Kerstin Peckham

Written by Kerstin Peckham

Modified & Updated: 04 Mar 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Are you ready to tap your way into the glitz and glamour of the 1930s music and dance extravaganza? Look no further than the iconic film, “42nd Street”. This timeless classic has captured the hearts of audiences for decades with its unforgettable performances, catchy tunes, and behind-the-scenes drama. In this article, we will dive deep into the world of “42nd Street” and uncover 38 fascinating facts about the movie that may surprise even the most die-hard fans. From its star-studded cast to its impact on the musical genre, get ready to be dazzled by the magic of “42nd Street.” So, grab your tap shoes and join us on a journey filled with glitz, glam, and toe-tapping excitement!

Key Takeaways:

  • Step into the dazzling world of 42nd Street, where timeless music, captivating dance, and the resilience of the human spirit come together to inspire and entertain audiences of all ages.
  • Experience the magic of 42nd Street, a timeless masterpiece that celebrates the joy of showbiz, the power of collaboration, and the enduring appeal of pursuing one’s dreams in the glamorous world of Broadway.
Table of Contents

The Inspiration Behind the Movie

Did you know that the movie 42nd Street was inspired by a Broadway musical of the same name? It first premiered in 1933 and captured the hearts of audiences with its dazzling choreography and catchy tunes.

A Star-Studded Cast

The film boasted an impressive ensemble cast, including the talented Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell, and Bebe Daniels, who brought their characters to life with their captivating performances.

The Success of the Movie

Upon its release, 42nd Street became a box office hit, earning widespread acclaim for its entertaining storyline and memorable musical numbers.

The Director’s Vision

Directed by Lloyd Bacon, the movie beautifully captures the vibrant energy and excitement of New York City’s theater district in the 1930s.

A Glimpse into the Golden Age of Broadway

Set during the Great Depression, 42nd Street offers a nostalgic glimpse into the glamorous world of Broadway, transporting viewers to a bygone era of glitz and glamour.

Memorable Musical Numbers

The film features unforgettable musical numbers, including the iconic “Shuffle Off to Buffalo” and the show-stopping finale “42nd Street,” which continues to be a crowd-pleaser to this day.

An Oscar-Winning Song

The movie’s theme song, “42nd Street,” written by Harry Warren and Al Dubin, won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1934.

The Birth of the Backstage Musical Genre

42nd Street is regarded as one of the pioneering films of the backstage musical genre, paving the way for future classics like Singin’ in the Rain and A Chorus Line.

Dance Spectacles Galore

The film showcases mesmerizing dance sequences choreographed by the renowned Busby Berkeley, known for his intricate and visually stunning routines.

The Impact on Pop Culture

42nd Street’s influence on pop culture can still be felt today. It has inspired countless adaptations, stage productions, and even a revival on the iconic Broadway stage.

The Legacy of 42nd Street

The movie remains an essential part of film history, celebrated for its timeless appeal and its ability to transport audiences to a world filled with dreams, passion, and showmanship.

A Tale of Perseverance

At its core, 42nd Street is a story of hope, determination, and the triumph of the human spirit. It reminds us that with hard work and unwavering belief, anything is possible.

Authentic Period Costumes

The film’s costume designers meticulously recreated the fashion of the 1930s, from glamorous evening gowns to sharp tailored suits, adding another layer of authenticity to the film’s visual appeal.

The Dance Director’s Vision

Busby Berkeley’s visionary choreography brought a fresh and innovative approach to the film’s dance sequences, captivating audiences with his signature large-scale formations and intricate patterns.

A Story of Love and Ambition

42nd Street weaves together compelling storylines of romance, ambition, and stardom, offering a glimpse into the lives of aspiring performers and the sacrifices they must make to achieve their dreams.

The Music of 42nd Street

The film’s soundtrack, composed by Harry Warren and filled with memorable melodies, has stood the test of time and continues to be beloved by fans around the world.

A Showcase of Talented Performers

From the seasoned dancers to the breakout stars, 42nd Street highlights the immense talent and dedication of the performers who bring their characters to life on the silver screen.

Critical Acclaim and Awards

Upon its release, 42nd Street received critical acclaim, praised for its innovative direction, dazzling visuals, and outstanding performances, securing its place in cinematic history.

A Melting Pot of Styles

The movie seamlessly blends elements of comedy, drama, romance, and of course, breathtaking musical numbers, creating an immersive and entertaining experience for viewers.

A Reflection of the Era

42nd Street serves as a time capsule, preserving the essence of the 1930s and providing a glimpse into the challenges and triumphs of the era.

The Magic of Movie-Making

From the elaborate set designs to the skillful camerawork, 42nd Street exemplifies the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into creating a captivating cinematic experience.

Cultural Significance

The film not only captivated audiences during its initial release but continues to be regarded as an important piece of cultural history, showcasing the power of storytelling through film.

The Timeless Appeal of Dance

The film reminds us of the universal language of dance, captivating audiences with its vibrant and energetic numbers that transcend time and cultural boundaries.

The Resilience of the Human Spirit

Amidst the challenges faced by the characters, 42nd Street highlights the indomitable spirit of individuals striving to overcome obstacles and fulfill their aspirations.

A True Classic

With its enduring charm and captivating storytelling, 42nd Street has earned its place as a true classic in the pantheon of great films.

The Impact on Broadway

The success of the movie sparked a renewed interest in Broadway musicals, leading to a resurgence of the genre and inspiring a new generation of theater enthusiasts.

A Musical Extravaganza

From ensemble dance numbers to solo performances, 42nd Street showcases the immense talent and versatility of its cast through its dazzling musical sequences.

A Celebration of Showbiz

At its core, 42nd Street celebrates the magic of show business, reminding us of the dreams, drama, and camaraderie that exist behind the scenes.

Inspiration for Aspiring Artists

The film has served as a source of inspiration for countless aspiring actors, dancers, and musicians, fueling their desire to pursue a career in the performing arts.

The Joy of Spectacle

With its grand scale dance numbers and visually stunning cinematography, 42nd Street delivers a sense of spectacle that is both awe-inspiring and joyous to behold.

The Music That Lives On

Decades after its release, the iconic songs from 42nd Street continue to resonate with audiences, evoking feelings of nostalgia and capturing the essence of the era.

A testament to Collaboration

The success of 42nd Street is a testament to the power of collaboration, with each member of the production team contributing their unique talents to create a cohesive and unforgettable film.

A Timeless Story

Despite being set in the 1930s, 42nd Street tells a relatable and timeless story of ambition, love, and the pursuit of one’s dreams, resonating with audiences of all generations.

The Art of Tap Dancing

The movie showcases the artistry and precision of tap dancing, with breathtaking routines that demonstrate the skill and style of this iconic dance form.

The Power of Resilience

Through its characters’ personal struggles and challenges, 42nd Street reminds us of the strength and resilience of the human spirit, inspiring us to persevere in the face of adversity.

A Showcase of Talented Filmmakers

From the direction to the cinematography and the captivating screenplay, 42nd Street is a testament to the talent and creativity of the filmmakers involved.

The Immersive Cinematic Experience

With its captivating visuals, memorable music, and compelling storytelling, 42nd Street offers audiences an immersive cinematic experience that transports them to another time and place.

A Timeless Masterpiece

With its enduring appeal and timeless themes, 42nd Street remains a masterpiece that continues to captivate audiences and inspire future generations of filmmakers and performers alike.

Thank you for exploring the fascinating world of 42nd Street!


In conclusion, “42nd Street” is a timeless classic that has captivated audiences for decades. With its memorable characters, catchy music, and spectacular dance numbers, it remains a must-watch for any fan of musical theatre or the golden age of Hollywood. The film’s impact on popular culture cannot be overstated, as it paved the way for countless other musicals and inspired generations of performers. Whether you’re a seasoned movie buff or just looking to be entertained, “42nd Street” is a film that will leave you tapping your feet and singing along. So grab some popcorn, dim the lights, and let the magic of “42nd Street” transport you to a world of glitz, glamour, and show-stopping entertainment. Lights, camera, action!


Q: When was “42nd Street” released?

A: “42nd Street” was released in 1933.

Q: What is the plot of “42nd Street”?

A: The film follows the story of a young understudy who gets her big break on Broadway when the leading lady becomes unable to perform. We witness her journey as she navigates the challenges and triumphs of show business.

Q: Who directed “42nd Street”?

A: The film was directed by Lloyd Bacon.

Q: Is “42nd Street” a musical?

A: Yes, “42nd Street” is a musical film that showcases elaborate song and dance numbers.

Q: Who are some of the notable cast members in “42nd Street”?

A: The film stars Warner Baxter, Bebe Daniels, Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell, and Ginger Rogers.

Q: Are there any memorable songs in “42nd Street”?

A: Yes, the film features iconic songs such as “Shuffle Off to Buffalo”, “You’re Getting to be a Habit with Me”, and of course, the title song “42nd Street”.

Q: Did “42nd Street” receive any awards?

A: While the film itself did not win any Academy Awards, it was nominated for Best Picture at the 6th Academy Awards.

Q: Can you watch “42nd Street” online?

A: Yes, “42nd Street” is available for streaming on various platforms, such as Amazon Prime and iTunes.

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