Othella Strickler

Othella Strickler

Modified & Updated: 08 Sep 2023

Source: Patch.com

The Philadelphia Story is a classic romantic comedy that has captivated audiences for decades. Released in 1940, the film is known for its witty dialogue, stellar cast, and timeless story. Directed by George Cukor, The Philadelphia Story stars Hollywood icons Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and James Stewart in a love triangle that unfolds against the backdrop of high society. With its clever script and memorable performances, the film remains a beloved favorite among movie enthusiasts. In this article, we will delve into 36 fascinating facts about The Philadelphia Story, shining a spotlight on its production, its impact on cinema, and the behind-the-scenes details that make it a true cinematic gem.

Table of Contents

The Philadelphia Story features an all-star cast.

One of the reasons this film is so beloved is its star-studded cast, which includes screen legends Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and James Stewart. Their impeccable chemistry and impeccable comedic timing make for an unforgettable cinematic experience.

The movie was a box office success.

Upon its release, The Philadelphia Story was a commercial triumph, earning over $3 million at the box office. Audiences flocked to theaters to witness the amusing and sophisticated tale of love and class issues.

It received six Academy Award nominations.

The film’s critical acclaim was solidified by six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress for Katharine Hepburn’s standout performance. While it didn’t win in these categories, it did earn Jimmy Stewart an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

The movie marked Katharine Hepburn’s comeback.

After a series of commercially disappointing films, The Philadelphia Story revitalized Katharine Hepburn’s career. Her portrayal of the strong-willed and independent Tracy Lord earned her widespread praise and established her as one of Hollywood’s leading ladies.

The film popularized the “screwball comedy” genre.

The Philadelphia Story is often credited with popularizing the “screwball comedy” genre, characterized by its fast-paced dialogue, eccentric characters, and humorous situations. Its success paved the way for other classic screwball comedies of the era.

It was adapted into a Broadway musical.

In 1998, The Philadelphia Story was adapted into a successful Broadway musical called “High Society,” featuring music and lyrics by Cole Porter. The stage version received Tony Award nominations and delighted audiences with its catchy tunes and lively performances.

The film is known for its memorable quotes.

The Philadelphia Story is filled with memorable lines that have become iconic in the world of cinema. From Tracy Lord’s sassy retorts to C.K. Dexter Haven’s playful banter, the film is a treasure trove of quotable moments.

It showcases extravagant costumes and sets.

One of the highlights of The Philadelphia Story is its lavish production design, which transports viewers to the opulent world of the Philadelphia elite. The glamorous costumes and grandiose sets add to the film’s visual appeal.

The Philadelphia Story remains a favorite among film buffs.

Decades later, The Philadelphia Story still holds a special place in the hearts of film enthusiasts. Its timeless humor, impeccable performances, and sparkling dialogue continue to charm audiences of all generations.

The movie inspired a remake and adaptations.

The success of The Philadelphia Story inspired a 1956 musical remake called “High Society” starring Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Grace Kelly. It has also been adapted for television and radio, further solidifying its status as a beloved and enduring story.

The Philadelphia Story is listed in the National Film Registry.

In recognition of its cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance, The Philadelphia Story was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

Katharine Hepburn’s performance earned her an Oscar nomination.

Katharine Hepburn’s portrayal of Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, further solidifying her status as one of Hollywood’s most talented and revered actresses.

The movie features a mixture of comedy and romance.

The Philadelphia Story strikes the perfect balance between comedy and romance, providing audiences with hilarious moments and heartfelt emotions. Its genre-blending approach contributes to its enduring appeal.

The movie touched on themes of social class and love.

Underneath its lighthearted exterior, The Philadelphia Story explores themes of social class and the complexities of love. It delves into the struggles and triumphs of individuals navigating the constraints of societal expectations.

The Philadelphia Story is celebrated for its screenplay.

The screenplay for The Philadelphia Story, written by Donald Ogden Stewart, is praised for its sharp wit and clever dialogue. It showcases the brilliance of the source material while adding its own unique flair.

The film was a rare comedy role for James Stewart.

James Stewart, mostly known for his dramatic roles, showcased his comedic talents in The Philadelphia Story. His portrayal of the down-to-earth and humorous Macaulay Connor earned him critical acclaim and a well-deserved Oscar.

The movie explores the complexities of human relationships.

At its core, The Philadelphia Story delves into the intricacies of human relationships, the ups and downs of love, and the importance of self-discovery. Its timeless themes resonate with audiences of all ages.

The Philadelphia Story was a hit with both critics and audiences.

The film’s success was not limited to its box office performance. It received glowing reviews from critics and was praised for its smart writing, strong performances, and impeccable direction.

The Philadelphia Story is considered a classic example of screwball comedy.

With its rapid-fire dialogue, zany situations, and eccentric characters, The Philadelphia Story is often cited as one of the quintessential examples of the screwball comedy genre. Its influence can be seen in countless films that followed.

Katharine Hepburn had a significant influence on the film’s production.

Katharine Hepburn had a hand in shaping the film’s production, as she bought the rights to the original play and handpicked George Cukor to direct. Her dedication to the project and her vision contributed to its success.

The Philadelphia Story inspired a TV adaptation.

In 1959, The Philadelphia Story was adapted into a television series called “The Philadelphia Story.” Starring the talented Shirley Booth, the show brought the charm of the film to the small screen.

The movie showcases strong female characters.

The Philadelphia Story features strong and independent female characters who challenge societal norms and assert their own agency. Tracy Lord, played by Katharine Hepburn, remains an iconic portrayal of female strength.

The movie explores the nuances of love triangles.

The Philadelphia Story delves into the complexities of love triangles, offering a nuanced exploration of conflicting emotions and desires. The romantic entanglements in the film add depth and intrigue to the storyline.

The movie addresses themes of redemption and forgiveness.

Throughout The Philadelphia Story, characters grapple with notions of redemption and forgiveness, demonstrating the transformative power of second chances and the importance of letting go of past grievances.

The Philadelphia Story has been referenced in popular culture.

Over the years, The Philadelphia Story has been referenced and parodied in various forms of popular culture, including films, TV shows, and even commercials. Its influence continues to resonate with modern audiences.

The movie highlights the clash between tradition and modernity.

The Philadelphia Story explores the clash between conservative values and the changing times, particularly in terms of social norms and gender roles. It reflects the tensions between tradition and modernity in the context of 1940s America.

The film features unforgettable supporting characters.

Aside from its stellar lead performances, The Philadelphia Story boasts a memorable ensemble cast that includes Ruth Hussey as Liz Imbrie and Roland Young as Uncle Willie. Their comedic contributions elevate the film’s entertainment value.

The movie highlights the importance of self-discovery.

Through its exploration of personal growth and self-discovery, The Philadelphia Story imparts a valuable lesson about the power of embracing one’s true self and finding happiness on one’s own terms.

The Philadelphia Story has been praised for its direction.

George Cukor’s masterful direction brings the story to life, showcasing his ability to balance the film’s comedic and dramatic elements. His keen eye for detail and emphasis on character development contribute to its enduring appeal.

The movie features a memorable jazz score.

The Philadelphia Story is enhanced by a jazz-infused soundtrack composed by Franz Waxman. The lively and melodic score perfectly complements the film’s energetic and romantic atmosphere.

The Philadelphia Story was adapted into a radio play.

In 1942, The Philadelphia Story was adapted into a radio play for the Lux Radio Theatre. The broadcast featured an all-star cast, including Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray, and Jack Carson.

The film’s success led to a collaboration between Katharine Hepburn and George Cukor.

The Philadelphia Story marked the beginning of a fruitful collaboration between Katharine Hepburn and director George Cukor. They went on to work together on several successful films, solidifying their creative partnership.

The film’s screenplay underwent significant changes.

The script for The Philadelphia Story underwent several revisions before production, with input from various writers. The final screenplay perfectly balances comedy and drama, resulting in a seamless and engaging narrative.

The Philadelphia Story was a groundbreaking film for its time.

With its strong female lead, sharp dialogue, and exploration of complex relationships, The Philadelphia Story challenged societal conventions and pushed the boundaries of what was considered acceptable in mainstream cinema.

The film influenced subsequent romantic comedies.

The Philadelphia Story’s impact on the romantic comedy genre cannot be overstated. It set a high standard for future films in the genre and inspired filmmakers to explore similar themes and storytelling techniques.

The Philadelphia Story remains a beloved classic.

Even after more than 80 years, The Philadelphia Story continues to enchant audiences with its timeless charm, sparkling wit, and brilliant performances. It remains a testament to the power of great storytelling and unforgettable filmmaking.


The Philadelphia Story is a timeless classic that has captivated audiences for decades. With its stellar cast, witty dialogue, and enchanting storyline, it continues to be hailed as one of the greatest romantic comedies of all time. The film’s legacy is undeniable, as it remains a favorite among movie lovers and serves as a blueprint for future rom-coms.

From the impeccable performances by Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and James Stewart to the expert direction by George Cukor, every aspect of The Philadelphia Story comes together seamlessly. The film showcases the complexities of love, class dynamics, and personal growth, all while providing plenty of laughter and heartwarming moments.

Whether you’re a fan of classic movies or simply looking for a feel-good film, The Philadelphia Story is a must-watch. Its enduring charm and timeless appeal make it a true gem in the history of cinema.


Q: What is The Philadelphia Story about?

A: The Philadelphia Story is a romantic comedy film released in 1940. The story revolves around a wealthy socialite, Tracy Lord, who is about to get married. However, her plans are disrupted when her ex-husband, a charming journalist, and a dashing photographer show up on the eve of her wedding. In the midst of the chaos, Tracy must confront her own feelings and make some challenging decisions.

Q: Who are the main stars in The Philadelphia Story?

A: The film stars Katharine Hepburn as Tracy Lord, Cary Grant as C.K. Dexter Haven (her ex-husband), and James Stewart as Mike Connor (the journalist). The chemistry between the three leads is palpable, making their performances a standout aspect of the movie.

Q: Is The Philadelphia Story based on a play?

A: Yes, The Philadelphia Story was originally a play written by Philip Barry. It premiered on Broadway in 1939 and was a great success. The film adaptation was released the following year, with some changes made to the story and characters.

Q: Has The Philadelphia Story won any awards?

A: Yes, The Philadelphia Story was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. James Stewart won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in the film. The movie also received critical acclaim and has since been recognized as a classic in the romantic comedy genre.

Q: Is The Philadelphia Story still popular today?

A: Absolutely. The Philadelphia Story remains a beloved film, known for its sharp wit, sophisticated humor, and timeless themes. It continues to be screened in theaters and is often included on lists of the greatest movies of all time. Its enduring popularity speaks to its lasting impact on cinema and its ability to resonate with audiences of all generations.