Born Yesterday (1950) - Rotten Tomatoes

Born Yesterday1950

Born Yesterday (1950)



Critic Consensus: Marrying screwball romance with political satire, Born Yesterday is a substantive romp with a ferociously smart performance by Judy Holliday as an uncouth bombshell.

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Movie Info

In this adaptation of Garson Kanin's Broadway hit, Judy Holliday stars as Billie Dawn, a strident ex-chorus girl who is the mistress of junk tycoon Harry Brock. When Brock realizes that the unrefined Billie might prove an embarrassment, he hires Paul Verrell to pump some intelligence and "class" into her.

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Judy Holliday
as Billie Dawn
Broderick Crawford
as Harry Brock
William Holden
as Paul Verrall
Howard St. John
as Jim Devery
Larry Oliver
as Norval Hedges
Barbara Brown
as Mrs. Hedges
Smoki Whitfield
as Bootblack
Helen Eby-Rock
as Manicurist
William Mays
as Bellboy
Mike Mahoney
as Elevator Operator
Paul Marion
as Interpreter
Ram Singh
as Native
Charles Cane
as Policeman
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News & Interviews for Born Yesterday

Critic Reviews for Born Yesterday

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (6)

The script is lively, dialogue is quite witty, acting generally is good and the comedy is sufficiently high to survive the rather sentimental message.

March 23, 2020 | Full Review…

The show comes off as one of the best comedies in recent seasons. This is largely due to a sparkling portrayal of Judy Holliday.

July 30, 2019 | Full Review…

Holliday delights as she tosses off the malaprops that so aptly fit the character.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

George Cukor directed, a little impersonally for him.

January 11, 2008 | Full Review…

A very simple idea, but enlivened by a sharp, witty script, and by Cukor's effortless handling of the brilliant performances.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

More firm in its social implications than ever it was on the stage and blessed with a priceless performance by rocketing Judy Holliday, this beautifully integrated compound of character study and farce made a resounding entry at the Victoria yesterday.

May 20, 2003 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Born Yesterday

Years before Women's Lib, or the internet, the crazy wacked out idea that women might possibly have some meager value outside of mere receptacles for sex, transcendently, triumphantly played by Judy Holliday. She's the patsy for a wannabe Napoleon (Broderick Crawford) who thinks his poor Brooklyn bred chorus girl might need some grooming and so assigns good guy William Holden to train her in the better side of life. The blossoming flower that transforms is pretty nice, as well as the underlining message of America being the land of opportunity, and that everyone given love and attention turns into an asset for us all. The card playing scene alone is solid gold, an orchestrated pas de duex any ballet company would be proud of (and proof that playing the bad guy calls for its own set of special skills).

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


Though our heroine may seem impossibly light, and the context of this screwball comedy is as well, there's nothing trivial about this Cukor helmed satire. Judy Holliday steals the entire film from Crawford and Holden as former showgirl Billie, an unimpressed escort for Crawford's crooked business tycoon. Holden is recruited to make her a bit smarter, because Crawford wants to run for office. As he buys out governmental officials Billie learns about government, philosophy, and history and starts making out her own opinions. Billie becomes increasingly aware of her potential, and the film leads with the message that knowledge really is power, and if you use it you too can see through the darkness and forge ahead. The underlying message is a little corny, as it pertains to government being a beautiful practice, and corrupt representatives in government are hard to find. Otherwise it's a very sweet story about a woman who doesn't get many chances in life, and now that she begins critically thinking for herself, she finally sees beauty in the world.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Judy Holliday steals the show in this very funny and surprisingly thought-provoking romantic comedy about the importance of thinking and seeking knowledge in our society, where, still today, opinions are shaped by a ruling class that wants to conserve its position of power.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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