Synopsis: A circus trapeze artist, Cleopatra, takes an interest in Hans, a midget who works in the circus sideshow. Her interest however is in the money Hans will be inheriting and she is actually carrying on an affair with another circus performer, Hercules. Hans's fiancée does her best to convince him that he is being used but to no avail. At their wedding party, a drunken Cleopatra tells the sideshow freaks just what she thinks of them. Together, the freaks decide to make her one of their own.
Genre: Drama, Horror
Director(s): Tod Browning
Production: MGM
  1 win & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
64 min

We didn't lie to you, folks.

We told you we had living,

breathing monstrosities.

You laughed at them, shuddered at them...

and yet, but for the accident of birth...

you might be even as they are.

They did not ask

to be brought into the world...

but into the world they came.

Their code is a law unto themselves.

Offend one...

and you offend them all.

And now, folks,

if you'll just step this way...

you are about to witness

the most amazing...

the most astounding living monstrosity...

of all time.


she was once a beautiful woman.

A royal prince shot himself for love of her.

She was known as the peacock of the air.

She's the most beautiful big woman

I have ever seen.

Why, Hans, how you talk.

I should be jealous pretty soon.

- Don't be silly.

- Don't be silly?

I've seen these women

making eyes at my Hans.

Of course, I ain't jealous.

Frieda, my dear...

I have eyes for only one woman...

the woman I asked to be my wife.

Frulein Frieda?

Are you laughing at me?

- Why, no, monsieur.

- Thanks. I'm glad.

- Why should I laugh at you?

- Most big people do.

They don't realize I'm a man

with the same feelings they have.

Thank you.

You are so kind, monsieur.

- Nice.

- Don't.

You must come to see me sometime,

and we'll have a little wine together.

Thank you, Frulein Cleo.

You're getting old, Jean.

Probably, last night you had too heavy

a dinner, and now your imagination is...

But, Monsieur Duval,

at first I could not believe my own eyes.

A lot of horrible, twisted things,

you know, crawling, whining, laughing...

Be done, Jean.

What were you drinking last night?

Nothing, monsieur, I assure you.

Monsieur, there must be a law in France

to smother such things at birth...

- or lock them up.

- All right, Jean.

If there's anything like you say

on my grounds, we'll have it removed.

- Come on, let's go.

- All of you! Tout de suite!

Go away, all of you!

Don't you know trespassing

is the same as stealing?

I'm sorry, monsieur.

I am Madame Tetrallini.

These children are in my circus.

Children? They're monsters.

Your circus. I understand.

So you see, monsieur,

when I get a chance...

I like to take them into the sunshine...

and let them play like... children.

That is what most of them are.


Please forget what was said, madame.

You are welcome to remain.

Au revoir. Come, Jean.

Thanks a thousand, monsieur.

A thousand thanks, monsieur.


How many times have I told you

not to be frightened?

Have I not told you...

God looks after all his children?

- Good evening, Madame Tetrallini.

- How are you, Madame Tetrallini?

Big crowd tonight.

There she goes,

taking them out to exercise.

Nurse to a lot of mangy freaks.

"Just as they are represented

on the banners...

"you will see them on the inside.

"Living, breathing monstrosities.

"Josephine Joseph,

half-woman, half-man."

Have a cigar, Joseph.

You dropped your lipstick, Josephine.

Don't get her sore,

or he'll bust you in the nose.

Come on. Hurry up. That's a boy.

You're all wrong. I didn't do it.

What are you trying to do, be funny?

You just don't understand.

A Roman lady...

Getting off the bull

and scratching yourself.

Can't a Roman lady itch?

- Why don't you take a bath?

- I did, but it's the bull that needs the bath.

I think she likes you...

but he don't.

Those flowers you sent to me,

they were beautiful.

But not much beautiful as you.

Thank you.

And Hans, I don't like to ask...

but may I have the loan

of another 1,000 francs...

until my money from Paris arrives?

- With pleasure, Frulein.

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Willis Goldbeck

Willis Goldbeck (October 24, 1898 – September 17, 1979) was an American screenwriter, film director and producer. He wrote for 40 films between 1923 and 1962. He also directed ten films between 1942 and 1951. Willis graduated from Worcester Academy. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Freaks" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 21 Oct. 2020. <>.

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