The Front Page

Synopsis: When Hildy Johnson, the top reporter of a Chicago newspaper announces that he is quitting to get married, his editor, Walter Burns desperately tries to change his mind. When denial, cursing, and luring don't work, Walter resorts to tricks. It's the day before a supposed communist is to be hanged, and all Chicago waits with baited breath. Meanwhile, each of the papers has a man on the story trying to get a scoop or angle for themselves. With a train to catch at midnight to join his fiancé, Hildy is at first not interested, but events and his own habits work against him as the day unfolds, and he can't help but get roped in, especially when the man to be executed escapes and then almost literally falls into his lap.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director(s): Billy Wilder
Production: Universal Pictures
  Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
105 min

Hey, Jacobi!


Hold it down, will you?

People are trying

to work up here.

Screw you!

No respect for the press.

You in or out?

I'm in. I'm in.

Ante up.

All right.

Why the hell don't we chip in

and get some new cards?

Don't look at me, I haven't won a hand

since Leopold and Lobe.

Jack bets.

A nickel.


Possible straight.

Possible flush.


pair of sevens.

Possible sh*t.

Pair of sevens

bet a nickel.

A nickel, a schtickel.

I raise you a dime.

Gaylord Schwartz,

Riverboat gambler, I raise you a dime.

It's a quarter to me, right?

I'll stick.

I'll call.

Why doesn't somebody

answer the phone?

It's the

Examiner phone.


Criminal Courts, pressroom.

No, Hildy Johnson

isn't here.


Oh, hello, Mr. Burns.

No, Hildy hasn't come in yet.

Sure thing, Mr. Burns,

I'll tell him the minute he shows up.

That's the third time

Walter Burns has called.

Where do you

suppose Hildy is?

Probably had a big night

at Madame Chow's.

I hear she's got some new broads in

from San Francisco.

I could go for a little

of that sweet and sour pork right now.

Come on, cut the gab.

Jacks bet.

I check to

the Chinese gourmet.

Two bits.

Call me a sucker.

El foldo.

This place smells

like the city dump.

How can you breathe

in here?

Hey, Bensinger,

any news on the hanging?

Did you talk

to the Sheriff?

Why don't you guys

get your own stories?

Who's been

using my towel?

And where is

my toilet paper?

How many times

have I told you--

Temper. Temper.

For Christ's sake, why don't you bring

your own toilet paper?

Or use those rags

you work for?

Two pair, jacks high.

Read them and weep,

three treys.

Beats me.

Here you are, Bensinger.

Hey, blushing pink.

Whoa, whoa.

I only used four sheets.

You better count 'em.

Bunch of goddamn gypsies.

This is Bensinger,

give me a rewrite man.

Take your time.

Take your time.

Oh, Marty, is that you?

"New lead

on the Earl Williams hanging."

Yes, the execution

is still set for 7:00 in the morning.

"The authorities

are prepared

for a general uprising

of radicals at that time."

Murphy here.

Get me rewrite.

"Extra guards have just been thrown

around the jail,

"the municipal building,

railroad terminals,

elevated stations."

Update on

the Williams hanging.

Sheriff Hartman's just put

200 more relatives on the payroll

to protect the city

against the Red Army,

which is leaving Moscow

in a couple of minutes.

Bet a dime.

Now, this is what the condemned man

ordered for his final meal:

Shrimp cocktail

with Thousand Island dressing,

rare roast beef,

Brussels sprouts,

apple pie a la mode,


"For his last meal

Williams is getting

a 95-cent blue plate special from

the greasy spoon across the street."

"At 9:
00 tonight, Williams will be

examined by still another psychologist

"Dr. Max J. Eggelhofer,

at the request of the

Friends of American Liberty."


Yes, he's from Vienna.

It's in my story

this morning.

He wrote that book

Self Abuse and Antisocial Behavior.

Poor bastard's gonna swing

in the morning

and this brain wants to ask if he played

with himself when he was five.

Pair of bullets.

More later.

Half a buck.

Wait a minute.

Don't I get a card?



No, Mr. Burns,

Hildy hasn't shown yet.

No, we haven't heard a word--

That dumb

son-of-a-b*tch bastard!

Who does he think he is?

I'm sorry.

I didn't mean to yell at you.

Well, look,

if Hildy shows up,

will you be kind enough

to tell that dumb son-of-a-b*tch bastard

to get his ass over here?

Thank you.

Any luck?

I've tried every speakeasy,

every gamblin' joint.

I've tried the Turkish bath.

No Hildy.


the Sanitation Department,

maybe they've picked

him up in some gutter.

I guess I better

check the hospitals or the morgue.

Be just like that clown

to die on me on the eve of a hanging.

How about those headlines?

Which one do you like?

They all stink.

Trouble is, there's not much

you can do with a hanging.

Now, if we had the electric chair

in this state,

that's something

you can really sink your teeth into.

"Williams gets the hot seat!"

"Williams Fries."

"Williams Roasted Alive."

# Step right up

Shake my hand #

# My baby told me

that she loves me #

Mr. Johnson,

I'm so glad.

Mr. Burns has been

looking for you all over.

# Congratulate me,

step right up #

# Shake my hand #

Hi, Hildy.

Is it a holiday

or something?

Hey, look at him.

Prince of Wales.

# Congratulate me

I'm in love ##

Where the hell

have you been?

Well, let's see.

I had a haircut,

I got a manicure,

I did a little shoppin'.

Hi, Duffy.


What the hell are you

dressed up for?

You're not covering

a polo match,

you're covering a hanging.

That's what I wanted

to talk to you about.

Tomorrow you and I

are gonna stand this town on its ear.

Oh, yeah.

Every damn paper is gonna have

the same damn story on that execution.

But we're going

to scoop them all.

Because you know

what goes in there?

A picture of Williams

swinging by the neck.

A picture?

A photograph, the first time anywhere.

Exclusive in the Examiner.

What are you

talkin' about?

That's against the law.

You can't bring a camera in there.

Who's gonna know?

Here, I had this

specially rigged up.

You clip it to your ankle,

you run the tube up your pants leg.

Make a hole in your pocket.

The minute Williams drops

Rate this script:4.0 / 3 votes

Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder was an Austrian-born American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, artist and journalist, whose career spanned more than fifty years and sixty films. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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