Happened One Night”

By Stephen Reginald on Nov 28, 2023 From Classic Movie Man

Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in Frank Capra’s “It Happened One Night” It Happened One Night (1934) is an American romantic comedy directed by Frank Capra and starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. The supporting cast includes Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, and Alan H... Read full article

It Happened One Night (1934): Carrots and The Walls of Jericho

By 4 Star Film Fan on Jul 20, 2021 From 4 Star Films

When I was growing up we had a VHS of Warner Bros. Bugs Bunny cartoons and like any lad my age, he was an immediate sensation. Casual, mischievous, and yet generally good-natured and out-and-out hilarious. I had no concept of cartoon logic and what made him so memorable as a cartoon character; you d... Read full article

Pre-Code Crazy: It Happened One Night (1934)

By shadowsandsatin on May 5, 2019 From Shadows and Satin

My Pre-Code Crazy pick for this month is a film that I?d bet money you?ve all seen already ? It Happened One Night (1934). And if you haven?t, I?m absolutely certain you?ve seen a clip of its most famous scene, where Claudette Colbert succeeds in flagging down a passing car by flashing one of her sh... Read full article

It Happened One Night: Blueprint of Romantic Comedy

By Emily on Apr 29, 2015 From The Vintage Cameo

Some classic movies sound good in theory, yet tend to wallow on Must See lists and Netflix queues rather than actual screens, as the timing may just never feel?quite right to sit down and watch?a heady 3 hour epic or a cerebral foreign drama. And then there are movies like It Happened One Night, whi... Read full article

It Happened One Night (1934) with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert

By Greg Orypeck on Feb 12, 2015 From Classic Film Freak

Share This! Two great lovers of the screen in the grandest of romantic comedies! So?when or where did it happen?? Certainly not in Brooklyn as it did for Frank Sinatra and Kathryn Grayson in 1947.? Nor in Athens for Jayne Mansfield fifteen years later?wrong continent.? As for a season of the year, n... Read full article

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Quotes from

Ellie Andrews: We'll get on a merry-go-round and never get off. Promise me we'll never get off.

Ellie Andrews: Outside of the fact that you don't like him you haven't got a thing against King.
Alexander Andrews: He's a fake, Ellie.
Ellie Andrews: He's one of the best flyers in the country.
Alexander Andrews: He's no good and you know it. You married him only because I told you not to.

Alexander Andrews: Do you love her?
Peter Warne: A normal human being couldn't live under the same roof with her without going nutty! She's my idea of nothing!
Alexander Andrews: I asked you a simple question! Do you love her?
Peter Warne: YES! But don't hold that against me, I'm a little screwy myself!

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Facts about

When Clark Gable showed up for work on the first day, he reportedly said grimly, "Let's get this over with."
The first Academy Award Best Picture nominee to win both Best Actor and Best Actress.
Claudette Colbert only wears four different outfits throughout the course of the film: a flimsy nightgown at the beginning, her traveling suit, Clark Gable's pajamas, and her wedding dress.
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Best Picture Oscar 1934

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National Film Registry

It Happened One Night

Released 1934
Inducted 1993

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Also directed by Frank Capra

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Also produced by Frank Capra

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Also released in 1934

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