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Sweet Charity (1969)

Taxi dancer Charity continues to have Faith in the human race despite apparently endless disappointments at its hands, and Hope that she will finally meet the nice young man to romance her ... See full summary »


Bob Fosse


Neil Simon (from the New York stage production book by), Federico Fellini (based upon the screenplay by: "Nights of Cabiria") | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Shirley MacLaine ... Charity
John McMartin ... Oscar
Ricardo Montalban ... Vittorio
Sammy Davis Jr. ... Big Daddy
Chita Rivera ... Nickie
Paula Kelly ... Helene
Stubby Kaye ... Herman
Barbara Bouchet ... Ursula
Suzanne Charny Suzanne Charny ... Dancer
Alan Hewitt ... Nicholsby
Dante DiPaolo Dante DiPaolo ... Charlie (as Dante D'Paulo)
Bud Vest Bud Vest ... Dancer
Ben Vereen ... Dancer
Lee Roy Reams Lee Roy Reams ... Dancer
Al Lanti Al Lanti ... Dancer


Taxi dancer Charity continues to have Faith in the human race despite apparently endless disappointments at its hands, and Hope that she will finally meet the nice young man to romance her away from her sleazy life. Maybe, just maybe, handsome Oscar will be the one to do it. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Love is what it's all about! See more »


G | See all certifications »






Release Date:

17 May 1969 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Sweet Charity: The Adventures of a Girl Who Wanted to Be Loved See more »


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

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


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Shirley MacLaine's "I'm a Brass Band" is one of the longest musical numbers in film history. See more »


In the "Aloof" movement of "The Rich Man's Frug," two of the male principal dancers walk down the stairs to light a woman's cigarette, while the others dance behind them. The background choreography in this shot leads directly to the triangle formation of the next shot, and the two men are now in the middle of the group, although there was no time for them to reach that position. See more »


Helene: There ain't no use flappin' your wings, 'cause we are stuck in the flypaper of life!
See more »

Alternate Versions

On its release to what were then called "neighborhood theatres" (i.e., theatres that showed films that had ended their first runs), the film's running time was shortened by trimming or eliminating several scenes. In the shortened version, the montage between the dance hall dressing room scene and the sidewalk scene where Charity sees Vittorio was cut; the dance section of "I'm a Brass Band" was shortened; "I Love to Cry at Weddings" faded out and ended as Charity and Oscar leave the dance hall; and the scene in the phone booth at the end of the film (Charity lying to Nickie and Helene about being with Oscar and the conclusion of "Where Am I Going?") was entirely cut. For several years, this was the version that was shown on television. See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Hercules Unchained (1992) See more »


My Personal Property
Music by Cy Coleman
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Performed by Shirley MacLaine
See more »

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User Reviews

Bob Fosse: Dance expresses joy better than anything else
5 September 2009 | by G_a_l_i_n_aSee all my reviews

My love and admiration for Federico Fellini/Guiletta Masina's film Nights of Cabiria had stopped me for long time from seeing Sweet Charity, the adaptation of the musical based on the same story which was made into a highly successful Broadway show directed and choreographed by a multi talented Bob Fosse. I am a fan of Bob Fosse. I love all his films, musicals and not, but I was hesitant to see Sweet Charity the movie and I never had a chance to see the Broadway musical. Well, I finally did and I can say that nothing is wrong with transporting the same story to the different time, place, language, medium, and to use the different artistic tools. The story is the same; the films are as different as Rome and NYC or as Federico Fellini and Bob Fosse. Fosse's film should be judged on its own terms, and it has a lot of breathtaking scenes to enjoy, bright colors, outrageously stunning costumes (the work of incredible Edith Head), adorable and unbelievably cute Shirley MacLaine, Sweet Charity Hope Valentine, and the best of all - the dancing sequences to die for. Among them, splendid The Big Spender is perfection and the real treasure. Fosse's staging of the musical numbers is outstanding. The most memorable moment in the movie for me was stolen from Shirley MacLaine by Chita Rivera in Big Spender. Just watch Rivera's seemingly boneless arms, the right one around her head and the left one behind her back, the left hand on her right hip as she sings, "do you want to have fun, fun, fun?" For this moment alone, I like the film even if I see very well that it has some minuses, too. The first act between two intermissions was really good, and it includes the best dancing and singing numbers: "Hey, Big Spender", "The Pompeii Club", "Rich Man's Frug", and "If They Could See Me Now". After the second intermission the movie went over the hill. I believe that it could do without both intermissions. We are not watching the show at the theater, and the intermissions only took time. The "hippiest" "Rhythm of Life" scene was overlong, did not make much sense, and made me want to fast-forward it. I take it that Fosse wanted to experience with the camera movements and different techniques in his very first feature film which was a screen transfer of his Broadway Musical. This is the only explanation of his multiple slow-motions, stills, color/black/white and back changes that did not add anything to the film, just paused it with no apparent reasons. His next screen adaptation was timeless Cabaret, and he had improved his directing style dramatically. As the result, Cabaret has stayed his greatest achievement along with All That Jazz.

Coming back to the original tragic comedy "Nights of Cabiria", of all the characters Fellini had given life on screen, by his own words, Cabiria was the only one he worried about many years after the film was made. Of all the characters, I've seen in films, Cabiria is the one I often think about - whatever happened to her? Did she survive? Was she able to find love? As much as I like Shirley MacLaine/Charity, I did not worry about her future. She lived happily ever after - in both movie endings, theatrical and alternative.

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