Adam's Rib

Adam's Rib

name = Adam's Rib

imdb_id = 0041090
producer = Lawrence Weingarten
director = George Cukor
writer = Ruth Gordon
Garson Kanin
starring = Spencer Tracy
Katharine Hepburn
music = Miklós Rózsa
cinematography = George J. Folsey
editing = George Boemler
distributor = MGM
released = November 18, 1949
runtime = 101 min.
language = English

"Adam's Rib" is a 1949 film starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn and directed by George Cukor. The film was well-received upon its release and is considered a classic romantic comedy. Judy Holliday, who went on to fame in 1950's "Born Yesterday", received her first substantial role in this film. The music was composed by Miklós Rózsa, except for the song "Farewell, Amanda", which was written by Cole Porter.


Prosecutor Adam Bonner (Tracy) is assigned the case against a woman (Holliday) who tried to scare her adulterous husband (Tom Ewell) by shooting him repeatedly. Bonner's wife, Amanda (Hepburn), also a lawyer, decides to defend the woman in court. As the two use every technique they know to win the case, the courtroom tension carries over into the couple's household.

Legal issues

The defendant, Doris Attinger, when narrating to Amanda Bonner her version of the events on the day she shot her husband, describes recognizable symptoms of a dissociative episode. These include a divorcement from the reality of her actions and even psychogenic amnesia concerning her actual wounding of her husband. Given that, one might have expected Amanda to ask the jury for a verdict of not-guilty-by-reason-of-insanity, because the defendant had been seized by an irresistible impulse.

But instead, Amanda asks for a simple verdict of not guilty, because all the defendant did was to "try to defend her home", and a man acting similarly might be acquitted. In short, she asks for jury nullification, and wins the case.


Ruth Gordon (later of "Rosemary's Baby" and "Harold and Maude" fame) and Garson Kanin were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Screenplay in 1950. In the decades since the film's release, it has attracted the esteem of many critics. In 1992, "Adam's Rib" was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

In June 2008, AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. "Adam's Rib" was acknowledged as the seventh best film in the romantic comedy genre. [cite news | publisher = American Film Institute | title = AFI's 10 Top 10 | date = 2008-06-17 | url = | accessdate=2008-06-18]


*Spencer Tracy – as Adam Bonner
*Katharine Hepburn – as Amanda Bonner
*Judy Holliday – as Doris Attinger
*Tom Ewell – as Warren Francis Attinger
*David Wayne – as Kip Lurie
*Jean Hagen – as Beryl Caighn
*Hope Emerson – as Olympia La Pere
*Eve March – as Grace
*Clarence Kolb – as Judge Reiser
*Polly Moran – as Mrs. McGrath
*Will Wright – as Judge Marcasson
*Madge Blake – as Mrs. Bonner, Adam's Mother


* Judy Holliday had been starring on Broadway in "Born Yesterday" and Columbia Pictures bought the screen rights. Harry Cohn (Columbia's President) refused to consider Holliday the chance to recreate her role, so Cukor, Kanin, Gordon, Hepburn and Tracy conspired to offer the smallish part of Doris Attinger to Holliday, expand the part, as a sort of 'audition' for their friend, Judy Holliday. It worked; Holliday's performance was critically acclaimed and Columbia subsequently offered her the part and she won an Academy Award for it! (Note; that during jailhouse intervew, Cukor kept the camera on Holliday and Hepburn told Cukor, "Don't cutaway to me; keep the camera on Judy".)

Quotations from the movie

:"Is that what they taught you at, ah, Yale Law School?"

:"Tell me something. What is marriage? I'll tell you what it is: Marriage is a contract. It's the law."

:""Licorice, mmmm. If there's anything I'm a sucker for, it's licorice."

:"What blow you think you were striking for women's rights, I am sure I don't know, but you've certainly fouled us up beyond all recognition."

:"Lawyers should never marry other lawyers. This is called inbreeding, from which comes idiot children and more lawyers."


External links

*imdb title|id=0041090|title=Adam's Rib
* [ Adams Rib quotes] at

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  • Rib — Rib, n. [AS. rib, ribb; akin to D. rib, G. rippe, OHG. rippa, rippi, Dan. ribbe, Icel. rif, Russ. rebro.] 1. (Anat.) One of the curved bones attached to the vertebral column and supporting the lateral walls of the thorax. [1913 Webster] Note: In… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Rib grass — Rib Rib, n. [AS. rib, ribb; akin to D. rib, G. rippe, OHG. rippa, rippi, Dan. ribbe, Icel. rif, Russ. rebro.] 1. (Anat.) One of the curved bones attached to the vertebral column and supporting the lateral walls of the thorax. [1913 Webster] Note …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • rib — [rib] n. [ME ribbe < OE rib, akin to ON rif, Ger rippe < IE base * rebh , to arch over, roof over > Gr ereptein, to crown, OSlav rebro, rib] 1. any of the arched bones attached posteriorly to the vertebral column and enclosing the chest… …   English World dictionary

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