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Sweet Charity (film)

Sweet Charity (full title: Sweet Charity: The Adventures of a Girl Who Wanted to Be Loved) is a 1969 American musical comedy-drama film directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse (in his feature directorial debut), written by Peter Stone, and featuring music by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields.

Sweet Charity
Poster of Sweet Charity (film).jpg
theatrical release poster
Directed byBob Fosse
Produced byRobert Arthur
Screenplay byPeter Stone
Story byNeil Simon
Based onSweet Charity
by Neil Simon
Nights of Cabiria
by Federico Fellini
Ennio Flaiano
Tullio Pinelli
Pier Paolo Pasolini
StarringShirley MacLaine
Music byCy Coleman
Dorothy Fields
CinematographyRobert Surtees
Edited byStuart Gilmore
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • April 1, 1969 (1969-04-01)
Running time
149 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$20 million
Box office$8 million[1]

It stars Shirley MacLaine and features John McMartin, Sammy Davis Jr., Ricardo Montalbán, Chita Rivera, Paula Kelly and Stubby Kaye. It is based on the 1966 stage musical of the same name – which Fosse had also directed and choreographed – which in turn is based on Federico Fellini, Ennio Flaiano and Tullio Pinelli's screenplay for Fellini's film Le Notti di Cabiria (Nights of Cabiria). However, where Fellini's black-and-white film concerns the romantic ups-and-downs of an ever-hopeful prostitute, the musical makes the central character a dancer-for-hire at a Times Square dance-hall.

The film is notable for its costumes by Edith Head and its dance sequences, notably "Rich Man's Frug".[original research?]


Charity Hope Valentine works as a taxi dancer along with her friends, Nickie and Helene. She longs for love, but has bad luck with men, being robbed and pushed off Gapstow Bridge in Central Park by one ex-boyfriend. She has another humiliating encounter with famous movie star Vittorio Vitale (Ricardo Montalbán).

After failing to find a new job through an employment agency, Charity meets shy Oscar Lindquist in a stuck elevator. They strike up a relationship, but Charity does not reveal what she does for a living. When she finally does tell Oscar, he initially seems to accept it, but finally tells Charity that he cannot marry her.

The optimistic Charity faces her future, alone for the time being, living hopefully ever after.

Alternate endingEdit

An alternate ending found on the Laserdisc and DVD versions picks up after Oscar leaves Charity. Oscar starts to go crazy in his apartment and, feeling suffocated, goes for a walk in the park. He sees Charity on their bridge in Central Park and thinks she is going to jump. Racing to rescue her, he trips and falls in the water. Charity jumps in after him, but can't swim so Oscar rescues her. Oscar realizes Charity is the only breath of fresh air in his life, proposes again, and she accepts. Fosse thought the ending was too corny, but filmed it in apprehension that the studio would demand a happy ending. In the end, though, they agreed with Fosse and kept the original ending from the stage version.


Paula Kelly (third from right) and Chita Rivera (second from right) as dance hostess girls performing "Big Spender".

Musical numbersEdit

  1. "My Personal Property"
  2. "(Hey,) Big Spender"
  3. "The Pompeii Club"
  4. "Rich Man's Frug"
  5. "If My Friends Could See Me Now"
  6. "The Hustle"
  7. "There's Got to Be Something Better Than This"
  8. "It's a Nice Face"
  9. "The Rhythm of Life"
  10. "Sweet Charity"
  11. "I'm a Brass Band"
  12. "I Love to Cry at Weddings"
  13. "Where Am I Going?"


Box officeEdit

The film cost $20 million to make, but made only $8 million at the box office,[1] which nearly sank Universal Pictures.[3]

According to Variety, the film earned rentals of $4,025,000 in the US and Canada.[4]

Awards and honorsEdit

The film received three Academy Award nominations:[5] Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Alexander Golitzen, George C. Webb, Jack D. Moore); Best Costume Design; and Best Music, Score of a Musical Picture (Original or Adaptation). It received one Golden Globe nomination for Shirley MacLaine as Best Motion Picture Actress - Musical/Comedy.

It was also screened at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival, but outside of the main competition.[6]

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Sweet Charity, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  2. ^ Lisanti, Tom (September 25, 2007). Glamour Girls of Sixties Hollywood: Seventy-Five Profiles. McFarland. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-7864-3172-4. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  3. ^ "Sweet Charity (1969): review". AllMovie. 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  4. ^ "All-time Film Rental Champs", Variety, 7 January 1976 p 50
  5. ^ "NY Times: Sweet Charity". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  6. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Sweet Charity". Retrieved 2009-04-10.
  7. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-20.
  8. ^ a b "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-20.
  9. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-20.

External linksEdit