The Great Ziegfeld
The Great Ziegfeld (1936)

In this biopic, William Powell stars as the titular theatrical impresario, whose show business empire begins when he stage manages a tour for legendary strongman Sandow. He charms European stage star Anna Held to headline his… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: January 1, 1936
DVD Release Date: February 3, 2004
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Critic Score: 65% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: This biopic is undeniably stylish, but loses points for excessive length, an overreliance on clichés, and historical inaccuracies.

Kate Cameron
New York Daily News

The producers are to be congratulated on every phase of the beautiful production except their lack of courage cutting the film.

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Frank S. Nugent
New York Times

If the picture overcrowds its screen, at least we must admit it is an impressive kaleidoscope; and probably nothing short of that could reflect the gaudy career of America's foremost showman.

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Witney Seibold

Since it's so fun to look at, you will not be bored for a second, constantly wowed by the enormity of it all.

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TIME Magazine

Pretentious, packed with hokum and as richly sentimental as an Irving Berlin lyric, it is, as such, top-notch entertainment.

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Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

It's amazingly dull, even with William Powell in the lead and guest appearances by the likes of Ray Bolger and Fanny Brice, so of course it won the Best Picture Oscar for 1936.

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Tony Sloman
Radio Times

A real treat.

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Abel Green

Considering the recent screen standards in book musicals with five numbers for 100 to 110 minutes of running time this Metro Santaclausing of numbers becomes virtually a double-feature filmusical.

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James Berardinelli

Although some of the production's technical aspects remain impressive, the dramatic elements come across as trite and many of the musical numbers are dated.

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Austin Kennedy
Film Geek Central

It's a lavishly epic biopic, full of wonderful performances and breathtaking musical numbers. It definitely deserved its Oscar!

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More reviews for The Great Ziegfeld

Flixster Audience Score: 51% Flixster User Reviews
Jim Hunter
Florenz Ziegfeld rises from anonymity to become one of the most successful theater producers of all time. As a character study, this film is sorely lacking. By… More
Michael Gildea
The Great Ziegfeld wasn't bad but it could've been about an hour shorter. The musical numbers went on way too long for not really adding much to the… More
Chris Weber
Winner of some Oscars way back when, this is a lengthy, lavish spectacle driven biopic about Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr.- a legendary theatrical impressario who… More
Lanning : )
A mind-blowing performance by William Powell. I'm not sure why I never saw this one before either -- funny how often I seem to say that. I've been a… More
Aj V
Not only entertaining, it's historical and biographical too. Powell is a great actor. I really enjoyed this movie.
Byron Brubaker
A good old fashioned movie biography with a stellar cast. It was made just four years after Flo's passing. We see William Powell as Ziegfeld from his… More