It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Directed by Stanley Kramer
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It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) is an American motion picture directed by Stanley Kramer about the madcap pursuit of $350,000 of stolen cash by a diverse and colorful group of strangers.

Somewhere in the desert, a car speeds like crazy along the roads. Suddenly, the driver loses control and sails off a cliff. Four other vehicles are near, they stop to help. The dying man narrates the drivers of a fortune in cash, $350,000, which he has hidden below a giant "W" in Santa Rosita, some 200 miles away. The four drivers and their respective passengers can't decide on how to share the future fortune, and suddenly a wild race to Santa Rosita develops. While one party manages to rent a plane (from 1916), the others face different problems like tire damage, untrustworthy lifts, deep water, drunken millionaires, a British adventurer, little girl's bicycles, and last but far not least a mother-in-law from hell and her imbecile son. While the folks slowly travel towards the goal, they are being watched. Who ever said that nobody else knew about the fortune?


Stanley Kramer


William Rose

Tania Rose


Edie Adams … Monica Crump, wife of Melville Crump

Milton Berle … edible seaweed company owner J. Russell Finch

Sid Caesar … dentist Melville Crump

Buddy Hackett … comedy writer Benjy Benjamin

Ethel Merman … Mrs. Marcus, mother-in-law of J. Russell Finch and a very cranky woman

Dorothy Provine … Emeline Marcus-Finch, wife of J. Russell Finch

Mickey Rooney … comedy writer Dingy 'Ding' Bell

Dick Shawn … Sylvester Marcus, Mrs. Marcus' son and Emeline's brother

Phil Silvers … the out-of-work piano player Otto Meyer

Terry Thomas … Lt. Col. J. Algernon Hawthorne

Spencer Tracy … Captain C.G. Culpepper

Jonathan Winters … truck driver Lennie Pike

Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson … a cab driver

William Demarest … Santa Rosita's chief of police (Aloysius)

Jimmy Durante … Smiler Grogan

Peter Falk … a cab driver

Paul Ford … Col. Wilberforce


  • The actors were given two huge scripts, one with all the dialogue, the other with the action.
  • Melville Crump was originally to be played by Ernie Kovacs, but he died in a one-car accident before principal shooting. In real life he was married to Edie Adams, who played Monica Crump.
  • Phil Silvers, while filming the scene where he drives his car into the river, nearly drowned because he couldn't swim.