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The Rat Race (1960)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 10 July 1960 (USA)
Tender romantic comedy about an aspiring musician who arrives in New York in search of fame & fortune. He soon meets a taxi dancer, moves in with her, and before too long a romance develops.


Robert Mulligan


Garson Kanin (screenplay), Garson Kanin (play)

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Complete credited cast:
Tony Curtis ... Pete Hammond Jr.
Debbie Reynolds ... Peggy Brown
Jack Oakie ... Mac
Kay Medford ... Mrs. Gallo
Don Rickles ... Nellie Miller
Marjorie Bennett ... Edie Kerry
Hal K. Dawson Hal K. Dawson ... Bo Kerry
Norman Fell ... Telephone Repairman
Lisa Drake Lisa Drake ... Toni
Joe Bushkin Joe Bushkin ... Frankie J
Sam Butera ... Carl
Gerry Mulligan Gerry Mulligan ... Gerry


Tender romantic comedy about an aspiring musician who arrives in New York in search of fame & fortune. He soon meets a taxi dancer, moves in with her, and before too long a romance develops. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


CAUGHT...in the wild, frantic, furious...rat race!


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

10 July 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Garson Kanin's The Rat Race See more »

Filming Locations:

Chicago, Illinois, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This the next-to-last feature film appearance of veteran character actor Jack Oakie, who plays Mac, the owner of Mac's Bar. Oakie's last film appearance was in the Doris Day/Rock Hudson comedy Lover Come Back (1961) one year later in 1961. Oakie went on to make TV appearances until 1966. He passed away on January 23, 1978 in Los Angeles, California. See more »


Mac, Owner of Macs Bar: You wanna' hear a saying? "Everybody needs somebody else, who can make them feel ashamed of themselves." My grandmother used to say that. Only in Gaelic.
Peggy Brown: You know what my grandmother used to say?
Mac, Owner of Macs Bar: What?
Peggy Brown: "Your grandmother's got a big mouth." Only in French.
See more »


References Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) See more »


The Nearness of You
Written by Hoagy Carmichael and Ned Washington
See more »

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User Reviews

Never Mind the Rat, This Thing's The Cheese
16 March 2008 | by mpaskoSee all my reviews

If Garson Kanin's stage version were successful enough to earn a movie treatment by producers Perlberg and Seaton, whose adaptation of Clifford Odets's "The Country Girl" is famously exquisite, one can only assume that the play was more honest and less preposterously disingenuous than this laughable adaptation.

Written by Kanin himself, who must have swallowed a fair amount of bile at the bowdlerizing mandated by the Hollywood Production Code, the film addresses its central question, which appears to be whether "dance hall girl" Debbie Reynolds (!) is or isn't a prostitute, with pages and pages of jaw-droppingly elliptical dialogue that bears no resemblance to human speech -- lines on the order of, "I'd never think you'd...you know..." and "How could you think I'm the kind of girl you think I am?" Those are not necessarily exact quotes, but you get the idea.

The film is sunk by other equally bizarre choices at every turn, including not only the female lead's spectacular miscasting but her co-star's as well. Presenting Tony Curtis as a Midwestern naif being conned by heartless Manhattanites produces such howlingly funny utterances as "And on my foist day in New Yawk!" '30s Paramount comedy star Jack Oakie and Kay Medford, Dick Van Dyke's mother in the stage version of "Bye, Bye, Birdie," comprise a kind of greasy-spoon Greek chorus, a bartender and his only barfly, Reynolds's landlady, whom we first meet sitting at the bar drinking orange soda! In this Times Square saloon which, like many other sets in the film, reveals the art director's painful fascination with red walls, there is more mugging going on than in Central Park.

But all of this is topped by the grotesquely overwrought, bug-eyed and nostril-flaring performance of Don Rickles, who quickly demonstrates why he found his true calling in standup rather than film acting. You're better off reading the play, but only reading it, because no impresario has the bad taste to mount a revival of it any more.

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