15 user 8 critic

Anything Goes (1936)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Musical | 24 January 1936 (USA)
A young man falls in love with a beautiful blonde. When he sees her being forced onto a luxury liner, he decides to follow and rescue her. However, he discovers that she is an English ... See full summary »


Lewis Milestone


Guy Bolton (play), P.G. Wodehouse (play)


Learn more

More Like This 

Anything Goes (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Bill Benson and Ted Adams are to appear in a Broadway show together and, while in Paris, each 'discovers' the perfect leading lady for the plum female role. Each promises the prize role to ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Lewis
Stars: Bing Crosby, Donald O'Connor, Zizi Jeanmaire
Anything Goes (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

In an attempt to win his girlfriend's affections, Westley Little puts it all on the line believing that when it comes to love, anything goes.

Director: Bruno Marino
Stars: Sean Kaufmann, Vanessa Broze, Saffron Cassaday
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Larry Poole, in prison on a false charge, promise an inmate that when he gets out he will look up and help out a family. The family turns out to be a young girl, Patsy Smith, and her ... See full summary »

Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Stars: Bing Crosby, Madge Evans, Edith Fellows
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Stranded in Africa, Chuck and his pal Fearless have comic versions of jungle adventures, featuring two attractive con-women.

Director: Victor Schertzinger
Stars: Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour
Born to Dance (1936)
Certificate: Passed Musical | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Sailor Ted meets at the Lonely Hearts Club of his friend Gunny's wife, Jenny, a girl, Nora Paige, and falls in love. Nora wants to become a dancer on Broadway. Ted rescues the Pekinese of ... See full summary »

Director: Roy Del Ruth
Stars: Eleanor Powell, James Stewart, Virginia Bruce
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Yacht owner is stranded on island with her socialite friends, a wacky husband and wife research team, and a singing sailor.

Director: Norman Taurog
Stars: Bing Crosby, Carole Lombard, George Burns
Dixie (1943)
Certificate: Passed Biography | Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A young songwriter leaves his Kentucky home to try to make it in New Orleans. Eventually he winds up in New York, where he sells his songs to a music publisher, but refuses to sell his most... See full summary »

Director: A. Edward Sutherland
Stars: Bing Crosby, Dorothy Lamour, Billy De Wolfe
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

"Dakota" Smith (William Terry), a young soldier on a pass in New York City, visits the famed Stage Door Canteen, where famous stars of the theatre and movies appear and host a recreational ... See full summary »

Director: Frank Borzage
Stars: Cheryl Walker, William Terry, Judith Anderson
Certificate: Passed Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Bob Gordon is staging a new Broadway Show. He gets an offer of money by Lillian, if she can dance in his show. Gordon's old class mate Irene, tries to get the leading role in this show, but Lillian insists in getting this part herself.

Directors: Roy Del Ruth, W.S. Van Dyke
Stars: Jack Benny, Eleanor Powell, Robert Taylor
Mississippi (1935)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Crosby plays a Philadelpia Quaker engaged to a Southern belle. He becomes a social outcast when he refuses to fight a duel. Fields then hires him to perform on his riverboat, promoting him ... See full summary »

Directors: A. Edward Sutherland, Wesley Ruggles
Stars: Bing Crosby, W.C. Fields, Joan Bennett
Variety Girl (1947)
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Dozens of star and character-actor cameos and a message about the Variety Club (show-business charity) are woven into a framework about two hopeful young ladies who come to Hollywood, ... See full summary »

Director: George Marshall
Stars: Mary Hatcher, Olga San Juan, DeForest Kelley
Drama | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

This send-up of ragtime song and dance begins in 1915 San Francisco when society boy Roger Grant decides to pursue popular rather than serious music.

Director: Henry King
Stars: Tyrone Power, Alice Faye, Don Ameche


Cast overview, first billed only:
Bing Crosby ... Billy Crocker
Ethel Merman ... Reno Sweeney
Charles Ruggles ... Moonface Martin
Ida Lupino ... Hope Harcourt
Grace Bradley ... Bonnie LeTour
Arthur Treacher ... Sir Evelyn Oakleigh
Robert McWade ... Elisha J. Whitney
Richard Carle ... Bishop Dobson
Margaret Dumont ... Mrs. Wentworth
Jerry Tucker ... Junior
Matt Moore ... Capt. McPhail
Edward Gargan ... Detective
Matt McHugh Matt McHugh ... Detective
Budd Fine Budd Fine ... Pug-Ugly
The Avalon Boys The Avalon Boys ... Quartet


A young man falls in love with a beautiful blonde. When he sees her being forced onto a luxury liner, he decides to follow and rescue her. However, he discovers that she is an English heiress who ran away from home and is now being returned to England. He also discovers that his boss is on the ship. To avoid discovery, he disguises himself as the gangster accomplice of a minister, who is actually a gangster on the run from the law. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


An Explosion of Merriment See more »


Comedy | Musical


Not Rated






Release Date:

24 January 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tops Is the Limit See more »


Box Office


$1,100,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Ethel Merman later starred in a TV production of "Anything Goes" with Frank Sinatra and Bert Lahr telecast live on Feb. 28, 1954: The Colgate Comedy Hour: Anything Goes (1954). See more »


During "Sailor Beware," there is a shot of deckhands strumming guitars at a much faster tempo than the song itself, suggesting that it's stock footage from another film. See more »


[first lines]
Reno Sweeney: [singing] In olden days a glimpse of stocking / Was looked on as something shocking, / Now, Heaven knows, / Anything goes!
[as she sings the words "anything goes", the title of the film appears onscreen]
See more »


Referenced in M*A*S*H: The Best of Enemies (1980) See more »


Written by Friedrich Hollaender, Richard A. Whiting and Leo Robin
Sung by Ethel Merman and Bing Crosby
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Damsel in Distress
19 December 2006 | by lugonianSee all my reviews

ANYTHING GOES (Paramount, 1936), directed by Lewis Milestone, a movie musical based on the 1934 Cole Porter Broadway play starring William Gaxton, Ethel Merman and Victor Moore, is given the screen treatment with Bing Crosby and Charlie Ruggles in the Gaxton and Moore roles, and Merman reprising her stage performance. The movie version, as with most adaptations from stage to screen, has been altered and revised, leaving some of the original score intact, otherwise a traditionally predictable, often silly, mildly entertaining musical comedy that could be categorized as being more faithful to the play than the 1956 screen adaptation also starring Crosby, which borrowed the original title, used some of its original songs but had an entirely different scenario nonetheless.

The story opens in a cabaret where American entertainer Reno Sweeney (Ethel Merman) is performing the very night she is to set sail over to London. She loves Billy Crocker (Bing Crosby), an ambitious young man whose boss has left him in charge while away on vacation. As Reno is performing, Billy notices an attractive young girl (Ida Lupino) sitting at another table who appears to be depressed or in some kind of trouble. Moments later, a couple of men (Edward Gargan and Matt McHugh), actually hired detectives, take her away. Fearing she's being abducted against her will, Bill attempts to rescue this damsel in distress, but takes the advise of the men to mind his own business. While on the dock bidding Reno bon voyage, Billy sees the young damsel (actually Hope Harcourt, a runaway heiress being taken back to her family in England by Evelyn Oakleigh (Arthur Treacher) to marry a man she doesn't love) boarding the same ship, and rushes on moments before its departure. While on board, Billy disguises himself to keep from being recognized by his employer (Robert McWade) and avoid arrested as a stowaway. Aside from following Miss Harcourt, who has taken a liking to Billy during the ocean voyage, he joins forces with con man "Moonface" Martin (Charlie Ruggles), Public Enemy No. 13, masquerading as a clergyman, accompanied by Bonnie (Grace Bradley). Because of Billy's association with Moonface, Hope mistakes him for or a notorious gangster and avoids him after he and Martin are arrested and placed in the brig.

A Cole Porter score with much from the play discarded ("All Through the Night" is underscored), and new ones composed by others, the motion picture soundtrack to the final cut is as follows: "Anything Goes" (briefly sung by Ethel Merman during opening credits); "I Get a Kick Out of You" (sung by Merman); "There'll Always Be a Lady Fair" (sung by Chill Wills and the Avalon Boys); "Sailor Beware" (by Richard Whiting and Leo Robin/ sung by Bing Crosby); "There'll Always Be a Lady Fair" (reprise/Avalon Boys); "Moon Burn" (by Hoagy Carmichael and Edward Heyman/ sung by Crosby); "My Heart and I" (by Frederick Hollander/ sung by Crosby to Lupino); "You're the Tops" (sung by Merman and Crosby); "Shanghai-de-Ho" (by Hollander and Robin/ sung By Merman): and "You're the Tops" (reprise by Crosby and Merman). With much of the songs worked within the contest of the plot, only two are given the production treatment "I Get a Kick Out of You" with Merman sitting in a ring shaped carrier suspended from the ceiling in the cabaret sequence; and the finale "Shanghai De-Ho" performed by Merman dressed in Oriental costume for the Paramount news reel set in England during a rainy afternoon. The Crosby and Merman duet of "You're the Tops" is tops, even with its dated lyrics and in-jokes that might not be understood by today's generation. The humor from that same number predates those 1940s "Road" comedies starring Crosby and Bob Hope where Merman briefly sings in Crosby's voice and Crosby hers.

For anyone familiar with Ida Lupino's dramatic movie career that took off in the 1940s, and her directorial work shortly afterwards, may be surprised seeing this brunette a blonde appearing in a musical. This would be one of her rare opportunities in which the British-born actress would portray a character of her true heritage on the American screen. Others in the cast include: Margaret Dumont (taking time away from The Marx Brothers) as Mrs. Wentworth; Richard Carle as Bishop Henry Dobson; among others.

ANYTHING GOES might be mistaken as a 1930s Crosby musical that never made it to television. Due to the 1956 remake in name only, which had been shown on American Movie Classics around 1991-92, the television title to this version was retitled "Tops is the Limit." In recent years, it's cable television presentations were limited, notably presented as part of its "Best of Hollywood" series on the Disney Channel also during the mid 1990s.

With the title that might have been suited for pre-code films produced during 1930-33, ANYTHING GOES is typical boy meets girl/mistaken identity/shipboard romance plot highlighted by songs and fine cast that should please any fan of musicals such as this. (***)

19 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 15 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Recently Viewed